The latest issue of the newsletter Zones Humides Infos, published by the wetland expert group set up by the French Ministry of Land-use Planning and Environment, is dedicated to the conservation management of fish pond complexes in France. Like many other countries of continental Europe, France has a number of important inland freshwater wetlands which have been created and/or modified by human intervention, often over the course of centuries, for the production of fish.
Traditionally, such wetlands have been managed extensively and many have a high nature conservation value; amongst them such well-known areas as the Dombes, or the Brenne (a Ramsar site). However, the continuing conservation value of these wetlands is subject to multiple pressures from a variety of uses (e.g., recreational fishing, hunting, tourism) and the vagaries of market forces.
To help promote sustainable integrated management of fishpond complexes, a small group of specialists is preparing a project which will be submitted in 1999 for possible funding by the European Union's 'LIFE-Environment' programme. The project proposal will focus on the collection and evaluation of data, and the inclusion of major fishpond complexes at the heart of strategies for economic, touristic and cultural development. More details are to be found in the newsletter Zones Humides Infos No. 21. This work is sure to be of interest and relevance to other European countries, not least those of Central and Eastern Europe, which are also striving for the wise and sustainable use of fishpond wetlands. Enquiries about Zones Humides Infos, which is published quarterly, in French, can be obtained from: Société Nationale de Protection de la Nature, 9 rue Cels, 75014 Paris; fax +33-(0)1-126.96.36.199.
-- Tim Jones, Regional Coordinator for Europe