Medam is a database of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) monitoring program for the Mediterranean Sea, "Benthic Habitats and Seabed Integrity" component.
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The Medam website has been integrated into the European Sea Atlas of the European Commission.
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The Medam website has been updated significantly in 2016 and 2017.
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MEDAM is the sister website of MEDAMP, the observatory of the protection of biodiversity :
Any quotation or use of elements of this data management system should be mentioned as "MEDAM Université Côte d'Azur CNRS ECOSEAS"


The exhaustive inventory of all construction and redevelopment on land reclaimed from the sea along the French Mediterranean coasts concerns all reclamations of more than 100 m² built over the marine domain. It was drawn up on the basis of aerial photographs, maps, plans and direct observation along the coast.

Seven types of coastal development have been defined.

Port: construction consisting of an ensemble of seawalls and landfills used in various ways (car park , road, shops, boatyard, etc.). This ensemble delimits a contained body of water designed to offer shelter to boats of various sizes and functions (fishing, pleasure boating, business, etc.). This type of infrastructure is under the management of a harbour master’s office, and has a surface area generally greater than 1 ha.

Example of a harbour

Port of refuge: harbour without a harbour master with a surface area generally smaller less than 0.5 ha.

Example of a port of refuge

Landfill: reclamation from the sea of a terrestrial area for the construction of car parks, gardens, shopping areas, roads, etc.

Example of a landfill

Artificial beach (horseshoe shaped beach): development consisting of two rock sea walls curving towards each other and delimiting an area of land reclaimed from the sea and a sheltered body of water designed for bathing activities.

Example of an artificial beach

Groyne: construction consisting of a line of piled up blocks of rock designed to protect the coast against erosion (axis generally perpendicular tto the coast).

Examples of groynes

Pontoon: solid structure with vertical walls (in contrast to a rock groyne) to enable boats to moor.

Example of a pontoon

River mouth dykes: construction consisting of two rock seawalls on either side of the mouth of a river flowing into the sea.

Examples of river mouth dykes



An image data base has been developed in order to present visually the changes in the coastline at the sites of reclamation redevelopment schemes.


1628 photographs are available at this site, with ongoing updating of the image bank. The photographs may be recent or more historical (views of the coast prior to reclamation have been sought). Some are photographs taken from the air others at ground level (sea or land).


The images made available are of low resolution. The photographers are cited and may in some cases be contacted by e-mail (list of photographers). Any new photos or similar documents are welcome: contact us to upload them ! (aims, procedure, conditions)


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Access the cartographical data base to view the contour lines of all the reclamations and the contours of all the bathymetric and administrative limits.


Access data on the characteristics, description, year of redevelopment, illustrations and localisation of each reclamation > 100 m².


Access the historical record data base: the construction of each structure or part of a structure has been dated. This data provides the basis for showing on bar charts the progression over time of reclamations and their impact on the basis of administrative units (country, region, county ( département), municipal and rural district (commune) or ECD water mass).


For all French Mediterranean coasts (excluding Monaco and the Etang de Berre) (see ‘details’ for noteworthy regional or more local particularities).

MEDAM Inventory :

Original coastline : 2 062 km (> see details)

Surface area of shallow water bottoms prior to any reclamation (> see details) :

Between 0 and -10 m : 80 723 ha soit 807 km²

Between -10 m and -20 m : 88 046 ha soit 880 km²

Between 0 and -20 m : 168 769 ha soit 1 688 km²
Between -20 and -50 m : 330 030 ha soit 3 300 km²


Number of reclamations (>100 m²) : 1 050 (> see details)


Coastline ‘artificialised’ by reclamation : 223.02 km (> see details)

Surface areas reclaimed by these redevelopments (> see details) :

Between 0 et -10 m : 4 226.13 ha

Between -10 m et -20 m : 903.70 ha

Between 0 et -20 m : 5 129.83 ha


MEDAM Impacts :

Rate of ‘artificialisation’ of coastline (linear) : 12.27 % (> see details)

Rate of irreversible destruction of shallow water bottoms by reclamation (> see details) :

Between 0 et -10 m : 5.24 % 

Between -10 m et -20 m : 1.03 % 

Between 0 et -20 m : 3.04 %


Progression :
A step in the right direction: a clear slowing down of reclamation from 1985  (> see details).