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New no-take fishing zone in Greece!


MOm, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, closely collaborating with central and local governmental Greek Authorities, has achieved an important victory in the long and on-going struggle for the preservation of the charismatic, but alas critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. A new no-take fishing zone (the first one after more than 20 years in Greek seas) has been officially declared through new environmental legislation by the competent Greek Authorities.

This zone is located in the middle of the Aegean Sea in Northern Cyclades, covering a three nautical mile radius, surrounding the uninhabited and isolated island of Gyaros. The newly established zone excludes all kind of fisheries, and provides an important and unique sanctuary for the local monk seal population, which is estimated to approximately 70 seals, excluding pups. Taking into account that current estimations bring the total number of the surviving Monachus monachus in only 600 individuals throughout their range, Gyaros constitutes a paramount area for the species globally.

In order to further secure and enhance the status of this unique island, but also engage the local communities in its efficient and fruitful conservation, a 4-year EU LIFE+ Nature project is currently being implemented in its wider area. The project is entitled CYCLADES “Integrated monk seal conservation in Northern Cyclades” and is co-financed by the LIFE Nature financial instrument of the European Union and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

For more information please contact Vangelis I. Paravas, Mom at

*Article from IUCN SEE e-Bulletin 37 (Spring 2014)


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