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 histogram presented under the tab Progression, concerning the progression of the number of reclamations from the sea along the French Mediterranean coast  (see corresponding histogram) shows a period of tripling of reclamations between 1960 and 1985, then a distinct slowing down of these redevelopments between 1985 and 2010.
This slowing down is to a large extent the result of an Act (arrêté) banning the destruction of marine phanerogams (Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa). (Arrêté of 19 July 1988).


herbier posidonia oceanica

The Posidonia (Posidonia oceanica) seagrass meadow is the sub-sea equivalent of the forest. The Posidonia are flowering plants (phanerogams). They extend between 0 and -38 m depth. This plant has been strictly protected off the whole of the French Mediterranean coast since 1988. (Photo : A. Meinesz)

prairie cymodocees

Meadow of Cymodocea (Cymodocea nodosa). These are flowering plants (phanerogams). This species, which mainly develops between 0 and -20m, has been strictly protected off the whole of the French Mediterranean coast since 1988. (Photo : A. Meinesz)


Several tens of harbour construction (for pleasure boats) or landfills (for road extensions or car parks) have been cancelled because of the presence of these plants on the planned site of these reclamation schemes. The scope of this legislation has been strengthened by the European Council: these plants figure on the list of species that are strictly protected (Berne Convention, September 1979, a list adopted at Strasbourg on 5 December 1997). This list has been validated by a decree of the French ministry of foreign affairs dated 7 July 1999. This is how the harbour projects (or harbour extension projects) planned during the decades 1980 to 2010 at Menton, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Nice (extension of the shipping port), Cagnes-sur-Mer, Antibes, Saint-Tropez, Six-Fours-Les-Plages, and so on, despite being more or less completed, came to be abandoned.
From 1985 to 2010, it was mainly sea defences that were constructed (jetties, groynes: see corresponding histogram), and these types of construction take up little space along the coast (little coastline artificialised: see corresponding histogram) and little built-over surface area (see corresponding histogram).
Nevertheless, taking into account the various scenarios for the rise of the sea level in the coming century (GIEC 2007 : 4th report of the intergovernmental group of experts on climate change, see, it is clear that the artificialisation of the coast will be on the increase in order to protect the resources that have been accumulated along the coasts (sea defences for the protection of roads, railways, agricultural land or urban areas on low-lying coasts).
It is therefore all the more important, in terms of sustainable development, to preserve, today and lastingly, extensive areas of still natural coast (not yet artificialised coastline). Following the example of the green spaces where agricultural or natural areas have been preserved (in town planning projects), which break the tentacular expansion of the great conurbations, the same principle should be applied to our coasts.



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).