The MERiFIC project is part of the European programme INTERREG IVa, France (Channel) – England. This cross‐border project brings together England, more specifically the county of Cornwall, and Brittany, specifically the département of Finistère. The purpose of MERiFIC, which stands for “marine energy in far peripheral and island communities”, is to study the development of marine renewable energies (MREs). Through various issues governing their development:
- Energy potential,
- Impact on biodiversity,
- Support from public policy and regulatory frameworks,
- Economic development strategies, ‐ Social acceptability and the involvement of civil society,
MERiFIC aims to prepare for the arrival of this new industrial segment and develop decision‐making support tools specific to far peripheral and island communities, which are typical of Cornwall, with the Isles of Scilly, and Finistère with the islands in Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise.
Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise is particularly involved in the MERiFIC project in relation to the issues of environmental assessments and environmental impacts. This document is the result of work package 3 within the project: “Technological support”. This work package covers all the issues relating to the assessment of energy resources (waves and currents), anchoring techniques for surface wave energy equipment, the assessment of biodiversity and environmental impact studies. The sub‐theme, covered here, is “transfer and development of skills on environmental assessment” with a view to a better selection of biodiversity assessment methods.
This document has been produced further to three workshops, under titles 3.3.4a and 3.3.4b within the project, during which the partners involved had an opportunity to present their environmental assessment work. The purpose was to talk about the methods and tools used and to discuss the results, in order to share know‐how and develop shared skills on either side of the Channel.
Three themes were considered during these workshops:
- Analysis of the use of the space by grey seals,
- Studying of noise and its impact on the environment, focusing on the study of small cetaceans (particularly the harbour porpoise – Phocoena phocoena – and the common bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops truncatus),
- Mapping and monitoring of marine habitats.
For further information, all the presentations are available on the project website (www.merific.eu). The first theme, grey seals, was the subject of an information gathering and discussion exercise in document 3.3.2 “Marine biodiversity and habitat surveys” produced by the University of Exeter.
In this document, we have decided to concentrate on the theme of noise and its impact on small cetaceans (dolphins in particular). Acoustic research is becoming more and more widely used. It is a relatively recent addition to the environmental field, and there are still many uncertainties around it when it comes to choosing means and methods. This document takes stock of these activities and concludes by establishing a shared work programme that includes methods of assessment for the presence and distribution of marine mammals.