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  • EDITORIAL - NEWSLETTER #20- Spring 2015

    EDK During this period leading up to the new French biodiversity agency (AFB), Onema can look back over the past seven years and inventory the knowledge and skills acquired. The results presented in this issue of the newsletter reflect the many approaches to biodiversity at Onema.

    The 2006 Water law clearly aligned the agency's objectives with those of the WFD, i.e. the restoration of good status for water and aquatic environments. Onema replaced the High council on fisheries (CSP) and benefited from its ecological know-how in aquatic environments to create an original institution and position under the authority of the Ecology ministry.

    Its core business focuses on the quality of aquatic environments and it promotes biodiversity by preserving remarkable species, gaining knowledge on and preserving common species, and managing invasive species. Projects deal with the development of bioassessment tools to assess the status of environments, taxonomic identification of species, passage technologies for migratory fish in overcoming obstacles, innovative techniques to detect fish species using environmental DNA, modelling techniques for the population dynamics of vulnerable species and much more.

    The data collected throughout continental France via the networks monitoring the quality of aquatic environments and more specific surveys, e.g. crayfish and inventories of spawning grounds, provide the information required to manage policies ranging from the local level up to Brussels.

    As part of their police work in the field, Onema personnel play a key role in preventing the degradation of environments and consequently in preserving biodiversity. They report on offences such as the destruction of spawning grounds, obstacles to the movement of fish, the use of plant-protection products near rivers and poaching.

    Onema policy is of course based on the European directives (water, marine environments, habitats), European regulations (eels, invasive species, data collection) and both national action plans to protect certain species and national regulations. Implementation of the many planning tools and regulations requires ever increasing levels of knowledge and technical know-how that Onema makes every effort to acquire. All the accumulated knowledge will be pooled with that of our partners in the future AFB to preserve and promote biodiversity in France.


    Elisabeth Dupont Kerlan,

    Onema general director


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