Marine Ecosystem Protection and Regeneration
Many decades of poor or non-existent fishery management throughout the Mediterranean have led to today’s generations becoming accustomed to seas with marine life that is much less abundant than in the past. The situation in the Argolic Gulf is no different. Speak with any local fishermen or sailor above a certain age and they will describe scenes from decades past of fish streaming into the gulf to reproduce that are unfortunately far less common today.
If allowed to continue, this ongoing downward trend will not only eventually lead to the collapse of the traditional fishing industry that has supported communities in the region since antiquity, it will also render the gulf more vulnerable to other threats such as those posed by invasive species, algal and jellyfish blooms and other climate-change-related phenomena, with major implications for the tourism industry.
Yet marine ecosystems are not fragile houses of cards, but resilient and productive systems that rebound swiftly when given the chance. Further, efforts to regenerate fish stocks and other marine populations need not run counter to the interests of local fishers or other users of the marine environment – indeed, quite the opposite is true, as greater fish populations mean a greater amount of fish can be sustainably harvested every year, while also providing greater opportunities for ecotourism development.
Through its grant-giving strategy, the AEF will support efforts to gain better scientific understanding of the ecosystems of the Argolic Gulf, identifying key fish nurseries and marine habitats. In parallel, we will seek to develop and support plans to protect and regenerate these habitats, drawing on international best practices to ensure a return to abundance.