To prevent and punish environmental damage, the 1,800 Environmental Inspectors within the French Biodiversity Agency (OFB) provide their technical expertise, watch over the territory, raise users awareness, detect and report offences, and take anti-poaching measures. These policing tasks cover: water; natural areas; plants and wildlife (protected species, combatting trafficking); hunting (anti- poaching actions, improving hunting safety); fishing; policing wildlife health (avian flu, African swine fever, etc.).
The Environmental Inspector’s policing powers have been strengthened. The OFB also oversees compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on French territory. It also organises the hunting licence examination and issues the licence.
In addition, the OFB plays a major role in the implementation of the alternative mitigation sequence- avoidance, minimization and compensation. In the framework of development projects, the objective of this sequence is to avoid environmental damage; mitigate it, if it cannot be avoided; and compensate it, when it can neither be avoided nor mitigated.
OFB’s officers issue technical support to the State services on the potential impact of development projects subject to administrative authorisation and declaration. They ensure compliance on the part of the contracted parties.
To combat the trafficking of endangered wildlife species, the CITES – Capture national intervention brigade oversees a network of specialised agents involved in every OFB’s departmental service in mainland France and Overseas territories.
It is the only organisation of its kind in Europe. Its officers deal with State prosecutors, the police, gendarmes, the customs and the French Agency in charge of combating environmental and public health infringements.