The Cerbère-Banyuls marine reserve extends along the coastline of the municipalities of Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cerbère over 7 km of coastal line from Grosse Island (Banyuls-sur-Mer) to Cap de Peyrefite (Cerbère). Entirely located on the Public Maritime Domain, its maximum extension to the sea is 2.4 km. Région de l’Occitanie, Département des Pyrenées-Orientales.
The coast of Albères is formed of metamorphized primary rocks, very resistant to marine erosion. Within the Cerbère-Banyuls Marine Nature Reserve, they form three large capes (cape Abeille, cape Peyrefite and cape Rédéris). The main coves are made up of more or less large pebbles and boulders resulting from the erosion of the cliffs. The area of Banyuls-sur-Mer has a continental shelf that shrinks considerably, with a larger slope. Under water, the bedrock (solid rock or block rock) meets up to 30 meters depth.
The Cerbère-Banyuls marine reserve presents special and unusual conditions in the Mediterranean that influence the presence of habitats and species that live there. The presence of Posidonia meadows with 62 species living within were surveyed in 2001, including the seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus) and the Mediterranean Noble Pen Shell (Pinna nobilis). Currents shape highly diversified underwater landscape within more homogeneous ecological units resulting from the erosion of cliffs, and shaping suitable cavities for most common fish species. Highly appreciated by divers, the underwater landscapes are characterized by white gorgons, many species of sponges as well as bryozoans. The underwater extension of the capes is carried out with the corals which begins around 20 m. This habitat shelters more than 500 species of invertebrates such as red coral, white and red gorgons, sea urchins, as well as many sponges. It offers a multitude of cracks and cavities that the lobster, the forkbeard, the brown meagre, and especially the dusky grouper, emblematic species of the reserve.
Given the originality of its landscapes and underwater, the reserve attracts a large number of users of recreational water activities. Scuba diving is the most common activity in the Reserve (nearly 30,000 divers). Water hiking is an activity that is increasing in the reserve (close to 25,000 people). Other activities include professional fishing, recreational fishing, kayaking, and swimming-related activities. Other threats include pollution from sewage or sediment that affects the quality of the reserve’s water.
In the marine reserve, the hard reef substrates represent 135 hectares or nearly 22% of the area. In the midshore part, Lithophyllum byssoides presents over 1300 meters of coastal linear. In the sub-coastal area with photophilic algae, boulders and massive rocks represent a surface of 75 hectares. Posidonia oceanica meadows are also spread on about 23 hectares (4% of the area). In the circalittoral stage, Coralligenous communities covers an area of 56 hectares. Some underwater caves hide the biocenosis of the semi-obscure caves. In terms of marine fauna, the most represented groups are arthropods (177 species), annelids (314 species), molluscs (162 species), sponges (147 species), and fish (126 species). The sub-coastal rock has a population of fish that is particularly rich, of commercial interest but also of priorities in the management of the reserve (brown meagre, dusky groupers, seabreams, etc.). Large facies with white gorgonians (Eunicella singularis) and red gorgonians (Paramurciea clavata) were also recorded. Regarding seabirds, 5 species are observed occasionally in the perimeter of the Reserve: Alca torda, Puffinus puffinus mauretanicus, Puffinus yelkouan, Rissa tridactyla, Sterna sandvicensis.
Réserve Naturelle Marine de Cerbère-Banyuls, Frédérique Cadene, email@example.com
The reserve has 2 levels of protection: a protected area corresponding to the largest area of the area, close to 600 hectares where most activities are regulated and an enhanced protection area of 65 hectares where all human activities are prohibited. The reserve’s last management plan (2015-2019) identified the following 4 issues: conservation of natural heritage, knowledge of natural heritage and environmental change, knowledge of the uses and monitoring of the site and the issues related to public reception and environmental awareness and education actions.
The Cerbère-Banyuls marine reserve is located in the south of France, in the western part of the Gulf of Leo, on the edge of the rocky coast of the department of the Eastern Pyrenees. It is located 35 km south of Perpignan and 2 km north of the border with Spain.