Post-larval Capture and Culture (PCC)


Sustainable Rearing and Ecological Restoration...


Fishing Devices and Diagnosis Uses...

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant

Robert Louis Stevenson - writer


Ecocean is a pioneering company with a unique know-how: The Post-larval Capture and Culture (PCC). We participate to the restoration of marine ecosystems and promote a sustainable management of marine resources by implementing innovative projects and radical new technologies all over the world.

  1. Sustainable rearing

    PCC avoids the capture of genitors and minimizes the collection of wild fish offering an immediate and acceptable solution to marine ecosystems depletion. It is a powerful new alternative to overfishing for the marine aquarium trade and fish food markets in the developing countries and in the Small Islands Developing States.

  2. Ecological restoration

    Shoreline areas are more and more impacted by human activities. The solutions proposed by Ecocean contribute to the rehabilitation of the natural life cycle of coastal fish, through post-larval capture, culture and restocking (BioRestore) or by the installation of constructed fish nursery habitats (Biohut®) along developed waterfronts to enhance the chance of survival of fish larvae that naturally colonize the coast.

  3. Fishing and rearing devices

    Thanks to our patented fishing devices especially designed for capturing post-larval fish, Ecocean is able to build, operate and transfer this technology to artisan fishermen, aquaculture farmers and marine scientists around the world.

  4. Diagnostic uses

    The PCC is an excellent tool to study and understand the oceanic dispersal phase in the life cycle of coastal marine and freshwater species. In addition to provide new research thematic areas, the technique also contributes to the data collection about species that colonize coastal habitats to renew populations.

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Floating garden in Rotterdam


The city of Rotterdam is committing to improving its water quality by 2021, also the city is critically lacking green spaces. In this context, the company Urban Green has proposed the original idea of reinvesting the disused city canals by installing floating vegetated structures, which would be an asset for life both above and below water. A first prototype was installed in Buizengat Canal in 2015, consisting of 8 tanks filled with soil and planted with terrestrial vegetation, surrounded by grids where semi-aquatic vegetation develops and grow roots in the water, thus providing habitat for aquatic fauna. The whole structure is organized around an empty central space that Ecocean has equipped with 4 Biohut in 2016.

Interests & objectives

The central zone of the garden is particularly adapted to the development of young fish as it is protected from currents and presents an open-air surface. But the walls from the tanks forming this protective enclosure are fully smooth and therefore offers little opportunities of food or shelter. Equipping this area with Biohut enables to valorize this interesting zone, while providing a great added-value to the whole garden by diversifying the available spawning and nursery habitats: on the one hand the soft substrate provided by the roots on the outer border of the garden, on the other hand the hard substrate provided by the Biohut grids and shells on the inner border.


A first monitoring was implemented by Bureau Waardenburg in 2016. The results validated the nursery function of the garden as a particularly strong concentration of juveniles has been observed in the surrounding area. A total of 22 species were recorded. Moreover, the installation of the garden has led to a significant reduction in the catch rate of the main local invasive species (from 78% in 2015 to 30% in 2016) confirming that habitat complexification is an effective tool against the proliferation of invasive species. As for the spawning function, only perch eggs were observed so far. A second monitoring was carried out by Ecocean in July 2017 and aimed at studying the specific impact of the Biohut. It appears that the central zone equipped with Biohut concentrated the highest density of juvenile fish (mainly perch and roach at this point of the year). A monitoring of the fixed fauna and flora from one Biohut revealed the presence of two species of crabs as well as 5 juvenile eels, while the high density of macroinvertebrates present in the shell suggests that the Biohut represents a very good source of food for juvenile fish.

Project outcomes(phase 1):

On the long term, several hundred meters of additional floating gardens should be installed by 2021 at the latest. As the interest of the Biohut has been wildly recognized among project partners, it is likely that these future structures will also be equipped, ensuring a broad deployment of the Biohut technology in the city of Rotterdam.


