Subject : dredging Loctudy (Finistère)
The departmental management scheme for dredging in Finistère promotes stagnation and consolidates bad habits. Dumping mud from the Loctudy and Lesconil ports into the Natura 2000 marine area of the Roches de Penmarc’h proves it. The Natura 2000 site has a kelp forest that shelters a biodiversity of major economic importance. It has been chipped by the currents and the streams. The underwater harbor waste dumping in Finistère will scatter and impact the waters of Morbihan.
The dredging operations have been initiated in the end of March 2014 and should be over by February 2014. They currently are on hold, thanks to the intervention of professional fishermen.
Within the 165,000 m3 of dredging-sourced mud, the steering body from the Conseil General has identified 625 m3, or 38%, of contaminated waste. This misuse of language led to qualifying the mass of excavated material to be submerged as “not contaminated”. This is false. All dredged materials contain traces of chemical and bacteriological micro-pollutants as well as large pieces of waste. The biggest of them are not necessarily the most dangerous for marine wildlife. Birds, marine mammals, and turtles ingest the smaller pieces of waste. Leatherback turtles occasionally come along the Natura 2000 site of Roches de Penmarc’h.
As usual, to justify the funding of flowing contaminants into the sea, the prefectural authorization decree focuses on navigation security in the harbor area and the need to restore its original depth. It turns out that the silts layers are partly made up of blocks that, once the dumping into the sea is complete, prevent professional fishing practices, damage fishing equipments and expose professional fishing boats to additional shipwrecking risks. Is it logical that, in order to restore security in one place, insecurity must be brought to another one?
The Loctudy and Lesconil ports’ dredging features a worrying derogatory characteristic. As a precaution, dredging in tourism, beach and shellfish sectors has been banned between May and October. However, the dredging in Loctudy and Lesconil has only been banned from the 1st of July to August 31st, 2013.
1 – Thus, the dredging works will facilitate blooming of toxic planktons that may contaminate shellfish and shellfish consumers in the summer. Strains of toxic plankton are often stuck in the harbor sediments. The Council of Finistères’ impact study did not take into account the emerging risk that is now clearly identified by experts.
2 – Thus, the works will release substantial inputs of nitrogen in coastal areas while the water temperature is high, and facilitate the development of green algae. Harbor sediments abound with nutrients. Ifremer said, “There is no proven case of green tide in relation to the dredging operations and this operations do not appear to be maintaining the green tide phenomena”. This drop of certainty in a sea of uncertainty is more of an activist attitude rather than a rational and scientific one.
3 – Thus, the continuation of dredging operations during the tourist season and the attendance peak in swimming areas will also expose the public to health risks resulting from dormant bacteriological contaminants gathered in the sediments due to the yachts waste water dumping.
As a support for the professional fishermen, Robin des Bois wants dredging to be suspended indefinitely until treatment methods of excavated material are updated.