A promise in the conservation of the Biodiversity

Few people are aware that a salt marsh is a land draw by the patient hand of a man and maintained for the salt production. Salt harvesting creates a great ecological wealth. In this very unique environment, salt harvesting ensure the preservation and the conservation of sensitive coastal areas and wetlands. It is also an outstanding land for flora and fauna. Salins Group ensures an eco-friendly management of his productions sites and is engaged in the Life program since 2011.

Realized under these actions, PINK is a marvelous documentary in the heart of Aigues-Mortes salt marsh. Discover in this 21 minutes documentary, our actions in favor of biodiversity preservation.

Watch the trailer

Watch the English version

Watch the French version

pink-fille du ciel et du sel

Fully aware of this wealth, the Salins Group manages these sites with the utmost respect for this exceptional natural heritage. They received the “Anders Wall Prize” in 2005 for their environmental actions, the “Belleuropa Prize” in 2007 and the “Grand Prix Natura 2000” in 2010.

The Group currently has many ecological actions underway on these sites. Some examples :

  • The Compagnie des Salins du Midi, the French part of the Group is committed to the Natura 2000 charter concerning the respect of best environmental practices over a 5-year period.
  • On the Aigues-Mortes salt marshes in the Camargue, nesting sites for the Pink Flamingos, Slender-billed Gulls, Pied Avocets and the different terns and gulls of heritage interest have been created.
  • The Salins Iberica, the Spanish arm of the Group has put in place procedures to make the salt marshes of Cabo de Gata and La Tapa y Marivelez more interesting for birds.
  • The LIFE Nature Project “Improving the Management of Special Protection Zones and Important Sites in Cabo de Gata-Nijar” has been implemented on the Cabo de Gata salt marshes.
  • The LIFE Nature Project “Decantation Circuit and Ecological Restoration of the Lagoon Natural Park in La Mata y Torrevieja” is currently underway on the Torrevieja salt marshes in Spain.
  • The Compagnie des Salins du Midi is also involved in a new LIFE Nature Project “Environmental Management and the Restoration of Mediterranean Salt Marshes and Coastal Lagoons”.

Natura 2000

There is a big difference between the climates, countryside and cultures in Europe which gives us a rich and varied biological diversity. Natura 2000 is at the heart of Europe’s nature protection policies. It is a network of ecological sites set up within the European Habitats Directive (1992) and the European Birds Directive (1979). The objective is to ensure the long term survival of European endangered species of natural heritage interest.

The Compagnie des Salins du Midi signed the Natura 2000 Charter for the Petite Camargue in 2009 for a five year period, this concerns 6 294 hectares of wetlands on the Aigues-Mortes salt marshes.

On signing this charter the Compagnie des Salins du Midi acknowledged the ecological value and the exceptional cultural heritage of their rare or endangered habitats and species on a European scale and promised to protect them.

Have a look at the Natura 2000 Charter for the Petite Camargue (PDF)

The European LIFE Nature Project for Aigues Mortes’s salin

As Pierre Levi, the ex President of the Salins Group said “It is often ignored that salt marshes are designed and cared for by man to produce sea salt, and that in turn salt farming creates great environmental wealth. In this unique environment, salt farming preserves and protects coastal wetlands, remarkable for their flora and fauna. The Salins Group has a responsible management policy for their natural areas. Our investment in the LIFE Nature program is a natural continuation of our long term commitment to our responsible development policy”.

Launched in 1992, LIFE Nature (a Financial Instrument for the Environment) co-finances nature and environmental protection projects within the European Union, in the framework of the NATURA 2000 network. The EU objective is to encourage the protection and the management of natural areas and the fauna and flora of cultural heritage in its member States.

In this framework, the main objective for the new “Environmental Management and Restoration of Mediterranean Salt Marshes and Coastal Lagoons” program is to reinforce the protection and the ecological valorization of Mediterranean salt marshes.

These actions, which are planned over a 4-year period (2012-2016) relate to renovation work on the hydraulic systems used by the salt marshes, restoration work on the coastal lagoons and initiatives for breeding birds and the protection of natural habitats.

The LIFE Nature program for the Aigues-Mortes salt marshes plans :

  • La création et la restauration d’îlots de nidification pour soutenir la reproduction de l’Avocette élégante, du Goéland railleur, des Mouettes et Sternes.
  • The restoration of specific hydraulic systems (wooden structures which allow irrigation water to be distributed) and pumping stations. These systems enable the movement of water and the salinity gradient of the ponds to be harnessed. The renovation works will contribute to the protection and restoration of the coastal lagoons used for salt farming and the habitat of common interest and will also improve the hosting conditions for 8 bird species of common interest (Pink Flamingos, Slender-billed Gulls, gulls, terns and Pied Avocets).

Have a look at the Aigues-Mortes Salt Marshes July 2012 Edition of the LIFE Project newsletter