Summit to thrash out strategy for maritime resource

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In the wake of its largely successful national energy summit, Grenelle de l'Environnement, France is now embarking on Grenelle de la Mer (the ocean initiative), to thrash out a long-term strategy for managing France's maritime resource. Representatives of the state, local authorities, industry, unions and non-governmental organisations will again be asked to come up with proposals covering everything from how to manage fish stocks to maritime rescue services and port development. One of the four working groups will be charged with shipping, aquaculture and all forms of marine energy. They will have three months to produce their recommendations, following which environment and energy minister Jean-Louis Borloo plans to announce a series of government commitments by the end of the year. At the same time, Borloo has asked the regional authorities around the coast of France to submit plans identifying suitable areas for the development of offshore wind power to help speed progress towards the country's offshore target of 5-6 GW by 2020. The officials heading up the Aquitaine, Brittany, Haute-Normandie, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions have until September 15 to hold round-table consultations with all interested parties and draw up a plan, taking into account the state of the grid, the presence of radar, shipping routes and other constraints.

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