Since 2004, the Pelagos Sanctuary has operated according to a management plan. This means that the area covered by the Agreement can be managed in a sustainable manner.

The management plan combines the contributions of each of the parties with practical measures to follow and implement as a means of managing the Sanctuary space as a whole. This overarching management structure means that issues will be considered:

  • in terms of the ecosystem – variables will be addressed in relation to their natural environment and socio-economic context;
  • dynamically – the measures carried out as part of the action plan will be continually evaluated and modified according to the results obtained;
  • from a functional perspective – the approach used should make it easier for different organizations to work together.

The natural variables involved correspond to the area’s ecological factors (light, hydrodynamics, hydrostatic pressure, temperature, salinity, benthic substrate etc.), to the interaction between organisms as well as to the structure and function of marine ecosystems: open seas, upwellings, neritic zones, hydrodynamics, estuaries, canyons etc.

The anthropogenic variable should also be considered here: polluting substances (urban and industrial chemical pollution), non-native species, exploitation of the ecosystems (socio-economic variable: fishing, aqua-farming, use of biodiversity), coastal area development and water-based travel for commercial purposes, tourism, sports and similar activities (whale-watching).

The management plan also takes into account actions implemented as part of other Agreements and international programs (ACCOBAMS, RAMOGE, UNEP/MAP).

The management plan was developed in several stages:

  • a detailed summary was drawn up and adopted by the contracting parties (February 2003);
  • a specialist, Dr Virginie Tilot, was appointed to draw up the management plan, and a long-running survey of the people and groups that form the Sanctuary’s socio-economic element was conducted;
  • a special task force, made up of three or four representatives from each party, was created to monitor and provide support to Dr Tilot in her work throughout the survey and drafting phase;
  • draft submitted in December 2003;
  • plan finalized in the spring of 2004;
  • plan adopted at the Second Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Agreement in Elba on September 15, 2004.

In its adoption and implementation of the management plan, the Pelagos Sanctuary thus developed a new approach, one based on frequent and effective international cooperation, with the lasting aim of enabling marine mammals to live alongside humans in an environment that is favorable to them.

To make this lengthy document easier to read, a special task force, made up one representative from each party, prepared a working summary (FR, IT) that lists all the management measures proposed in the plan.

ACCOBAMS: Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area  

Ramoge Agreement: Agreement between France, Monaco and Italy to protect the coast between Marseille in France and La Spezia in Italy

UNEP/MAP: Mediterranean Action Plan developed as a result of the 1975 Barcelona Convention, under the framework of the United Nations Environment Program

Pelagos Sanctuary is a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI).

The list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) is drawn up by the Mediterranean Action Plan as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Biodiversity Protocol of 1976, under the authority of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

SPAMIs are the central features of a network that aims to ensure the effective conservation of the Mediterranean heritage. In order to meet this goal, the parties involved work together as a plurilateral team to preserve and manage natural sites, with a special focus on creating cross-border SPAMIs.

The list of SPAMIs is managed by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), based in Tunis. Sites eligible to appear on the list of SPAMIs should:

  • be of importance for conserving the components of biological diversity in the Mediterranean;
  • contain ecosystems specific to the Mediterranean area or the habitats of threatened species;
  • or be of special interest at the scientific, aesthetic, cultural or educational levels.

Appendix I of the Protocol establishes the guidelines and common criteria for inclusion on the list of SPAMIs. The inclusion process involves specifying the conservation and management measures for the sites. The 21 countries of the Mediterranean Basin, signatories of the Barcelona Convention, are thus committed to respecting the conservation and management measures put in place by the SPAMIs.

It is for this reason that the development of an action plan is also a requirement of the parties proposing that a particular area be included on the list of SPAMIs. Pelagos Sanctuary now possesses such a document, which represents an important step towards integrated management.

With the Pelagos Sanctuary having been included on the list of SPAMIs since November 2002 within the framework of the Barcelona Convention, it is thereby granted official recognition from the Mediterranean countries. SPAMIs are the central features of a network that aims to ensure the conservation of the Mediterranean heritage.

