Date

Event

1986

Scientists (the Tethys Institute, universities), NGOs (SOS Grand Bleu, Greenpeace) and local elected officials speak out against driftnets and the accidental capture of cetaceans in the Corso-Ligurian Basin.

1990

The Italian government issues Decree 18/07/90, which creates a zona di tutela biologica [Area of Biological Protection] and prohibits Italian fishermen from using driftnets in the high seas as well as in the Italian, French and Monegasque territorial waters in the Ligurian Sea.

1991

Based on expert contributions from the Tethys Institute, the Environmental Branch of the European Association of Rotary Clubs, with the support of the Rotary Clubs of Saint-Tropez, Monaco and Milan as well as numerous other groups, including the WWF’s Mediterranean branch, presents the ‘Pelagos Project’, which aims to create a biosphere reserve in the Corso-Ligurian Basin, managed by an international authority based in Monaco and responsible for the sustainable management of its natural resources.

Cetacean deaths caused by driftnets attract specialist attention and public opinion.

Decrees issued by the Italian government on May 22,1991 and on June 19,1991, prohibiting the use of almost all driftnets from the Ligurian Basin, come into effect.

1992

Governmental authorities from France, Italy and Monaco announce the creation of a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals.

At the first RIMMO [International Marine Reserve for the Western Mediterranean] conference, the creation of a joint ecological protection area, covering all countries bordering the western Mediterranean, is recommended. RIMMO goes on to organize annual meetings that look into how to protect biodiversity in the international waters of the western Mediterranean.

1993

Brussels, November 1993: France and Italy’s Environment Ministers and the Principality of Monaco’s Ministry of State sign a joint declaration to create a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals, also referred to as the Corso-Liguro-Provençal Sanctuary. The declaration is accompanied by a document showing the scientific basis of the declaration, which specifies that:

  • any direct capture or intentional disturbance of marine mammals will be prohibited, research activities and whale watching that may cause disturbance will be regulated;

  • the use of large pelagic driftnets will be prohibited;

  • high-speed vehicle competitions will be limited and banned in the long term;

  • a special effort will be made with regard to management in order to minimize pollution that is harmful to cetaceans.

1994

The IUCN’s General Assembly issues Recommendation 19.92 for the Establishment of a Sanctuary for small and large marine mammals in the Ligurian Sea in the western Mediterranean.

As part of the Barcelona Convention, a new Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity is drafted, inspired by the work of the Sanctuary in relation to the creation of high seas protected areas.

1995

A number of groups from the three countries recommend that the Sanctuary be included on the list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs) created as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean.

The IUCN mentions the Sanctuary as part of its Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans.

As part of its Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (effective as of December 12, 1999), the Barcelona Convention establishes the legal framework for creating high seas specially protected areas and creates a list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI).

1996

Under the aegis of the Bonn Convention, the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) is signed(agreed in 1995 and effective as of 2001).

1999

Negotiations relating to an Agreement concerning the creation of a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals are renewed in Rome and Paris.

Rome: France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco sign an Agreement related to the creation of a Sanctuary for marine mammals in the Mediterranean Sea ( pdf French version and pdf Italian version ) and issue a ministerial declaration. The text of the Agreement is officially registered in the Principality of Monaco. Part of the Tyrrhenian Sea is added to the area proposed in 1993. The Sanctuary covers a total area of 87,500 sq. km. The aim of the Agreement is to ensure the proper state of conservation of marine mammal populations remain in a favorable condition in conservation terms by monitoring cetacean populations, strengthening the scope of existing legislation with regard to certain fishing activities and to reduce pollution, regulating whale watching by tourists and improving the public’s access to information.

2000

The French Environment Ministry appoints the Port-Cros National Park to supervise the management of the French section of the Sanctuary.

2001

The Sanctuary is included on the list of SPAMIs (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance) as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity. This measure grants the Sanctuary recognition as a Marine Protected Area from the 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean. Key research areas for scientists to follow when exploring topics associated with managing the Sanctuary are set out.

October 11, 2001: Italian law n°391 is issued, with Clause 5 prohibiting high-speed vehicle racing in the Italian territorial waters of the Pelagos Sanctuary.

2002

The Tripartite Pelagos Agreement comes into effect on February 21, following ratification by the three countries (France, Italy, Principality of Monaco).

2003

1st Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Monaco. The three countries put together an international working group to supervise the expert in charge of designing a management plan that will form the reference document for management over the next three years.

2004

Second Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Elba, the Management Plan ( pdf French version pdf Italian version ) is adopted. In anticipation of the gradual implementation of the management plan by all three countries, the French delegation changes its operational approach by restructuring its organization chart and, crucially, creating a National Sanctuary Committee that seeks to propose strategic targets and management priorities.

2005

1st Meeting of the National Sanctuary Committee (Ajaccio). The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the 1st Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area). The Sanctuary is represented in the working groups created by the Ramoge Agreement: ‘biodiversity’ and ‘understanding of the marine and coastal environment, monitoring and management of land-based pollution’.

2006

International coordination: the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement is put in place, consisting of an executive secretary and an assistant. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation creates a new team within the Port-Cros National Park. At the Third Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Pelagos Agreement in Porquerolles, the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) is given the task of looking into and formulating recommendations for the key themes of the management plan. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the Second Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS in Monaco.

2007

A new 2007-2009 research program is launched. The Pelagos Sanctuary’s French delegation takes part in the Third Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS in Croatia. Third Meeting of the STC in Monaco, which explores how the jointly operated working groups function.

2008

January: the Permanent Secretariat officially sets up office in the Doge’s Palace in Genoa.

2009

At the Fourth Meeting of the Parties, the three countries approve France’s recommendation to create a Partnership Agreement between coastal communes and the Sanctuary.

2010

The first Partnership Agreements are signed with the riparian communes of the Sanctuary.

Temporary closure of the Permanent Secretariat to change the team and put administrative support in place.

2011

Publication in the Official Journal of the New Ministerial Decree, which makes intentional disturbance to marine mammals in French-controlled waters a punishable offence.

2012

The Sanctuary celebrates its tenth anniversary with an event held at the residence of the French Maritime Prefect for the Mediterranean, an opportunity to bring together the institutions, associations and professionals involved and take stock of the financial and human resources available.

2013

The new team for the Permanent Secretariat is appointed and its headquarters at the Doge’s Palace in Genoa reopened. The premises are provided by the Ligurian Region, and administrative support is given by the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA).

Fifth Meeting of the Contracting Parties (Rome, June 2013).

2015

Sixth Meeting of the Parties (Hyères -France-, 15th-16th of December 2015).

2017

Recruitment f the new international team of the Permanent Secretariat.

15th anniversary of the Pelagos Agreement.

Transfer of the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement in the Principality of Monaco. The headquarters Agreement between the Government of S.A.S. the Prince of Monaco, the Parties and the Permanent Secretariat of the Pelagos Agreement, signed on the third of April 2017, has entered into force on the second of May 2017. The premises are provided by the Principality of Monaco and the administrative support is given by the Centre scientifique de Monaco (CSM).