Start of the fight : 15/10/2009

Closing date of the file : 29/02/2012

Fight won by : André

In 1999, the Council of the Morbihan Department decided to dump sediments stemming from dredging of the marina in Quiberon Bay into a zone where trawling is prohibited and which is a preferred spot for marine wildlife reproduction. Following the start of the first phase of dredging operations at the port of La Trinité-sur-Mer in 2009, Surfrider got mobilised and teamed up with around twenty associations including SEMAPHORE, in order to demand a definitive halt to the dumping of sludge in this zone.

As part of the collective of associations, we launched a call for mobilisation, participated in an informative meeting on the risks inherent in dumping operations at Quiberon Bay, and took part in a demonstration in Vannes under the heading of “The ocean is not your rubbish bin”. The group of associations also sent an open letter to the Prefect to demand the suspension of the project. Following the resumption of the dredging operations in January 2010, a press release co-signed by Surfrider was issued, and a delegation representing the collective of associations was received by the French Ministry for the Environment. In February 2010, a prefectural byelaw demanding additional analyses of the dredging sludge was passed. Unfortunately, as operations at the building site were sped up, the byelaw came too late. In July 2010 followed the publication of guidelines for dredging operations. They demand the carrying out of operations with sustainable development and the environment in mind. Two solutions were being suggested for every dredging operation, one of which involves sites inland.

At the beginning of 2012, the president of the Morbihan Council and the president of the syndicat mixte (‘joint commission’) announced the ban of all dumping of sludge stemming from the dredging operations at Trinité port into Quiberon Bay. Although all operations have now ceased, we need to remain vigilant. Above all, alternatives have to be found to avoid this kind of dumping at sea, as the environmental hazards it entails are far too great.

Le Gardien

André is the president of the association Sémaphore.


1999: The Morbihan General Council decides to dispose of the sediments from the ongoing dredging at the marinas into Quiberon Bay.

2007: A dossier is submitted on the dredging of La Trinité-Sur-Mer Harbour and the disposal of the sludge between Grand Mont in Saint Gildas de Rhuys and Houat Island.
The Collective Alerte aux vases (‘Sludge Alarm’) starts a petition demanding that the works are stopped, which collects more than 3,000 signatures.

August 2008: A prefectural decree issues specific requirements with regards to the dredging works and the disposal of the sludge from the La Trinité-Sur-Mer marina. The works are carried out by the mixed economy company responsible for the Morbihan ports and marinas.

December 2008: Demonstration at Saint Gildas de Rhuys (large turnout).
An informal appeal is sent to the Prefect of the Morbihan Department asking for the annulment of the decree from the 28th of August 2008.
The informal appeal is rejected, and consequently a request for the suspension of the prefectural decree is submitted to the Administrative Court in Rennes.

February 2009: Demonstration in La Trinité-sur-Mer (large turnout of the local population).

March 2009: Without providing any reason, a court order from the Administrative Court rejects the appeal made by the associations.

April 2009: The Prefecture sets up a steering committee to elaborate a reference procedure for the dredging in Morbihan.

August 2009: The association Sémaphore sends a letter to the Morbihan Prefecture.

October 2009: IFREMER reviews part of the survey on the dredging operations at La Trinité Harbour which were carried out at the beginning of the year off the coast of Saint Gildas de Rhuys. Result: The sludge is contaminated.
The association Sémaphore endorses the decision made by Minister Jean Louis Borloo and the President of the mixed interest company responsible for the Morbihan marinas to suspend the dredging operations and the disposal of sludge from La Trinité Harbour between Grand Mont and Houat Island. In view of the results from the survey on the disposal site, and no doubt based on a comparison with the initial state before work began (which was not published), Sémaphore demands a permanent abandonment of the sludge disposals in this area.
SFE supports the Collective.

November 2009: The Prefecture announces that the second dredging phase of La Trinité Harbour will go ahead as planned starting on the 15th of January 2010, and that the sludge will be deposited in Quiberon Bay, based on a reinterpretation of the letter from Minister Jean Louis Borloo.
First meeting of the monitoring committee for dredging and disposal operations concerning the eastern part of the Department at the Prefecture in Vannes. Objective: To demand the President of the mixed interest company not to act on this authorisation accorded for the second phase of the works in La Trinité.
The departmental plan on dredging in Morbihan was launched by the State in the previous spring following the action taken against the sludge disposals in Quiberon Bay. Following the publication of eight different proposals for this plan, SFE sends out a letter of support.
In a letter addressed to the President of the community of communes of the Rhuys Peninsula, Sémaphore asks for a meeting with the mayors on the day the community council deliberates on the ‘sludge’ case.
Open letter by Sémaphore to the President of the Morbihan General Council asking for the deferral of the sludge disposal operations in La Trinité-sur-Mer based on the precautionary principle.

December 2009: SFE and Sémaphore launch a call for mobilisation for the 15th of January 2010.
SFE participates in a public meeting on the issues surrounding the sludge disposal in Quiberon Bay, and, supported by maritime professionals, gives reasons for its position on the matter.  
SFE co-organises a demonstration in Vannes with the theme:  “La mer n’est pas une poubelle” (‘The ocean is not a bin’), which attracts 300 participants.
The 18 associations which signed the demonstration appeal against the disposal of sludge from La Trinité-sur-Mer Harbour (including SFE) write an open letter to the Prefect, demanding him to “suspend the authorisation for the second phase of the works accorded to the mixed interest company of the Morbihan ports in August 2008, until further analyses on the sediments in the concerned area have been carried out.”

January 2010: The mayors of the peninsula and the general councillors decide to act.
Dredging begins.
Press release, co-signed by SFE.
A delegation (including SFE) is received by the Minister for the Environment.

February 2010: Ratification of a prefectural decree demanding further analysis of the dredging sludge. The decree comes too late for the environmental associations who noticed the speeding up of the works before its publication.

July 2010: Publication of a reference procedure for dredging. At least two disposal solutions must be proposed for each dredging operation, one of which should be on land. The environmental associations are still calling for the exclusion of coastal areas from the disposal sites in view of the aim to achieve good ecological status of coastal waters by 2015, which is when the new European directive comes into effect.

February 2011: The Minister for Ecology, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, opens the case on dredging sludge.

May 2011: Open letter by the fisher people addressed to the shellfish farmers inviting them to take a stance on the disposal of sludge in Quiberon Bay. 

December 2011: Meeting of the monitoring committee on port dredging in eastern Morbihan.

February 2012: As a result of this meeting, the President of the General Council sends a letter to the Prefect of the Morbihan Department on the 17th of February, asking for a suspension of the dredging and dumping operations at Haliguen Port and Crouesty Port.
The President of the Morbihan General Council, François Goulard, and the President of the mixed interest company for the Morbihan ports and marinas, Gérard Le Tréquesser, draft a new letter for attention of the Prefect, stating their commitment to immediately put a stop to all disposals of port sludge into Quiberon Bay.

Chronologie des faits

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