Mission Blue is proud to partner with SeaCyprus!
By: Andreas Christofi
There are several problems impinging on the marine environment of Cyprus. Some of which truly destroy the marine life of the island. The major challenges the island deals with are the unregulated fishing activities, lack of awareness and near zero monitoring of the crucial marine habitats and species. Furthermore, while most European countries prohibit the activity of bottom trawling, in Cyprus, this activity is allowed within the territorial waters of the island.
In order to put an end to these activities that will eventually lead to a massive catastrophe of the island’s marine environment, SeaCyprus has decided to take responsibility and take immediate action.
SeaCyprus’s aim is to monitor and protect the endangered marine species and habitats and to further understand their distribution and location around the island. Such monitoring would be accomplished through underwater surveys, tagging and data analysis.
Moreover, SeaCyprus looks forward to collaborate with other non-profit organisations and NGO’s in order to help create marine protected areas in locations where there is exceptional abundance of marine species and ecosystems and where the endangered marine species select to inhabit and reproduce.
Additionally, SeaCyprus aspires to amplify public awareness on the risks imposing on the marine environment of Cyprus. This could be established through social media, seminars, public beach clean events and promotional banners on marketing websites. We also look forward as an organisation to inviting public speakers to our island in order to contribute to our efforts in raising public awareness through our seminar events. We believe that achieving public awareness can help our organisation to reach its goals more effectively and at the same time inform people of Cyprus of the dangers that are occurring in our marine ecosystems. Additionally, from public awareness we can influence both members of the parliament and the fisheries department to support our action.
SeaCyprus aims to start its operations with a Hope Spot in a location where there is exceptional abundance of marine species and habitats and where the island’s endangered marine species select to inhabit and reproduce. The two potential locations are found at the Akrotiri Coast in Limassol area and at the Governor’s beach, which is located at Monagrouli-Vassiliko area. Both areas inhabit several endangered species such as the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus), the Atlantic Blue Fin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), the Dusky Grouper (Epinephelus marginatus) and the Noble Pen shell (Pinna nobilis). Also, both areas are covered with important underwater habitats such as Cymodosa nodosa and Posidonia oceanica. In general, the two sites are threatened from unregulated fishing activities both long line and fishing nets, destructions of habitats, lack of awareness and pollution (marine debris). As a team, we aim to protect the areas through collaborations with other non-profit organisations and stakeholder departments that will assist to the enforcement of environmental laws and legislations.
In order to accomplish such project, the team will start off by searching for funding that will enable the organisation to start environmental management and action plans for the potential protected areas. Such plans will require necessary equipment such as boats, quadrants, measuring tapes, scuba gear, satellite tags, GPS and other equipment, necessary for a well through monitored marine protected area. When the organisation has successfully protected at least one of the two areas, SeaCyprus will look for recruiting new members in the organisation that will help for the monitoring of the protected area. Monitoring will be recorded daily in order to understand how the protected area has benefited themarine environment of the area. Also, GPS tagging will enable the organisation to further understand the distribution and behaviour of the Green and Loggerhead turtles, Monk seals and the Blue fin tunas.
We acknowledge that what we hope for the marine environment of Cyprus may be challenging and we recognize that it requires plenty of hard work and time. Nonetheless, we are a determined, focused and highly motivated team and we believe that with patience, consistency and dedication we can accomplish our goals effectively and in turn, create a wealthier and protected marine environment.