The European Commission has identified several problems in the local management of protected marine areas. The main one is the lack of a national strategy. This is reported in the report of the European Commission, published 25 June. The purpose of the EC audit is the registration and assessment of government actions to protect marine biodiversity through the identification and proper management of marine protected areas.
According to the published report, in Cyprus 65% of marine fauna species and habitat names should be included and marked on the Natura 2000 protected areas. Another 13% of marine life has not been studied so far for their inclusion in protected local species.
The European Commission emphasizes that several national strategies for managing fragile marine ecosystems, the preparation of separate documents and circulars can lead to "fragmentation of efforts to protect". At the same time, despite a large number of "strategic" documents, a number of them do not specify qualitative targets and timetables for carrying out works and research, which casts doubt on their scientific basis. Thus, the action plan for the marine zones of Mulia (Paphos) and Nisia (Famagusta) has not been finalized, while Cavo Greco and Akamas "have no plan at all," the European Commission reports.
Human activities on land and in coastal areas also pose a significant threat to the marine protected areas of Cyprus. These vulnerabilities have not been properly described, and the competent authorities have not conducted a risk assessment, the report stresses.
Particular attention in the report of the EC was paid to the Akamas Peninsula: in this area, the task of developing a management strategy was undertaken by four agents at once. As a result, five completely different plans for the management of land and water areas, based on various legislative acts, were issued. "All this undermines coordination and complicates the implementation of projects," the EC reports.
The report recommends encouraging the study of the areas of Cavo Greco and Akamas and urgently tackling the creation of a strategy for their management. Based on these plans, it is proposed to compile protocols for all protected marine areas. The EC emphasizes that the strategic plan should include targets, responsibilities of the parties, a schedule of work and research, and an assessment of the financial costs of implementing the proposed measures.