The period of sea turtle nesting has begun in Cyprus, as the first nests for this year were discovered on the beaches of Polis Chrysochous and Lara, according to an announcement by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR).
The DFMR urges the public visiting the protected area of Lara-Toxeftra in Paphos to abide by the current legislation and regulations to protect the turtles.
Non-compliance with the legislation can be punishable with a fine of up to €8,543.
“Only one to two out of a thousand hatchlings will survive to return to the beach where they were born, to reproduce. Therefore, strict protection is imperative to ensure the presence of this unique and emblematic species that our island hosts,” the DFMR noted.
It is reminded that within the Lara-Toxeftra protected area, the following activities are prohibited from June 1 to September 30:
- Placement of umbrellas, beds, tents, caravans, or any other structures.
- Stay on the beach and the coastal area during the night, starting one hour before sunset.
- Fishing by any means (nets, spearfishing, etc., except with a fishing rod from the shore).
It is also noted that the following activities are prohibited throughout the year:
- Driving any vehicle on the beaches.
- Collecting sea turtles, which are a protected species throughout Cyprus, from the beach.
- Pollution (disposal of garbage).
- Lighting fires.
Furthermore, the passage or anchoring of vessels within the protected area up to a depth of 20 meters is prohibited from May 1 to October 31. Professional small-scale coastal fishing license holders are exempted from the passage ban in May and October each year.
“It is crucial for the public to be an ally in the work we do to protect the marine environment,” the DFMR noted. “The presence of priority species such as the two sea turtle species, Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas, is evidence of the good ecological state of our marine environment.”