The Pelagos Sanctuary includes the coastal waters and pelagic area comprised between the headlands of the Giens peninsula to the Fosso Chiarone in southern Tuscany. It extends across the waters of a number of islands, including Corsica and northern Sardinia as well as smaller islands such as the islands of Hyères, Liguria, the Tuscan Archipelago and the Strait of Bonifacio.

The Sanctuary covers an area of 87,500 sq. km and 2,022 km of coast.

 

Boundary

Description

Geographic coordinates

Western

A line extending from the Escampobariou Point (on the western edge of the Giens peninsula)

N 43°01'70 – E 06°05'90

to the Falcone Cape (the westernmost part of the Gulf of Asinara)

N 40°58'00 – E 08°12'00

Eastern

A line extending from the Ferro Cape (on Sardinia’s north-eastern coast)

N 41°09'18 – E 09°31'18

to Fosso Chiarone (on the west coast of Italy)

N 42°21'24 – E 11°31'00

For more information...

 

Date

Event

1986

Scientists (the Tethys Institute, universities), NGOs (SOS Grand Bleu, Greenpeace) and local elected officials speak out against driftnets and the accidental capture of cetaceans in the Corso-Ligurian Basin.

1990

The Italian government issues Decree 18/07/90, which creates a zona di tutela biologica [Area of Biological Protection] and prohibits Italian fishermen from using driftnets in the high seas as well as in the Italian, French and Monegasque territorial waters in the Ligurian Sea.

1991

Based on expert contributions from the Tethys Institute, the Environmental Branch of the European Association of Rotary Clubs, with the support of the Rotary Clubs of Saint-Tropez, Monaco and Milan as well as numerous other groups, including the WWF’s Mediterranean branch, presents the ‘Pelagos Project’, which aims to create a biosphere reserve in the Corso-Ligurian Basin, managed by an international authority based in Monaco and responsible for the sustainable management of its natural resources.

Cetacean deaths caused by driftnets attract specialist attention and public opinion.

Decrees issued by the Italian government on May 22,1991 and on June 19,1991, prohibiting the use of almost all driftnets from the Ligurian Basin, come into effect.

1992

Governmental authorities from France, Italy and Monaco announce the creation of a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals.

At the first RIMMO [International Marine Reserve for the Western Mediterranean] conference, the creation of a joint ecological protection area, covering all countries bordering the western Mediterranean, is recommended. RIMMO goes on to organize annual meetings that look into how to protect biodiversity in the international waters of the western Mediterranean.

1993

Brussels, November 1993: France and Italy’s Environment Ministers and the Principality of Monaco’s Ministry of State sign a joint declaration to create a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals, also referred to as the Corso-Liguro-Provençal Sanctuary. The declaration is accompanied by a document showing the scientific basis of the declaration, which specifies that:

  • any direct capture or intentional disturbance of marine mammals will be prohibited, research activities and whale watching that may cause disturbance will be regulated;

  • the use of large pelagic driftnets will be prohibited;

  • high-speed vehicle competitions will be limited and banned in the long term;

  • a special effort will be made with regard to management in order to minimize pollution that is harmful to cetaceans.

1994

The IUCN’s General Assembly issues Recommendation 19.92 for the Establishment of a Sanctuary for small and large marine mammals in the Ligurian Sea in the western Mediterranean.

As part of the Barcelona Convention, a new Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity is drafted, inspired by the work of the Sanctuary in relation to the creation of high seas protected areas.

1995

A number of groups from the three countries recommend that the Sanctuary be included on the list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs) created as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean.

The IUCN mentions the Sanctuary as part of its Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans.

As part of its Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (effective as of December 12, 1999), the Barcelona Convention establishes the legal framework for creating high seas specially protected areas and creates a list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI).

1996

Under the aegis of the Bonn Convention, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) is signed(agreed in 1995 and effective as of 2001).

1999

Negotiations relating to an Agreement concerning the creation of a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals are renewed in Rome and Paris.

