Story 2: France (Offshore wind and Fisheries)

Story 2: Fierce negotiations on the final location of an offshore wind farm in France

In the bay of Saint-Brieuc an offshore wind farm is being planned, amounting to 500 MW and spread over an area of 80 km2 16.2 km off the coast. Construction is expected to start in 2018 and the wind farm is scheduled to be operational in 2020. The main economic activities in the bay are commercial fishing and tourism. Because of its history and economic dominance, commercial fishing is particularly important - great scallop is the main commercial species which also has strong heritage value for the region’s population.

There have been fierce negotiations on the final location of the wind farm. The results are partly advantageous for the fishermen as the wind farm will be built further offshore than initially envisaged, on less productive fishing grounds. However, the growth of the renewable energy sector in the area was also seen as an opportunity, as reportedly, fairly large amounts of funding are being made available to local fishing associations to develop collective projects designed to improve knowledge of resource dynamics and  marketing conditions of local fishery products.

A departmental committee was formed to have a discussion with other marine users and to highlight the importance of the fisheries sector. This was particularly important given that new areas were recently opened for offshore renewable development. With regard to the local fishing industries of Paimpol and Saint Brieuc, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Departmental Fisheries committee and the developer company, whereby the developer will contribute to the funding of several projects supported by the fishing industry. In Paimpol, the developer supports onshore facilities (known as ‘viviers’) to improve the marketing of shellfish (especially lobsters). When the wind farms are in operation, regular funding will be obtained from a tax paid by windfarms operators on each megawatt produced. The total tax payment is expected to be EUR 7 million / year over the life span of the wind farm (≈ 20 years). 35 % of this will be set aside for fisheries development projects. Some projects have already started (e.g. a sea tank in Paimpol, lobster tagging, a fishery observatory, scallop stock enhancement) and others will develop.

As part of SIPECHE project, the development of the fishery observatory by the Côtes d’Armor fishing committee will be used to monitor fleet displacements and assess the possible effects on resources.

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