Unlike linear inland transport infrastructures, ports develop themselves over the same territory, again and again. These huge industrial sites frequently settle in estuaries or deltas for geostrategic reasons, allowing a perfect connection to inland transport networks which preferably follow wide valleys to serve continental markets and production areas. Then, successive projects and extensions, over several decades, cumulate permanent and severe ecological damages in high value ecosystems, from wetlands to marine habitats. This is furthermore building long term social conflicts with different stakeholders, and especially local communities and environmental protection associations. In order to turn the tide, the port of Marseilles authority leads a holistic action, through space planning, nature conservation professionalization, partnership-based ecological projects, net positive impact (NPI) approach and innovation.
Though, for continental issues, nature conservation or restoration tools benefit from numerous feedbacks and expertise, they cannot be duplicated in the marine field: this is because of particularities of these ecosystems, difficulties and lacks in marine science, and moreover legal status of the sea. Indeed, it isn’t possible to acquire marine spaces for mitigation purposes. This is the reason why the port of Marseilles authority initiated in 2010 an ambitious research and development program (GIREL) to raise knowledge and tools about marine life within and around harbors. Many of its results and applications are presented during the workshop, and part of them are planned to be implemented into the Marseilles basins, such as nursery restoration devices or algae resettlement operations. The program also enlightened priority orientations for a better understanding and scientific knowledge of marine life cycles and connections in relation with artificialized coastal sectors. The presentation will provide a comprehensive picture of the context and further prospects of GIREL, from a public planner point of view.
seaport, space planning, ICZM (integrated coastal zone management), nature conservation, marine ecology, NPI (net positive impact)