Protection of Nesting activity in Peloponnesus
is situated at the southernmost part of the Greek mainland.
The largest town in the area is Patra (170,000 inhabitants),
one of the most important ports in Greece. ARCHELON works
in the three most important Caretta caretta nesting
areas, the Bay of Kyparissia, Koroni and the Bay of Lakonikos.
Having been inhabited since the Neolithic period
(6000-2600 BC), Peloponnesus is rich in history and culture.
It has been the focal point of many ancient civilisations
like Mycenaean and the Spartans. Its rich cultural activity
continued during the Byzantium Age. Peloponnesus played a
key role during the Greek Independence againts from the Ottoman
Empire. All civilisations have left their mark in the area,
which is rich in archaeological sites and architecture.
Peloponnesus is also known for its natural heritage.
Due to the large number of species of fauna and flora (some
of which are endemic) included in the appendices of the 92/43
Habitats Directive of the European Union, a large proportion
of its surface is included in the NATURA 2000 network of
protected areas. The main source of income in Peloponnesus
has been agriculture and fishing, although there is increasing
and Lakonikos Bay have been included in the European "Natura
2000" network under the codes "Thines Kyparissias"
(GR2550005) and "Evrotas Delta" (GR2540003) respectively.
ARCHELON runs conservation projects in these areas since
1983. In the framework of two LIFE Nature projects, co-funded
by the European Union in 1999 and 2002, Management Plans
for the coastal zones were completed, promoting a model of
sustainable development that will be beneficial to the local
people. ARCHELON has been working for their implementation
in co-operation with the local authorities and the local
Peloponnesus hosts 900 nests per year (24.3%
at national level) in the Bays of Kyparissia and Lakonikos
and in Koroni. The nesting season commences at the end of
May and lasts until August. During this period, with the
participation of 130 volunteers ARCHELON implements the following
- Morning and Night Survey recording
daily nesting activity
- Nest Protection against
human activities and predation by mammals (foxes, etc)
- Sand dune restoration against
the degradation of this sensitive ecosystem
- Public awareness through
the operation of seasonal Information Stations, slide shows
in tourist resorts and beach patrols in order to inform
the whole year permanent ecotourist structures are operated:
the Environmental Scientific Centre of Evrotas with the adjacent "Nature
Trail" in the sand dune zone of Evrotas mouth and the
Scientific Environmental Centre of Agiannakis with the "Forest
Trail" in the coastal forest of Neda mouth. Guided tours
are operated for individual visitors and organised groups.
Great emphasis is given to children through special environmental
Kyparissia Bay is located in West Peloponnesus
and extends as far as Katakolo cape to the north and Kounelos
cape to the south. It is an open bay with a north-western
direction and therefore exposed to strong north-westerly
winds that mainly occur in the Ionian Sea, during the summer.
Kyparissia Bay consists of a sandy beach backed by one of
the most extensive dune systems in Greece, reaching 10 meters
of height. A large river called Alfios and two smaller rivers
called Neda and Arkadikos run into the sea. The southern
part of Kyparissia Bay, which lies between the port of Kyparissia
and the mouth of Neda, hosts the second largest nesting population
of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta in
the Mediterranean with an average of 600 nests. In the context
of a Life Nature project, co-funded by the European Commission,
a nest management plan for the area has been drafted.
Every year, around 200 nests are protected on
the 23.5 km of beach monitored by ARCHELON in Lakonikos Bay,
in south Peloponnesus. Nesting occurs on Evrotas beach, from
Kokkinia to Trinisa. Sea turtles can also be found nesting
on the beaches of Vathi, Mavrovouni, Selinitsa and Valtaki
and sporadic nesting has been noted on other beaches of the
Bay is important as a loggerhead nesting area, but also provides
refuge for many other species within the Evrotas Delta region,
one of the last remaining important wetlands in southern
Greece. The extensive sand dune system backing Evrotas beach
is largest in southern Peloponnesus and is inhabited by rare
and endangered plant species, such as the Sea Daffodil (Pancratium
maritimum). The marine ecosystem in Lakonikos is characterised
by some of the most extensive Posidonia sea grass
beds in Greece. The Posidonia ecosystem provides
a home to many species of fish, as well as shelter to the
eggs of many organisms and sea turtle hatchlings. Furthermore,
the local Posidonia sea grass beds have been identified
as development habitat of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia
In 1989, the first pilot project with fishermen
in Greece was launched in the Bay of Lakonikos. This work
was the starting point for the activities of ARCHELON towards
the implementation of collaborative programs with fishermen
in other areas.
importance of the nesting beach in the area of Koroni, in
south west Peloponnesus, has been noted since the end of
1980's. It is a relatively small beach (2.7 km in length)
which hosts 40-80 nests every summer, reaching a density
that is relatively high for the Mediterranean standards.
The systematic monitoring of nesting activity was initiated
Two areas in the broader region of Koroni are to be included
in the European Natura 2000 Network as being very important
not only for the presence of sea turtles, but also for the
existence of extended Posidonia beds (Posidonia
oceanica) and the appearance of cetaceans in local waters.