CYPRUS: Marine Tourism Looses Thousands of Euros a Day to Poachers
Cyprus Tourism is presently going through difficult times due to its economic crises and the need of financial aid from the European Community. The island looses tens of thousands of tourism euros per day to poachers, illegal fishing, shark and tuna fishing, marine pollution and inactivity from government authorities.
It is common around Cyprus that illegal fishing (nets of minimal mesh size, spearfishing on scuba, dynamite fishing, etc…) is putting a heavy load to the already over fished Mediterranean sea. Additional pollution from discarded fishing nets and plastic debris not only keeps silently killing more marine life but also is a health and safety risk to tourists who would like to enjoy marine activities.
Groups of dive centres complained many a times to the local authorities as same as swimmers and bathers are at risk from fishing vessels which regularly hunt in water depths up to the beaches – which is illegal in Cyprus.
Week after week all year around reports pour in of near incidents risking the lives of tourists and locals alike. However government authorities and associated organisations like the Marine Police, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the DFMR (Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, etc…) turn a blind eye and deaf ears to the increasing complaints as they favour a minority of groups involved in above illegal and destructive activities.
It includes the promotion of trawl fishing and killing of dolphins which supposedly harm the fish industry.
Many boat charterers complain that requests by tourists to bring them to places to watch a healthy marine life environment are impossible as such is non existing in Cyprus Tourism. For example a recent VIP dive tourist request to charter a yacht for 13 000 Euros a day had to be declined due to the lack of protected marine areas and marine life.
The latest incident happening last week, when a popular turtle at Green Bay in the Protaras area of Cyprus was enjoyed being watched for some time, only to be found a few days ago with its shell removed and the dead body floating around among the divers and swimmers. Children and adults were horrified to see their marine friend butchered. Authorities, especially the DFMR and several turtle protection agencies were informed with no reply until today.
The common Cyprus mentality to hunt and kill regardless of laws and regulations paired with the no-care attitude of the present government towards a meaningful management of the environment is a shameless slap into the face of European legislative, European financial aid organisations and the tourist economy which is the main industry in Cyprus and one has to grasp and understand the reasons for such destructive attitude set forth.
The recent incident regarding the slaughter of a protected marine species in the middle of a frequented public area, like the turtle in Protaras, will – unfortunately – not be the last for the coming future for Cyprus Tourism Industry.