Headlines – News – Articles
4th January, 2017

Occurrence and impact of interactions between small-scale fisheries and predators, with focus on Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus Hermann 1779), around Lipsi Island complex, Aegean Sea, Greece

Recent Publications

Non-open access journalsNoelia Ríos, Matija Drakulic, Iosu Paradinasb, Anastasia Milliou, Ruth Cox. 2017. Occurrence and impact of interactions between small-scale fisheries and predators, with focus on Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus Hermann 1779), around Lipsi Island complex, Aegean Sea, Greece. Fisheries Research 187: 1-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2016.10.013

Abstract

Antagonistic interaction between Mediterranean marine mammals, including the endangered monk seal (Monachus monachus), and small-scale fisheries is a growing problem in the Aegean Sea. Effective management measures are needed to ensure both the survival of the monk seal population, and its coexistence with the small-scale fisheries. In this study, data from 371 fishing journeys by 8 different boats was collected between March and November 2014. Evidence of depredation by monk seals was recorded in 19.1% of fishing journeys, by cetaceans in 5%, and by other predators in 16.5%. Analysis of landings data showed that gear and depth were the variables most likely to influence the occurrence of depredation. There was a significant decrease in the catch per unit effort (CPUE) of four of the nine targeted fish species when depredation by monk seals occurred. The total cost of monk seal depredation was estimated to be 21.33% of the mean annual income of fishermen in the Aegean Sea. We discuss how the implementation of marine protected areas and the use of specific fishing gear could reduce the frequency of interactions, and thus mitigate the loss experienced by the fisheries as well as contribute to the conservation of an endangered species.

27th July, 2015

Tourists “smother” tame Mediterranean monk seal ‘Argiro’ with their caresses — Report

FokiaArgyroTouristesAs long predicted by TMG, tourists swimming with and petting the tame, human-imprinted Mediterranean monk seal named ‘Argiro’ on the Eastern Aegean  island of Samos are at serious risk of bites, scratches and even more serious injury. While their compassion for the seal may be a plus point for the conservation of the species, the numbers flocking to pet and swim with her are exacerbating Argiro’s human imprinting and putting the welfare of both seal and bathers in jeopardy.

Now Greek animal website ZooSos reports that on 20 July, three tourists were bitten while playing with Argiro, necessitating hospital treatment.

Source: http://www.zoosos.gr/article/7567/oi-touristes-pnigoun-me-ta-hadia-tous-ten-arguro-e-phokia-tous-epitethei-poios-tha-phta

28th May, 2015

MOm reports on the progress of Andriana

from MOm’s Facebook page

A month after her release, Andriana continues to enjoy her journeys in the northwestern Aegean. The daily distances she travels are impressive, while diving depth has been steadily increasing and has reached to a depth of 50m. Until now Andriana has completed her first “tour” of the northwestern Aegean Sea (as can be seen on the map), returning just recently to the island of Alonissos in the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades (NMPANS). During this “tour” Andriana managed already to get entangled in a long-line; we would like to thank our friend from Kria Vrisi at the island of Evoia and the members of the Management Body of the NMPANS who helped to free Andriana from this fishing equipment.

Every single one of us can make a difference and help, not only Andriana, but all wildlife live in harmony next to us. It should be noted that the data collected by Andriana’s tag are extremely important in helping us understand how monk seals move and behave in their marine environment and ultimately help us protect them more efficiently.

28th April, 2015

Orphaned monk seal Andriana released

Orphaned monk seal Andriana was released at Piperi in the Northern Sporades Marine Park yesterday, following a brief overnight stay at the MOm rehabilitation unit in Steni Vala. Andriana had been in care at MOm’s new facility at the Attica Zoological Park since mid-November.

Consultant veterinarian Prof. Anastasia Komnenou gives Andriana a final health check before release, having overseen the application of the satellite tag and flipper identity tag.

Consultant veterinarian Prof. Anastasia Komnenou gives Andriana a final health check before release, having overseen the application of the satellite tag and flipper identity tag.

