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Monitoring the impacts of marine aggregate extraction

Robert Lafite
Michel Desprez


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1The SIEGMA programme plans to propose “good practice”:

  • for the environmental monitoring of extractions (robust sampling protocols for the statistical treatment of results);
  • for dredging operations (extraction intensity, operating schedule, fallow zones…).

2Future challenges mainly concern the notion of cumulative effects:

  • either multiple extraction activities (number and proximity of sites): if the impact on fish is limited at the scale of one extraction site of a few km², the proximity of multiple sites such as in the Eastern English Channel and in East Anglia might generate cumulative effects with an impact both on the trophic web and on the stocks of some species of the relevant geographic basin. Identifying a threshold limit—maximal cumulative area—is a major challenge.
  • or simultaneaous sea uses (fishing, extraction, wind farms, shipping…) and their interaction:
    • what is the tolerance of the ecosystem and of the various uses with respect to cumulative pressures?
    • at the local level, the topographical and sedimentary perturbations induced by aggregate extraction have not appeared to be incompatible with ongoing fishing activities, such as sole fishing with fixed nets on the Dieppe site or trawling for plaice and sole in the areas of fine sand deposition in Dieppe and in the Baie de Seine. Will it be the same with an increasing variety of uses and a greater number of areas involved in these uses?

© Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2014

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