Over 60 NGOs and public figures launch a citizens’ coalition to protect the ocean

With France’s national maritime policy strategy taking shape[1], the European Copernicus Observation Programme reporting record ocean temperatures every month, and NASA warning of a spectacular rise in sea levels in 2022-2023 (0.76 cm per year!), President Emmanuel Macron was well advised to declare 2024 the “Year of the Sea”. Given the urgency of the situation, civil society has rallied to ensure that the Head of State commits to 15 concrete measures as early as 2024, which would save the world’s largest carbon sink, the world’s largest common good and the very thing without which the climate and human societies would collapse – the ocean. 


 More than 60 NGOs, movements and collectives, including BLOOM, LPO, Foodwatch, Greenpeace, the French Committee of the IUCN, Blue Ventures, GoodPlanet and others, as well as over 80 celebrities including cartoonists Jul and Pénélope Bagieu, comedians Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Lucie Lucas, activists Camille Etienne and Gaëtan Gabriele, musicians Arthur H and Woodkid, sportsmen Guillaume Néry and François Gabart, comedians Swann Périssé, Antoine de Caunes and Guillaume Meurice, feminist Victoire Tuaillon, writers Marie Darrieussecq and Samuel Valensi and many others have joined forces to face up to the urgency and demand a simple solution for the ocean: we must stop destroying it.

Together, NGOs, foundations, companies and public figures are calling on citizens to join them by the hundreds of thousands to make their voices heard by the French President at a time when the signs of biological and climate catastrophe are mounting: the ocean has never been so warm, polluted and devastated by industrial fishing; the ocean currents that dictate climate regulation are undergoing profound and irreversible changes; marine heatwaves are rocketing; whales are starving to death[2].

Climate change comes at a time when the oceans are already being ravaged by industrial fishing. Yet, just as we need healthy ecosystems more than ever to help mitigate climate change as effectively as possible, politicians are continuing to support the destruction of the ocean by funding, through substantial public subsidies[3], underwater bulldozers that catch fish while pulverizing everything else around them. This is trawling, which generates permanent underwater deforestation.

The citizens’ coalition reminds us that restoring the ocean’s health is essential, and that protecting the ocean is simple: all we have to do is stop destroying it. The collective is asking the French President to immediately implement three urgent measures in the public interest, so that France can host the 3rd United Nations Conference on the Oceans, to be held in Nice in June 2025, with its head held high:

  1. To ban destructive fishing methods such as trawling in so-called “protected” marine areas(which are not protected at all). This is also a requirement of the European Commission and European law
  2. To use public money to enable the social, ecological and solidarity-based transition of the fishing sector towards fishing methods that stop brutalizing and deforesting the ocean. A recent report by a research group on fisheries transitions[4] found that trawling generated 2 to 3 times fewer jobs and was 3 to 4 times less profitable than small-scale inshore fishing using selective gear (lines, traps and nets)
  3. To protect coastal ecosystems and fishers by excluding industrial vessels over 25 meters longand up to 145 meters long from the French coastline (a 12 nautical mile strip, or around 22 km)


As Head of State of Europe’s leading maritime power, our coalition calls on the French President to set an example when it comes to protecting the ocean.

The major citizens’ coalition for ocean protection will be launched at an event at the French National Assembly on the evening of 26 March, in the presence of numerous public figures and elected representatives taking part in several panels, including Olivier Faure (Party of European Socialists), who helped organize the event, MPs Jimmy Pahun (Democratic Movement), Lionel Causse (Renaissance), Anna Pic (Party of European Socialists), François Ruffin (La France Insoumise) and MEPs such as Caroline Roose (The Ecologists) and Raphaël Glucksmann (Place publique/Party of European Socialists).

An investigation by Jean-Pierre Canet into the deception of Marine Protected Areas “à la française” will be shown and available exclusively on the coalition’s website for 48 hours (from 9pm). This investigation delves deep into the French strategies deployed over the years to ensure that so-called “protected” marine areas effectively only protect… trawlers.

Doctoral student Raphaël Seguin (BLOOM/Université de Montpellier) will present his ranking of Europe’s most trawled “protected” marine areas.

The coalition is calling on citizens, NGOs, foundations, companies, fishers and public figures to close ranks so that the whole of France stands up for the protection of the ocean and so that we are in a position to welcome the 3rd United Nations Ocean Conference, to be held in Nice in June 2025, with our heads held high.

This is just the beginning.


 [1] In particular, through the “The Sea in Debate” (French: “La mer en débat“) consultation organized by the French National Commission for Public Debate (CNDP).

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/feb/28/did-a-marine-heatwave-cause-7000-humpback-whales-to-starve-to-death-aoe

[3] https://bloomassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Against-the-current.pdf?_gl=1*943bu3*_ga*MTIwNjA3MjQ1My4xNzA5ODk1OTMw*_ga_1M79DPKJQ7*MTcxMDE0ODYzMC44LjEuMTcxMDE1MDA3NC41MC4wLjA.

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