Saturday August 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
32o C
25o 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)  
Since emigrating to Australia with their families, Greek teen stars shine in Melbourne
Cooperative enterprises gaining ground in Greece
Size, an important factor for law firms, even in Greece
Island of Dreams: a major investment that never took off
The fascinating journey of a cultural treasure
The illustrated codex belonging to the Marciana Library in Venice painted by Greek miniaturist Georgios Klontzas in 1592 has never been shown in Greece, and nor has the wonderful painting by...
GASTRONOMY
Naxos, where tradition never got old
Naxos is a fertile garden in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Za, the highest mountain in the Cyclades, Mount Fanari and the entire area around the village of Kinidaro yield crystalline marble,...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. New Democracy should look to center ground, says Mitsotakis
2. Education Ministry says almost 180,000 tertiary students stagnant
3. Hardouvelis ready to make changes to property tax after MP talks
4. Ancient Amphipolis tomb unlikely to have been looted, says lead archaeologist
5. Anti-terrorism squad called in after 300,000-euro bank robbery
6. External factors threatening Greek recovery
more news
Today
This Week
1. Aftershocks rattle Halkidiki after strong 5-Richter quake
2. Coast guard intercepts 180 migrants in Aegean in two days
3. Greek peach farmers await Brussels decision on compensation
4. Avramopoulos, Hagel hammer out 'roadmap' of defense cooperation
5. Hardouvelis hears grievances of coalition MPS to unified property tax bill
6. Spanish government bonds rise with Italy's before Draghi speech
Today
This Week
1. Carved sphinxes at Ancient Amphipolis tomb will not be removed
2. The magical mountain
3. Merkel cites euros construction flaws as economy sputters
4. Greek stock recovery fading away as ASE falls 21 pct on valuations
5. Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach
6. Second man held over double murder in Mani
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.