The waves of Morbihan are unique: to protect them, they create a reserve

Do you know what hydrodiversity is? It is the infinite variety of waves, streams, rivers, waterfalls, rivers… that make up the hydrosphere. In Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, in the Morbihan, the city has recognized the waves of the wild coast as a local heritage to be preserved: the first “golf reserve” in France was born.

Photo: Shutterstock

France, the second largest sea area in the world

France is rich in coastlines: the Atlantic coast is full of well-known spots for surfers, and equally appreciated by locals and nature lovers. Wave generated by an offshore storm, the wave forms a tube that unfolds longitudinally near the coast. Each area has its own wave, as it depends on the bottom it encounters. Surfer Erwan Simon, originally from Morbihan, has traveled through sixty countries. For POSITIVR he explains the parallel between biodiversity and hydrodiversity:

“I explored, looked for waves all over the world. I think we can say that there is a variety of waves as there are a variety of species. †

Erwan Simon

Human activities sometimes destroy the conditions conducive to the formation of waves. The world tells us that this was the case in 2003 in Mundaka, in Spain’s Basque Country, where one of the best waves in Europe disappeared after sand extraction. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because although they are not alive, the waves give life to an entire marine biodiversity.

A voluntary initiative was born in Morbihan

Recognizing the fragility of this exceptional heritage, Erwan Simon joins forces with geologist Frédéric Habasque. They also call on Grégoire Touron-Gardic, a researcher specializing in marine protected areas at the University of Portsmouth, in Britain. Together they founded the association France Hydrodiversité and then they brought their golf reserve project to the city of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon.

In France the system is pyramidal explains Erwan Simon. I decided to start from the bottom. The locals listened

Thanks to a proactive policy by the town hall, the initiative was validated in February. A first in France where there is a legal void around the waves. In practice it is a ” simple commitment of the municipality† “But France Hydrodiversité wants to go even further:

“The scope is not just symbolic: waves have already disappeared in France. We want to create legal status for the waves. †

Erwan Simon

A project that promises to make waves

The idea is not new: the first surf reserves were created in Australia in the 1970s. However, the golf reserve marks a turning point in France: waves are no longer protected solely for sports, but through recognition of their environmental and heritage value. “Currently we are asked every day ‘ Erwan concludes.

Determined to follow this wave of success, he is now calling on everyone to contact his association to create new golf reserves on the French coast.

Quiberon coast. Photo: Shutterstock

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