The professional fishermen of Santorini gave their unanimous approval for the creation of a marine protected area on March 15th 2014.
After several years of discussions and consensus building with the local stakeholders, this agreement is the first step in the establishment of a sanctuary on Santorini.
The fishermen’s union, the municipality, and the Hellenic marine research center (HCMR) will now form a trilateral committee for the management of the area.
The next steps involve obtaining a legal protection framework for the area, devising a monitoring and enforcement strategy, and effectively communicating the project to the local population as well as to visitors.
Cousteau Divers, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, has initiated and supervised the project since 2011, employing the services of HCMR (Hellenic Center for Marine Research) to baseline the ecosystems of Santorini and the expertise of Submon (from the successful Medes Islands sanctuary in Spain) to create a management plan for the area.
A well-managed, well-sized, well-protected marine sanctuary could generate substantial economic benefits for the island of Santorini, extending the touristic season beyond the summer months and creating jobs, in addition to helping fish stocks replenish to ensure the livelihoods of fishing communities.
As part of Cousteau Divers’ efforts to empower citizens to study and protect marine life worldwide, the following toolbox was devised to help guide anyone through the process of establishing a marine protected area within their own community: http://we.tl/xT5lG0BRs4