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RAMOGE returns to the Sea to explore the coastal abysses.

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

For some years an international partnership has been binding some countries to preserve the marine ecosystems in one of the most interesting areas of the Mediterranean Basin. Founded in 1976 in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco, RAMOGE is an intergovernmental cooperation agreement which gathers France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco for the preservation of the marine environment. Since then, RAMOGE’s teamwork, made of territorial administrations, scientific institutions, and sea users, has been committed to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity, raise eco-awareness and boost best practices as well as reinforce the fight against marine pollution. Under the umbrella of the multifunctional scientific activity, RAMOGE Agreement has just announced its third deep-sea exploration campaign that is going to be launched. French, Italian and Monegasque scientists are ready to set sail on board of Astrea, a research vessel by ISPRA, the Italian Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Technical Research which plays as the body of the Ministry of Ecological Transition (Ministero della Transizione Ecologica). The scientific mission, scheduled from the 7th until the 11th September 2022 will mark an important stage in the exploration of the Mediterranean coastline.

Photo >> 'Astrea', the scientific vessel by ISPRA which will be used in 2022 RAMOGE's explorations - © RAMOGE

Thanks to the technological devices on the ship, the explorers will be able to plunge in five deep coastal sites, previously identified. In particular, a Multibeam ROV sonar and positioning systems will go up to 1,000 meters deep. The starting step is off Savona’s seawaters within the Bergeggi’s nature reserve, the perfect place for coral to grow. It will then move to the marine canyons close to Bordighera where Gorgonians, Antipatarians and Yellow Corals flourish. Monaco’s will be the next stop. On the 9th September, Astrea will explore Larvotto’s deep submarine rocks, an area of great interest for its underwater richness full of Gorgonians and Sea Sponges. The scientific mission will finally continue in Cap Ferrat’s underwater canyons, Antibes’s bay and Lérins Islands. This is a unique opportunity to carry out a supervision of different habitats subject to the anthropic impact (anchoring) a few time after the previous seabed inspection (7 years ago).

Photo >> Scuba Divers and corals - ©

The main mission of the project is to make an inventory of natural elements with the aim at dressing the conservation status of deep environments. All data will be processed live within the expedition to increase the knowledge of marine sites still little explored. All this will also allow to prepare adequate measures for their preservation. The work done so far has already identified 65 areas of specific interest comprised in the RAMOGE’s exploration plan under the Convention on Biological Diversity which defined in 2014 areas of ecological or biological importance. Consequently, the inventory process has been established and fueled through international cooperation able to make periodic checks (2015 and 2018).

Photo >> The Multibeam ROV sonar and positioning systems is put into the sea - © RAMOGE

The 2022 exploration campaign aims to achieve significant results in a newfound normality mood after the long period of health emergency. The rendezvous is also vital to ensure a healthy natural environment, an essential element for human health. Stay tuned for the follow up. ***

Photo >> A commemorative stamp celebrating the RAMOGE Agreement.

Where does the name ‘RAMOGE’ come from?

RA.MO.GE. is the acronym that identifies three renowned locations in the northern Mediterranean: Saint RAphael, MOnaco and GEnova. This was one of the international agreements aimed at ensuring environmental protection and pollution prevention in a certain sea area. On May the 10th , 1976, the RAMOGE Agreement was signed by France, Italy and Monaco at the Grimaldi Palace in Monaco Ville, by the will of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Entered into force in 1981, it has gradually expanded territorial competence, including the coastal strip from the mouth of the Rhône (Marseille) up to the mouth of the river Magra (La Spezia), and expanding its influence to the high seas. Constant marine patrolling is granted by naval fleets provided by the three signatory countries plus Spain.

Photo >> A group of dolphins - ©

Pelagos Sanctuary: the sanctuary of Med cetaceans.

Signed in Rome in 1999 among France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco, the Pelagos Agreementencouraged the creation of a targeted marine mammals protection area, the Pelagos Sanctuary. The main idea is to create a proactive cooperation to ensure liveable conditions for cetaceans who flock in a particularly marine area of 87,500 km², from the coasts of Tuscany to Southern France including north of Sardinia and the whole Corsica. Preservation programmes aims at reducing any source of disturbance, notably: pollution, noise, accidental capture or injury and other human activities. The current network counts on the contribution of research centres, universities, non-governmental organizations and professionals operating both at national and international level. The Pelagos Sanctuary incorporates coastal areas and international waters that arouse interest from different perspectives.***

To know more about the RAMOGE Agreement please visit: RAMOGE

To know more about Pelagos Sanctuary please visit: PELAGOS



By Maurice Abbati

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