Santorini marine sanctuary given go-ahead

Protected area around spectacular Greek island

Author: Pat
12th April 2014

A lack of marine life in seas around the Greek islands has given them a pretty poor reputation among divers.

But that could be about to change because the professional fishermen of Santorini have unanimously voted in favour of a protected marine park in their waters.

remnants of a supervolcano

Decades – some say centuries – of overfishing have stripped the Mediterranean bare of all but the most juvenile fish, particularly close to land.

Santorini is one of more than 200 inhabited islands, and as the remnants of a supervolcano, famed for its stunning sheer cliffs and caldera (ie: walls of the cone.)

The island is a popular tourist spot and stopping off point for cruise ships.

Fishermen in the Aegean and surroundings have famously had a rather, erm, ‘aggressive’ approach to fishing. Stories of drag nets and dynamite abound.

Overly tight diving restrictions were also in place in Greece until a decade or so ago, which stifled the sport’s popularity there.

So it’s refreshing to hear that after several years of discussions, fishermen and local business owners have agreed a sanctuary is the way forward.

The fishermen’s union, the municipality, and the Hellenic Marine Research Center (HCMR) plan to form a trilateral committee for the management of the area.

It’s now in the hands of the HCMR to formulate a legal framework and management plan for the area.

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