The Healthy Seas Initiative, supported by the Italian fabric manufacturer Carvico SpA, has joined Cousteau Divers, the organization founded by Pierre-Yves Cousteau, in supporting the creation of the first marine protected area (MPA) of Santorini.
First envisioned by Pierre-Yves Cousteau and Apostolos Stylianopoulos (Atlantis Dive Centre) back in 2010, the Santorini Marine Reserve came into being as a result of the 2017 efforts of the MPA Association and local authorities, local and fishermen determined to protect their livelihoods.
This sanctuary, if well-managed, well-sized, and well-protected, should have a major impact on Santorni’s marine environment for decades to come. In addition to helping fish stocks replenish, the initiative will also provide more jobs and opportunities for off-season dive tourism.
In keeping with the new program, coming on on World Oceans Day (June 8th, 2018), Healthy Seas, the circular economy initiative that removes fishing nets from the seas which are subsequently regenerated into ECONYL® yarn by Aquafil and then used by Carvico for the production of swimwear, will join forces with Cousteau Divers and Ghost Fishing to carry out the first ever lost or abandoned fishing gear clean up action at the location which will become the MPA.
The highly demanding diving mission will be executed by diving partner Ghost Fishing and supported by Atlantis Dive Center. The organizers have created an event on Facebook where the mission will be live-streamed. The public and especially schools are invited to tune in to the live streaming which promises to be highly educational. The event is being held under the auspices of the Municipality of Thira (Santorini) and the Goulandris Natural History Museum, and exclusively sponsored by Carvico.
According to a survey that was conducted during 2007-2008, Santorini was found to be the island with the greatest amount of fish in the Cyclades. However, these findings also point out that the amount of fish of the Cyclades region is very low compared to other areas of the Mediterranean Sea, and historical overfishing is partly responsible for it.
More recently, researchers of the “Marisca” programme, after analyzing human activities in the Aegean and their effect to important habitats, concluded that in order for the Aegean’s unique biodiversity to be protected, 19% of the Aegean Sea needs to become a protected zone.
Cousteau Divers initiated and supervise the Santorini MPA project since 2011, working with the HCMR (Hellenic Center for Marine Research) to baseline the ecosystems of Santorini and with Submon to create a management plan for the area, with a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
For more information please visit http://healthyseas.org/save-your-breath-santorini/