Human coastal activities

The arrival of oil at the shoreline can be detrimental to many human activities. Leisure activities are obviously affected. Going to the beach, swimming in the sea, recreational fishing, diving, surfing, sailing all become impossible amongst oil slicks, causing economic and social consequences which can be very significant in popular tourist regions. Port activities may also be interrupted, in particular when booms must be deployed to protect the vessels in port. Shellfish breeders and collectors can no longer work on the foreshore, where their produce is oiled.

Aquacultural production at sea is inevitably affected. Coastal fishermen can no longer use their nets and other gear. The equipment that they cannot retrieve in time, or that they attempt to use, may be soiled. Aquacultural production basins find themselves without a water supply, as the polluted water would contaminate their products. The same goes for salt marshes.

Industrial and tourist activities which require a constant seawater supply (desalination stations, electric power stations, thalassotherapy centres, marine aquariums, etc.) can also be affected. All facilities and tools for human activity on the shoreline can be impaired, whether they are permanent (quays, seawalls) or floating (buoys, boats).

If the impact is mild and transient, it may generate only a slight inconvenience. If it is more serious, it can paralyse activities until clean-up is complete, or impose the destruction of stocks destined for future production.

More information

Protecting sensitive areas


Cleaning up a marina

Protecting the port of Ploumanac’h (Brittany, France) during the Tanio pollution using booms