The Monegasque Association for the Protection of Nature

 May 28, 2018

Artificial reef
Artificial reef / Photo:



The Monegasque Association for the Protection of Nature is organising a lecture on artificial reefs at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco: “Artificial Reefs – Modern Visions of a Centuries-Old Concept.”

The first artificial reefs date from the 17th century and were installed underwater in Japan, the undisputed leader in this field.

Currently, they are used worldwide to conserve, restore and improve coastal ecosystems and associated ecological services. Defined simply as submerged structures, which are deliberately placed on the seabed, they aim to mimic certain characteristics of natural rocky reefs. In the Mediterranean, they were first submerged in the 20th century, but their use only increased significantly after the year 2000. In Monaco, the first artificial reefs were associated with the creation of the Larvotto marine protected area forty or so years ago. In France and Monaco, artificial reefs are above all tools to support small-scale fisheries or restore degraded seabeds. They usually have quite a simple shape; they are not complex architecturally and are mainly made of concrete.

The recent trend for artificial reefs has been motivated mainly by the level of degradation in coastal areas and a wish to find solutions to remedy it – but how can this ancient concept, using concrete reefs, evolve in an attempt to meet these challenges?

Recent technological advances have led to the design of far more complex artificial reefs, through 3D printing. The use of natural materials, mainly Dolomite sand, also makes it possible to offer eco-friendly reefs. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Monegasque Association for the Protection of Nature, the Boskalis company and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, six 3D printed reefs were installed underwater in November 2017 in the Larvotto MPA – a first in the Mediterranean and at the worldwide level with regard to the size of the reefs. The research initiated in Monaco prior to this project with international scientific teams is both original and innovative and will enable us to advance our knowledge in the field of artificial reefs, both in terms of management (how to set up a relevant artificial reef immersion programme) and in scientific terms (the type of designs and materials).

The lecture will be presented by Professor Patrice Francour, Deputy Director of the ECOMERS laboratory (Nice Sophia Antipolis University, CNRS) and former president of the Récifs Prado scientific council.

Lecture entitled “Les récifs artificiels, visions modernes d’un concept vieux de plusieurs siècles” (“Artificial Reefs – Modern Visions of a Centuries-Old Concept”)
Wednesday 20 June 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Registration on line at:

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