29 Nov 2020
Oran, Algeria
Sustainable Food and Agriculture

The terrestrial and marine parts of the island are home to a fauna and flora characterized by the presence of remarkable species, endemic and protected by national and international regulations. The surroundings of Plane Island are home to well-preserved rocky habitats that are of great interest for the conservation of biodiversity and marine resources, thus constituting an important fishing reservoir for the region. The beautiful land and underwater landscapes of Plane Island attract a considerable number of fishermen from all over the western region of the country.

The fauna, flora and landscape biodiversity of Plane Island makes it a focus of interest for scientific research as well as for activities related to awareness and sustainable development of the region. However, a major threat caused by overfishing, overuse and destruction of marine ecosystems looms over the island and jeopardizes its natural value.

In this context, the members of the marine ecological association Barbarous, a local organization led by a majority of divers, joined forces in 2011 with the aim of Raising Awareness, Acting and Protecting the beautiful islands of the Oranese coast.

Over the years, Barbarous has carried out many actions, including cleaning the seabed, recovering ghost fishing nets, training eco-divers, raising awareness of sea users and promoting environmental education. These activities are directed from a new space created by the association at the port of Oran, which also serves as an educational center to welcome the general public (young and old). During their visit, visitors are guided throughout a lucid dream by the center’s animators who recount stories and legends relating to each object exhibited at the center.

In addition to training and discovery visits on natural wealth, and raising public awareness on the fragility of marine ecosystems, Barbarous also focuses its efforts on scientific research for environmental conservation and works to promote marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries as a means of conserving biodiversity and resources.

Thanks to its efforts, the Barbarous association is involved by the National Coastal Commission (CNL) as co-manager of the natural marine reserve of the Habibas Islands (Oran) since 2015. Currently, the association is carrying out a new project to classify a marine reserve around Plane Island.

"This initiative has the potential to provide our region with a new marine protected area with all the ecological and socio-economic benefits that a well-conserved and well-managed area can offer. This initiative must imperatively involve all the stakeholders in conservation and exploitation, including civil society and fishermen - with whom we have excellent relations - as well as the various authorities responsible for managing and regulating the marine space of our coast.According to Mouloud BENABDI, one of the people in charge of the project
Sustainable Fishing and Conservation on Plane Island | The Switchers

The study, development and rational and sustainable exploitation of the island represent the spearhead of the project led by the Barbarous association, within the framework of the project relating to the Program of Small Initiatives (PPI) for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) of North Africa (PPI-OSCAN). This program is supported by the Ministry of Water Resources and Environment (MREE); it was implemented by the Center for Mediterranean Cooperation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Med) and was jointly financed by the MAVA Foundation and the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM).

The primary objectives of the project are the development of a land-based trail on the island, the training of volunteer eco-divers (who will form a group of sea sentinels who will ensure an ecological watch in the region), the sensitization of users to the protection and conservation of the island through various tools and educational materials, and finally the presentation of a classification file to give the area a status of protection necessary for its conservation.

"The rational management of the land and marine areas of Plane Island is essential to ensure the sustainability of resource exploitation and the development of sustainable nautical and aquatic ecotourism". Amine CHAKOURI
Sustainable Fishing and Conservation on Plane Island | The Switchers
Barbarous Sustainable Food and Agriculture