projet olpac-med
© Agence de l'eau RMC


The Permanent Center for Environmental Initiatives (CPIE) Côte Provençale has developed in 2011, in partnership with the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica Water Agency, a citizen observatory called MedObs-sub coordinated on the French Mediterranean coast. This monitoring system has several objectives : to ensure a collective monitoring of the ecological status of coastal waters in the French Mediterranean and to characterize the underwater environment by involving fishermen and recreational divers in the observations of specific events (pollution, biodiversity, conflicts of use) and inventories. The monitoring of the environment is also carried out through a landscape index specifically adapted to divers. It is based on aesthetic criteria (general beauty of the site, diversity of colors), physical criteria (rocky bottoms, caves, underwater meadows), biological criteria (diversity of species, fish in the water, emblematic species) and degradation criteria (macro-waste, siltation, filamentous algae), with a rating ranging from 0 to 4

OLPAC MED is supported by the Aqua Passion association. It associates professional fishermen who, during their sea trips, observe and note specific events concerning biodiversity, marine pollution or exotic species. This regular and numerous information is used to alert on the appearance of particular phenomena such as the appearance of filamentous algae or abnormal fish mortality. They also represent a real vector of awareness, original and dynamic, by associating the “general public” to the action of scientists and managers of natural marine areas. They thus promote the sharing of information by users for other users but also for all the stakeholders of the territory. OLPAC MED is an active contribution of marine professionals concerned about the future of their territory and their work tools and aware of the need to share, exchange and be part of a collaborative dynamic to characterize the state of health of the Mediterranean.

The MedObs-Sub observatory is based on voluntary citizen participation in two distinct approaches. First, the characterization of underwater landscapes by volunteer divers through the application of a “landscape index” (main objective of this citizen observatory). This index allows the interpretation of information on the topology of the seabed, the fauna, the flora and the populations. On the basis of the feedback, a value is assigned for the physical, biological and degradation criteria of the dive site (rating system). On the other hand, opportunistic observations can be made by divers and recreational fishermen. They concern biodiversity and exotic species, pollution and uses at sea.

The observations carried out within the framework of OLPAC-Med are made on the surface by professional fishermen and underwater by scuba divers. The data collected concern :

the state of health of the seabed and ecosystems : benthic population, fish population, remarkable species

– the appearance of invasive and exotic species

– the observation of the pressures present on the water : professional and leisure activities, degassing, macro-waste

These observatories will no longer be updated, they do not operate since 2017.

Contact : Cathy-Anna VALENTINI (CathyAnna.VALENTINIPOIRIER@eaurmc.fr)

Project Leader : Agence de l’eau Rhône-Méditerranée et Corse   –  https://www.eaurmc.fr

Association Aqua Passion (Observatoire OLPAC-Med)


Partners : Rhone Mediterranean and Corsica Water Agency