Title:
Mapping marine Key habitats and assessing their vulnerability to fishing activities (MedKeyHabitats II Project)

Duration:
6 months (February 2020 – August 2020)

Funded by:
MAVA Foundation

Subcontracted by:
Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (SPA/RAC)

Collaborators:
Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (Republic of Cyprus)
Dr Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos and Professor George Katselis (University of Patras)
Stephanos Charalampous (Geomatic Technologies)

Project Description:

Cape Greco is a Natura 2000 site (CY300005), located at the southeastern Cyprus, established in May, 2018 as the first natural Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Cyprus which includes no-take and restricted fishing zones.

Within the framework of the “Mapping of marine Key habitats and assessing their vulnerability to fishing activities in the Mediterranean” project (Medkeyhabitats II project), SPA/RAC is collaborating with the Cyprus governmental authority — Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR) — to help the development of adequate technical support and capacity building for the planning and proper management of the marine protected areas in Cyprus.

A contract between the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas and Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab was signed on Thursday, 20/02/2020 for MER Lab to assist the competent authority (DFMR) of Cyprus in the undertaking of studies and evaluation of risks imposed to key species and habitats, mainly to Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile, 1813 meadows, by the fishing activities in the Cape Greko MPA. Through the project, several maps will be created which will visualize the presence, vulnerability and sensitivity of habitats in the area, the interactions with each fishing technique (including illegal activities) in the different zones of the MPA. In addition, other pressures such as marine litter, and invasive species will be monitored, while permanent monitoring stations for Posidonia oceanica will be established.

Briefly, the contract anticipates the following services:

  1. Set up of six monitoring systems for oceanica meadows in Cape Greko MPA. The monitoring systems will be set up using standardised methods developed by the Posidonia Monitoring Network (PMN) (Pergent, 2007; Kletou et al., 2018)
  2. Identification, quantification, spatial and temporal distribution of commercial and recreational fishing activities and unauthorized (illegal) fishing in Cape Greco MPA
  3. Measuring the interactions and impacts of the fishing activities on the key habitats of the MPA, measure the risks, and identify mitigation measures.
  4. Evaluation of the socio-impacts of invasive fish species in Cape Greko MPA as pilot study
  5. Sensitivity assessments of the marine habitats and in particular of P. oceanica meadows against regulated and/or non-regulated fishing activities identified;
  6. Filling of Standard Data-Entry Form (SDF) for the area, an operational tool for the assessment of the significance of the site for habitats and species.