Saturday October 25, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Europe rings alarm bell over turtle nesting ground in Messinia

By Ioanna Fotiadi

The European Commission has warned Greek authorities to step up efforts to protect the western and southern coastline of the Peloponnesian prefecture of Messinia following a report by experts who visited the region in July.

The coast of western and southwestern Messinia comprises the second most important nesting grounds in the Mediterranean for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). According to experts, every year, this endangered species digs an average of 600-700 nests on the beaches of the Gulf of Kyparissia alone, and last summer the number reached 858, much to the joy of turtle enthusiasts.

However, the Greek nongovernmental group Archelon, which has had a team of observers in the region since the 1980s, has for years been voicing concerns over the increase in human activity in and around turtle nesting sites.

“Infringements of existing environmental protection laws are an everyday occurrence, but there has been a marked increase since 2010,” according to Panagiota Theodorou, coordinator of the turtle protection society's program for the Peloponnese.

Specifically, Archelon draws attention to a growing number of beach bars that only have licenses to sell snacks and beverages during the day but operate throughout the night – when turtles usually come to shore in search of nesting sites – as clubs with loud music and bright lights. “These bars are also using other parts of the beach, placing parasols and loungers there for customers which they do not remove at night,” said Theodorou.

“In April 2011 we saw signs along the Gulf of Kyparissia that someone has been trying to pave the dirt tracks that lead to the beach, making roads that lead through the pine trees and flattening the dunes,” added Theodorou, who said that machinery used to clean the beaches was also a problem as it tears up the turtle nests. Sources suggest that the roads being opened herald the construction of 50 summer homes in the area.

Clubs, noise, loungers and machinery are prohibited in the area, which is protected under the European Commission's Natura 2000 network thanks to its rich vegetation, sand dunes and the loggerhead turtles.

Archelon has filed complaints with the authorities about the activities taking place on the Messinian coastline since the summer of 2011 and has also taken up the issue with the European Commission, which sent a delegation of experts to the region on July 17 to confirm the allegations. Their 35-page report makes special mention of the late operating hours of beach bars, the unprotected nesting sites, bars using powerful lighting close to the sea, and, of course, the gravel-paved roads.

The team's report was submitted to Greek authorities in October in the form of a reasoned opinion – the stage before a referral to court is made – with a two-month deadline for an official response. If the Greek authorities fail to convince the European Commission that they will be taking steps to rectify the situation, the country faces the risk of being called to trial at the European Court of Justice and a hefty fine.

Meanwhile, Theodorou said that the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, which Greece is a part of, is also compiling a case against the country over the degradation of the Messinia coastline.

ekathimerini.com , Monday Jan 21, 2013 (18:22)  
Rackets corner souvenir market at the foot of the Acropolis
Local businesses come together to raise Zagorochoria’s profile
After 20 years of cutting waste, feeding the needy, food bank keeps up good work during crisis
Gazi: One Athenian district that seems to be riding out the storm
TRAVEL
Galaxidi: Silent eloquence
When you arrive at Galaxidi the first thing that strikes you is the quiet. The road into the picturesque coastal village at the foot of Mount Parnassus leads you to Nikolaos Mamas Square – n...
Acropolis Museum to put the daily lives of the ancients on display
Until now, visitors to the Acropolis Museum in Athens could only peer through the glass floors of the Bernard Tschumi-designed structure to get an idea of the ancient neighborhood lying amon...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. A win is a win is a win for Olympiakos
2. TAIPED waits for green light from Eurostat
3. Trade deficit shrinks on big drop in imports
4. SMEs unable to claim subsidies
5. Taxes kept growing in second quarter
6. Thessaloniki Port expects 2014 to be record year
more news
Today
This Week
1. Woman killed in tram accident in Floisvo, south of Athens
2. Clocks to go back 1 hour on Sunday
3. Venizelos slams Turkey for 'flagrant violation of international law' off Cyprus
4. ECB vies for third time lucky in European stress tests
5. Cyprus GDP upgrade seen as boosting bailout exit plans
6. ECB bank assessment to show 6-billion-euro capital gap, Citi says
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Greece’s closed society is central to its current malaise
3. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
4. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
5. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
6. Samaras’s crumbling Greek exit lacks backing from economists
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.