We work tirelessly to keep our seas alive but we cannot achieve that alone! Therefore we join forces with our colleagues in the Mediterranean, local communities, fishers, public authorities, and the scientific community.
In the northern Cyclades we work with fishers to ensure that the sea is alive with fish and that their nets are always full. On the island of Gyaros, home to the 12% of the global population of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal, we created in 2019 a model marine protected area in partnership with the fishers and all relevant stakeholders. Since then, our team works on a daily basis for the surveillance of this unique ecosystem.
On the other side of Greece, in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, Sekania beach has been a symbol of our action for the protection of wildlife in Greece for more than 25 years. This small beach is by far the most important loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting habitat in the Mediterranean.
The great challenge for the protection of unique emblematic species in the Mediterranean, also includes cetaceans, which face several dangers, from the extraction of oil and gas to collisions with vessels. Together with partners we advocated for and succeeded in the issuing of a NAVTEX to warn marine traffic of the presence of these magnificent species in the Hellenic Trench so that ships modify their routes and speed accordingly.
We are also working for the minimization of fisheries wildlife conflicts: we address the interaction of fishing activities with marine megafauna and study the impact providing for the first time robust data. Our goal is towards the development of mitigation proposals including the establishment of a fair national compensatory system for small-scale fishers and incidental reduction measures. Another project lead by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research focuses on fisheries interactions with marine invasive species. We are gather knowledge on the biology, ecology and the impact four alien species may have on biodiversity and examine ways to promote their use, in order to minimize conflicts with fishers and the marine ecosystem.
With just 1.27% of the Mediterranean under efficient protection, we promote proposals and apply pressure on the State to strengthen the network of marine protected areas and for the more sustainable development of financial activities. Only with an effective network of protected areas such as this can we speak of real protection of our marine wealth.