Iles et Mer d'Iroise

Iles et Mer d'Iroise Biosphere Reserve, located on the coast of Brittany, comprises a marine park and the island of Sein, small rocky marine islands and islets and open marine areas to a depth of -20 meters with strong currents and a high tidal range.

It is of significance from a biodiversity point of view since it encompasses a variety of habitats e.g. for more than 300 species of seaweed, large sea bird colonies and populations of basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and grey seal (Halichoerus grypus). The Isle of Ouessant reaches no higher than 60 meters in altitude and its landscape is one of meadows grazed by sheep and crisscrossed with stone walls and numerous hamlets.

Declaration Date: 1988
Surface Area: 99,149 ha (extended in 2012)
Core area(s): 45,049.33 ha
Buffer zone(s): 54,100 ha
Administrative Division: Syndicat mixte du Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique (collectivité territoriale) Bretagne Vivante SEPNB

Human Activities

Daily tourism is a significant element of the local economy, providing the basis for commercial activities on the islands. However, also fishing activities remain important.

Numerous educational and training activities are carried out in the biosphere reserve, such as guided visits for school classes, exhibits, public information meetings and internships.

Ecological Characteristics

Iles et Mer d'Iroise Biosphere Reserve, located on the coast of Brittany, comprises a marine park and the island of Sein, small rocky marine islands and islets and open marine areas to a depth of -20 meters with strong currents and a high tidal range.

It is of significance from a biodiversity point of view since it encompasses a variety of habitats e.g. for more than 300 species of seaweed, large sea bird colonies and populations of basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and grey seal (Halichoerus grypus). The Isle of Ouessant reaches no higher than 60 meters in altitude and its landscape is one of meadows grazed by sheep and crisscrossed with stone walls and numerous hamlets.

Islands; marine waters and sandy bottoms; marine algae communities dominated by Fucus spiralis, F. vesiculosus and Laminaria digitata; gravel, rocks and rocky bottoms (Zostera seagrass beds, Laminaria and kelp seaweed communities); sandy beaches; pebble beach communities with Beta maritima and Crambe maritima; rocky coasts and islets; coastal marshlands; coastal grasslands; dry moorlands; enriched pasturelands; scrublands (ferns, willows); mesotrophic backwaters.


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                                                                                    Last updated: November 2012

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