The Cote Bleue Marine Park (France, NW Mediterranean): a success story in co-construction with small scale fisheries since 38 years

PMCB
Published: 18 August 2021
Last edited: 18 August 2021
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Summary

The Cote Bleue Marine Park (PMCB, France) was created in 1983. This bottom up initiative is based on an experimental cooperation between local public authorities and professional small scale fisheries, in order to implement a program for sustainable development of fishing activity, marine environment protection, experimental scientific research and public awareness and education. The territory represent 9.873 ha on 42 km of rocky coastline including 2 no-takes reserves of 295 ha, where all kind of fishing, mooring and scuba diving are prohibited.The originality is the use of no-takes reserves and artificial reefs (both for production purposes and protection against illegal trawling) as a complementary tools for conservation of exploited resources and sensitive habitats.

Classifications

Region
West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Seagrass
Theme
Coastal and marine spatial management
Fisheries and aquaculture
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Restoration
Science and research
Species management
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience

Location

13620, Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
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Challenges

In a global context of fish stock decrease and marine biodiversity and habitats losses, the Cote Bleue Marine Park has been implementing since 1983 the use of no-takes reserves and artificial reefs as complementary tools for protection, restoration and conservation of both exploited resources and sensitive habitats which are the most productive (Posidonia meadows and coralligenous reefs). Challenges are the acceptance of no takes reserve and restoration, both successfully accomplished.

Beneficiaries

Main beneficiaries are both fish and fishers, as well as all local inhabitants of Cote Bleue, given the Marine Park is a tool which allows a global preservation (environmental, economic and patrimonial)

How do the building blocks interact?

The 3 building blocks presented interact with each other. The results of a successful management is the combination of the 3 pillars: (i) an accepted MPA (marine Protected Area)  with co-construction and shared governance ; (ii) an effective MPA with surveillance and enforcement, long term monitoring and best knowledge of the reserve effects, benefits both for fishes and fishers ; (iii) an adaptive management of MPA is necessary and the PMCB was built on the strengths and weaknesses of local context: artificial reefs have played a role in resolving the antagonisms and conflicts between small-scale fisheries and illegal trawling fisheries.

In the Cote Bleue Marine Park, the two categories of artificial reefs (production and protection reefs) are not dissociable of the two no-takes reserves. These management tools worked in an additional way and contributed to the preservation of traditional small scale fisheries on the Côte Bleue territory, while these fishing activities are decreasing in the nearby zones.

Impacts

The experiments of management conducted by the Cote Bleue Marine Park since 38 years led to positives impacts: (i) environmental impact with a clear reserve effect observed with more fishes, more bigger and the return of rare and protected species. In 24 years, the fishing captures have been multiplied by a factor of 7 and the mean weight of a fish increased by a factor of 2.6 ; (ii) social impact with an acceptation of Park and marine reserves by local artisanal fishers (88% feels they are involved in decisions process of the Park) who are at the origins of creation of no-takes reserves and artificial reefs, and who benefits directly or indirectly of these protection tools ; (iii) and economic impact, local fisheries getting more sustainable, with high catches CPUE around the borders of no-take reserves (2.5 kg/100 m of net vs. 1 kg/100 m in the rest of PMCB).

Story

J.G. Harmelin/PMCB

The Cote Bleue Marine Park (PMCB, France) was created in 1983. It’s based on an experimental cooperation between local public authorities and professional small scale fisheries in order to implement a program for sustainable development of fishing activity, marine environment protection, experimental research and public awareness. The territory represent 9.873 ha on 42 km of rocky coastline including 2 no-takes reserves of 295 ha, where all kind of fishing, mooring and scuba diving are prohibited.The originality is the use of no-takes reserves and artificial reefs as a complementary tools for conservation of resources and habitats. There is about 4.884 m3 of artificial reefs, both for production purposes and protection from illegal trawling inside the 3NM, around 17.5 km of barriers of protection reefs. The Park is a local initiative and was founded with a “bottom-up” approach. This co-construction is based on strong dialog process with local professional fishermen organizations. That’s one of the main benefits that the PMCB offers. The association of local fishers within the PMCB's decision body is truly effective, and the Marine Park is composed of local (mayors of the 5 villages), regional and departmental elected representatives The PMCB is a “sea-life size laboratory” and conduct several programs of applied research and scientific studies. It’ permittes to have strong references in scientific litterature,particularly on the "reserve effect", with around forty five scientific monitoring, like fish visual census, sea-urchins, red coral, Posidonia meadow, frequentation, etc. Since its origin, the Park also created awareness and educational programs for scholars, with the implementation of one week of field training course. More than 28 000 children made aware about the marine environment. There is an underwater pathway in the no-take reserve of Carry for public and tourists. Since 1994 PMCB organize free visits by snorkeling 3 days per week during every summer. Visitors can see the reserve effect with really more bigger fishes. Finally, the Côte Bleue Marine Park received an international recognition for an outstanding MPA management efficiency with the label “Green List” of Protected Areas delivered by IUCN, and the SPAMI (Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance) label in 2012 and inclusion in European Natura 2000 network since 2009 (site “Côte Bleue Marine” of 18 928 ha). A real success for this small team (8 employees) and local initiative.

Contributed by

charbonnel.eric_36090's picture

Eric Charbonnel

Other contributors

Director of Cote Bleue Marine Park