Natura 2000 : How to limit the impact of the anchoring in the Pampelonne Bay? Natura 2000 : How to limit the impact of the anchoring in the Pampelonne Bay?

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Pampelonne Bay :

Saint-Tropez, Pampelonne is a preferred Major destination for yachts of all sizes in the summer; these floating hotels enjoy water sports as well as the natural environment of the they lay at anchor. 

Anchorage of yachts in the bay of Pampelonne

But this view of the bay remains incomplete as many visitors do not see the other side of Pampelonne marine wealth with its beautiful Posidonia meadows in the northern half of the bay in depths of up to thirty-five meters. Posidonia is an endangered protected species and contributes to a rich ecosystem covering large parts of the Mediterranean and is in danger from yachting activities especially anchoring habits.

How could we undertake conservation activities of these natural habitats?

This question is at the heart of discussions concerning the development of Project Natura 2000 site Corniche Varoise (FR9301624), including Pampelonne beach area, where the stakes are greatest. Indeed, the scientific diagnostics performed in the area highlight the damage caused by moorings marinas and yachting. Documented degradation over many hectares shows the damaged grass roots where anchors have slipped and chain has chafed or uprooted the posidonia.

Posidonia natural growth is so slowly being devastated. These degraded areas are largely being taken over and colonized by invasive algae such as Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosa, which is also moving to and taking over other anchorages.


Ploughing of an anchor in the seagrass meadow Chaffing of the chain on the Posidonia leaves Flooding of devastated areas by invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolihissement des zones dégradées par C. taxifolia Uprooted rhizomes of Posidonia seagrass
Ploughing of an anchor in the seagrass meadow © F. Beau Chaffing of the chain on the Posidonia leaves © F. Beau Flooding of devastated areas by invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolia © F. Beau
Uprooted rhizomes of Posidonia seagrass © F. Beau


In order to act upon this devastation and to mitigate the impact of anchoring two working groups were organized in 2012 by the Observatory Marin acting in the capacity of operator of the Natura 2000 site, and chaired by the Mayor of Ramatuelle, All parties met with representatives of particular ports, representatives of yachting, the yachting industry and design offices specialized federations operators  communities and state services (DDTM, semaphore, water police). This was complimented by a field survey of captains and crews of yachts whilst at anchor.

The actions to preserve the marine environment of Pampelonne :

The conclusions of these studies lead to future actions which specify the measures that will be phased in from the 2013 season. They aim to propose alternatives to current practices to combine the socio-economic presence, preserving the integrity of the marine environment.

From onshore to offshore a variety of measures are to be used :
(For an overview of the organization of the water, refer to the synthetic scheme below).


- Optimization of  anchoring in ( Non Sea grass) sandy areas near the shore:

  • Reduce by one third the size of ZIEM (the forbidden power boat zone),
  • Repositioning AOT commercial establishments beach in the area vacated by the decline ZIEM..

- Adoption of various measures of awareness and communication to inform users of the delicate nature of the site and guide them to anchor away from posidonia and to the vast sandy area in the south of the bay:

  • Patrols by official craft providing ​​information and awareness,
  • Relay of information via the beach establishments,
  • Radio spots,
  • Cooperation with yacht clubs and yachtsmen’s federations,
  • Mapping Application on Smartphone...

- Marking the surface of the boundary between the sandy and sea grass beds to facilitate location,

- Development of a lighted buoyed mooring area (ZMEL) in the northern part, along with a ban on mooring in the herbarium. This ZMEL will be equipped with mooring systems and will include:

  • An area for small units,
  • An area for units smaller than 24 meters, 50 tons displacement,
  • Two areas  for units smaller than 50 meters, 500 tons displacement.

- Authorization of managed dynamic positionning system (D-positionning) over the sea grass beds off the ZMEL in depth of more than 10 meters.


Synthetic scheme of measures to be used

Hypothesis illustration of the project


A collective campaign to meet the challenges of Pampelonne, international center of tourism :

We hope that efforts will be made collectively by various users follow these steps to allow the grass to revitalize and marine life to flourish.

The natural balance will be recovered for the benefit of a rich biodiversity, better bathing water quality and maintaining the best defense against natural sediment loss and erosion of the beach.

Now, you can contribute to this collective enterprise applying these first steps and ensuring the preservation of sea grass beds. For more information, contact the Observatory Marin(Contact).


The enquiry about the frequentation of the Bay continues :

In order to identify the practices that are developed in the Bay of Pampelonne, and respond in the most relevant to the current situation, the Observatoire marin offers you to respond to the following enquiry : 


Enquiry on the anchorage of yachts in the bay of Pampelonne

Brochure "Anchorage in the Pampelonne Bay"


More about Natura 2000 Corniche varoise...




Dernière modification le 14 Avril 2014
© Communauté de communes du Golfe de Saint-Tropez
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