Seals, dolphins and Natura2000: Collaboration with Ionian Dolphin Project
A new 3 years collaboration has started this October with the Ionian Dolphin Project of Tethys Research Institute in the framework of a project using research to facilitate the incorporation of adequate management of marine mammal populations into the Management Plan for the Natura 2000 Area of the Inner Ionian Sea, in Greece.
Data collection and workshops with the different stakeholders will create teh scenario to conduct a participative process with the aim to reach a consensus on the Management Plan for the area.
The Natura 2000 Area of the Inner Ionian Sea, officially classified as GR2220003 – Esoterik Archipelagos Ioniou (Meganisi, Arkoudi, Atokos, Vromonas) – is an extensive area of 88250 Ha of which 98% are marine area. Among the species included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive that allowed the area to be catalogued as a SCI (site of community interest), highlighting the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the mediterraenan monk seal (Monachus monachus) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). There are also large and dense extensions of Neptune sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) a marine plant also protected by European legislation. The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the Noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) are also present in the area.
Three main Ionian islands, Lefkada, Ithaki and Kefalonia and the continental Greece (Sterea Ellada) delimit geographically the Natura 200 Area from West, North and East the site, including the coasts of islands and islets such as Arkoudi, Meganisi, Kithros, Skorpios, Skorpidi, Sparti, Madouri, Formikoula, Atokos, Kalamos, Kastos and Vromonas.
The Ionian Dolphin Project, a project of Tethys Research Institute, has been working in the area for more than 25 years and its mission is to ensure the long-term viability of marine mammals in the coastal waters of the Ionian Sea.