IN FRANCE : DEFENDING THE NOTION OF PROTECTION
When France, which controls a maritime area of more than 10 million km², redefines the concept of protection to its own liking, it takes on the responsibility of destroying the environmental ambitions of other nations and in particular the European Union. BLOOM is doing its utmost to counter the ecological fraud of the “French style” protection and to give back to marine protected areas their saving power.
Here are all the steps of our campaign in chronological order.
28 April 2022: In the context of a vote in the European Parliament to ban bottom trawling in MPAs, BLOOM launches a petition to ask the President to truly and immediately protect MPAs by banning all destructive fishing methods and all extractive activities. This petition will be active as long as France does not put in place a real, extensive, coherent and robust network of marine protected areas.
16 May 2022: BLOOM asks the Court of Auditors to investigate the human and financial resources allocated to the creation of a totally inefficient network of marine protected areas. Indeed, BLOOM was able to prove that a minimum of 5.3 million euros from European funds had been allocated to the French Office for Biodiversity and its predecessors for almost non-existent results. In just four days, our proposal came out on top of the votes on the Court’s citizen platform, collecting 1825 votes, thank you!
8 June 2022: On World Ocean Day, BLOOM takes legal action against a decree published on April 12, 2022 in the Official Gazette, which weakens the definition of “strong protection” zones that will apply to so-called “protected” marine areas. BLOOM calls on the Macron government to withdraw this decree and adopt a clear definition of marine protection levels in line with international standards.
12 September 2022: In a statement in support of the initiative of the National Geographic Society’s Catalan researcher Enric Sala, over 250 scientists from around the world call for a ban on destructive fishing methods and industrial activities in marine protected areas. BLOOM joins this call.
7 October 2022: BLOOM sues the French government’s MPA definition before the Council of State and simultaneously publishes an exclusive study revealing the intensity of industrial fishing activities in marine areas, which are in fact anything but “protected”.
24 October 2022: An analysis conducted by BLOOM reveals that the “strong protection zone” of the Southern Territories, which President Macron boasted of having tripled in size at the Brest Summit in February 2022, is located in an area that has never been subject to industrial fishing. (Read our press release in French.)
5 December 2022: BLOOM publishes a groundbreaking analysis of France’s marine protection policy from 2009 to 2022. Since the “Grenelle de la Mer” in 2009, successive governments have promised much in the way of marine protection, but in reality, they have made the stated ambition ineffective.
21 February 2023: After two years of incessant delays due to pressure from industrial fishing lobbies, the European Commission has finally published its “Ocean Action Plan”, which is supposed to translate the “EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030” into concrete actions. However, the Commission did not formulate a legislative proposal for a regulation. Instead, there are simple “guidelines” and “recommendations”. One notable advance still stands out: for the first time, the European Commission calls on EU Member States to ban all bottom-trawling fishing gear in all EU Marine Protected Areas.
31 March 2023: BLOOM deciphers several weeks of lies by Hervé Berville — in the Senate, the National Assembly and with fishers themselves — about the European Action Plan for the Ocean, which “would condemn French artisanal fishing and lead it to disappear. Not in 10 years, tomorrow”. The irresponsible comments made by the Secretary of State in the press and within State and European institutions have ignited spirits and caused chaos, culminating in the burning of the headquarters of the French Office of Biodiversity in Brest during the night of March 30-31.
3 April 2023: BLOOM denounces Hervé Berville’s communication claiming he obtained a non-binding agreement on the European Commission’s Ocean Action Plan recommending the banning of trawling gear in MPAs, even though this action plan was non-binding from the start. Having created an imminent threat to the French fishing industry out of thin air, the Secretary of State is trying to pass himself off as a hero for fishers.
11 April 2023: BLOOM files a complaint with the Court of Justice of the French Republic against the French Secretary of State for the Sea, Mr. Hervé Berville, for a series of lies that have ignited spirits and provoked the warrant of offenses including the burning down by “angry fishers” of the French Biodiversity Offices in Brittany, in charge of Marine Protected Areas.
18 April 2023: The French Secretary of State for the Sea uses his ministry’s resources to try to extinguish the media fire generated by his statements and demands that journalists correct their press articles. The journalism pieces concerned set out his lies, and give a voice to the scientists, unions and associations that denounce the campaign of disinformation, inappropriate of a ministerial function, that he conducted in March.
16 May 2023: Bloom’s complaint brought against Secretary of State for the Sea Hervé Berville is dismissed.
IN EUROPE: BAN BOTTOM TRAWLING IN MPAs
The “blue economy” report, written by Portuguese socialist MEP Isabel Carvalhais, was a major opportunity to obtain truly protected marine areas. Even if the vote on an own-initiative report does not create a binding standard, it has a major influence on the level of ecological ambition of the European Union in terms of biodiversity and climate.
BLOOM fought to have the amendment of EELV MEP Caroline Roose – banning bottom trawling in marine protected areas – adopted in the European Parliament plenary. Despite a cacophonous voting outcome, BLOOM revealed the vacuity of existing MPAs as well as the ecological sham of Emmanuel Macron and his “Renew” MEPs.
Here are all the steps of our campaign in chronological order.
12 April 2022: The NGO Océana informs us that an amendment tabled by the EELV MEP Caroline Roose banning bottom trawling in MPAs has been adopted in the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, and will be voted on in three weeks in plenary. BLOOM decides to launch a blitz in collaboration with many NGOs to ensure that it is adopted.
17 April 2022: Revelation of the amendments tabled by all MEPs on the own-initiative report on the “blue economy”. We discover a bewildering amendment by LREM MEP Pierre Karleskind, chairman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, which proposes to ban “harmful” fishing methods only in “strict protection” zones, i.e. in the tiny fraction of marine protected areas where they are already banned!
25 April 2022: Questioning the international definition of a marine protected area – which necessarily prohibits destructive fishing methods and industrial extractive activities – Pierre Karleskind’s amendment is denounced by BLOOM. Thousands of citizens call out the MEP on social networks, as well as the head of the LREM political group in the Parliament, Stéphane Séjourné, co-signatory of the amendment and President Macron’s emissary in Brussels
28 April 2022: BLOOM launches a petition to ask the President to truly and immediately protect MPAs by banning all destructive fishing methods and all extractive activities. In parallel, in a video, Claire Nouvian exposes the ecological imposture of Emmanuel Macron and his Renaissance group in the European Parliament. The video has been seen more than 300,000 times.
29 April – 2 May 2022: BLOOM reports on social media the sham and cynical disinformation of LREM. Supported by activist Hugo Clément, actress Marion Cotillard and comedian Nicole Ferroni, BLOOM pushes back against Macron’s political group. Faced with public pressure, the macronists MEPs delete their tweets, propose a new amendment even more pernicious than the first one, and justify themselves using fallacious arguments and misleading data – contradicted live by scientists.
3 May 2022: Day of the vote in the European Parliament. Pascal Canfin, Renew MEP who announced that his group was working on a new oral amendment, does not table it. Thus, the initial perverse Renaissance amendment is maintained and adopted by 319 votes to 280. Unfortunately, this adoption means that the amendment of Green MEP Caroline Roose, which called for a ban on bottom trawling in European MPAs, is no longer in force. However, MEPs also passed a Green amendment calling for a ban on industrial extractive activities in MPAs by 361 votes to 208. Subsequently, BLOOM calls on the European Commission to produce a legislative proposal to ensure that European MPAs comply with international standards.