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Superyachts banned from mooring in Alpes-Maritimes

Superyachts banned from mooring in Alpes-Maritimes

By Stephanie Horsman - October 14, 2020

The Alpes-Maritimes is creating new mooring zones for yachts over 20 metres in an effort to lessen the impact on Posidonia oceania, a protected species of Mediterranean sea grass that is being destroyed by the large anchors.

Since 1988, Posidonia oceania, more commonly referred to simply as Posidonia, has been a protected species in the Alpes-Maritimes. This sea grass forms beds that are known as “the lungs of the sea”.

Anchors of large yachts drag along the seabed and cause massive amounts of damage to this fragile ecosystem.

As a result, yachts over 20 metres, many of which dot the coastline of the region, especially in the summer months, will now need to find new spots to anchor as the maritime prefect is creating new no-mooring zones to protect the sea grass beds.

Vice Admiral Laurent Isnard, Maritime Prefect for the Mediterranean © Loïc Bernardin – French Navy

On 12th October, Maritime Prefect for the Mediterranean Vice Admiral Laurent Isnard signed the first decrees regulating the anchoring of ships 20 metres and over for the Alpes-Maritimes department.

The framework for the new rules is already in existence, dating back to June 2019, setting general regulations for ships wishing to moor in French Mediterranean waters. Now these rules will be expanded and will determine exact zoning areas, complete with banned spots, on Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM) maps. Every sailor is required to carry an up-to-date copy of these maps on board.

Organising and clarifying precise mooring areas will also be beneficial in the busiest months, when there is heavy boat traffic and conflicts over rights of use and accidents are most likely to occur.

Posidonia is important to the overall health and environment of the sea. It is both a home and a nursery for several species of fish, is a natural water purifier, helps lessen the impact of carbon emissions, makes swells less severe and protects the beaches from erosion.

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