Project sheet Floating Garden Rotterdam (PDF)



The Society of Detroit Ports (project owner) has launched a call for tenders restricted by a notice of a competitive public tender in June 2013 in order to conclude a contract for the design and realization of the extension of the port of Calais ("Calais Port 2015"). This project consists mainly in the construction of a new breakwater north of the existing facilities of the Port of Calais and the realization of platforms, docks and berths to accommodate larger ships and face the expected increase in maritime traffic between France and Britain. "Calais Port 2015" must also respond to eco-design requirement, improve the underwater biodiversity and participate in maintaining the nursery function. This Design-Realization Group wants to install integrated artificial habitats from the Biohut© technology as a measure of eco-design.

Interests & objectives

Different types of Biohut habitats are considered to improve the ecological potential of the port infrastructures. In this context, a "phase test = phase 1" was proposed, that will take place in the current port during the construction work. In this way, the Biohut© will be fully operational once the expansion will be completed, and optimized to equip the new area reclaimed from the sea (phase 2).


The modules will not be subjected to a scientific monitoring but will be checked regularly during Phase 1 (= ecological monitoring).

Description of the service (phase 1):

• Visit and site analysis in April 2016 to develop the best technical proposal of the test phase within the constraints/recommendations from the customer.
• Program presentation meetings with the Contracting Authority, the Port Operator and services of the Region.
• Delivery and installation of Biohut© modules during 2016 4th quarter including:
- 3 Dock Biohut©
- 8 Stake Biohut©
- 9 Breakwater Biohut©
• 3 visits of maintenance and control during 2016/2017 including a biodiversity monitoring around the modules (report).
• A report will be delivered at the end of the test phase with a detailed proposal of recommended eco-design arrangements (quantity, workload, maintenance).


Project sheet Calais 2015 (PDF)



The field of Coastal Ecology Engineering is rapidly developing and Ecocean and its partners have been involved for many years in setting up R&D projects for the preservation of marine biodiversity and the restoration of coastal habitats, especially focusing on solutions targeting juvenile fish protection. Ecocean notably developed solutions to recreate habitats and facilitate the installation of biodiversity along docks and pontoons in marinas and commercial ports (NAPPEX and GIREL projects). Ecocean, CDC Biodiversité and the CREM now want to continue these investigations and meet new needs by developing solutions for other types of marine infrastructure (e.g. breakwaters, pipes, mooring lines etc.). This is the purpose of the NUAMCE project, one of the 13 winners of the first call for project from the program “Investment for the Future” in the category "SME-Biodiversity Initiative" launched by the ADEME in 2015.

Interests & objectives

The project aims at finalizing three new types of solutions to improve the ecological function and biodiversity of marine infrastructures: -
The breakwater Biohut® requires a specific work of design optimization and evaluation of the environmental gain. It is composed of wooden sticks of variable length, nested at variable height on a perforated metal plate of modular form, with coconut fiber strands stretched between the wooden sticks. It is fixed by a shallow drilling of the stone surface. 270 breakwater Biohut® are installed as part of NUAMCE.
- The mooring Biohut® will be subjected to an assessment of its environmental gain and to technical improvement (fastening system). It consists of a wooden artificial habitat in the form of a "hoop net". Its height and width are adjustable and it is fixed along mooring lines already in place (20 mooring Biohut® are installed as part of NUANCE).
- The pipe Biohut® (produced in prototype phase) needs technical validation (production, transportation, installation, maintenance over time...). It is composed of a flexible metal plate (arc of a circle) on which are fixed sticks of wood of varying heights and secured to the emissaries without drilling.

Scientific monitoring

Breakwater and mooring modules are being scientifically monitored in situ during the project year by the laboratory of Perpignan. This study aims at evaluating the ecological gain from these structures.

Expected outcomes

NUAMCE is a complementary project indispensable to strengthen the development of the innovative concept launched these last 3 years (artificial nurseries for port areas). Through the extension of the range of targeted coastal infrastructures, these new Biohut® will also diversify the activity of Ecocean and aimed at new customers.
Finally, collaboration with the CDC Biodiversity will ultimately contribute to the creation and testing of innovative financial tools to reconcile economic development and preservation of biodiversity.