Volunteers carry Andriana to the waiting Coast Guard launch at Steni Vala, for the onward journey into the Marine Park.

Volunteers carry Andriana to the waiting Coast Guard launch at Steni Vala, for the onward journey into the Marine Park.
 
 

Andriana testing the waters at Piperi.

Andriana testing the waters at Piperi.

Andriana's release at Piperi.

Andriana’s release at Piperi.

20th August, 2014

New report on monk seals of Gyaros, Greece

1st Annual Conservation Status Report of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Population at the island of Gyaros

Recent Publications

[…] Annual pup productivity

The minimum mean annual number of births (n = 7.75) recorded at the island of Gyaros is one of the highest recorded for the species in the Mediterranean Sea and could be higher if systematic assessments of natality were conducted throughout the breeding season at each site in the years 2004 – 2011. Systematic surveys of annual pup production at Cabo Blanco in the Western Sahara (González et al., 2002), the Northern Sporades, Kimolos & Polyaigos, and at Karpathos & Saria (MOm, 2007) yielded counts of 25.0, 8.4, 7.9, and 3.7, respectively. […]

MOm. 2014. 1st annual conservation status report of the Mediterranean monk seal population at the island of Gyaros. 1-30. [PDF 1.5MB]

18th August, 2014

Tourism could help save Mediterranean monk seals, but if unmanaged it will only accelerate their demise

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

boat-traffic-1

[…] Unfortunately, the monk seal breeding season happens to coincide in part with the peak of the tourist season, a coincidence likely to result in making the seals even more endangered than they already are, as I had the opportunity of documenting yesterday in an undisclosed location of the Northern Dodecanese, in Greece.

There, sheltered on a small sandy beach at the far end of a large cave carved in the cliff of a small, uninhabited islet, lives today a female monk seal with her small pup. As it happens, the location is also very popular with tourists from nearby islands, who converge there aboard day-trip boats organised by local operators, as well as with their own vessels; and the word has spread that seals can be visited in the cave.

Well-managed, tourism could be a bonus for monk seal conservation because of the high value that visitors attribute to such charismatic animals. This value can be harnessed to the benefit of the local communities, which would then strive to protect the seals or, at a minimum, stop destroying them. However, in the current total absence of management, anyone can imagine the amount of disturbance that this seal pair is subjected to, in a most critical phase of their existence and in a moment in which their quiet and peace should be guaranteed at all costs. […] Full article.

19th December, 2013

Poster presentation on the Gyaros monk seal colony

Recent Publications

Karamanlidis et al._MMC_2013Karamanlidis, A.A., S. Adamantopoulou, V. Paravas, M. Psaradellis, P. Dendrinos. 2013. Demographic structure and social behaviour of the unique Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) colony of the island of Gyaros. Poster presentation, in: 20th Biennial Conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. 10th December 2013, Dunedin, New Zealand. [PDF 5.1 MB]

20th July, 2013

Sketchy details provided of new EU life project for Giaros

WWF Greece, MOm and its Greek and international partners announced the launch of a new protected area management project centred around the uninhabited island of Giaros in the Cyclades islands this week. Although long on PR and short on detail, the press release is keen to stress the perceived benefits of the MPA to neighbouring island development (Syros and Andros in particular), in tourism and fisheries management, by taking a “holistic” approach to conservation and economic opportunity. Giaros, a former military zone and prison island, has since become a Natura 2000 protected area, and is an important Mediterranean monk seal colony. The project, “Cyclades LIFE”, is funded by the European Commission’s LIFE funding mechanism, and by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The island of Giaros, as seen from Syros.

The island of Giaros, as seen from Syros.

Further information

WWF Greece. Cyclades LIFE: A ground-breaking initiative for sustainable growth and the conservation of nature in the Cyclades. Press Release, 15 July 2013.

Konstantinos Mentzelopoulos. Our Sea, Our Life. The Monachus Guardian 12 (1): June 2009.