New maritime regulations in French waters
French authorities have published three decrees on the protection of seagrass-beds…
In 2019, French authorities announced the “framework decree” AP 123/2019, which set out the general rules for stopping the anchorage of vessels within particular areas of French waters. After a year of exchanges between various associations, including ECPY, and the French authorities, a series of three local decrees have been announced that prohibit anchoring in specific areas.
The three local decrees that have just been published, and are now applicable to the superyacht community, related to the three following areas:
- AP 204/2020 – for the Alpes-Maritime department east of the river Var (from Nice airport to Menton, excluding Monaco).
- AP 205/2020 – for the Alpes-Maritimes department west of the river Var (from Théoule to Nice aiport)
- AP 206/2020 – for the department of South Corsica (Bonifacio nature reserve)
According to ECPY, other decrees as expected soon for the departments of Var, Bouches du Rhône and Pyrénées Orientales. As for the Var, we already know the Posidonia prohibited zones, notably from Saint-Cyr sur mer in the west to Théoule (Pointe de l’Aiguille).
“All these decrees, whether promulgated or in the process of being promulgated, create a line, along the coast, approximately following the Posidonia seabed, and beyond, which anchoring is forbidden for vessels over 24m everywhere, except in the Alpes-Maritimes, for ships over 20m, east of the Var river (Nice airport),” explains ECPY. “We also remind you of the existence of the Donia application (donia.fr) and of the medtrix.fr website, which allows a very precise visualisation of you yacht in relation to the scientific cartographies of these seagrass beds.”
Posidonia is an underwater plant, or ‘seagrass’, found growing in the Mediterranean Sea between the shoreline and 25m depth, and is believed to be one of the most important sources of oxygen provided to coastal waters. Many scientists assert that Posidonia meadows are decreasing due to coastal activity, including the discharge of nutrient-rich waters, rainwater full of sediments and boating activities, such as anchoring. The hope is that progression of the law changes will not a constitute a total ban on yachts being in the protected areas, provided they are moored in such a way that does not disturb or damage the seagrass.
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