Accueil Développement durableResponsible tourism on the island of Les Embiez

Responsible tourism on the island of Les Embiez

In the Mediterranean, there are about 10 000 islands. The smallest are refuges of biodiversity because they are isolated and relatively inaccessible. Certain of them are open to tourism. Among them is the French island of Les Embiez (near Toulon, Provence), which gives priority to maintaining an ecology-friendly policy.

Les Embiez island, a maritime advance guard of the land of Provence, consists of a hundred hectares covered in woods of Aleppo pine, low cistus maquis and a whole ensemble of typical seashore flora. The island has a hotel complex, rental and administrative buildings, a few shops, a marina, a wine estate and an extensive natural area. There are also former salt pans, a vineyard and a rocky shore consisting of Phyllade (a sort of schist) and Quartzophyllade.

Today, aware of the fragility of this exceptional island, visitors, employees and public authorities are more and more attentive to the need to behave in an environment-friendly, ethical and responsible way.

The pine woods are maintained and equipped with mist sprays to prevent fires ; the vineyard is exploited on a responsible agriculture basis ; the island is a Birds’ Protection League (LPO) refuge.

Considerable efforts are devoted to the disposal of solid and liquid waste and the promotion of new energies, for example by running a fleet of electric vehicles.

Since July 2012, the first Ecologik glass crusher in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region has been in operation on the island. CP - octobre 2012

Since the end of November 2012, the Port of Les Embiez has introduced a system for sorting recyclable waste alongside the harbour jetties. CP - janvier 2013

The Saint-Pierre marina is committed to an environmental policy that is in phase with the general policy of sustainable development on the island of Les Embiez. Three voluntary actions have been recognised by the award of the Blue Flag (Pavillon Bleu) label, of the Clean Harbours (Ports Propres) harbour environmental management label and of ISO 14001 certification.

The label Blue Flag Europe (Pavillon Bleu d’Europe) distinguishes and valorises the French districts and marinas that meet the criteria of excellence for reception quality and the overall management of their environment.

The operation Clean Harbours (Ports Propres) is supported by the State, the Region, the French water management agency for southern France (Agence de l’Eau Rhône, Méditerranée et Corse), the French environmental and energy management agency (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie -ADEME) and the local authority. The aim of this operation is to encourage and in some cases provide funding for actions to improve the environmental quality of marinas in the region, with regard to both sanitation and waste treatment.

The aim of Clean Harbours (Ports Propres) is to encourage the users of harbour facilities to behave in a more environment-friendly way and to provide training for staff involved in the management of marinas and pleasure boating-related activities.

ISO 14001 certification is a concept of environmental management. The aim is to take into account in a systematic way the impact of activities undertaken in relation to the environment, to assess the impact and to reduce it.

This certification should improve environmental efficiency on an ongoing basis by developing a plan of action. This also takes into account the area around the marina by including the boatyard, the drainage basins and the restaurants.

For example :
-  For the boatyard, the management of dangerous waste such as paint, hydrocarbons and solvents ; management of waters in the careening basin and the water treatment system ;
-  For the drainage basins, the collection of telluric waters resulting from soil runoff ;
- For the restaurants, management of used edible oils and grease vats.

The Les Embiez marina has also developed a policy of awareness-raising outreach for the general public. In May it organizes special days to raise awareness of macro-waste with the operation Clean Island (Île Propre), which pleasure boat users and island staff are invited to take part in.
The marina encourages boat users to support its action by signing the Pleasure Boat Users’ Charter. Ask the harbour master’s office for the harbour environmental management document "PASS - Gestion Environnementale Portuaire". You will also find a water leisure activities guide for the ‘citizen of the sea’ published by the ministry responsible for ecology (in French). Water Leisure Activities Guide Guide des loisirs nautiques

Among its ecological actions, the Paul Ricard Oceanography Institute provides support :

-  By bacterial analyses of the quality of the harbour waters during the summer period,

-  By participation in training courses such as that for the harbour staff on the theme : ‘Environmental management of marinas’.

-  By supporting Ecogestes. This awareness-raising outreach campaign for pleasure boat users to guide them in living with and respecting the sea on a day-to-day basis is run by a group of associations that are members of Network Sea (Réseau Mer).
At Les Embiez, the operation was introduced with the Coasts of Provence : Environmental Initiatives Centre (CPIE*) – Cap d’Agde Atelier Bleu workshop, with the participation of sailor-spokespersons for the association Destination Planet Sea (Destination Planète Mer), a partner of the Paul Ricard Oceanography Institute.

- By opening a nature trail around the island. Sentier Nature (nature trail) booklet (in French).

- By the full range of its activities directly linked to the knowledge and protection of the marine environment : lectures and research related to the natural environment of the island and of the littoral.

Each of us can learn to rethink our own relation with nature by using our common sense and adapting our lifestyle - and doing our utmost, heart and mind, to encourage others to do likewise.

(*) CPIE : a label that associates 80 associations rooted in their territory with the aim of taking action in support of sustainable development. 

À consulter

- Tourism and sustainable development :
- Recommendations of Plan Bleu :
- Island of Les Embiez :
- Paul Ricard islands link :
- Commitments of Les Embiez island :
- Pleasure boat users’ charter :
- Around Les Embiez :

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