French Marine Nature Parks: An Innovative Tool for Integrated Management of Maritime Space
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Marine nature parks are amongst the 15 French MPA categories listed by the Law of April 14, 2006. Their aims are to contribute to the protection and knowledge of the marine environment, but also the sustainable development of maritime activities. Nine Marine nature parks were in operation as of 1 January 2019: six in mainland France, spread across all coastlines, and three in French overseas territories. The Marine nature park of Arcachon Bay (Parc naturel marin du Bassin d’Arcachon) was created on 5 June 2014 to preserve and sustainably manage this exceptional maritime area, considered as a “common good”. It covers 435 km2 of maritime space, with 144 km of coastline. The borders include almost all of the Arcachon Bay’s maritime public domain, in addition to the mouth of the Bay up to three nautical miles west, up to the boundary between the municipalities of Lège-Cap Ferret and Le Porge in the north, and between the municipalities of La Teste-de-Buch and Biscarrosse in the south. The Marine nature park of Arcachon Bay Management Plan was approved by its Management Board on May 2017 and then by the French Agency for Biodiversity Executive Board in September. The document is a fundamental component of a Marine nature park, which structures its activity and serves as a basis for all decisions taken by the Management Board. The development of the Marine nature park of Arcachon Bay Management Plan required almost two years of work and mobilised a large number of stakeholders in various consultation phases. It contains a wide range of objectives related to natural and cultural local resources, as well as spatio-temporal coexistence between activities or contribution to the maritime economy. Knowledge is also an important component of the document. The implementation of the Management Plan is led by the Management Board, comprising representatives of all maritime stakeholders in the territory. Every year, the Management Board approved the Marine nature park’s action programme to help meet the objectives set out in its Management Plan. For the Marine nature park of Arcachon Bay, the actions can be divided into four main categories: knowledge, protection, sustainable development and promotion. These actions involve a number of institutional, professional, non-profit and scientific partners, who provide a technical and/or financial contribution depending on their assignments and involvement on the topic. The Management Plan is also implemented through advices issued by the Management Board on proposed permits for activities located on the site or which could impact the marine environment. These advices are based on the impact of the project on ecosystems and also, where possible, on their contribution to meeting the goals of the Management Plan.
KeywordsMarine nature park Arcachon Bay Management plan Management board Common good
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