In brief

How is Monaco protecting the large mother of pearl in the Mediterranean?


Plagued by infectious diseases, large mother of pearl is now at risk of extinction. In response to declining numbers, the Principality of Monaco has committed to new conservation projects.


A few years ago in the Larvotto reserve, a marine protected area just northeast of Monte-Carlo, more than 1000 large mother of pearl could be found. However since then, their population has considerably fallen. Due to their ability to filter water, large mother of pearl, which is one of the largest molluscs in the world, plays a vital role in the marine ecosystem.

Large mother of pearl on verge of extinction

Faced with a declining population, Monaco’s institutions are investing in conservation efforts as part of their mission to protect the environment. As a result of their collaboration, The MonĂ©gasque Centre for the Care of Marine Species (CMSEM), which forms part of the Oceanographic Museum, was established in 2019. Despite the Principality’s best efforts, they have not seen any rise in the population. Over the past two years many different projects have been launched, but the large mother-of-pearl is still endangered.

Monaco’s new diving campaign

On Wednesday 10 February, divers will be called upon to help out with the latest conservation project. The biggest diving centres in the Principality will send members into the Mediterranean to observe the young mother of pearls. From mid-February to April, the sea grass known as Posidonia will still be quite short, meaning diving conditions will be optimal. Over the course of three months, data will be collected and sent to the Department of the Environment for analysis. It is hoped this will give a clearer picture of the current population of this beatiful species.

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