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"


Linear measurement of an irregular coastline (the rocky coast of the Provence Alpes - Côte d’Azur region, the west coast of Corsica or the western end of the coast of Roussillon) gives very different results according to the scale of the maps used. The data presented in MEDAM are standardised: they were all obtained by measurements (same method) on maps of the same scale: 1/10 000. The data available elsewhere (sometimes appreciably different) refer, depending on the region, to maps of different and / or smaller scales (many measurements were made on 1/25 000 scale maps), but most often the scale of the maps used is not specified.

The coastline measured is the natural (original) coastline prior to any reclamation from the sea. In the case of constructions on reclaimed areas (harbours, landfills, etc.), we have attempted to trace the outline of the original coastline. This outline was based on examination of either aerial photographs (for constructions dating from the last century), or on very early maps (as for the roadstead of Toulon, the coastline of the harbour at Marseille or the harbour at Nice). The outline of the coast adopted can be seen in the cartographical data.

The list of early maps used is available (see list of early maps).

Several particular cases related especially to redevelopments partly constructed by excavating the land, superimposed constructions and urban or rural district borders that overlap a reclamation area are cited for each reclamation concerned in the descriptions of reclamation (under the heading ‘Comments’ in each descriptive note).

Measurements were made on a large number of maps.

The total length of coastline for the whole of the French Mediterranean coast is 2 057 km, 5 km for the coast of Monaco and 100 km for the coastline of the Etang de Berre (or 2 162 km for the whole coastline included in MEDAM).

The total length of the continental French coastline (including Monaco) is 1 085 km including 853 km for the coast of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (not including Monaco and Berre) and 227 km for the coast of Languedoc Roussillon. The length of the coast of Corsica is: 977 km.
Details by county (département ), by urban or rural district (commune) and by ECD water mass are available in  the numerical data.



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).