Even if it lives at the bottom of the sea, did you know that Posidonia oceanica is not algae but a living, breathing plant with deep roots, leaves, flowers, and fruits just like the plants on the land? Commonly known as ‘Neptune grass’, Posidonia oceanica is an endemic species of the Mediterranean, considered thus emblematic for the Mediterranean peoples –the underwater equivalent of the olive tree.
When the conditions for its development are favorable, the Posidonia plant forms extensive underwater meadows, which, in very clear seas, can even exceed the depth of 40 meters.
Posidonia oceanica meadows are incredibly precious because they are one of the primary sources of oxygen for the marine ecosystem. They can produce 14-20 litres per square meter daily in the Mediterranean! Thanks to photosynthesis they absorb CO2, much more than a forest! These meadows host and feed hundreds of species, acting as a nursery for numerous fish. They also protect the coasts as they lower the swell, while the Posidonia banquettes (piled withered Posidonia leaves on the beach) act as a natural breakwater protecting our beaches from the erosive action of the waves.
It is acknowledged that Posidonia meadows are heavily impacted by recreational boat tourism through unregulated anchoring in the Cyclades, which is known to consist an acute and increasing pressure, especially in this highly touristic area.
Our fundamental goal is to inform and sensitize boat/yacht owners, tourists, and the local population on the presence, importance, and vulnerability of the Posidonia meadows in the Cyclades and mitigate anchoring impact in at least four selected islands in the Cyclades.
We work with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) and some of our dedicated local partners to achieve this.
Find here the educational material of our campaign, including videos, presentations, and games.
The expansion of the Cyclades Posidonia Alert campaign to the islands of Sifnos and Syros is now possible thanks to the extra funding approved for the CPF through the Development Agency of Cyclades S.A. (EΣΠΑ). Learn more here.
In cooperation with the respective Port Authorities, we are now installing informative boards (4 languages) for the protection of Posidonia oceanica from anchorage in more than 17 marinas and other key/popular bays on 9 islands of the Cyclades (Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Ano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonissi, Herakleia, Schoinoussa, Donousa, Andros). These marinas will be our main hubs for the dissemination of informative brochures as well.
We have reached about 450 adults, marine users and local stakeholders (boat owners / users / skippers, members of sailing / nautical clubs, representatives of public authorities such as port authorities and local authorities, local environmental-cultural NGOs, skippers, fishermen)
We have organized, co-organized or attended more than 20 raise-awareness and educational events, in more than 8 Cycladic Islands (Andros, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Ano Koufonissi, Donousa, Schoinoussa, Amorgos). Presentations from CPF and scientists from HCMR for adults and kids, educational kit and painting contest, discussions with local communities and stakeholders, live-streamings from Posidonia oceanica meadows in the Cyclades from HCMR, questionnaires, educational workshops and handicrafts, beach excursions to familiarize with Posidonia banquettes and beach cleanings, painting exhibitions, documentaries screenings, educate the educator, are only some of the engaging activities that took place during our events.
Cyclades Preservation Fund is a proud member of the “Mediterranean Posidonia Network”, which aims to bring together different stakeholders such as authorities, scientists, international environmental organizations, professionals including yachting agents, marinas from the Mediterranean countries.
These actors are concerned with the protection of Posidonia oceanica threatened by various pressures such as anchoring. The objective is to increase each country’s capacity building to better protect Posidonia oceanica and prevent its future degradation.