Diving mission in Greece at an important monk seal habitat

11
17 July 2017

The first diving mission of 2017 in Greece has been very successful! Our Greek divers kicked off the Healthy Seas diving season in Greece on 8 July with the first ghost net removal action of the year. The target area was a group of islets known as the Lichadonisia, which is a hotspot for biodiversity. The divers aimed to remove as many ghost nets as possible, since these nets create a great danger for marine animals.

The Lichadonisia islets were formed as a result of volcanic activity and lie just off the north-west tip of Evia island, Greece.  They are currently under consideration for inclusion in the NATURA 2000 network as part of a marine protected area. As it appears they may be an important habitat for the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus).  In recent years, a family of these highly endangered marine mammals has made the islets its home.

Our Greek diving team headed to Northen Evia to dive a German shipwreck called “General Meise”. In the surrounding waters, at a depth of less than 10 metres, there is the concrete-hulled wreck of a 25m long German ship that dates from WWII, the General Meise.  Marine organisms that were attracted and now inhabit the wreck include striking shell-free molluscs – nudibranchs – while the deck has been almost completely colonised by sponges. The development of all this biodiversity presents an impressively colourful picture, but the nets that were covering the stern of the ship, and which were successfully cleared and recovered by the divers, were acting as a death trap to the creatures of the area.

Weather, as well as underwater conditions were excellent, helping the divers and the boat crew do the best out of this mission. Underwater visibility was very good, despite the fact this particular area is famous for its strong sea currents. The mission was successful, the team managed to pull out a large amount of ghost nets covering one side of the wreck. More than 200 kilos of recovered nets will now be taken to be processed as part of a circular economy business model. The recovered fishing nets will be transformed and regenerated into ECONYL® yarn, a high-quality raw material which is used to create beautiful new products, such as socks, swimwear, sportswear or carpets.

Check out our video to get some insights of this exciting diving trip:

The diving trip has been implemented thanks to: Ghost Fishing, MEDASSET, AquaTec Diver Training, VDiveClub and the funders and donators of Healthy Seas.

Related Post

DSC_0054
16 Feb 2017 Blog, News

Great news from Italy! Watch the latest video from Portofino Divers about a clean-up dive in the Portofino Marine Protected Area! They are dedicated for the conservation of the reefs and did already several ghost fishing net recovering in the marine park. We are looking forward to have joint projects in Italy. Photos © Bruno […]

Read More
Vella
17 Jan 2017 News, Video

We are very proud to announce that Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr Karmenu Vella, agreed to become an official Healthy Seas ambassador. He confirmed this by recording a video statement, underlining his active support for the work we do. The European Commission considers marine litter a serious problem and therefore sees action leading […]

Read More
brioni-immagine-agenda
19 Dec 2016 Blog, News

Menswear luxury brand Brioni joined the Healthy Seas Initiative, and is providing support through the sale of sustainable notebooks in selected Brioni stores worldwide. The notebook covers are made of unused fabrics from the production of Brioni’s exclusive garments. The notebooks also contain a bookmark explaining the mission of the Healthy Seas Initiative, as well […]

Read More
patroklos_03122016_7
09 Dec 2016 Blog, News

Last weekend our Greek divers did it again! On 3 December they returned to Patroklos island and after a successful clean-up action, with the help of a crane they managed to collect over two tons of abandoned nets from an old fishing farm. Since this was the last diving trip of 2016, on behalf of […]

Read More