Divers inspect mother-of-pearl in Villefranche-sur-Mer

Volunteers of the Great Mother-of-Pearl Census operation © DR
More than 40 divers voluntarily responded to the joint call made by RAMOGE, Villefranche-sur-Mer City Council and the Villefranche Sea Institute (IMEV). The call was made so as 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 harbour of Villefranche-sur-Mer, is heavily impacted by the fairground anchorage.

The City Council has decided to carry out specific arrangements. This will soon prohibit anchorage outside the fixed mooring buoys.

The results were very positive, as per the basis of the data collected: 85.2% of the 1,045 Pinna Nobilis recorded are alive. Out of which, 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 observed as well. The collection of this information makes it possible to establish the initial state before protective measures are taken.

The organizers thanked all the volunteer divers, members of the associations Nausicaa-diving-Villefranche, Villefranche au Coeur, NaturDive and Rand’Eau Evasion. Not to forget Mr Jean De Vaugelas, scientific expert of this bivalve, present during the operation.