Over the past twenty years, the combat against domestic and industrial pollution in the French Mediterranean Sea has resulted in a marked improvement in the sanitary quality of the coastal waters. After the damage done to the coastal habitats, the time has come to see how they may be restored in ecological terms. The Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard and its partners are engaged in this task at two pilot sites.
Ecological restoration is a tool that may be used when a coastal ecosystem has been subjected to pollution or degradation. But it is only when the pressure has disappeared or been overcome - and once good water quality has been achieved - that this may be envisaged.
This action is action a 'booster' for biodiversity. It makes possible the improvement of the ecological functioning of habitats and the return of associated species, a positive impact on fisheries resources, the protection of the coastline, the stocking of carbon, and so on.
The Institute has taken part in two studies from a general programme of restoration of the Mediterranean marine environment, led by the water resources management agency Agence de l’Eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse (AERMC) :
- understanding and managing the renewal of fisheries resources in a fish nursery zone in semi-enclosed environment: the Brusc lagoon (Var, S.E. France) ;
- trials to enhance the marine ecological richness by the installation of experimental artificial reefs in an area exposed to the impact of treated urban sewage outfalls.
This new project comes under the strategy framework directive for the marine environment 2008/56/CE (DCSMM) (directive-cadre stratégie pour le milieu marin), which represents the environmental cornerstone of the integrated maritime policy of the European Union.
The purpose is to achieve or to maintain a good ecological state in the marine environment (waters, seabed and sub-soil), by 2020 at the latest.
To this end, the DCSMM envisages the development of workshop sites, here the Brusc lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea, where a certain number of ecological resto-ration actions will be put into application. The introduction of a range of innovative procedures will provide feedback on the potential for having a favourable impact on the environment.
This general process will include actions targeting different issues related to ecological restoration, such as :
- artificial developments in harbour zones to improve their ecological nursery function by increasing the capacity to provide habitats for fish and to make good the lack of natural habitats;
- ecological restoration actions for the restoration of seagrass meadows using techniques involving the transplantation of marine magnoliophytes;
- the restoration of degraded sites, in particular in Mediterranean wetlands;
- monitoring, research and knowledge acquisition actions based on innovative techniques (R&D).
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
- Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
- Integrated Coastal Management
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
- Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
- Research capacity development