The coast of Armor (Brittany, France) stretches across 400 km. It has an outstanding biodiversity that has been recognised at the EU level through the designation of three Natura 2000 sites: "Côte de Granit Rose - Sept-Iles", "Trégor-Goëlo" and "Rivière Leguer, forêts de Beffou, Coat an Noz et Coat an Hay". A recent survey, however, showed that many boaters in the region had little knowledge of good boating practices or of the possible environmental consequences of their activities. This has already led to the degradation of valuable habitats (e.g. Zostera seagrass due to mooring) and the disturbance of sensitive species (birds and marine mammals such as grey seals). The impact of boat waste is also usually greatly underestimated.
In light of this, an environmental awareness campaign was launched in the summer of 2019 (from 15 June to 15 September) aimed at boaters, managers of port infrastructures, tourists and recreational anglers. The purpose was to help them minimise their impact on the environment. Six topics were chosen: bird watching, mammal spotting, anti-fouling, black water and grey water, waste management, mooring and seagrass beds, and recreational fishing.
With the help of the stakeholders themselves the project developed information kits on six topics, a booklet (also in English), a poster, a series of short videos and an informative website. Two ambassadors were also appointed to help broadcast the message. In the end, the mediators raised awareness amongst 600 people, undertook 338 individual enquiries, involved 32 boating associations, distributed the kits and other material in 60 distribution points, and participated in 28 nautical events.
The campaign has been very effective. Post campaign surveys showed that 85% of the boaters involved were keen to improve their practices in relation to at least one of the six themes of the campaign. The project was also innovative in that it was run as a joint venture between three Natura 2000 local council management structures and SAGE sponsors who are responsible for marine water quality (Lannion-Trégor Communauté, Guingamp-Paimpol Agglomération and the Pôle d’Equilibre Territorial et Rural du Pays de Guingamp). It was funded by the French Agency for Biodiversity.
Because of the campaign’s success, plans are afoot to repeat the campaign and the surveys in 2020.