Regulatory offensive on shipping in the Mediterranean

Yachts at anchor and semi-rigid in Cannes

Taxes, berthage restrictions... New regulations are flourishing in the Mediterranean, affecting both boaters and professionals, from yachts to general public pleasure craft. A difficult balance between free navigation and the protection of the marine ecosystem.

Mooring restrictions in the Mediterranean Sea

The protection of Posidonia meadows in the Mediterranean is an ancient subject. These algae, threatened by the raging of chains and anchors, have been the subject of concern for many years. In summer, some bays on the French Riviera are covered with yachts at anchor, resulting in the destruction of the surrounding underwater flora. To deal with the situation, departmental decrees should be promulgated to prohibit yachts between 24 and 45 metres long from anchoring on the most fragile bottoms. These decisions are not new, but were previously the result of local choices. To avoid an excessive economic loss for the local tourism industry, investments will be necessary, such as the installation of corps-morts and buoys for large units, as is already the case with the project in Ajaccio.

Port-Cros Nature Reserve

Taxes on pleasure boating in Greece

Regulatory changes are not limited to France. Greece has made a more radical choice to relieve its anchorages. Since 18 May 2019, a tax has been applied to all recreational craft over 7 metres in Greek waters, regardless of their flag. Announced as immediate in November 2018, its application has been postponed until spring. Calculated on a monthly basis and payable online, it ranges from 16 to 33 euros up to 12 meters and then 8 euros per meter beyond. Fines for non-payment may be up to ?1,100.

Between economy and ecology

The Greek and French strategies are emblematic of the problem faced by shipping in the Mediterranean. The density of boats, luxury yachts or rental sailboats, imposes pressure on the environment that must be regulated. Between prohibition and taxation, the choice can be difficult and raises the question of the discrimination of the yachtsman by the portfolio and the free access to navigation. After the failure of the experiment in Sardinia a few years ago, these new attempts will have to be followed.

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