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Members of the “Pandotira” project team had the opportunity to discuss with professional fishermen from the Paphos region on October 4, 2023. The meeting was organized as part of our project by Terra Cypria, with the contribution of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, to inform the interested parties.

The professional fishermen were informed about the Pandotira project and its core philosophy, which is that humans should coexist with nature. They were informed about the importance of the Natura 2000 Network, and how it does not exclude economic activities, but activities in the areas must ensure the protection of rare species and habitats. Additionally, we discussed marine protected areas and the species that are protected within them, such as sea turtles, seals, and other marine mammals, etc.

A discussion followed, in which the professional fishermen showed particular interest in the Natura 2000 Network and the protection of marine areas. The conclusion of the discussion was the urgent need to protect marine species and habitats, as the recovery of the marine environment and the balance that will result from it will also benefit their profession.

During the discussion, they shared their concerns and difficulties they face in their profession, as their livelihood depends on it. Specifically, they mentioned the reduction of fish stocks in the seas, Invasive Alien Species, and the lack of law enforcement to prevent illegal activities. They expressed particular concern about the future of the fishing profession, as they recognize that the challenges it faces today are numerous, and without substantial protection of the sea, it is at risk of disappearing.

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.