One more Mediterranean monk seal was found dead, near Fiskardo of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea. At the same time in the waters of Spain, France and Italy, where the Mediterranean monk seal populations have been declared extinct for decades, local stakeholders are making a great effort aiming to encourage potential natural reintroduction of this rare mammal in their waters. In the meantime, in Greece the inefficiency of the on-going conservation effort is a sad fact.
Our seas are fortunate to host the last major remaining Mediterranean monk seal population in the world. About 200-250 of the 450 remaining individuals live in Greek seas. It is an extremely rare species; the most endangered marine mammal in Europe and second most endangered in the world. However, sadly we insist to treat this rare population with extreme disregard.
The deliberate killings continue throughout the Greek coastline: only during the last 14 months, Archipelagos Institute recorded six dead seals (of which at least two were killed by dynamite)! We also shouldn’t forget that the animals that are found dead are only a small percentage of those killed, as most of them end up in inaccessible coasts.
So while the Greek seas are unable to deal with the ongoing slaughter of the monk seal population, it is disappointing to see how some stakeholders, instead of implementing actions that will effectively address the problem, insist on creating false impressions relating to the recovery of the monk seal population.
Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation will come back soon to this very serious subject!