Project sheet NUAMCE (PDF)



A first call for proposals on ecological restoration in the Mediterranean marine environment was launched in 2010 at the initiative of the Pôle Mer and Water Agency RMC. In this framework, Ecocean conducted a prototyping phase of the BioRestore® process between 2012 and 2013 in Marseille, and in 2014 the realization of a "model 1" of a fish restocking solution in Marseille harbor (GIREL_3R project – Restoration, Restocking and Refuge). Moreover, Ecocean participated in other restocking experiments following the BioRestore® principle: in Agde (2010/2011), in the Brusc lagoon (2014/2015 - LANDEAU project), in Corsica and in Barcarès (2013/2014 -LIFE + Sublimo) and Guadeloupe (2014-2015). The promising results obtained in these projects lead to the establishment of an innovative and sustainable operation of fish restocking at the scale of Marseille metropolis, based on the BioRestore® process. This process is the subject of a French patent on the phases of post-larvae capture and rearing.

Interests & objectives

This process - based on the capture of fish post-larvae, their breeding up to the juvenile stage and their re-implantation in the natural environment - enables a boost in the resilience of the ecosystem around the repopulated habitats and support the presence of species of high halieutics and heritage value.
This project will contribute to the challenge No. 2 of the Bay Contract of Marseille metropolis "Preserving the environmental quality of coastal environments" in line with the objective of "preserving the ecological wealth of the Mediterranean" to "contribute to the fight against the global phenomenon of species extinction" and " improve knowledge of marine environments ".

Deliverables / content of the project

The project, conducted on three location (Marseille, Cassis, La Ciotat), consists of three phases renewable every year based on the biological lifecycle of the targeted species:
- A phase of post-larvae capture (3 sites: La Ciotat, Cassis and Marseille) with specific light nets (CARE). These samples are collected by local small-scale fishermen trained in the technique.
- Followed by a breeding phase of the collected individuals in a specifically designed farm (installed in the South watchtower of Marseille harbor). This phase relies on specific breeding procedures of non-domestication.
- Finally a restocking phase at sea near the three fishing sites on emancipation habitats® (micro-habitats) suitable for the released juveniles and temporarily imersed in the Bay Contract territory.

Expected outcomes

- Improved knowledge on the Mediterranean post-larvae
- Positive contribution on the adult fish stocks.


Project sheet Casciomar (PDF)

Cherbourg Breakwater


Within the framework of achieving a polder meant to serve as storage area for upcoming projects of tidal energy in Normandy, Associated Normandy Ports (PNA) has selected the consortium DTP / DeJung to build the protective breakwater surrounding the polder. As part of the implementation of this rocky breakwater and without legal obligation, DTP wants to test solutions of artificial habitats and communicate around these ecological restoration solutions. As part of its research partnership, Biositiv has asked Ecocean to come with a proposition of artificial habitats solutions for breakwater.

Interests & objectives

- Test an artificial habitat solution for rocky breakwater in the Channel (a first in the maritime zone).
- Communicate and raise awareness about these solutions and their ecological functions.
- Display and promote the solutions Biositiv could offer its customers in the framework of future projects including compensatory measures.


The modules will not be subjected to a scientific monitoring but will be checked three times during the period (= ecological monitoring). This pilot aims to assess the feasibility of installing these structures on a dike in this new marine conditions and assess whether such modules contribute to the environmental improvement of the area but without drawing any scientific consequences.

Deliverables / content of the project

- Installation of 20 Breakwater Biohut in May 2016 in two areas with various characteristics of exposure, depth and hydrodynamics.
- Ecological monitoring of the solutions (September 2016 and March 2017) => report
- Realization of 2 pedagogical kakemonos to be displayed in the future showroom.


