An epic playground for seabirds, Mediterranean Monk Seals, marine turtles and cetaceans – and humans for time immemorial – just received a major boost from the Greek government. Resisting the sirens of environmental exploitation, neglect & abuse, over 1 million hectares of Greek sea waters, 22% of the total, have now received Natura 2000 status as protected marine nature sites. This triumph for HOS/BirdLife Greece, not to mention the area’s indigenous inhabitants such as Audouin’s Gull, the Mediterranean Shag, Scopoli’s Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater and the European Storm Petrel, comes after HOS’s decades-long hard research work identifying key marine breeding, feeding and migrating sites. Providing these stellar scientific findings to the Greek Ministry of Environment furnished the factual foundation for the government’s strong show of commitment to marine protection.
As is always the case, designation of critical areas is only the first step as effective protection and management must now be implemented through practical measures, notes HOS Director George Sgouros, but the entire team is gratified at such a positive outcome to their efforts lo these many years. BirdLife Europe & Central Asia salutes HOS and all who worked so tirelessly to secure this critical protection for 60%-70% of the national seabird population.