Protection of the Kyparassia Gulf in theory and in practice
The Management Agency of Kotuchi-Strofilia and Kyparissia Gulf, ARCHELON, MEDASSET and WWF Hellas call for the adoption of measures for the permanent, official protection of the Kyparissia Gulf area after the recent violations which took place there.
On the same day that the Ministry of the Environment and Energy renewed the temporary measures for the protection of the Kyparassia area (which is the second most important nesting area of Caretta caretta sea turtles in Greece), and despite the fact that nesting had already started, ‘someone’ deliberately chose to flaunt the current protective measures which apply to the area by literally destroying the sand dunes and beach of the Kyparissia Gulf.
Blatantly violating both Greek and EU laws, on 23 May 2018, with the latent approval of the local authorities, 280 motorcycles took part in a race on the protected areas of the sand dunes and the Caretta caretta nesting beaches, causing unwelcome damage to the dunes and endangerment of the sea turtle nests. Despite the immediate attempts by both ARCHELON volunteers and members of the local community, local authorities did not stop the race.
This disastrous event indicates for yet another time the need to adopt definitive, legally-binding protective measures (“a Presidential Decree”) for the area, measures which must be persistently enforced by all the Greek authorities and which must apply to all citizens. It should be mentioned that because of the destructive events which have taken place in the area in the past, Greece has been already been fined by the Court of the European Union, while the Council of Bern has imposed sanctions against the country.
The Management Agency of Kotuchi-Strofilia and Kyparissia Gulf and the environmental groups ARCHELON, MEDASSET and WWF Hellas, have expressed their satisfaction about the extension of the temporary protective measures for this area to the Ministry of the Environment. The new decision indicates the desire of the Ministry to advance and to complete the procedures necessary for the finalization and implementation of the Presidential Decree to protect the area, which is now being examined by the Council of State. However, the window of time is very limited since the law only allows the temporary protection measures to be extended once, which has already been done.
Until the completion of the process and the announcement of the official Decree, the government and the relevant local authorities should enforce and implement existing measures in every case.
Notes for editors:
1. On 23 May 2018, a decision by the Minister and the Deputy Minister of the Environment and Energy was made public, in which the existing regulations (Ministers’ Decision for the protection of the Kyparissiakos Gulf) covering the following areas were extended for one more year: Natura 2000 “GR2330005: Sand Dunes and Coastal Forest Zacharo, Strofilia, Cacobatos”; “GR2330008: Marine Region Gulf of Kyparissia: Cape Katakolo-Kyparissia” and “GR2550005: Kyparissia Sand Dunes: Neochori-Kyparissia” (ΦΕΚ Δ’ 204). The decision of the ministry includes temporary protection until the finalization of the Presidential Decree which is currently being examined by the Council of State.
2. See the letter of the NGO environmental groups ARCHELON, MEDASSET, and WWF Hellas: http://www.wwf.gr/images/pdfs/2018April_ARCHELON_MEDASSET_WWF_LtrYpourgos_Kyparissia.pdf
3. See the letter of the The Management Agency of Kotuchi-Strofilia and Kyparissia Gulf: http://www.wwf.gr/images/pdfs/epistoli_kyparisiakos.pdf
For more information:
Georgia Caraberou, Coordinator of The Management Agency of Kotuchi-Strofilia and Kyparissia Gulf, 26930 31651, firstname.lastname@example.org
Panagiota Theodorou, Conservation Officer, ARCHELON, 6940470194, email@example.com
Loukia Kalaitzi, Communications Officer, MEDASSET, 210-3640389, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christi Sotiriou, News and Public Relations Officer, WWF Ελλάς, 210 3311988, email@example.com