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"


Coastal development is generally assessed subjectively, by considering the integration in the landscape of the reclamation, and pragmatically, by highlighting the economic advantages generated. A further type of assessment is called for: that of the impact on coastal ecosystems caused directly by reclamations from the sea.

The extent of of reclamations from the sea, compared to the original surface area and length of coastline, provides a basis for reliable quantitative assessment:

  • of the main ecological impact of reclamations resulting in the irreversible destruction of the shallow bottoms concerned,
  • of the landscape impact, taking into account the rate of artificialised coastline. Seen from the sea or the land, the coast offers a view of piles of blocks of rock, interlocking concrete tetrapods or vertical concrete jetties.

This process was initially undertaken in the 1970, but using manual calculations that were difficult to update. Assessments were also published for the Alpes-Maritimes (Meinesz, 1976 ; Meinesz et Lefevre, 1978), the Var (Meinesz et al. 1981), the Bouches-du-Rhône (Meinesz et al. 1982) and Corsica (Meinesz et al. 1980) with surveys for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region (Meinesz et al. 1990 et 1993). The data presented here is therefore an update of these data, extended to cover the whole of the French Mediterranean coast, including the shores of the Etang de Berre and the Principality of Monaco.

A new system for collecting data has been applied using a Geographical Information System (GIS) coupled with computer data processing with online access (Internet) to the data produced.

 The data base designed by MEDAM (Meinesz et al. 2006) has been constantly updated (new reclamations identified) and improved over the years (Meinesz et al. 2010) by the addition of:

  • an image bank of photos of reclamations or of the coast prior to redevelopment,
  • historical data on redevelopments on reclaimed land (providing a basis for drawing histograms showing the progression of impacts),
  • better online access to data at the new website: the database now uses opensource technologies (PHP/MySQL) allowing greater flexibility of use and ensuring the security of the original data,
  • better cartographical presentation based on the IGN Geoportail database.


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


1627 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).