Six artificial reefs printed with a giant 3D-printer using natural products (sand of Dolomite and volcanic ash) have been immersed on November 02 in the Larvotto marine protected area in Monaco. This is a first in the Mediterranean and worldwide by the size of printed reefs ( 2,500 kilos each). This innovative project is supported by the Boskalis Company and the ECOMERS laboratory with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and in partnership with the Association Monégasque pour la Protection de la Nature (Manager of Marine Protected Areas of Monaco).

Slide 1 3D
The use of a 3D printer allow to mimic the complexity of the natural environment and can therefore facilitate the restoration of ecosystems by creating suitable habitats for fish and macroinvertebrates.
Significant studies have been carried out by Boskalis to design a material that meets several requirements: water resistance, strength, compatibility with 3D printing technology and above all a lack of harmful effect on the environment.
In parallel, research programs were launched in our laboratory by Patrice Francour and Elisabeth Riera to select the most favourable substrates for subsequent colonization by fauna and flora or to develop a method for accurately measuring the structural complexity of artificial reefs.
Long-term monitoring of the reefs immersed in the Larvotto Marine Protected Area will be rapidly implemented (ECOMERS and AMPN) to follow the colonization of the reefs. In the heart of the Larvotto Marine Protected Area, a natural laboratory for scientists, this program will also promote the development of innovative methods of monitoring. The experience gained can thus be put at the service of marine protected area managers who would like to optimize the restoration of degraded land by human activities.

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Read more: Immersion of 3D artificial reefs in Monaco

Taking advantage of the sampling campaign in Croatia, conducted within the project FishMPABlue 2, Ecomers researchers participated to a meeting with local small scale fishermen. The more appropriate governance tools to enhance management of small scale fisheries in the MPAs have been discussed together. In collaboration with international experts (Nathan Bennett, David Gill, Federico Niccolini), Ecomers developed a questionnaire in order to investigate the human dimension of small scale fisheries in the 11 Mediterranean MPAs included in the project.


In the framework of the Med Project FishMPABlue 2 Ecomers lab, together with Conisma (Italy), started in June a sampling campaign covering 11 Mediterranean MPAs: Cap Roux, Cote Bleue, Bonifacio (France), Torre Guaceto, Egadi, Portofino (Italy), Es Freus, Cabo de Palos (Spain), Telascica (Croatia) and Strunjan (Slovenia).

During the campaign, lasting 3 months, researchers from the two institutions carried out underwater visual census, diver operated videos (DOV), baited underwater videos (BUV) and squid-pop to investigate the ecological effectiveness of the 11 MPAs, by comparing fish density, biomass and predation intensity between MPAs and control sites.


In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as from 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day” (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171).  Many countries have celebrated World Oceans Day following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate. They are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income and serve as the backbone of international trade.

Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

Peace and security are also critical to the full enjoyment of the benefits that can be derived from the oceans and for their sustainable development. As has been remarked by the Secretary-General: “There will be no development without security and no security without development.” To know more

This year’s theme for the Day is “Our oceans, our future” and is connected to the Ocean Conference taking place from 5 to 9 June at United Nations headquarters in New York, where ECOMERS is represented as a part of the French delegation.

To know more about the Ocean Conference

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The Booklet entitled "The Science of Marine Protected Areas - Mediterranean Sea" summarizes data from Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the world, with a particular emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea. MPAs can be a powerful tool to protect, and possibly restore, the ability of ecosystems to provide benefits (food, oxygen, economic opportunities, recreation, and cultural value, etc.). Globally, there is more than one thousand of MPAs in the Mediterranean, although their collective area, especially for no-take zones, is small. What have we learned from MPAs? The science shows that fully protected, well-designed, well-managed, and well-enforced MPAs can support ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, and, on the other hand, the economy and the culture of the Mediterranean region.


Explore the booklet: English version    French version

Read more: PISCO: Booklets available in English and French