The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) are an outer department of France. There are four main islands: Kerguelen, La Terre-Adélie, Saint Paul & New Amsterdam and Archipel Crozet. These islands are notably famous for their large penguin populations. There are also around 150 human inhabitants on the islands in winter, but the population grows to around 310 in the summer.
The region is used for meteorological and geophysical research, military bases and French fishing fleets. The main interest of these territories resides in their large maritime zones and economically exclusive zones. These zones allow for unlimited resource consumption, which has been going on for decades and has now led to the creation of a 3,850,000 euros program administered by the Agence française de développement (AFD) to protect local fauna, fisheries and biodiversity of these islands. The program that was adopted in 2009 converted dozens of previous fishing zones into protected marine habitats and parks.
There exists a strong correlation, however, between the consumption of resources and the reduction of poverty in TAAF. The AFD is set on changing fishing habits, to make consumption and trade more sustainable, and to ensure that overfishing doesn’t occur.
The AFD also distributes the Bpifrance Bank’s development loan program and has offered 14.4 million euros to the public sector to grow infrastructure, as well as 23.3 million dollars worth of loans to agricultural, fishing, aquaculture and individual enterprises.
Regardless of TAAF’s very low population density, the AFD has still created a solid development plan that will ensure that the environment, as well as the local economy, are both protected. The cornerstone of this project is the implementation of sustainable fishing and the AFD has worked with the local prefecture to develop a plan to do just that. The AFD has done a great job of creating a win-win scenario to reduce poverty in TAAF, as well as to ensure that the environment remains protected.
– Joshua Ward