Home WORLD EUROPA A first “wave reserve” created in France

A first “wave reserve” created in France

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On the “Wild Coast of Quiberon”, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the jagged cliffs do not seem threatened. However, the Breton town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon voted in February to create a “wave reserve” of around 30 hectares to “preserve and promote their richness and quality”.

In its declaration of public utility, the town hall describes “exceptional waves” which constitute a “heritage and a natural, sporting, socio-economic and cultural resource”.

Immutable in appearance, the waves are nevertheless doomed to die, explains the association France Hydrodiversité, which wishes to protect them, like theNGO Californian ” Save the waves “.

By “wave” we mean the most emblematic waves, those that have their place in novels, paintings, guide descriptions, those that attract thousands of tourists and surfers until they are given a name.

Waves are vulnerable and human interventions can threaten them, threaten their quality, or even cause them to disappear. »

A quote from Grégoire Touron-Gardic, researcher at the British University of Portsmouthspecialized in the management of marine protected areas

The mythical wave of “La Barre” in Anglet in the south-west of France, a meeting point for the most seasoned surfers in the 1960s, thus disappeared after the construction of a dyke at the entrance to the port which has modified the dynamics of the currents and the sedimentology.

In the Spanish Basque Country, the Mundaka wave, considered one of the best in Europe for wave sports, faded after dredging which changed the nature of the ground.

At the origin of the Saint-Pierre-Quiberon initiative is the Breton surfer Erwan Simon, co-founder of France Hydrodiversité.

We protect biodiversity, but the waves are not alive and have no legal status in France. However, each wave is different and hydrodiversity, the diversity of forms and movements of water, must be protected where it is remarkable.argues Mr. Simon, pointing out that such reserves already exist in Peru, the United States and Australia.

Quiberon Bay.

The waves in Quiberon Bay are doomed to die if nothing is done, according to the France Hydrodiversité association.

Photo: AFP / DAMIEN MEYER

Without legal value, the young Breton “reserve” is still symbolic. We undertake never to authorize sand extraction works or any other industrial event that could have an impact on the shape of the waves.says Mayor Stéphanie Doyen.

The interest for us was to consecrate the heritage character of these waves which attract many people, while recalling their vulnerability and the importance of protecting them. »

A quote from Stéphanie Doyen, Mayor of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon

Waves provide many services to the marine environmentexplains Mr. Touron-Gardic. They participate in the transport of sediments, allow gaseous water-atmosphere exchanges and constitute a privileged environment for certain marine species.pleads the researcher, who would like to make it a “tool for protecting the environment”.

There will always be swells at the coast. It contributes to many interconnections between the atmosphere, the ocean and the local littoral environment.believes for his part Julien Touboul, deputy director at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Marseille in the south-east of France.

The idea is to recognize the wave as an exceptional phenomenon that occurs specifically at a placeargues Frédéric Habasque, geologist and co-founder of the association.

If a wave disappears, we will not find it. Even if scientists try to model the waves with artificial reefs, they will not be able to artificially recreate the Quiberon wavehe assures.

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