On the occasion of his visit to the island of Les Embiez, Peter Thomson, United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for the Oceans, responded to Patricia Ricard’s questions: he spoke of solutions on nature, of corporate sponsorship, and innovation, his vision for the preservation of the ocean environment. With a clear message: “We have only one ocean, and we will have to find common solutions”.
Peter Thomson, United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for the Oceans was this weekend the guest of Patricia Ricard at the island of Les Embiez on the occasion of the Institute’s General Assembly.
This General Assembly was for him an opportunity to hear about certain environmental issues that are specific to the Mediterranean.
In relation with the research carried out by the Institute’s scientists, several themes were discussed, all core issues for the ecological challenges that must be met for the survival of the Ocean: the restoration of coastal shallow water habitats, innovative solutions to make aquaculture more sustainable without generating additional pressure on fisheries stocks, the detection of environmental DNA for better monitoring of the biodiversity.
From the restoration of coastal habitats to the recycling of plastics
Other visiting experts presented various measures for environmental preservation: Chloë Webster, until recently scientific director MedPAN and today consultant, recalled the importance of the setting up of Marine Protected Areas, stressing the fact that what is important is not to set up more and more MPAs, but rather to give them the tools, and the funding, to enable them to really protect their territory; Christian Decugis, among other functions President of the APAM (Association pour la Pêche et les Activités Maritimes), highlighted the role of ‘sentinels of the sea’ fulfilled by the fishers, and reminded us that the most important thing to preserve the resource is “the proper use of fishing gear, even for small boats”. He also recalled that preservation really works, “as evidenced by the bluefin tuna, with a biomass back to 1950s levels, thanks to several years of fishing bans”. Marine Fidelle, of Ecocéan, presented the techniques for rearing the post-larvae of fishes and the installation of biohuts which are a means to increase the survival rate of juveniles. Simon Bernard, of Plastic Odyssey, recalled that “We cannot clean up the oceans”, but we can reduce our use of plastics and learn to valorise them by recycling. Damien Leloup described an operation run by the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans in the Altaussee, an Austrian lake which was also impacted by pollution. Finally, Cécile Devillers, an RSE (corporate social responsibility) specialist at Ricard, explained that there has been a real raising of awareness in companies, from the choice of raw materials to end of life management for the objects produced, but that there is still a lack of knowledge for finding the best suited solutions.
Peter Thomson, responsible for the implementation of SDG 14
A series of presentations that fall directly within the field of competence of Peter Thomson. His role is after all to support the implementation of SDG 14, sustainable development goal n°14, marine life, working with all the stakeholders concerned: civil society, the scientific community, the private sector and the other stakeholders.
The aim is in particular to continue to keep up and running the 1 400 or so voluntary commitments made during the Conference on the Oceans, and to see that they are implemented. Formerly the permanent representative of the Fiji islands at the United Nations, this diplomat today devotes all his energy to serving the cause of the oceans. “One breath out of two”, he declared a few months ago, “derives from oxygen produced by the Ocean. So it is time for us to make radical changes“.
(Ph. C. F-B)
The Two Shores Summit, the Mediterranean Forum, will be held in Marseille on 24th June 2019. The aim is to give a new impetus to the dynamic of cooperation in the western Mediterranean, basing it on civil society. Patricia Ricard, President of the Institute, has been designated to lead the French delegation.
Launched at the initiative of President Macron, the Two Shores Summit has been defined as “an unprecedented mobilisation of civil society in the Mediterranean countries”. 10 States will take part, 5 from the northern shore countries, and 5 from the southern shore: for the South, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya; for the North, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Malta. The European Union, Germany as well as pan-Mediterranean organisations and the major international economic organisations in the region are also associated.
To generate practicable solutions
The aim is to generate practicable solutions for the sustainable development of the region, at the human and economic levels. All the ideas and proposed initiatives will be shared with the heads of state and of governments during the Marseille Summit to determine which are to be given priority for implementation.
These initiatives may be completely new, or at the stage of technical implementation, or already existing and worth retriggering. They may take the form of collective actions, specific projects, suggestions for common public policy, common concepts, institutions to be created, Mediterranean concepts and regulations, etc. The sole imperative is that they should have a regional or multilateral character.
The ‘One Hundred’
One hundred personalities from the civil society of the western Mediterranean will make up the steering committee for the Summit. They have been chosen by the ten States concerned, and a leader had been designated for each country. Patricia Ricard, President of the Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard, is the leader of the French delegation. They will all meet on 11th and 12th June at Tunis for a survey exercise referred to as the ‘Assembly of the One Hundred’, during which they will appeal to the heads of state and of governments of the 5+5 Dialogue to take into account their proposals for practicable actions.
Five preparatory forums
Prior to the Marseille Summit, five preparatory forums will be held between April and June: the Energies forum organised by Algeria (Algiers, 8th 2019), ‘Towards an enhanced partnership at the service of a sustainable transition in energy’; a forum ‘Youth, education, mobility’, organised by Malta (Valetta, 24th and 25th April, 2019), ‘The Mediterranean Generation : Malta’s Contribution to the Summit of the Two Shores’; the forum ‘Economics and competitiveness’, organised by Morocco (Rabat, 29th April 2019), ‘Improved economic integration between the two shores, towards a partnership zone for shared growth and innovation’; the forum ‘Culture, the media, tourism’, organised by France (Montpellier, 2nd and 3rd May 2019), ‘Driving a new cultural dynamic in the western Mediterranean’; the forum ‘Environment and sustainable development’, organised by Italy (Palermo, 15th and 16th May 2019), ‘Blue economics, green economics, circular economics: proposals for partnerships for sustainable urban coastal development in the western Mediterranean’.
