anchoring in posidonia meadow

These billionaires' yachts are committing ecocide in the Mediterranean...

At the bottom of the water, in a cloud of grey particles, an anchor is ploughing dozens of metres of Posidonia, a hundred thousand year old marine plant, a refuge for dozens of aquatic species. In about thirty seconds, hundreds of years of underwater life go up in smoke. The culprit of this massacre is known; it is exhibited in all its glow in the blue waters for all to see: the billionaire's super-yacht.
Ahe Cannes Film Festival is the climbing of the steps in the crackling of the flashes, the already stars or almost starlets showing off on the Croisette, the timeless palaces, the sun, the Mediterranean. But it is also, in the sunny landscape of the French Riviera, hundreds of yachts displaying themselves, at anchor, to the eyes of the bewildered passers-by. Not small boats, not colourful pointy ones or Sunday sailing boats. No, we're talking about yachts, even super-yachts several dozen metres long. Billionaires' boats that engage in a furious battle of egos in blue waters. The biggest, the highest, the most gleaming, with helicopter on deck and an armada of jet skis in the holds. Boats anchored a few dozen metres from the beach, for swimming and sunbathing by a handful of oligarchs.
This landscape can be found everywhere on the Mediterranean coasts: in the Bay of Biscay, in Corsica, in Capri, in Tuscany, in the Balearic Islands, in Greece... The most beautiful landscapes are the most coveted and attract most of what the yachting world produces in the largest and most expensive. A madly growing market that is not in crisis. On counted 2,919 boats over 30 metres in 2004. There are nearly 6,000 today. More than 280 yachts are delivered each year, increasing the fleet of ever larger and more numerous boats, 78 of which % are concentrated, in summer, in the Mediterranean, and are engaged in a veritable massacre of its seabed.

Characterized ecocide

We are not talking about pollution, oil spills or waste. These are other subjects, no less serious. We are talking here about a savage extermination which is taking place under the sea, in the Posidonia meadows, ploughed, torn, torn, torn up, murdered by the anchors of these ceremonial ships.
For, by dropping anchor in the Posidonia meadows, yachts ravage with impunity this unique natural environment that lines the Mediterranean seabed, between the surface and 40 metres deep.
Posidonia forms vast underwater herbariums visible from space and is one of the few flowering plants to have colonized the marine world. These plant formations are more than one hundred thousand years old, making them one of the oldest living organisms on our planet. It has been listed as a protected species for some thirty years.
Home to a plethora of animal species, these endemic plants with long green leaves are an ecological treasure, comparable according to scientists to coral reefs or tropical forests. « Once destroyed, the herbarium does not replenish itself... ", Pierre Boissery, who is in charge of the dossier at the Marseille Water Agency, told AFP. This aquatic plant, one of the most fragile species, grows only a few centimetres a year and flowers only a few times a decade. The "mat" it forms at a depth of several metres provides shelter for baby fish, captures carbon and produces oxygen, and its leaves limit erosion caused by waves. Without it, the entire Mediterranean marine ecosystem would be disrupted.
Posidonia, " it's the forest of the Mediterranean, and anchoring yachts is like passing bulldozers in the middle of it. ", says Marc Verlaque, a researcher at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology at Aix-Marseille University. Boaters " want to anchor in the most beautiful corners of the world. It's very nice on the surface " but underneath it all is " a disaster ", he denounces.
In addition to the impact of the anchor, the chain of a yacht, which can be up to 200 metres long, ploughs the seabed depending on the winds and the movement of the ship. « This is a shameful ecological disaster in the Mediterranean. "Florian Houlon, from Andromeda Océanologie, is alarmed, citing for example a regression of 30 % in five years in Posidonia meadows in the Gulf of Antibes.

What are the police doing?

The authorities have decided to take up the subject, and are preparing to supervise the mooring of boats over 24 metres. « All anchorages have an impact on Posidonia, but there is a real threshold to determine "Stanislas Gentien, spokesman for the Mediterranean maritime prefecture, told AFP.
After an "educational phase", no anchorage zones will be determined department by department, and should come into force in the summer of 2020. In order to ensure that the ban is respected by skippers and their often very wealthy clients, a penalty of up to a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros is planned.
In the majority of cases, boats can anchor next to the herbarium. without reducing the number of visitors to the sites," says Pierre Boissery. More fixed anchorage points could be created, which would be the key to economic activity. In order to achieve " one of the most protective regulations of the Mediterranean coast "However, it calls for vigilance on the local implementation of the new rules.
A startling video as evidence of this ecocide characterized:

Source: AFP

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