The Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday explained its decision to issue a decree to prohibit fishing and boats in the Natura-2000 protected area of the Peyia sea caves, in order to better protect the monk seal.
The Ministry says that the decree aims to create a “core” protection zone in which all fishing and movement of boats will be prohibited and a “neutral” zone where holders of a professional licence for inshore fishing will be exempt from the fishing ban.
According to the Ministry, the decree is a result of suggestions proposed by Dr Panos Dendrinos, a Greek expert who was commissioned to conduct a study on the impact of human activity on the endangered monk seals which live in the caves.
“The need for this decree arose from the fact that it has been verified that Mediterranean monk seals use the caves, as well as from the need to protect the area from various marine anthropogenic activities,” Minister Costas Kadis said.
“It has been proven that efforts to preserve biodiversity that have the acceptance and support of local communities have better prospects for success. It is up to us to protect and preserve biodiversity and respect the rules of operation of the Marine Protected Areas,” he added.
Concluding, the Ministry says that for a second consecutive year, the birth of a Mediterranean monk seal was recorded in the caves, as on December 5 a female seal, named “Aphrodite” was born.
Last year, a male seal named “Kinyras” was also born in the Peyia caves.
The Mediterranean monk seal is the most endangered type of seal in the world and the only type in the Mediterranean.
It is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean.
Fourteen of them are in Cypriot waters.