Ecocean Northwest Coastal Mediterranean Hub - France and Spain
Northwest Mediterranean shoreline, along the French and Spanish coasts
Coastal ecosystems, rocky marine bottoms, shallow saltwater ecosystems, coralligenous reefs, Posidonia seagrass meadows
Private and state ownership
Number of sites:
First EHN sites
Fréjus port and Marine Innovation and Research (MIR) – Marseille station
The Ecocean Northwest Mediterranean coastal hub includes all the different sites that have been equipped by Ecocean to enhance and rehabilitate ecological functions of shallow water marine habitats in southern France and northeastern Spain. It also acts to raise awareness of the urgent need for conservation and restoration of coastal and marine environments worldwide.
Since 2003, Ecocean has developed different approaches and methodologies such as the CARE light trap, a low-impact tool to capture post-larval fish; the BioRestore process to capture fish in the post-larvae stage and rear them in specialized facilities on land before reintroducing them at a stage where mortality is very low compared with their natural larval cycle; and the Biohut© habitats, a range of artificial nursery habitats that may kickstart rehabilitation of key ecological processes and functions with focus on fish communities and resilience in port environments.
Presently, in 2023, Ecocean sites are spread from Monaco, near the French-Italian border, to Sant Feliu de Guixols, in northeast Spain, and primarily comprise ports and marinas equipped with Biohut artificial nurseries to rehabilitate nursery functions in port infrastructures.
Biohuts provide habitat, shelter, and food resources to juvenile fish and invertebrates settling in ports. The structures are monitored several times a year to assess their colonization and use by native fauna. In most sites, there are also a variety of educational events organized throughout the year to provide outreach and education to local communities and day visitors about the beauty and ecological, cultural, and economic importance of marine life and ecosystems in the Mediterranean and worldwide.
In addition to those sites equipped with Biohuts the hub also hosts two sites where the BioRestore process is used to support the survival rate of juvenile coastal fish in artificialized shorelines, in the ports of Marseille and Toulon. Here artisanal fishermen capture post-larval fish that are then reared in on-site farms by Ecocean before being reintroduced into the natural environment.