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“The protection of the oceans is a 100% political affair”

Established in 1992, during the Earth Summit in Rio, World Oceans Day aims to raise awareness among the world’s population of the vital role of these marine areas in safeguarding life on Earth.

On a daily basis, associations such as Bloom, a French association fighting against the destruction of the ocean and fishermen, campaign with the public authorities, among others, so that they commit to protecting the ocean. Essential to our survival, France has an important role to play in protecting the “blue lung”. This is one of the reasons that motivated Bloom to publish an “ocean charter” in view of the legislative elections.

Why did you create the “ocean charter” in view of the legislative elections?

For us, it is a way to alert and engage our elected officials on the issue of the oceans. This subject is totally invisible in the media and political circles. While the oceans cover more than 70% of the planet and they are one of our greatest common goods to all. Human activities are devastating it in a rather deafening silence. Through this charter, we hope that the candidates, once elected, commit to legislating to protect the oceans.

It is urgent to rethink everything. We affirm it in our ten demands inscribed in the charter. We must help industrial fishing to make its transition and promote small-scale fishing, which generates more jobs and requires less public money, while protecting marine biodiversity. Above all, all decisions concerning the ocean must be transparent and public.

We have already wasted too much time, money, endangered our food security, destroyed marine ecosystems and fish populations (according to the United Nations, 90% of the population of large fish are already exhausted and 50% of the coral reefs are destroyed, editor’s note).

Why venture into the political field in this way?

Bloom is apolitical, but our fight is eminently political. The ocean is a common good. Its entirety is controlled by the public authorities, so its protection is a 100% political matter. This is not the first time that we have acted with candidates during elections. Some contact us to help them design their program. Sometimes we are the ones asking for them. In 2017, we communicated our proposals to candidate Emmanuel Macron. But none were included in the En Marche program.

Our fight has more resonance with some left-wing elected officials, aware of the protection of the ocean and the environment. Currently, the candidates of La France insoumise or EELV have massively signed our charter. Mathilde Panot, Manuel Bompard, Julien Bayou and Clémentine Guetté have pledged to respect our demands if they are elected. The elected members of the Communist Party and the PS are more timid.

Why is it essential for France to act to protect the oceans?

France is the world’s second largest maritime power, just after United States. We have largest area of ​​seabed within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). France must protect these maritime areas, safeguard their biodiversity, for the well-being of the planet, the climate, the citizens. The ocean regulates the production of oxygen, the absorption of CO2, carbon storage and excess heat. We cannot do without a healthy ocean.

Currently, Emmanuel Macron’s policy is anti-environmental. It has gone beyond the stage of inaction, because in fact, it acts against the climate. His actions and the policies he undertakes are the opposite of what is needed to save the planet and humanity.

In 2021, Emmanuel Macron claimed to have the objective of protecting 30% of maritime and land areas, including 10% placed under “strong protection”. Today, we filed an appeal against decree 2022-527 of April 12, which defines the implementation of these particular areas, because in this text, the definition of marine areas under “total protection” or “strong” does not meet international standards. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), all industrial activities are prohibited in marine protected areas. And within so-called “strong protection” zones, even low-impact human activities, such as artisanal fishing, are prohibited. However, with this decree, Emmanuel Macron annihilates the very concept of marine protected area by authorizing industrial exploitation (fishing or mineral extraction). It’s scandalous !

According to the census carried out by the Atlas of Marine Protected Areas (MPA Atlas), the United States has 24% of its EEZ under “strong” or even “full” protection. In the United Kingdom, 39% of these maritime areas are placed under strong or full protection. In France, we are at less than 4% of truly protected marine areas. We are miserably late!

Seeing the government decree, we understood that Emmanuel Macron had no desire to be honest or serious about ecological issues. The promises made were again exploited for electoral purposes. These constant lies are destructive to democracy. Political cynicism has once again caught up with reality. The right is not environmentalist, but it does not lie. Its voters know that they are not voting for the climate or biodiversity, there is no deception. It is this regime of ecological lies by default that provokes such rejection of Emmanuel Macron’s party.

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