Due to lack of funding and political support on behalf of the Ministry of
Environment, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) has not been able this
season to fulfill its obligations. Following some four rather successful years,
with groundbreaking accomplishments in the field of managing protected areas in
Greece, this summer the NMPZ has no staff to run the Park, has not hired
seasonal wardens, has no control over illegalities, and has no information
outlets or even signs for the visitors. This has been a major drawback for the
future of the National Park on Zakynthos, with possible repercussions on the
other newly established protected areas in Greece.
ARCHELON is running its conservation project, as it has been doing for the
last 21 years with permission granted by the Ministry of Agriculture and in the
past three years under an agreement with the NMPZ. The project through
monitoring of the nesting beaches, research and raising public awareness has
been a major component and support to the work that has been carried out by the
Park. This year it commenced on 3 May and field stations in Kallitero,
Marathonissi and Sekania became operational on the 17 May 2004. Over 120
undergraduates and postgraduates from all over Europe are expected to
participate voluntarily in the project. Nesting activity began on 6 of June and
so far approximately 450 nests have been recorded on the nesting beaches of
Gerakas, Sekania, Daphni, Laganas, Kalamaki and Marathonissi.
Briefly, the following have been observed and recorded by ARCHELON staff
since the start of the project:
A. Marathonissi islet
- Anchoring is allowed only in maritime Zone C, however anchoring of boats off
Marathonissi beach (Zone B) is a regular occurrence. Only organised trips are
allowed to the islet, but tens of private and rented boats visit every day.
- Violation of speed limit (6 knots) by hired and private boats has been
recorded at least 20 times whilst patrolling by the Port Police has proven
insufficient due to lack of personnel.
- Spear fishing (not allowed in the Bay) and fishing with nets have been
systematically taking place just off the beach of Marathonissi and no action has
been taken by the Port Police
- Some local people have verbally attacked members of ARCHELON as they oppose
to the presence of the ARCHELON field station and the control of visitors on the
- On 27 June 2004, 111 umbrellas and 233 sunbeds were recorded. Legal quota of
umbrellas and sunbeds is 60 and 120 respectively. However, all beach furniture
is stacked at night.
- On several occasions people enter the beach at nighttime, usually between
8.00 pm and 11.00 pm. According to existing legislation the nesting beaches are
closed to the public between 7pm and 7am. from 1 May to 31
- On several occasions, people have attempted to drive on the beach but left
after being informed of protection measures by ARCHELON staff.
- On 15 occasions boats have been recorded entering maritime Zone A (according
to existing legislation no boating activity is allowed in this zone), sometimes
anchoring or mooring just off Gerakas beach. On every occasion the Port police
was notified in time but only 4 times acted immediately.
C. East Laganas and Kalamaki
- Tracks from horses, cars, motorbikes, bicycles and quad bikes (beach bikes)
constitute a daily occurrence in Laganas and Kalamaki at the moment. This so far
has been the worse situation in the last three years. Cars and motorbikes at
nighttime drive on the beach, causing disturbance to nesting turtles.
- The absence of information signs, an info station in Laganas and wardens has
resulted in visitors entering the beach, as they are not aware of the protection
measures. At night many people enter the beach aiming to see turtles
nesting, encouraged in some cases by local people.
- On 27 June 2004, 316 umbrellas and 716 sunbeds were recorded in East Laganas
and 83 umbrellas and 126 sunbeds in Kalamaki. Legal quota for umbrellas and
sunbeds on E.Laganas and Kalamaki together is 150 and 300 respectively.
Umbrellas and sunbeds are being stacked over night only on Kalamaki.
- Few garbage bins have been placed along the length of Laganas and Kalamaki
but they are not enough to keep the beaches clean. Sand dunes at the back of the
beach were used at the beginning of the season for dumping litter.
- Violation of speed limit in maritime Zone B by hired and private boats is a
frequent occurrence. Lately private boats have been observed in Zone B at night
using lights. On every occasion the port police were notified but no immediate
action was taken.
- Sunbed and taverna owner in the area of Kalamaki physically abused two
ARCHELON members on 24 June 2004. The Police, local authorities and media were
D. Sekania and Daphni
- To date Daphni beach has not been cleaned up for the nesting
- The 13 illegal buildings are being used as tavernas bars and private summer
homes. It has been observed that the parking lot at the back of the west sector
of Daphni has been improved along with a bar in the middle of the beach.
- During morning surveys by members of ARCHELON, tracks from dogs, bicycles
and vehicles have been recorded.
- The absence of wardening on Sekania along with the lack of information signs
has resulted in visitors entering the nesting beaches not being aware of
the current strict protection status (no visitation is allowed day and
night) of the beach. To date, 9 people have visited Sekania.
- On several occasions fishing boats have entered maritime Zone A at night
using lights while other private boats have been seen immobile near the islet of
Pelouzo. On every occasion the Port Police was informed, but no immediate action
E. Turtle Spotting Boats
- In general, Turtle Spotting Boats that have been endorsed by the NMPZ seem
to comply with the current guidelines for the observation of the sea turtles
within the Bay. Most of the drivers are really co-operative and well informed of
the protection measures.
- Few incidents have been recorded, where boats have approached a turtle
closer than 5m, but on the whole there has been a systematic effort by the
drivers to minimise disturbance while turtles are basking.
- An ARCHELON member is always present on these trips providing information to
people on board while taking notes on the delivery of each trip.
- At this present time, a problematic situation seems to derive mainly from
private, hired or turtle spotting boats that have not been endorsed by the NMPZ.
As a consequence, on several occasions 3 to 5 boats have surrounded turtles
while it has been recorded that these boats frequently violate the speed limit
and approach basking turtles from a distance less than 5m.
F. Immediate recommendations
- The Ministry of Environment should proceed with the announcement of the new
members of the Board of the Management Agency and ensure that all members and in
particular the Chairperson, adhere to the objectives of the NMPZ and have
experience in the management of protected areas
- The Ministry of Environment should cover immediately all costs that have
accrued over the last period by the Park and provide regular funding to cover
necessary running costs
- The Ministry of Environment should provide all political support to the NMPZ
Management Agency and ensure that local politicians become partners to this
- The Management Agency of the NMPZ, should acquire the necessary permanent
and seasonal staff and proceed with the drafting of a management plan in order
to achieve its objectives.