Marine Environment Department

The SINAY company has extensive expert knowledge about marine megafauna : recognition of species at sea, thorough knowledge of their biology and ecology, especially regarding acoustic aspects of their biology and ecology. The consulting company conducts aerial and ship census programs at different scales : local (for instance, the Raz Blanchard, in North Cotentin), national (one or several French seaboards), or international (for instance, in the Pelagos Sanctuary, in the Mediterranean).


The field team collects data about the presence and distribution of marine mammals, birds, turtles, tuna, sharks and rays' species. These data are used during different types of surveys : Naturalistic inventories, impact assessments, incidence studies, stock assessments. 





Marine mammals :


The SINAY company is involved in the sustainable management of the seas, through its abilities and expertise in marine mammals and impacts of human activities at sea. 

SINAY's activities regarding marine mammals focus on :

  • - Assessment of their presence and distribution, by plane or ship
  • - Acoustic detection
  • - Risk mitigation during seismic acquisition campaigns :
    • - Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM)
    • - Marine Mammal Observers (MMO)
  • - Real time detection by passive acoustics
  • - Impact assessments and incidences' evaluation
  • - Study of accidental captures and depredation in fisheries





Sea birds :


Seabirds are typical species found in all the planet's oceans and seas. France, through its maritime extension, hosts a great number of habitats and sea birds' species. Therefore, France has a great responsibility towards these species' conservation and protection issues.


SINAY's activities concerning sea birds involve : 

  • - Assessment of their presence and distribution, by plane or by ship

  • - Radar detection

  • - Impact assessments and incidences' evaluation

  • - Study of accidental captures and depredation in fisheries

    • - Risk mitigation





Benthos :


The SINAY company manages benthos' environmental monitoring, as part of EMR projects, port extensions and, generally speaking, concerning every type of maritime facility. Our studies are focused on identification and characterisation of :

- Habitats (environmental characterisation (sediment aspect, grain size and level of organic matter)

- Flora (density, biomass)

- Animal species living in the ecosystem.


In order to complete successfully these campaigns, we refer to IFREMER and REBENT protocols.





Aerial and Ship monitoring :


The company organizes big marine fauna's identification programmes, made by plane and by ship. Its team is trained in marine safety and the observers have a great experience, derived from hundreds of hourly observations realized by plane and by ship, throughout the various projects they completed. 


Aerial campaigns are made by twin-engines equipped with high wings and bubble windows, which allows a direct viewing point under the plane.

Campaigns made by ship are performed by means of several types of watercrafts : inflatable boats, sailboats, motorboats.

This type of campaign is used to :

  • - Collect data on the various species and habitats' ecological parameters
  • - Assess population densities and marine fauna's distribution
  • - Estimate anthropogenic impacts on marine fauna (marine mammals, birds, turtles, sharks and rays)
  • - Define marine protected areas





Water quality :


SINAY performs environmental monitoring regarding the « water quality » component, as part of impact assessments on the various maritime projects (MREs, port extensions and other  installations). In order to achieve this, we use multi-parameter probes to measure sea waters' quality (temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll, turbidity, oxygen), as part of risk assessment in relation to environmental interests (natural habitats, seagrass beds (Zostera beds), as well as social and economic issues (fisheries and aquaculture).


Complementary measurements can be performed through water sampling and laboratory analysis, made by a laboratory approved by COFRAC.







Sediment quality : 


SINAY performs environmental monitoring on the « sediment quality» component, as part of  the various maritime projects' impact assessments (MREs, port extensions and other installations). In order to achieve this, we realize sediment samples with an Ekman grab. Samples are sent for analysis to a laboratory approved by COFRAC. An interpretative report of analysis results is provided to the project manager, as part of risk assessment in relation to environmental interests (natural habitats, seagrass beds (Zostera beds), as well as social and economic issues (fisheries and aquaculture).


The consulting company performed a sediment quality monitoring, in the Grande Rade of Cherbourg, during the extension work on Terre-plein des Flamands' Zone, on the basis of the parameters of the decision dated 9 August 2006.





Regulatory studies :


Several european directives transposed into French law, define the rules set regarding environmental protection related to human activities' development at sea. These primarily involve IMPACT ASSESSMENT Directive, as well as HABITATS Directive. These directives apply to industrial development projects at sea. Every project needs to be studied regarding environmental consequences and the possible measures to reduce and/or offset the negative effects.  


We offer services regarding regulatory files :

- Environmental impact assessment

- Natura 2000

- Water Law

- ICPE (classified installations)



The SINAY company brings its expertise to industrials, in order to perform studies prior to a maritime construction : port extensions, construction of windfarms and tidal stream generators, maritime platforms, etc.





Natura 2000 :


NATURA 2000 is a EU-wide network of protected nature sites. Its conception resulted from the implementation of « habitat, fauna, flora» Directive, in 1992 (92/43/CEE). Network's development has as its principal goal the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, identified as one of the environmental values, together with economic, social and cultural values, at local scale. To achieve this, human activities' development in such a context is regulated : incidences' evaluation on site has to be done, in order to assess, reduce and/or compensate for the environmental risks and negative impacts.


In France, NATURA 2000's network at sea has 209 protected sites, for 41 457 km², of which 27 713 km² are under the « habitat, fauna, flora » Directive and 35 251 km² are under the « birds » Directive (with several overlaps). Source : MNHN/Bureau NATURA 2000.






Marine environment impact assessments :


A marine environment impact assessment is a regulatory file, necessary to the growth and approval of development project at sea.


Our experts can accompany you to conduct every assessment phase :

- Initial state, when the area's sensitivity is determined as regards every theme (marine fauna and flora, habitats, economic activities, etc.)

- Then, an identification of the project's effects is realized for each theme. Effects and sensitivity's analysis enable us to determine impact levels of the project as well as impacts combined with other activities.

- Proposal of evasive, reduction and compensation actions

- Assistance during public inquiries


In order to offer whole environmental impact assessments, SINAY society's teams are based on a multidisciplinary approach, including expertise on fauna, flora and habitats, underwater acoustics, as well as geophysics, geotechnics, bathymetric surveys and seabed photography.