The Cycladic islands and their marine waters are unique ecosystems that require special support in order to sustain and protect them. Endangered species find shelter in the hospitable seabed, which is characterized by its abundant life: the sea turtle Caretta caretta, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis, or the seal Monachus monachus. The marine fauna of the Cyclades is also exceptionally rich, including more than 200 species of fish.
However, economic development, population growth, overfishing, uncontrolled construction, pollution and climate change significantly increase risks for marine and coastal habitats, assets and ecosystems.
After years of inactivity in marine conservation in Greece, Blue Marine Foundation and CPF believe that the time is now to put in place an ambitious program of protection and sustainable management for the Cyclades. In the context of the action plan “The Mediterranean, an exemplary sea by 2030” (PAMEX), the Greek Prime minister recently announced the Government’s intention to protect our marine environment by designating 10% of our seas as no take zones by 2030.
In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Greek Deputy Minister of Fisheries has publicly expressed the political will to designate Amorgos Island a marine protected area and use it as an example to be copied in other regions of Greece. Furthermore, they are seeking for collaboration with the Ministry of Environment in order to identify additional areas and implement fishing closures. This is an incredible opportunity for BLUE and CPF to work together in ensuring that the designation of the Amorgos MPA becomes a reality while paving the way for replicating the model in other islands of the Cyclades and gaining local acceptance, a key element in the success of such areas.
The aim of this new initiative is to support fish stock and marine ecosystem regeneration by empowering fishermen in the Cyclades to follow models of sustainable, low impact fishing and inspire them to envision the creation of more MPAs in the Cyclades.
Photo credits: Yannis Issaris