Assessing the ecosystem status and proposal for co-management of fishery resources using bottom-up participatory processes
1 year (August 2021 – Ongoing)
- Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR)
- The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (SBAA)
- Pantelis Charilaou (Environment and Conservation officer)
- Kostas Aristeidou (Environmental Engineer)
- Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre
- BirdLife Cyprus
- University of Cyprus
- University of Patras
- University of Plymouth
- Commercial and recreational fishers
Blue Marine Foundation
The marine ecosystem of Akrotiri in Limassol is one of the most pristine and valuable marine areas of Cyprus and the Mediterranean Sea. Located in south Cyprus, the marine environment has a complex coastal and marine habitat assemblage; ranging from sea cliffs to sand dunes and mosaics of seagrass beds, rocky reefs and sand corridors.
The marine ecosystems of the area are known to support numerous protected and endangered species, including; vast healthy meadows of the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica, shallow reefs covered with canopy-forming Cystoseira, coralligenous sciophilic communities and sponges and mobile fauna such as; the critically endangered blackchin guitarfish Glaucostegus cemiculus, the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus, elasmobranchs, cetaceans, groupers and more. Coastal habitats are important for an equally diverse species assemblage, including beaches used for nesting by the endangered Green turtle Chelonia mydas and Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta, as well as cliff dwelling bird species such as Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae and Griffon vulture Gyps fulvus.
Despite its high importance, the marine area has been overlooked, and insufficiently managed to date. Human pressures pose an urgent threat to the maintenance of its favourable conservation status; threatening the ecosystem services that it provides.
This projects aims to use available data, field work, and bottom-up participatory processes to assess the fishery and ecosystem status of the area, and using a bottom-up approach to develop a comprehensive proposal for co-management of the area with commercial and recreational fishers, scientists, and policy-influencers.
The area of interest is about 122 km2 ranging from Pissouri village until Limassol. This project will seek to study the entire area to define the areas that are the most-important sites in terms of conservation, and which will allow a sustainable management model.
Specifically, the project will:
- Collect baseline ecological data using visual census surveys and standardized protocols;
- Establish data loggers, permanent Posidonia oceanica stations, and monitor using the PREI index;
- Collect literature and unpublished data;
- Utilize semi-structured interviews and Local Ecological Knowledge to understand perceptions, knowledge, motivations, and spatio-temporal changes of fishery resources;
- Build partnerships, capacity, and collaborators with stakeholders;
- Develop a proposal for co-management of the fisheries resources.