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  • VIEWPOINT OF PARTNERS

    Gaëlle Germis \ Bretagne Grands Migrateurs association
    "Onema wants to create a national database on migratory fish, which is why a partnership was launched with the seven "migrator" associations and the French national fishing federation (FNPF)... "

    Gilles Boeuf \ National museum of natural history
    "The Museum studies all ecosystems on the planet, including those in lakes and rivers, which is why we are in close contact with Onema. ... "

    Michel Sommier \ Écrins park
    "The Écrins national park plays an active role in implementing a monitoring programme on mountain lakes, called "sentinel lakes", for which we brought together a number of partners... "

Preserving large migratory fish and fighting invasive species

2010 was declared the International year of biodiversity. The year stood out for Onema with three major events, namely its participation in formulating the national management strategy for migratory fish, its collaboration with the "migrator" associations and the national fishing federation in France to set up a national database on migratory fish and, finally, efforts with Cemagref to fight invasive species.

Formulating the national strategy for migratory fish

In order to protect the large species of threatened migratory fish, the Ecology ministry decided to prepare a national management strategy for migratory fish as part of the national biodiversity strategy. Onema, already active in proposing and supporting the implementation of management efforts for these species, in developing new knowledge and in fighting organised poaching, provided technical support in formulating the strategy that was finally approved in December 2010. Above and beyond work already launched in the river basins and that must be reinforced, the strategy must ensure maximum consistency between measures taken for ocean and river fisheries, reform the governance structures for the management policy on migratory fish and improve organisation of restocking projects.

A new national database on migratory fish

Efforts to improve preservation and restoration programmes for migratory fish require that the data on these species be centralised and made widely available. How abundant are the species? How are they distributed in rivers throughout France? What are their biological characteristics? Where are their habitats? What pressures weigh on them? Onema is currently coordinating the creation of a national database containing consistent data series available to all water managers. The agency will centralise all the data collected by an array of stakeholders including the "migrator" associations, fishing federations, commercial fishermen, research institutes and Onema itself.

At some point, the database will be folded into the water information system (WIS-F), thus making it possible to link the data with that of other databases, e.g. those on ecological continuity and water quality.

The seven migrator associations (Bretagne grands migrateurs, Migradour, Migado, Logrami, MRM, Seinormigr, Saumon Rhin), the national fishing federation, the Vilaine river development institute, INRA and Onema worked over the entire year to set up the database which now combines the data from the migration monitoring stations and the abundance indicators produced by sampling work carried out by Onema.

Fighting invasive species

Efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity must include management of invasive species, e.g. alien crayfish, Reynoutria japonica, water primrose, bullfrogs, etc., that disturb natural aquatic ecosystems. In a partnership with Cemagref, Onema has set up a national work group on biological species invading aquatic environments. The group comprises scientists from INRA, CNRS, the National museum of natural history and universities, as well as local stakeholders, e.g. the Water agencies, regional parks, State services, and the Ecology ministry. The mission is to formulate strategies to improve management of biological invasions in aquatic ecosystems and propose operational methods for managers and decision-makers.

In 2010, in a partnership with IOWater, the group ran a nationwide study on current management practices in order to share experiences. It also contributed to developing the national strategy on invasive species set up by the Ecology ministry. Finally, Onema and Cemagref organised a seminar to facilitate the circulation of information on preventing, detecting and monitoring invasive species. The meeting brought together 130 researchers and managers and the latter were provided with scientific and technical knowledge intended to improve management practices.

Onema in the Rhone-Alps region : Saving the Rhone apron

The apron is a critically endangered fish that lives in the rivers of the Rhone river basin. Its population has declined and been fragmented due to habitat damage (extractions, dams, channelling, pollution). To save the fish, the European Life programme funded the creation of an observatory, fishways, efforts to raise awareness, research and captive breeding. At the 20 stations of the observatory, Onema personnel in the Rhone-Alps, Bourgogne and Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur regions carry out annual counting operations on the apron to monitor changes in the last five populations. Onema also monitors a reintroduction test in the Drôme department. Following three releases of alevins from 2008 to 2010, the initially released apron are now adult and efforts to observe the first alevins born in rivers are planned for the summer of 2011. In 2010, under the guidance of the Regional species conservatory, Onema participated in drafting the national plan of action.

Contact : pascal.roche@onema.fr - Onema Rhone-Alps regional office