Members of the Pandoteira project team, from Terra Cypria and the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, held a meeting with professional fishers of the Paphos district. The meeting took place on October 4th, 2023.
The purpose of the meeting was to inform professional fishers about:
- the Pandoteira project,
- the Natura 2000 network and its importance,
- the marine protected areas and the different species protected in these areas, such as sea turtles, seals, other sea mammals etc.
In addition, the fishers were informed that the Natura 2000 network is governed by the philosophy that man must coexist with nature, hence it does not prohibit any activities within its boundaries. However, projects and activities taking place in these areas must ensure the safeguarding of rare species and habitats.
During the discussion that followed, the professional fishers demonstrated their great interest in the Natura 2000 network, as well as in the protection of marine areas. They highlighted the need to protect marine species and showed clear understanding of the fact that there can only be balance in the marine environment when marine species are protected. Such a balance would surely benefit their profession as well.
At the same time, they shared with us issues that are troubling their profession. More specifically, they touched upon the reduction of the fish stock, Invasive Alien Species and other issues which are threatening professional fishing. In addition, they expressed their concern for the future of professional fishing, as they recognise that the challenges their profession is facing today are multiple and if we don’t focus on protecting the sea, this profession will cease to exist.
The concerns and suggestions participants shared with us have been documented and will be forwarded to the relevant authorities, with the aim of identifying and applying viable solutions.