Magnetism from underwater power cables doesn’t deter sea life | Science News

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Magnetism from underwater power cables doesn’t deter sea life

Trio of studies show marine animals will cross and even colonize high-voltage cables

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7:00am, March 1, 2016
wind farm in sea off coast of Denmark

ON THE LINE  Power cables ferry electricity to islands and from offshore energy plants such as this wind farm off the coast of Denmark. Underwater electric power cables don’t trouble local marine life, new studies suggest. 

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NEW ORLEANS — High-voltage electricity surging through undersea power cables doesn’t bother local sea life, three new studies suggest. The work eases concerns that planned offshore power production from wind turbines and tidal generators would disrupt marine communities.

Tracking the movements of fish and crabs around underwater power cables, the new studies reveal that marine critters don’t shy away from the magnetic fields put off by the cables. One study even found that the thick cables can serve as artificial habitats and host undersea communities.

“There’s much less of a concern now,” said Ann Bull, a marine biologist at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Camarillo, Calif., who presented two of the studies February 26 at the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting.

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