Evidence for the effects of decommissioning man-made structures on marine ecosystems globally: a systematic map

Lemasson, AJ, Somerfield, PJ, Schratzberger, M, McNeill, CL, Nunes, J, Pascoe, CK, Watson, SCL, Thompson, MSA, Couce, E and Knights, AM 2022 Evidence for the effects of decommissioning man-made structures on marine ecosystems globally: a systematic map. Environmental Evidence, 11 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13750-022-00285-9

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13750-022-00285-9


Background: Many marine man-made structures (MMS), such as oil and gas platforms or offshore wind turbines, are nearing their ‘end-of-life’ and require decommissioning. Limited understanding of MMS decommissioning effects currently restricts the consideration of alternative management possibilities, often leaving complete removal as the only option in certain parts of the world. This evidence-base describes the ecosystem effects of marine MMS whilst in place and following cessation of operations, with a view to informing decision-making related to their potential decommissioning. Method: The protocol used to create this map was published a priori. Systematic searches of published, literature in English were conducted using three bibliographic databases, ten specialist organisational websites or repositories, and one search engine, up to early 2021. A total of 15,697 unique articles were identified as potentially relevant to our research questions, of which 2,230 were screened at the full-text level. Of that subset, 860 articles met all pre-defined eligibility criteria. A further 119 articles were identified through “snowballing” of references from literature reviews. The final database consists of 979 articles. For each article included, metadata were extracted for key variables of interest and coded into a database. Review findings: The vast majority of eligible articles related to the presence of MMS (96.2%), while just 5.8% considered decommissioning. Overall, articles mainly considered artificial reefs (51.5% of all articles) but increasingly oil and gas (22%), shipwrecks (15.1%) and offshore wind (13.1%). Studies were distributed globally, but the majority focused on the United States, single countries within Europe, Australia, Brazil, China, and Israel; 25 studies spanned multiple countries. Consequently, the bulk of the studies focused on the North Atlantic (incl. Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea) and North Pacific Oceans. A further 12 studies had a global scope. Studies in majority reported on fish (53%) and invertebrates (41%), and were disproportionately focused on biological (81%) and ecological (48%) impacts. Physico-chemical (13%), habitat (7%), socio-cultural (7%), economic (4%) and functional (8%) outcomes have received less attention. The number of decommissioning studies has been increasing since ca. 2012 but remains noticeably low. Studies mostly focus on oil and gas infrastructures in the USA (Gulf of Mexico) and Northern Europe (North Sea), covering 9 different decommissioning options.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Oil and gas, Offshore wind, Marine renewable energy, Artificial reefs, North sea, Synthesis, Repurposing, Reefing
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Sea and Society
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 03 Nov 2022 14:11
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 14:11
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9820

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