General presentation of the strait
The Corsica Channel (French: Canal de Corse; Italian: Canale di Corsica) is the stretch of water that separates the Corsica Island (in France) from the Elba Island (Tuscany Region in Italy). It is about 50 miles (80 km) wide and divides the Ligurian Sea from the Tyrrhenian one and the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Corsica one.
Description of the strait
The Corsica Channel links the East coast of Corsica Island and the West coast of Italy (Tuscany Region – Province of Livorno). These maritime areas are characterised by an economy mainly based on the tertiary sector, with an important role played by the transports (logistics of goods and passengers) and the tourism. In the Corsica Channel there are three main ports : Livorno and Piombino, for the Italian side, and Bastia, for the French one. These ports occupies a significant position at local, national and European level because of their flows of goods and people (both ferries’ passengers and cruises’ ones). Another sector strictly connected with maritime transport and impacting on the economic development is tourism. Because of the sea, the Italian and French sides of the Corsica Channel are frequently destination of national and European people in summer season. Livorno is one of the main Italian provinces for influx of tourists: just considering their presence, it is the second largest province in Tuscany Region below Florence. Tourist flows have affected about one-third of the Elba Island and the remaining two-thirds of the Tyrrhenian coast but only marginally the provincial capital, where there are major infrastructure and industrial sites. The same happens to the Corsica Island: the region welcomes about 3 millions of tourists every year moving from Bastia airport or port to the other cities and beaches of the island.
Cross-boundary cooperation in the strait
In the framework of the Cross Border Cooperation Programme “Italy-France Maritime 2007/2013” the local public bodies has worked together to implement joint projects to support economic development in the area of cooperation. In particular the Chambers of Commerce, representing the local entrepreneurship systems, have developed a deep cooperation to encourage the growth. In 2016 the Chamber of Commerce of Maremma and Tirreno, for the Italian side, and the Chamber of Commerce of Bastia and Haute Corse, for the French side, have strengthen their collaboration signing a Memorandum of Understanding: this agreement engages the bodies pointing to the Corsica Channel to plan and implement actions to contribute to cross-border maritime development.
Shown below some cross-border projects (funded by past and current CBC programme) involving the Italian and Corsican side of the Channel:
Main environmental challenges of the strait
The Channel is subject to increased pressure that is associated with a range of human activities, such as marine traffic, fishing, touristic activities, coastal urbanization, underwater operations, scientific research, etc. Although these activities contribute to cross-border socio-economic development, they can negatively impact on the environment. To ensure a favourable conservation status for marine mammals by protecting them and their habitats from the direct and indirect negative impacts of human activities, Corsica Channel is covered by the Pelagos Agreement for the Creation of a Mediterranean Sanctuary for Marine Mammals, signed in Rome on 25 November 1999 by France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco. Moreover in 2015 the Italian and French Governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the regulation of international maritime traffic in Corsica Channel to improve safety of navigation and the marine environment. This agreement closes the commitment taken during the Italian-French summit on 24th February 2015 aimed at strengthening the security of maritime traffic in the Channel. The proposal intends to reduce the risk of accidents in an area characterised by a great environmental sensitivity and will allow to move the traffic of commercial ships from the coast and to separate traffic flows from North and South, while also providing enhanced monitoring to a better and quicker response in case of emergency.
Chamber of Commerce of Maremma and Tirreno
Piazza del Municipio 48, 57123 Livorno, Italy
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