Key to the brief for the 4300-tonne shiplift project in La Ciotat was that the entire process, including civil works, manufacturing and operations, must be developed upon the foundation of sustainability.
One of the many sustainable features of the completed project is the installation of the world’s largest artificial harbour-based fish nursery which, according to Philippe Vincensini, La Ciotat Shipyards General Director, “perfectly supports the actions undertaken by many stakeholders on the site to preserve marine biodiversity and water quality, such as Aquapassion creator Gérard Carrodano, also known as “sentinel of the sea”, who has been watching over the environmental quality of the site since its rebirth as a refit shipyard.”
Bruno Ricard, MB92 La Ciotat HSE Manager, echoes the views of a community with a strong maritime heritage. “We are very proud of our local habitats and our connection to the sea. La Ciotat is surrounded by national parks and stunning coast lines. It is so important for all of our community that this project is developed in harmony with our environment.”
Over 450m2 of the platform’s docks have been vertically equipped with a biomimetic solution supplied by French company Seaboost. Based on the complex leaf structure of posidonia sea grass, the installation provides essential shelter to juvenile fish and larvae that seek to settle on La Ciotat’s natural and urban shorelines.
Although it is now prohibited for yachts to moor in posidonia sea grass areas, the quantities of this versatile plant species along the Mediterranean coastline have diminished as a result of past mooring, coastal developments impacting not only fish populations but also its capacity to absorb or retain CO2.
Martin Perrot, Seaboost Chief Operating Officer, stated that “this project is particularly interesting given that past applications of this system has mainly been carried out on a smaller scale. This industrial application will provide over 350m3 of artificial habitat and the mitigation properties are consistent with the potential impact of activity.”
Supported by regular monitoring and data collection to evaluate the development of local species’ population, this solution creates an effective, integrated and safe environment that will encourage the reproduction of local marine species.
Martin added that “It is our hope that this project can be used as a reference to incentivise best practice for future developments.”