In Marseille, Emmanuel Macron appears as a defender of marine biodiversity



After the northern districts of Marseille, the sea breeze of the Calanques. Friday September 3, Emmanuel Macron began the “biodiversity” component of his visit to the Phocaean city with a sea trip in the Calanques National Park (Bouches-du-Rhône), an emblematic place of the fragility of marine ecosystems and their need protection.

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The ideal place to display its commitments to biodiversity at sea, through two announcements, which should be detailed in the afternoon, during his opening speech at the IUCN Congress (International Union for the Conservation of nature), at Parc Marseille Chanot.

Maintaining the objective of 30% protected areas

The Head of State first announced the holding in France, between the end of the year and the beginning of 2022, of a “One ocean” summit, “Which will consist in putting scientists, economic players, regional players and the United Nations around the table”, with the issue of better protection of maritime ecosystems, especially on the high seas. It will, said Emmanuel Macron, “Launching initiatives in the field of research, in matters of international jurisdiction and to supplement international law which will enable us to protect this space”.

On the port of Marseille, at the end of his boat visit to the Calanques, the president also insisted on “Importance” from “Marine and natural protected areas”, by ensuring that the objective of 30% of protected areas in France would be met. On this occasion, he announced the multiplication “By 25” maritime areas “Very strong protection” in the French Mediterranean, areas where, in particular, “We no longer fish”. “When we protect, we manage to regenerate species and biodiversity”, he noted, about the Calanques National Park.

A very rapid rate of decline of species in the Mediterranean

The stake of these areas under strict protection is not insignificant. To be convinced of this, it suffices to consult the “Living Mediterranean” report published in June 2021 by scientists from the Tour du Valat research institute, in the Camargue, which studied the evolution of biodiversity in the Mediterranean. since 1993. The results are overwhelming as to the rapidity of the decline of species, especially marine ones. They show that the populations of marine vertebrates in the basin have seen their numbers drop by 52% on average in less than 30 years, mainly under the effect of human pressure. “The situation is very serious. In the Mediterranean, there are a large number of endemic species, which are all the more vulnerable as their distribution areas are restricted ”, says Thomas Galewski, researcher at the Tour du Valat.

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This is true of both animals and plants. “Posidonia meadows, for example, are a key species in the ecosystem: they provide oxygen, are fish nurseries, slow wave currents, etc. “, continues the scientist. For its part, the IUCN estimates that 20% of the 7,000 species of plants and animals studied in the Mediterranean are endangered.

Responding to journalists’ questions on the port, the Head of State assured that the creation of new areas with strong protection required real support. “We must give ourselves the means”, admitted Emmanuel Macron, evoking both “State action at sea” and of “OFB”, the French Biodiversity Office.

To better convince him to act, Nicolas Hulot, who was on the morning boat trip, insisted on his side: “The battle for biodiversity is as crucial as the battle for climate change and we won’t win without the other. “ The former minister of ecological transition intends to remind the head of state this Friday in Marseille.

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