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The Port of Marseille: GIREL Research and Development Project

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Marseilles mega 27102014ESPO Award 2014 Shortlisted Project: The Port of Marseille: GIREL Research and Development Project
Monday, 27 October 2014 09:20
This project from Marseille, takes an innovative, science-based approach to protecting valuable marine ecosystems.

The 2014 ESPO Awards celebrate the role that ports can play in maintaining the natural environment and contributing to a sustainable future for all. The five ports shortlisted for this year’s Award, Huelva, Koper, Lisbon, Marseille and Rotterdam all demonstrate innovation in projects that improve environmental standards.

ESPO is proud to present the shortlisted projects, before the winner is announced at a ceremony at the Albert Hall in Brussels on 4 November.

ESPO: Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2014 together with four other port projects! Could you briefly describe your project?

102014Marseille Fos Port Authority: GIREL is a research and development programme, gathering together several experiments to test technical solutions for the marine ecological improvement of our basins.

ESPO: What is the innovative environmental added value of the project?

Marseille Fos Port Authority: Though ports basins and infrastructures are usually considered as lost places for marine biodiversity, GIREL is an innovative attempt to make these artificial submarine structures play an unexpected role for aquatic life support. Nature conservation is mainly undertaken through preservation actions, but GIREL opens new perspectives for restoration and mitigation solutions regarding marine ecosystems. To a certain extent this could provide new tools for ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) approaches.

ESPO: Why do you think your project deserves to win the 2014 ESPO Award?

Marseille Fos Port Authority: The Port of Marseilles Fos Authority is leading many projects with environmental or societal goals, such as ironing, city/port developments and natural spaces management. We are very happy that GIREL was shortlisted, because our application not only has merits on its originality, but especially on the societal value of marine biodiversity in a Mediterranean community. GIREL is not only about small and nice fish or algae, it’s also about the fundamental link between coastal communities, people, and the sea.

ESPO: What are you going to do if you win the Award?

Marseille Fos Port Authority: Suggest to all top port managers to have a bath in their basins. And we will set the example with our partners !

ESPO: Besides having the ESPO Award winner statute, what would the Award further mean to you?

Marseilles duw 27102014Marseille Fos Port Authority: It would be a strong encouragement to carry on with this ambitious program and its implementation. Our objective is really to see a rise in industrial solutions supporting artificial or damaged ecosystems. It needs collective energy and long term determination. We also hope this could stimulate other port initiatives in the same field, and co-operation opportunities.

ESPO: How would you make your experience in developing the project available to others?

Marseille Fos Port Authority: GIREL was presented at the Greenport Congress 2012 in Marseilles, while the preliminary studies began. Its first results should be presented during 2015 and could be reported at the following Greenport edition, or ESPO Conference. Among many other possibilities, the project can also be presented within a future update of the Annex 1 (“Examples of Good Practices”) of the ESPO Green Guide.

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