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Marine Parks in Cyprus

Marine Parks in Cyprus

Marine Parks In Cyprus

Marine Parks In Cyprus Will Only Regenerate Fish Stocks if they are Enforced by the Authorities

Marine parks in Cyprus are becoming an integral part of the effort to increase fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea.  This is great news; fish stocks have been rapidly declining over the last two decades as the human demand for seafood steadily increases. Stocks are so worryingly low due to overfishing that there is a risk that fish populations will suffer a reduced ability to reproduce if no action is taken. Meta-analysis of 9 species of fish by Greek Scientists in 2014 will be  used as the key species indicative to fish populations as a whole. These species include cod, red mullet, anchovy and sardines.

 

The plan to tackle this problem started two years ago in 2013.  Funded by the Cyprus Dive Centre Association, the Department of Fisheries and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, four  large fishing vessels and a multitude of reef poles will be installed around the Cypriot coastline, creating a total of 5 Marine parks over 12 square kilometers. Three artificial reefs in the form of purposefully sunk wrecks have already taken place. The Liberty, Nemesis III and Kyrenia wrecks are all happy at the bottom of the sea already. Fish and other aquatic species are already colonizing them. They are  all beautiful dives and are all at Scuba Monkey’s doorstep, so why don’t you book onto the next trip and see for yourselves?

 

Fishing bans will be enforced by the fishery department and local law enforcement. This sounds good on paper, but myself and the majority of dive centers in cyprus believe that 12 square kilometers of protected waters will not be sufficient for fish stocks to regenerate. An island-wide fishing ban is hoped for. Fishermen will not be happy, but surely fish stocks for the future have to be considered. Is it not better to ban fishing completely for a while, allowing fish to repopulate this corner of the Mediterranean that we call home? I think so. Whether the Cypriot fisheries department will take further action is hoped for.

 

Another problem of marine parks is the enforcement side. Will local law enforcement actually actively penalize those found fishing? Will these penalties be harsh enough to successfully deter fishermen? I live in Agias Triada,  my apartment is on the coast and I am inside the supposed marine park.  Every morning I have coffee on my balcony and every morning I see fishermen on the rocks and fishing boats on the water. The marine police have an office less than a nautical mile away.  I have never seen a police boat enforcing the fishing ban. This is worrying to say the least.

 

Marine parks only work if they are enforced. On one hand the positive side is that marine parks are being set out.  This means the Cypriots are making a move in the right direction. It marks a much needed paradigm shift in at least the minds of the local people. With a little brute force and a lot of cash penalties the re-population of fish stocks is an achievable goal. This would benefit not only the aquatic life,  but the nation’s economy too.  Cyprus offers one of the longest diving seasons of Europe.  Our seas never drop below 16 degrees Celsius and the visibility is fantastic due to the lack of plankton in the Med. The Cyprus Tourism organisation’s dream of creating a diving destination of excellence would be more achievable if there was more to see under the surface.  I am dubious but hopeful that over time the 5 marine parks will improve our dive sites and give us more to see.  The tourists, divers and fish are all crossing their fingers and fins in the hope that the marine parks will be policed and protected.

Marine Parks in Cyprus

One of the Signs Placed on the Coastline clearly Displays the Marine Parks in Cyprus. Now Fishermen Need to Respect Them and Police Need to Enforce Them

 

 

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