2019 retrospective : Coastal Defenders get things moving


It is time for Coastal Defenders annual assessment. See below the TOP 5 ongoing projects which have progressed and sometimes concluded during this previous year.

Bouches-du-Rhone : a victory after 10 years

In 2019, the highest court in France gave its final decision by sentencing the owner and the captain of the italian ship, SDS RAIN. The lawsuit started 8 years prior for Surfrider Europe who opened the case against voluntary degassing of the ship, which took place offshore of Marseille coast in 2010. After numerous case referrals, SDS RAIN was found guilty of marine pollution.

→ For additional information on Surfrider Europe's longest lawsuit.

Bretignolles-sur-mer : mobilization of 2 500 people

In 2019, the prefecture agreed to start the construction of the marina. Surfrider Europe appealed and repeated its strong opposition to this project which could endanger coastal ecosystems, currents and sea beds.

Still, the construction began and the first bulldozers arrived on Normandeliere beach. Thanks to the engagement of 2500 people during a powerful demonstration on the beach in October 2019 (local citizens and nonprofits alongside Surfrider Europe), the construction site was temporarily suspended while talks continue.

→ For additional information on ongoing action.

Le Havre : for a complete excavation of the old landfill site

In 2019, Surfrider Europe pursued its action on a complete excavation of the Dollemard landfill which erodes 2 meters every year in the canal. To raise awareness within the local community, a screening-debate was organized in Le Havre on January 10th 2019. Following this event, over 130 people attended an Ocean Initiative organized by the local Surfrider office on January 13th 2019. At this time, a report, realized by a private company to evaluate the cost of the excavation, is being compiled and should be published by the end of 2020. The complete excavation of the landfill could potentially begin within the next 2 years.

→ For additional information on ongoing action.

Portugal : the pollution is proven in the Northern region

At the beginning of 2017 winter, a group of surfers and water sport enthusiasts complained of divers pains and went to the hospital. With the support of Coastal Defenders, Surfrider Porto office was able to follow up and published in 2019 results on water quality in two other regions to encourage local governments to stop the pollution. The publication of the results in the press, convince local authorities to look into the issue, tangible actions should be taken quickly.  

→ For additional information on ongoing action.

Barcelona : start of a new action to protect waves and water quality

In 2019, Surfrider Europe started an action to maintain the waves on Sant Sebatian beach. Every year, the beach is losing sand partly due to the existence of Barcelona port, which affects currents. The project to extend the break water on Sant Sebastian South side is a threat to water and wave quality. To ensure that environmental isks are minimized, Surfrider is working to influence decision-makers to adopt plans with a minimum impact.  

→ For additional information on ongoing action.

In total, 12 actions led by Coastal Defenders are ongoing at the start of 2020. 

Similar articles


Plastic Origins: Artificial intelligence to stop pollution at its source

We now know that the majority of the plastic pollution in the Ocean comes from rivers that pass through m...

read more

Offshore Drilling : call on your MEPs!

On April 20, 2020, we commemorated the 10th anniversary of the largest oil spill in history. In 2010, the...

read more

our values


The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.