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Chez Jean-Mi

Chez Jean-Mi

Keri κερί-Ζάκυνθος - CARETTA CARETTA
Protection of Nesting activity in Zakynthos Zakynthos island is situated in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of the Greek mainland. The climate is warm with a lot of sunshine. The island covers an area of about 40,600 ha and its coastline is approximately 110 km long. However, only a small part of the beaches is sandy. Surveys carried out since 1982, have proven the Bay of Laganas on Zakynthos to be the most important loggerhead rookery in the Mediterranean. Sea turtles, Caretta caretta, nest mainly on the beaches of Laganas Bay, which is situated at the southern part of the island. For this purpose a National Park was established in 1999. The nesting beaches There are six nesting beaches in the Bay of Laganas. Gerakas, Daphni, Sekania, Kalamaki, East Laganas and a small beach on the islet of Marathonissi, totalling 5,5 km in length. All the beaches are included in the proposed "Natura 2000" network. Every year, from the end of May until the end of August, loggerhead females lay their eggs on these beaches. On average, 1,300 nests are made every year. With the assistance of over 120 volunteers the nests are monitored and protected every season, while extensive public awareness work takes place. Sekania beach is the one that stands out for its natural beauty and the highest nesting density for loggerheads in the Mediterranean. Sekania supports well over 50% of the total number of nests made in the whole Bay. An average of 670 nests is made on Sekania (around 800 metres in length) every year. This is one of the highest nesting densities for loggerheads in the world. Due to its importance, ARCHELON has been urging the Government to expropriate or buy the private land behind the beach, in order to declare it a site of absolute protection. Finally in 1994, WWF Greece, following recommendations by ARCHELON, purchased a large part of the land behind the nesting beach. This was achieved with partial funding from the European Union and the support of the Greek Ministry of Environment. According to existing legislation public access is prohibited. Daphni stands out as the beach with the most problems. All 13 illegal buildings constructed behind the beach of Daphni since 1989, once the second most important nesting beach on Zakynthos, have not been removed. The removal of illegal buildings at Daphni has been an obligation of the Greek Government since 1986, when only two prefabricated buildings existed, following recommendations by the Council of Europe and has yet to be met. Repair works and extensions of buildings take place every year. Two illegal tavernas and two bars continue to operate at Daphni throughout the season, in some cases well into the night (especially on weekends). There is an increase in beach furniture behind the beach every year. Illegal earthworks, opening of roads, planting of exotic species, erosion have destroyed the beach profile. Visitors are allowed between 7 am and 7pm between 1 May to 31 October and the maximum number of people at any one time should not exceed 100. Marathonissi is a coarse-sand beach, curved around the north-east end of the uninhabited islet of Marathonissi, in the western part of Laganas Bay. The beach is backed by low dunes that in places extend landwards as far as 50 m. Behind the beach there is a hilly mass covered by dense Mediterranean vegetation. An old chapel, belonging to the Church of Lithakia, is the only building on the islet. Tourists visit the beach during the day, on organised boat trips and by rented or private boats. Lights and noise from the residential areas of Laganas and Lithakia affect the beach during the night. The owner of the islet has made many efforts to build, but all have been thwarted by court decisions following appeals by NGOs. According to the latest legislation no building activity is allowed on the islet. East Laganas beach stretches eastwards from the last hotel of the developed part of Laganas (Louis Zante Beach Hotel), up to the Rock of Hipsolithos. East Laganas is characterised by fine sand mixed with small-sized pebbles and a landward extensive dune field. At the western part of the beach there is a large hotel, one more is about in the middle of the beach as well as a private villa. Remnants of sand dunes are found behind this beach. Public access is very easy. Kalamaki is a fine sandy beach eastwards of the East Laganas beach, separated from it by the cliffs of Hipsolithos. Behind the beach there are low clay cliffs. A hotel has been constructed above the western part of the beach. The area has an easy access and it is visited by many people during the day and also at night. According to legislation only 150 umbrellas and 300 sunbeds are allowed on the nesting beaches of E. Laganas and Kalamaki. These are to be removed every night. However, illegal umbrellas and sunbeds have been deployed on flattened dunes behind the beach. Despite progress in law enforcement there are still problems to be dealt with. Gerakas is a 15-30 m wide beach, with fine and soft sand. The beach is backed by clay cliffs (15-20 m high) which shield off the lights of the two tavernas and the few houses that have been recently built, further inland. A paved road comes very close to the beach and vehicles are parked there. There is only one access to the beach, by a trail, coming down through the cliffs. Due to its fair access, Gerakas attracts hundreds of visitors every day during the summer season. According to legislation only 60 umbrellas and 120 sunbeds are allowed at one end of Gerakas, but this is not properly enforced. By law, the number of people on the beach at any one time should not exceed 350. Legal Protection of Nesting Beaches on Zakynthos Due to the significance of Zakynthos as a loggerhead nesting ground in the Mediterranean, the Greek government introduced protective legislation as early as 1984. The purpose of this legislation was to control further development and maintain the quality of the nesting beaches so that turtles may visit Zakynthos for many more generations. The 1984 measures assumed a stronger status in 1990, when a Presidential Decree was passed. Under this legislation apart from restrictions on visitation and beach furniture: 1. Development is restricted behind the nesting beaches under a Building Control Zone. Hence, no tourist development is allowed in the protected areas 2. No lights are allowed to shine directly on the nesting beaches 3. No vehicles and horses are allowed on the nesting beaches. In 1988, a ministerial decision established two maritime zones in a large portion of the Bay. No boating or fishing activity is permitted in Zone A. The speed limit in Zone B is 6 miles per hour and no anchoring or mooring is allowed. Fish farms are banned from both zones. In 1994, following a campaign by ARCHELON and the support of other NGOs, a third zone, Zone C, was set up where the speed limit is 6 miles per hour. Consequently, speedboats were banned from the whole Bay of Laganas. In 1994, night flights-from 10pm to 5am-were banned as the landing/take-off air way passes over the Laganas nesting beach. The lights and noise of the aircraft disturbs nesting turtles. Unfortunately, legislation was poorly enforced, allowing illegal umbrellas and sunbeds to occupy vital nesting grounds or illegal buildings (tavernas and holiday homes) to sprout on Daphni. The legislation did succeed though in halting large hotel complexes from been built on certain beaches. Marathonissi islet was not developed thanks to concerted reaction by conservationists, local communities and the local Church. The long-standing struggle of ARCHELON and other NGOs, eventually urged the Greek government to proceed with the establishment of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) in December 1999. This is the first National Park to protect sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean. It was the first protected area in Greece with a Management Agency. ARCHELON conservation work ARCHELON has a branch office on Zakynthos to promote, on an annual basis, its objectives for the conservation of marine turtles and their habitat. Every year fieldwork is carried out by ARCHELON during the nesting season. The fieldwork consists of turtle and beach monitoring, active beach management, and raising public awareness. About 150 volunteers participate and apart from the monitoring assist the Park wardens with safeguarding of beaches and informing visitors as well as running information stations in co-operation with the Park and local landowner. Recently ARCHELON collaborates with the Park and private entrepreneurs in running ecotourist activities.

Creation date : 05/04/2010 · 00:16
Last update : 02/05/2010 · 12:10
Category : Keri κερί-Ζάκυνθος
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