For the past 2 years we have almost completed the infrastructure for one of the most modern care centres for marine species in the Mediterranean, which will also be the most modern care centre in Greece and will meet the most stringent international animal welfare standards. However, for 23 months we have been facing not only the typical Greek bureaucracy, but also targeted and continuous efforts to delay the final licensing of the facility. Who is delaying it? This is a debate that must and will be opened very soon in Greece about how inappropriate care centres are being identified with places for the captivity and exploitation of wild animals, but which are licensed in a summary manner and in some cases illegally. The question of course remains – why in the end all of the country’s infrastructure should be located on the perimeter of Attica to continue to serve entrenched situations and individuals. Of course, all this contributes to the abuse of marine animals that end up along the 18,000 km of the Greek coastline injured or with other care needs. For decades we have had no real way of caring for marine species, which are increasingly threatened by the ‘effects’ of human activity. This is truly paradoxical in a country that is home to some of the most important marine mammal populations surviving in the Mediterranean. It must be stressed that the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary is being created with the sole aim of helping to fill the country’s large and chronic infrastructure gap for the care of protected marine species – close to the areas where they live, not near the capital! It is being created without any state or community funding, but with the concession of the land and the until recently abandoned and half-damaged building by the Greek state, and the cooperation of the Municipality of Lipsi. It is created with transparent resources coming from people and institutions (mainly from abroad) that support Archipelagos’ conservation actions, and above all with many thousands of hours of hard work by Archipelagos’ staff and members, but also with self-financing.

We will be coming back soon to this very important issue regarding the care of marine species in Greece.