On World Oceans Day (June 8th), Santorini is hosting a diving mission as part of an effort to clean up left-behind fishing gear and create what will become the island’s first marine protected area (MPA).
Italian fabric manufacturer Carvico SpA will work together with The Healthy Seas Initiative and Cousteau Divers, the non-profit organization founded by Pierre-Yves Cousteau, to carry out the project.
A survey from 2007-2008 found Santorini to be the island with the greatest amount of fish in the Cyclades; however, it also determined that the amount of fish in the region is very low compared to other areas of the Mediterranean Sea, partly because of historical overfishing.
Cousteau first envisioned the Santorini Marine Reserve in 2010 in collaboration with Apostolos Stylianopoulos of the Atlantis Dive Center, and in 2017 the MPA Association was created to establish working relationships between authorities, locals and fishermen and work toward more sustainable fishing practices.
In addition to improving the marine environment and replenishing fish stocks, the MPA project aims to benefit Santorini economically by creating jobs and extending its tourism season beyond the summer months.
The non-profit diving organization Ghost Fishing will be executing the diving mission with support from Atlantis Dive Center. The organizers have created an event on Facebook where the mission will be live streamed.
The divers will collect discarded fishing gear and then clean, sort and deliver it to an Aquafil plant in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where it is repurposed into ECONYL® yarn — material which Carvico will use to make new swimwear products.
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