France's largest breeding colony of common seals, in the Baie de Somme off the coast of Picardie, is being studied as part of the environmental impact study for the 705 MW Deux Côtes project, being developed by La Compagnie du Vent, one of the France's leading developers and owner-operators of wind power, now majority-owned by energy giant Suez. In October, ten seals, out of a population of more than 100, were fitted with GSM telemetry tags by Scotland's Sea Mammal Research Unit. Their movements will be tracked for a year and analysed by the University of La Rochelle with the help of local environmental association Picardie Nature. Jean-Mathieu Kolb, head of offshore projects at La Compagnie du Vent, believes there is little chance the project will have an impact on the seals, since they are largely sedentary and do not wander far, but the company wants to be sure. La Compagnie du Vent is providing the majority of the funding, with additional help from the Poitou-Charente region.
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