Implementation of a scientific monitoring program at artificial reefs in MPAs of Paralimni, Ayia Napa, Amathounta, Dasoudi and Geroskipou (Tender # 36/2018, DFMR)
3 years (May 2019 – May 2022)
Marine & Environmental Research (MER) Lab
AP Marine Environmental Consultancy Ltd
Artificial reefs are considered a valuable tool for increasing marine biodiversity, impeding illegal trawling, enhancing fish stocks, increasing marine productivity, improving small-scale coastal fisheries, and developing recreational diving. The Governmental Authority of Cyprus (Department of Fisheries and Marine Research – DFMR) supported the deployment of several artificial structures of different forms (e.g. wrecks, natural boulders, constructions with nets, amphorae, etc.) around the island. The areas with the artificial reefs are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) since they have been declared as “no-take zones”.
This project is the first scientific monitoring program implemented on artificial reefs and aims to evaluate their efficiency in terms of biological productivity and marine biodiversity enhancement in the oligotrophic waters of Cyprus. For three years, seasonal surveys are being conducted at all structures, at reference stations and shallow rocky reefs mainly to assess fish abundance and biomass and coverage by sessile macroinvertebrates and seaweeds.
The Contract Scope of the project is:
- To deploy fish surveys using commercial fishing techniques and underwater visual census (UVCs) techniques
- To monitor sessile epifauna and macroalgal diversity and coverage on artificial reef structures using quadrats and Underwater Visual Census
- To undertake night UVC surveys at Dasoudi to identify nocturnal fish and other mobile fauna species
- To conduct ichthyoplankton analysis in water-column samples
- To collect physicochemical data at the five areas using deployed probes
MER is monitoring and collecting data from the two artificial reef complexes and MPAs of Limassol district (Dasoudi and Amathounta).