Project sheet Cherbourg (PDF)



Baltimore city is located along the Chesapeake Bay, the biggest estuarine in the US. As other urbanized watersheds, it has been deeply modified by human development that causes habitats losses, pollution and eutrophication. The National Aquarium of Baltimore is involved in raising public awareness about threats linked to natural ecosystems degradation and the consequences of the disappearance of ecosystems services. In conjunction with the National Aquarium, Biohabitats Inc, The Oyster Recovery Partnership and Ecocean, a pilot Biohut project has been implemented in the Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It is the first deployment of the Biohut technology in the United States.

Interests & objectives

This pilot project has different goals and objectives: It serves as another public outreach tool for the aquarium to educate their millions of clients that visit the aquarium each year. The conservation staff of the aquarium in charge of the monitoring will be able to evaluate what species benefit from the Biohut in the Inner Harbor. Educators pull out two Biohut per month for dissection while observations are performed with underwater cameras every week. It is also an opportunity for Ecocean to enlarge its scope of action in terms of ecosystems - this project is the first implemented in brackish water.

Expected Impact & benefits

Species found on camera so far include: striped bass (Morone saxatillis), gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), common grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugino), mummichog (Fudulus heteroclitus), white perch (Morone americana), banded kilifish (Fudulus diaphanous), blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), pipefish (Syngnathus fuscus), white-fingered mud crabs (Rithropanopeus hirrisii), American eel (Anguilla rostrate), naked goby (Gobiosoma bosci) and Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia). This project serves as a case example to present the Biohut process to local legislators and coastal managers who want to improve their environmental stewardship and restore natural ecosystem functions in the United States.

Future Prospects:

Depending of the success of this pilot project, other marinas in the regions could be equipped and thus join the NAPPEX marinas network from Europe. Following the encouraging results of the first year project, the National Aquarium has already decided to extend the project and to install more Biohut in 2015 to reinforce its ecological effects and its educational power.


Project sheet Baltimore (PDF)

ZOE – Guadeloupe


Guadeloupe is a French island in the Caribbean Sea that is considered a "hotspot" of biodiversity and attracts each year millions of tourists. But environmental pressures caused by tourism and economic development in various Caribbean islands disturb the functioning of ecosystems and endanger this precious heritage. To address these threats, a team of technicians and marine biologists in collaboration with the Aquarium of Guadeloupe called "IGREC MER" work to preserve and restore marine ecosystems in Guadeloupe. Besides their actions on coral reefs and seagrass transplants, IGREC began a CPC program (Post-larval capture and Culture), called ZOE, together with ECOCEAN.

Interests & objectives

The project objective is a feasibility study to account for the ecological, economic and social potential of the PCC technique in Guadeloupe. The project is also linked to the expansion of the port of Guadeloupe that seeks ecological engineering solutions to offset or limit the impact of its activities and future projects on the marine environment.

Concrete actions

As in most PCC projects, local fishermen are directly involved in the project by conducting themselves the post-larvae fish capture, using the light trap CARE® developed by Ecocean. Five of these devices are deployed in two main sites (Bouillantes & Passe à Colas). Once the PL captured, the IGREC team takes care of the identification of the collected species and begins rearing larvae at the Aquarium. After three to five months of enlargement, juveniles are then released to their natural habitats. These fish, released at the size known as “refuge size”, have a much greater chance of survival than at the initial post-larval stage. Some of the released individuals can be pre-tagged to allow monitoring and evaluating their survival rates and movement.

Results and deliverables

The ZOE project has settled the potential of the PCC technique in the Caribbean by presenting surprising catch rates, both in terms of diversity of species (37 families, 59 species) and abundance. On average, more than 200 PL were captured by night and CARE for a total of about 24000 juveniles in 2 years. The aquarium has benefited from the project by educating visitors about the importance of preserving marine biodiversity and explain its initiatives such as the ZOE project to restore coastal marine ecosystems on which local people depend.


