Keepers of the coast: quick review of 3 ongoing fights

With the Keepers of the Coast program, citizens are taking action to preserve the coastline. Surfrider frequently gives you the opportunity to review Keepers of the Coasts’ current battles. From French Vendée to Peniche, Portugal, including Doughmore bay, Ireland, we shall review 3 battles we haven’t yet heard the last of.

  • France : Dredging in Saint Gilles- Croix-De-Vie. It’s time to quit junk !
Dragages _st_gillesCROIXDEVIE

“No to waste in Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie” group’s screenshot video

The « No to waste in Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie » group’s video posted last January, did not only cause much ink to spill! It shows pipes releasing thick black liquid substances over the Garenne Dunes in Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie. Local authorities have been performing harbor dredging for several years, which consists in the disposal of wastewater collected from the bottom of the harbor onto the main beach in Saint-Gilles, while there are numerous nautical activities such as surf, Kite Surf or even fishing. As witnesses of this overextended practice, Keepers of the Coast are mobilizing by encouraging local authorities, government authorities and environmental NGOs to gather and handle these dredging issues once and for all. Since there are alternative options to avoid polluting beaches and dunes, it is now time to find a durable and joint solution.

In order to speed things up, Surfrider has addressed letters to Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie local community councilors who manage the harbor to encourage them to tackle the issue head on. The community must ensure durable waste disposal and treatment solutions and be careful to their environmental impact. It is important to implement a dialogue solution with all stakeholders, in order to improve the region’s image. It is time to put an end to this overextended visual, environmental and sanitary pollution!

  • Portugal : Drilling project in Algarve postponed, new threat to Alentejo and Peniche. The battle continues!
Alentejo, Portugal

Alentejo Coast, Portugal © ktaylor

After several years of prospecting the southern tip of Portugal, in Algarve, the consortium formed by Partex and Repsol has finally withdrawn due to citizens’ mobilization. While they had announced several drillings of over 1000 meters for a total of 80 million US dollars to be scheduled in October, citizens of this region, popular for its beaches and surf spots, circulated several petitions. Faced with surveys commissioned by the government and public authorities’ pressure, in January 2017, the consortium was forced to stop prospections in Algarve. However industries are now coveting 2 new regions located at the North of the Portuguese coastline, off the coast of Alentejo and Peniche.

In the context of the implementation of the directive on maritime spatial planning at a European level, appetites of industrials have grown. Keepers of the Coast must, more than ever, ensure that the marine area is not sacrificed on the altar of economic interests. The battle is now focused on these 2 territories threatened in particular by energy providers ENI and GALP. The latter have asked for an authorization of private use of the national marine area for oil drilling trials. This drilling will take place 46.5 kilometers from the Vincentian coast (Alentejo) and at a maximum depth of 1070 meters. In order to influence this battle even more at a local level, Surfrider Foundation Europe has joined the PALP (Plataforma Algarve Livre de Petroleo) Platform in July 2016. The latter has gathered several organizations against exploration and drilling projects along the Portuguese coastline.

  • Ireland: Trump’s golf wall adjourned, Doughmore Bay preserved? Let’s stay alert!

Save The Wave


In the new US President’s divided realm, walls have a lot of importance. Less covered by the media than the wall dedicated to reducing Mexican migration but just as controversial, the Irish Bay wall, in Doughmore, provoked Surfrider’s outrage and that of the rest of the surf and environment community. In order to protect his Doonberg resort and golf course from sea level rise and coastal erosion, the billionaire wanted to raise a 2,8km long and over 4 meter high wall within a fragile dune ecosystem. Trump publically announced his climate-skepticism and therefor doesn’t believe in sea level rise, closely linked to global warming. The need to protect his golf course from sea erosion is not only contradictory but also clearly proves the billionaire’s financial interests override any scientific, ethical or democratic logic. This excessive project rightly triggered a general outcry of the environmentalists and Irish and international surf community.

Regarding this type of project, Surfrider defends the relocation alternative, in order to protect the environment and coastal use, while anticipating climate change impacts. In this perspective, Sufrider integrated the Save the Waves coalition, comprised of local and international organizations including Friends of the Irish Environment, the West Coast Surf Club and Friends of the Earth Ireland. A petition launched on was the opportunity to collect over 104 300 supports. In December, due to local authorities and citizen’s lobbying, Trump International Golf Links was forced to put plans on hold.  Surfrider has not cried victory yet because the Golf put an alternative proposition on the table, including the installation of metal poles and a rock barrier under the sand. Save The Waves Coalition remains skeptical regarding this amended project because the region and its beauty will not be able to deal with such an infrastructure.  As discrete as it can be, it will present an ecological sack risk.

To follow Keepers of the Coast news :

What is the « Keepers of the Coast » program ?

Surfrider Foundation Europe key program based on community commitment, Keepers of the Coast sees to coastal conservation by mobilizing against pollution and coastal deterioration and artificialization. Along with its commited citizens who are considered as ocean and coastal soldiers, Surfrider is supportive via its scientific, media and sometimes legal expertise. To this day, 59 battles have been won, 13 lost, 25 in progress and 12 closed cases.

Who can be a Keeper of the Coast?

You have identified an environmental issue and you are ready to mobilize to change the situation? Anybody who wants to volunteer can become a Keeper of the Coast. The success of the local action and the mobilization regarding an action is closely linked to the time invested by keepers. If you are actually motivated and have information to help the case move toward ocean and coastal conservation, get in touch with Keepers of the Coast!

Traduction : Marianne Biron