The Department of Biological Resources and Environment (Biological resources and Environnement — RBE) studies the living resources in the oceans to highlight their value and promote sustainability and the socio-economic development of the marine sector, particularly fishing and aquaculture.
Today, it is made up of 17 research units in 18 different geographic locations (12 in mainland France: Boulogne-sur-Mer, Port-en-Bessin, Argenton, Brest, Lorient, Nantes, L'Houmeau, La Tremblade, Anglet, Sète, Palavas and Montpellier and 6 overseas locations: French Guiana, Martinique, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Reunion Island, New Caledonia and Tahiti). The RBE Department encompasses the IFREMER research units that work in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology and biotechnology.
Scope and focus
Supporting the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture in the current context of global change and developing the potential of marine biological resources are major societal issues, that IFREMER is mandated to promote.
The marine environment is a dynamic system that shows high variability due to natural and human-driven phenomena. The various pressures exerted by humans on this environment (exploitation of biological resources, pollution, coastal development, etc.) have increased over the past few decades, causing major changes in marine ecosystems and their uses, particularly in coastal areas. In this context, IFREMER pursues observations and research that are necessary for the acquisition of knowledge on the marine environment and the species it harbours, for the development and implementation of strategies to promote marine biodiversity conservation and sea use management.
The multidisciplinary know-how of IFREMER supports public policies by coordinating the various needs of local, regional or national authorities and the sustainable use of marine biological resources, along with the protection of marine habitats. The studies are conducted in particular to develop knowledge on the current and potential pressures that affect the marine environment and its living resources. The sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture can only be addressed through an ecosystem approach that takes into account the uses that influence biological resources at different scales, global change as well as different pressures exerted on the marine environment. The development of genomics and proteomics tools as well as core facilities to help accelerate data acquisition necessary for biotechnology (genome sequences for many species, molecular characterisation, etc.) have been earmarked as major challenges that IFREMER should tackle.
To understand, assess and develop the biological resources of the oceans, to promote sustainable resource use and to favour the socio-economic development of the marine sector, particular fisheries and aquaculture, the RBE Department manages to foster world-quality research and satisfy the demands of the public and private sectors.
Generally speaking, the RBE Department is involved in
- the understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes that govern the diversity, the quantity and the quality of genes, populations, communities, ecosystems in time and space, as well as the economic and societal impact of the interactions of these processes with uses;
- propose incentives, management tools, processes and policies to protect, conserve or restore biodiversity in an efficient manner. determiner the state and evolution of the services provided by biodiversity and the effectiveness of use management using ecological, economic, social and organisational indicators.
The Common Fisheries Policy reform, the European Commission strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture and the application of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive are strong structuring themes for the activities of the RBE Department, in the observation-research-assessment continuum.