Source : France Diplomatie
A laboratory of ideas to meet the challenges of climate change. Last week, Patricia Ricard took part in the One Planet Summit in Nairobi as a member of the laboratory of ideas, One Planet Lab. The aim of these meetings is to speed up the worldwide transition towards a low carbon economy.
The One Planet Summit
The coalitions of the One Planet Summit met on 14 March in Nairobi, Kenya, for the third of these summits. The meeting was focused on initiatives for the protection of the environment and transition on the African continent. While Africa is only responsible for 4% of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases, 65% of the population of Africa is considered as directly impacted by climate change. The Summit brought together leaders, corporate heads and personalities representing young people and civil society, gathered to present real innovative achievements, and to call for new commitments.
The One Planet Lab, a laboratory of ideas
The One Planet Lab was officially launched on 26 September 2018 in New York, on the occasion of the second One Planet Summit, following the appeal by Emmanuel Macron. Consisting of 31 personalities representing companies and institutions, its mission is to provide material for future One Planet Summits. A true laboratory of ideas, it brings together influential personalities from the universities, NGOs, business and international financial institutions, recognised for their expertise and their determination to take action for the benefit of the environment.
The aim of each One Planet Summit is to bring together and to extend to a broader scale effective actions to meet the challenges related to climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the wellbeing of societies. One year after the first Summit, thirty actions have been initiated, with a four-fold focus: the climate and the mobilisation of funds, and the protection of the oceans and of biodiversity.
Under the scientific exchange programme between the Institute and the Korean Maritime and Ocean University at Busan, two students have been welcomed this winter at Les Embiez island: supervised by Dr Robert Bunet, So Im Cheon and Eunha Kim have been working on aspects of the genetics of marine organisms.
For the third year running, the Institute’s research laboratory has hosted students from the prestigious KMOU, Korean Maritime and Ocean University, in South Korea. The aim of these exchanges, launched in 2016 at the initiative of Patricia Ricard as part of the programme ‘Take Ocean For Future’, is to generate a common dynamic focused on the major challenges facing ‘our’ Mediterranean and all the world’s oceans. “In the face of climate warming and the threats that menace our environment”, stresses Patricia Ricard, “science and research should today push back their disciplinary, national and cultural frontiers”.
From antifouling to aquaculture
In 2017, Dr Jin-Woo Lee stayed at Les Embiez for a few weeks. He worked in collaboration with Dr Robert Bunet in research on the antifouling properties of marine organisms. Together, they tested various molecules with the aim of finding an alternative to antifouling paints for boats, which are highly polluting and harmful for the environment.
In 2018, the programme Take OFF provided the framework to welcome Bok Il Jang, a young engineer working on the nutrition of aquatic animals. During his stay, he worked on feeds for species in aquaculture, and on alternatives to the use of meal from wild fish, which aggravates overfishing (insect-based meals, etc.).
The plan is to continue and develop these exchanges by including other universities, once the Institute’s new research platform becomes fully operational.
Barely a year ago, the Scandola marine reserve was home to an outstanding population of the fan mussel, Pinna nobilis. Last week, Professor Nardo Vicente could only bear witness to the death of all the fan mussels. Here is his report on the situation.
The situation is worrying.
We are just back from a scientific field survey at the Scandola marine reserve in Corsica, which only a year ago possessed one of the highest densities of this magnificent bivalve shellfish in the western Mediterranean.
Today, they are all dead ! A population we have been monitoring since the 1980s !
There are dead fan mussels scattered all over the seabed.
And this parasitosis is now reaching the coasts of Provence. In September, staff members of the Parc National des Calanques found a dying fan mussel in the Anse du Mugel at La Ciotat. The analysis proved positive for Haplosporidium. Other sick specimens have been observed at various points along the Provencal coast.
At Scandola, well into October, the water was still 22°C at 40 m depth. This was also the case along the whole of the coastline of Provence. It is to be feared that this epizootic outbreak may progressively affect all the Mediterranean coasts, as specimens infected by parasites have been reported at various points in Monaco, Italy, Malta, Tunisia and Greece.
WATERS THAT ARE TOO WARM FAVOUR THE ACTIVITY OF PARASITES
The activity of the parasite responsible for the death of the fan mussels is in fact intensified when the temperature rises. And the water temperatures in the Mediterranean have been consistently high since the beginning of summer. We might therefore assume that global climate change is to a large extent responsible for the outbreak of this epidemic, which affects the largest of the Mediterranean bivalves.
It is probable that the increasingly rapid warming of the waters of the Mediterranean will in the near future affect other species. There have indeed been signs of this for several years now: the collection of larvae that we have been carrying out since the 1990s in the Marine Protected Areas (Port-Cros, Scandola, Côte Bleue marine park) and around the Les Embiez archipelago has enabled us to study the marine biodiversity of these sites.
Thanks to these larvae collection operations, along with young fan mussels, numerous other species from various zoological groups (mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms, ascidians, fishes) are to be found in the larvae collections. And from 1996 to 2013, we have been able to observe a 30% erosion of the biodiversity of species of mollusks caught, and 70% of small species of invertebrates have disappeared. This phenomenon is likely to get worse in coming years, if nothing is done to slow down the warming of the planet.
Since last winter, many laboratories around the Mediterranean have been constantly monitoring the fan mussel populations, and several hundred individuals in a good state of health have been collected and taken to safety, in particular in Spain. The survival of the species may be at stake.
In addition, there have been shipping disasters such as the one that has recently occurred at Cap Corse, with a potentially catastrophic impact on the living environment, and for the economy. Because of the incompetence of ships’ crews, we are back to the 1970s and the tanker shipwrecks that became so notorious.
And yet, oil pollution is just the tree that hides the forest ..
The survey team : Sylvain Couvray, Rémy Simide, Aurélie Vion et Nardo Vicente.