ABSTRACT:

Many of the gas fields exploited in the North Adriatic sea are about to get exhausted, the issue of what to do with several tens of offshore platforms is become more and more pressing. On one hand, the process of decommissioning is very expensive; on the other hand there are interesting opportunities to be explored for reuse of a portion or all of the 90s offshore facilities located in front of the Emilia Romagna coasts for other purposes besides gas extraction. In the present study we present a screening environmental compatibility of the re-conversion and reuse of two North Adriatic offshore platforms to mariculture and wind energy production. The state of the environmental of the study area, the basic aspects and the technical solutions of the two alternatives has been taken into account in the preliminary impact assessment. Potential impacts have been qualitatively analyzed through scoping matrices, according to their magnitude, geographical extension, duration and reversibility. A quantitative assessment has been performed also with reference to the effect of organic load generated by mariculture activities trough numerical simulations of dispersion and deposition of organic carbon on sea bottom and a simple nutrient mass balance model. Visual impact and noise impact have been also analyzed through classical modelling techniques. Our analysis showed that the organic and nutrient enrichment from mariculture waste is not trivial but probably acceptable. Minor impacts can be generated by genetic contamination of wild populations due to escape of cultured fish for the acquaculture activity, by the effect of noise of wind platform on marine wildlife and by the visual impact for the wind energy production activity. A number of guidelines for the mitigation of these impacts are provided

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