40 divers inspect mother-of-pearl in Villefranche-sur-Mer

More than 40 volunteer divers responded to the joint call made by RAMOGE, Villefranche-sur-Mer City Council and the Villefranche Sea Institute (IMEV) to carry out a census of the large mother-of-pearl (Pinna nobilis).

This protected species, emblematic of the Mediterranean Sea, is endangered by human activities and in particular anchors to repetition. The area that was chosen, in the area known as “Rochambeau” west of the harbor of Villefranche-sur-Mer, is heavily impacted by the fairground anchorage. The City Council has decided to carry out specific arrangements soon that will prohibit anchorage outside the fixed mooring buoys.

Pic: Mother-of-Pearl Diver - Various Volunteers of the Great Mother-of-Pearl Census operation © DR
Pic: Mother-of-Pearl Diver – Various Volunteers of the Great Mother-of-Pearl Census operation © DR

On the basis of the data collected, the results were very positive: 85.2% of the 1,045 Pinna nobilis recorded are alive. Nearly 400 of them measure between 30 and 40 cm and more than 250 display a size beyond 40 cm. However, about sixty broken shells, probably by the anchor of the boats, were also observed. The collection of this information makes it possible to establish the initial state before the protective measures.

The organizers thank all the volunteer divers, members of the associations Nausicaa-diving-Villefranche , Villefranche au Coeur , NaturDive and Rand’Eau Evasion , as well as Mr. Jean De Vaugelas, scientific expert of this bivalve, present during the operation.

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