seals tracked

seals tracked
seals tracked

A public consultation is launched until the end of June to authorize scientists to approach the seals in order to equip them with GPS tags. Animals and their movements will be monitored before, during and after work related to offshore wind turbines.

Last year 66 pups were born in the harbor seal colony in the Bay of Veys. If they have made themselves comfortable, these animals are located approximately 70 kilometers from Courseulles sur mer and the off-shore wind turbine construction site.

Two of the three French breeding colonies of this species are located in Normandy. So the 250 seals will be monitored in order to detect any possible impact of the work on individuals. Among the colony, only 30 seals weighing more than 40 kilos will be captured in total in order to be equipped with a GPS beacon.

If a public consultation is open until June 26 on the DREAL website, it is because the species is protected. Scientists therefore need an exemption to approach them and equip them with the beacon.

The capture authorization application file produced by the Chizé biological studies center specifies the way in which the operations are carried out. Seals are caught in nets”made especially for these operations (large mesh adapted to the anatomy of seals and material that does not harm the animals)”. The tag is stuck behind the head, samples such as a blood test and a biopsy are taken… all this in 20 minutes. The idea is to disturb the animals as little as possible. The tag being stuck on the hairs, it comes off on its own during moulting.

Scientists from the Beauguillot reserve and the Chizé center will act quickly to disturb the colony as little as possible.

© France televisions

The purpose of this monitoring is detailed in the file submitted by the Chizé center: “ Describe the individual movements of seals, using locations obtained on land and at sea; identify preferential hunting areas for seals of both species; document their activity rhythms, on land (rest periods on resting places) and at sea; all of these parameters will naturally be compared before, during and then after construction of the offshore wind turbines, in order to detect and describe a possible impact of the construction work. »

64 wind turbines will come out of the sea for this ongoing project: the schedule provides that between 2023 and 2024, the foundations, the submarine cables and the wind turbines themselves will be built for commissioning planned for 2025.

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