Medam is a database of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) monitoring program for the Mediterranean Sea, "Benthic Habitats and Seabed Integrity" component.
> Learn more

The Medam website has been integrated into the European Sea Atlas of the European Commission.
> Learn more

The Medam website has been updated significantly in 2016 and 2017.
> Learn more


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"


While the rate of irreversible destruction of shallow bottoms by reclamations for whole of the French Mediterranean coast is only 5.24% between 0 and -10 m, 1.03% between -10 m and -20 m and 3.04% between 0 and -20 m, wide differences are apparent between regions :
- Continental French Mediterranean coast (Languedoc Roussillon + Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur not including Monaco and Berre) :
between 0 and -10 m : 5.55%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 1.20%,
between 0 and -20 m : 3.23%.
+ Including : coast of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (not including Monaco and Etang de Berre)
between 0 and -10 m : 9.95%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 2.11%,
between 0 and -20 m : 5.73%.
+ Including : coast of Languedoc Roussillon
between 0 and -10 m : 3.83%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 0.43%,
between 0 and -20 m : 2.04%.
- Coast of Corsica :
between 0 and -10 m : 0.84%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 0.11%,
between 0 and -20 m : 0.48%.
- Principality of Monaco
between 0 and -10 m : 90.39%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 67.47%,
between 0 and -20 m : 81.67%.
- Etang de Berre
between 0 and -10 m : 3.73%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 33.76%,
between 0 and -20 m : 3.88%.
The département of Alpes-Maritimes (not including Monaco) is the most highly impacted :
between 0 and -10 m : 20.18%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 0.19%,
between 0 and -20 m : 12.69%.
The rocky coast situated between Menton and Martigues (département of Alpes-Maritimes + Monaco + Var + east of Bouches du Rhône) is particularly highly impacted :
between 0 and -10 m : 10.10%,
between -10 m and -20 m : 2.17%,
between 0 and -20 m : 5.84%.
The impact of reclamations is considerable on shallow bottoms because of the accumulation of occupied surface areas and the small extent of the original shallow bottoms. The 5282 hectares built over or enclosed are so many hectares of degraded or destroyed for ever. This means that the overall impact of reclamations from the sea should be considered as the major human impact on marine biodiversity on the coastal fringe of the French Mediterranean coast. It exceeds by a factor of 50 the accumulated degradation caused by all the urban or industrial waste between 0 and -20 m along the whole of the French Mediterranean coast (taking into account areas where more than 50% of natural species have disappeared because of this waste). These areas that have been severely degraded by urban waste are mainly localised in front of the outflows discharging on the surface waste waters from the Marseille conurbation (Calanque de Cortiou) and that of Toulon (Cap Sicié). But these two megapoles are now equipped with increasingly efficient sewage treatment plants so that the recolonisation of areas that were highly degraded in the past (less than 75 ha in all in front of these two sites) is in progress.
Because of its irreversible character, the destruction caused by reclamations from the sea are the major cause of the qualitative and quantitative impoverishment of the marine species of the littoral along the whole of the French Mediterranean coast, well ahead of reversible chemical or bacteriological pollution, well ahead of the temporary impoverishment of fisheries resources by fishing pressure that is still inadequately controlled.



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)


img1 mini

img2 mini

img3 mini
img4 mini


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).