Rome: France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco sign an Agreement related to the creation of a Sanctuary for marine mammals in the Mediterranean Sea ( pdf French version and pdf Italian version ) and issue a ministerial declaration. The text of the Agreement is officially registered in the Principality of Monaco. Part of the Tyrrhenian Sea is added to the area proposed in 1993. The Sanctuary covers a total area of 87,500 sq. km. The aim of the Agreement is to ensure the proper state of conservation of marine mammal populations remain in a favorable condition in conservation terms by monitoring cetacean populations, strengthening the scope of existing legislation with regard to certain fishing activities and to reduce pollution, regulating whale watching by tourists and improving the public’s access to information.

2000

The French Environment Ministry appoints the Port-Cros National Park to supervise the management of the French section of the Sanctuary.

2001

The Sanctuary is included on the list of SPAMIs (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance) as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity. This measure grants the Sanctuary recognition as a Marine Protected Area from the 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean. Key research areas for scientists to follow when exploring topics associated with managing the Sanctuary are set out.

October 11, 2001: Italian law n°391 is issued, with Clause 5 prohibiting high-speed vehicle racing in the Italian territorial waters of the Pelagos Sanctuary.

2002

The Tripartite Pelagos Agreement comes into effect on February 21, following ratification by the three countries (France, Italy, Principality of Monaco).

2003

1st Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Monaco. The three countries put together an international working group to supervise the expert in charge of designing a management plan that will form the reference document for management over the next three years.

2004

Second Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Elba, the Management Plan (French versionItalian version) is adopted. In anticipation of the gradual implementation of the management plan by all three countries, the French delegation changes its operational approach by restructuring its organization chart and, crucially, creating a National Sanctuary Committee that seeks to propose strategic targets and management priorities.

2005

1st Meeting of the National Sanctuary Committee (Ajaccio). The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the 1st Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area). The Sanctuary is represented in the working groups created by the Ramoge Agreement: ‘biodiversity’ and ‘understanding of the marine and coastal environment, monitoring and management of land-based pollution’.

2006

International coordination: the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement is put in place, consisting of an executive secretary and an assistant. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation creates a new team within the Port-Cros National Park. At the Third Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Porquerolles, the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) is given the task of looking into and formulating recommendations for the key themes of the management plan. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the Second Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS in Monaco.

2007

A new 2007-2009 research program is launched. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the Third Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS in Croatia. Third Meeting of the STC in Monaco, which explores how the jointly operated working groups function.

2008

January: the Permanent Secretariat officially sets up office in the Doge’s Palace in Genoa.

2009

At the Fourth Meeting of the Parties, the three countries approve France’s recommendation to create a Partnership Agreement between coastal communes and the Sanctuary.

2010

The first Partnership Agreements are signed with the riparian communes of the Sanctuary.

Temporary closure of the Permanent Secretariat to change the team and put administrative support in place.

2011

Publication in the Official Journal of the New Ministerial Decree, which makes intentional disturbance to marine mammals in French-controlled waters a punishable offence.

2012

The Sanctuary celebrates its tenth anniversary with an event held at the residence of the French Maritime Prefect for the Mediterranean, an opportunity to bring together the institutions, associations and professionals involved and take stock of the financial and human resources available.

2013

The new team for the Permanent Secretariat is appointed and its headquarters at the Doge’s Palace in Genoa reopened. The premises are provided by the Ligurian Region, and administrative support is given by the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA).

Fifth Meeting of the Contracting Parties (Rome, June 2013).

2015

Sixth Meeting of the Parties (Hyères -France-, 15th-16th of December 2015).

2017

Recruitment f the new international team of the Permanent Secretariat.

15th anniversary of the Pelagos Agreement.

Transfer of the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement in the Principality of Monaco. The headquarters Agreement between the Government of S.A.S. the Prince of Monaco, the Parties and the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement, signed on the third of April 2017, has entered into force on the second of May 2017. The premises are provided by the Principality of Monaco and the administrative support is given by the Centre scientifique de Monaco (CSM).

2018

Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties 03rd February 2018.

11th Scientific and Technical Committee (STC).

14 new municipalities have joined the Charter of Partnership.

Monaco Ocean Week, 07/05/2018, Exhibition about the threats cetaceans face, participation to the ACCOBAMS memorandum.