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Greece Announces Major Initiative for Marine Parks

Greece Announces Major Initiative for Marine Parks

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Greece commits €780 million to establish marine parks but rival Turkey and environmental groups are not impressed.

Greece plans to create two marine parks, one in the Ionian Sea and one in the Aegean Sea

In a significant environmental move, Greece has announced plans to invest €780 million in the creation and maintenance of marine parks across the country. These initiatives aim to protect marine biodiversity and make Greece a leader in marine conservation in Europe, including a ground-breaking ban on bottom trawling in all marine protected areas.

Extensive marine parks

According to the Greek Prime Minister, this investment will facilitate the establishment of extensive marine parks to ensure the protection of marine life and habitats. Greece's commitment also includes the innovative step of banning bottom trawling, a fishing method that causes significant damage to seabed ecosystems, in all of its marine protected areas—a first in Europe, as reported by Euronews.

The funding will be used to improve marine biodiversity and support sustainable fishing practices, which are expected to benefit both the environment and local economies dependent on fishing and tourism. These efforts are part of a wider strategy discussed at the recent Global Ocean Conference, where Greece showcased its commitment to marine health and sustainability.

The ocean has paid a heavy price for its service to humankind. It has been a vital source of life and livelihood. We have not been kind to it in return.

— Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Criticisms

However, the plan has not been without its critics. Regional geopolitical tensions have surfaced, particularly over the demarcation of marine parks in areas disputed by neighbouring Turkey. Comments from both Greek and Turkish officials highlight ongoing disputes over territorial waters, which could complicate the implementation of conservation projects.

Moreover, some environmental groups and experts argue that while the creation of marine parks is a positive step, the measures do not go far enough to address the root causes of marine degradation. Concerns remain about enforcement and the actual effectiveness of these marine parks in conserving biodiversity, suggesting that the creation of these zones is only the first step in a more complex conservation effort.

Meeting the goals

Despite these challenges, Greece is pressing ahead with its ambitious plans, marking a significant step forward in marine conservation and setting a precedent in Europe. However, the success of these efforts will depend on careful management, international cooperation and addressing the underlying issues raised by critics to ensure that the parks achieve their intended conservation goals.

Source(s)
Reuters
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