Project sheet ZOE (PDF)

CAPTILARVES – Haute-Garonne lakes (France)


The capture of larvae from marine coastal animals (Ecocean’s core business) has proved to be a good tool to study and better understand the early stages of the life cycle of fish or crustaceans and to obtain new knowledge about the dynamics of communities living in coastal areas. Thus, hundreds of marine species were captured in the state of post-larvae then bred at land. The technique that stems from this knowledge - the PCC for "Post-larval Capture and Culture" - was first launched in tropical, marine environments, and from 2009 it has been tested and established in temperate environments (Mediterranean). The use of this new method in European inland waters is still very rare, even though it helps provide new elements for the understanding of a key phase of the life cycle of freshwater fish.

Interests and objectives

The project was specifically designed to test and validate this technique in 2014 - in both lakes of Lamartine site (Commune of Roques sur Garonne). It has led to the capture of fish larvae in fresh water using CAREs - passive fishing gear using a light attractor - and monitoring of their laboratory growth. To assess its reliability as a new bio-indication tool to help managers better understand the dynamics and the factors structuring lentic fish communities (living within calm/slow water renewal ecosystems) and - forward - its potential use in monitoring restoration projects.

R&D works:

The work lead by the teams of the EDB laboratories - Evolution and Biological Diversity (UMR 5174 EDB: CNRS / University Paul Sabatier / ENFA) and Ecolab - Functional Ecology & Environment (UMR 5245 CNRS / University Paul Sabatier / ENSAT), but also by Ecocean and Haute-Garonne fishing federation helped adapt the CARE technology to shallow depths and get information about particular species fishing period, the size of captured individuals and morphological characteristics of these very young stages of life.

Future Prospects:

Eventually, these results might represent a good health indicator for lakes (abundance and diversity of PL collected) and lead to a possible restoration of some wild fish populations. A first post-larvae identification guide of these lakes has been published, including pictures of various stages of development.


Project sheet Captilarves (PDF)

LANDEAU – Brusc Lagoon (France)


The Brusc lagoon (Var) is considered as a potential good nursery area for young stages of fish, due to its configuration and the presence of a Cymodoce herbarium. The LANDEAU project aims to confirm this hypothesis, through three actions:
1) An inventory of the existing diversity of post-larvae in the lagoon using two different techniques: the crest net (manufactured by Ecocean and already used in Polynesia) and light attractors CARE® (designed and manufactured by the company Ecocean).
2) Post-larvae capture and rearing in order to release them on their natural habitat and thus enhance the populations of the herbarium.
3) The monitoring of these recruits in natural sea grass bed, restored by transplantation or using micro-habitats. These last two solutions are developed by SM² Solutions Marines.

Interest & Objectives

Besides a contribution to the identification of post-larval fish, the expected results should provide an understanding of the important role that the lagoon of Brusc plays as a nursery site, compared with various sites around Embiez Island. Because of the degradation of the Cymodocea sea grass beds in the lagoon, the ecological restoration by transplantation of sea grass and key fish species will allow an estimation of the potential for improving ecosystem function.
• Technical innovation: The use of an innovative technique never applied in the Mediterranean Sea (Crest nets) allows the capture of species other than those that are photosensitive.
• Ecological innovation: The combination of post-larval capture & restocking with restoration of sea grass has never been performed before.

R&D works

• Two crest nets has been installed on the two channels that connect the lagoon with the sea. The nets collect a flow on one meter width by 70 cm depth. There are six nights of fishing per month over a period of six months (from April to September).
• For the light trap CARE®, eight sites have been chosen, the fishing is done at the same time as the crest nets.
• The identification and the breeding are performed in the facilities of the Paul Ricard Institute, located in border of the lagoon.
• The monitoring of the populations of the young recruits of fish is lead on five zones with three replicates of 1 m² among which two restored zones and three natural zones.

Expected impacts and benefits

• New knowledge about the dynamics of coastal fish populations. This might help local fisheries that are an economic and cultural asset of the PACA region.
• Potential for application in other shoreline areas
• Patent on the new processes of ecological restoration.


Project sheet LANDEAU (PDF)

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