How to best manage moorings? Feedback from the field
After a positive first season, BlueMooring keeps on adapting and pursuing its mission: a better management of the mooring areas.
BlueMooring.org is BlueSeeds’s mooring management platform built by and for mooring zone managers in protected or vulnerable marine areas.Its main objectives are to reinforce the capabilities of managers to manage their mooring zones, raise awareness of boaters and facilitate the collection of mooring fees. Following the test phase, BlueSeeds aims to scale up this initiative to promote eco-friendly boating for boaters and thus preserve the endangered bottom habitat: Posidonia meadows while increasing revenue for conservation activities.
The BlueMooring project was initiated by a study carried out by BlueSeeds on the relevance of creating an online booking system and an automatic mooring fee collection for the marine protected areas in the Mediterranean region. The study highlighted that a majority of MPAs having deployed moorings to protect the Posidonia Oceanica meadows from anchors lose up to more than 50% of the entrance fees due to the involvement of important human resources in moorings management, and this, at the expense of conservation activities.
In 2021, BlueSeeds started working on a platform that enables protected area managers to effectively manage their mooring zones, collect mooring fees and communicate more easily with visitors. This platform is coupled with a web application for boaters and ecotourism professionals to book moorings and discover the conservation actions carried out on the site.
In the framework of the Blue Incubator (blue entrepreneurship development in Mediterranean MPAs project funded by the MAVA Foundation) BlueSeeds launched a call for interest to MPA managers willing to co-construct the beta version of the tool.
We collaborated with 2 selected sites who shared with us their difficulty to collect data on visits and report data to higher authorities, and the difficulty they face to communicate crucial information with visitors such as restrictions, conduct, and navigation rules on the area:
-The SyMEL (Syndicat Mixte Espaces Littoraux de la Manche) - in charge of managing protected coastal sites in the French Manche department – for the management of mooring zones in the Chausey archipelago.
-The SINIS Marine Protected Area, in Sardinia as part of the MEDSEAGRASS project.
In June 2021, the first version of the BlueMooring platform is officially launched. It enables MPA managers to manage the use of eco-moorings by boaters in real-time. They can easily monitor and report visits, via a dashboard that helps them visualize occupancy of mooring zones and access to real-time booking details.
Communication with visitors is made easier: managers can share current regulations and raise awareness on their conservation actions. An option to collect mooring fees allows managers to generate income to finance maintenance and marine conservation activities within the MPA.
In October 2021, Bluemooring has been identified as providing practical solutions for eco-mooring management in the Med and was presented to French mooring managers during the Mediterranean Mooring Forum in Marseille.
Since the end of 2021, BlueSeeds has been developing new features, such as the management of moorings dedicated to ecotourism professionals (such as diving clubs) and monitoring their activities in the area; a special interface for ecotourism professionals with access to their activity history and the option to report field observations directly to the site manager; and optimized buoy maintenance with a notification system.
Now that BlueMooring confirmed its proof of concept within the 2 pilot sites, the main objective is to implement this replicable initiative on other marine areas. The combined added values for managers in terms of data collection, timesaving and raising awareness among boaters and the flexibility offered by a tool adaptable to any existing mooring zone are certainly the key of success for BlueMooring.