With seven months to go before the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron has announced that he wants to increase the number of marine protected areas on the Mediterranean coast. But what are they? What exactly are they for? We take stock.
A few days after the close of the World Conservation Congress, which brought together scientists, political leaders and activists in Marseilles, Emmanuel Macron announced his intention to increase the number of areas benefiting from “strong protection” to 5% of the Mediterranean maritime area by 2027.
These areas, designed to protect marine biodiversity and promote fish stocking, numbered 365 in mainland France, according to figures from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). Nearly a quarter of the country’s maritime territory has this status.
Called “MPAs”, these areas are divided into several levels of protection. Among them, it is the Strong Protection Zone (ZPF), one of the most protective regimes, that the Head of State wants to develop.
The proportion of French waters covered by the network of marine protected areas has increased significantly since 1963, the year the Port-Cros National Park was created, the first protected area with a marine part (13 km² of surface area at sea). In 2019, the total surface area of MPAs, without double counting , represents 2,419,325 km², i.e. approximately 23.57% of the French maritime area.
In 2019, more than 45% of the surface area of metropolitan marine waters is covered by marine protected areas, according to the mapping of the Ministry of Ecological Transition. […]
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