As Archipelagos’ conservation work continues in the Aegean despite the difficult weather conditions, we would like to share with you the sad reality we face in our seas. Responding to incidents of live or dead strandings of rare species along the Greek coasts, reported by citizens or port authorities, is not news for us but a responsibility that we don’t take lightly.
The evidence for the strandings of the past few days is indicative of this. The three sea turtles that were found dead in the last week all died due to anthropogenic causes, while one is believed to have suffered a painful injury after being tangled in rope and floating at sea for days before dying with a decaying flipper. Another rare species found dead, a subadult Mediterranean monk seal, is also believed to have been a victim of deliberate killing as it had obvious wound marks.
The fact that these rare animals die, although unfortunate, is normal and expected. However, it is when their death is caused directly or indirectly by human behaviour that we feel anger. To us, dead marine animals on our shores cannot be just another set of statistical data, but a shocking reality. It is not possible to continue on our path as a society while eliminating the rare species that have thus far, managed to survive in our seas. Our incompetence in managing our land has spread to the seas, so that not only do we destroy marine ecosystems, deplete fish stocks, and turn our seas into underwater garbage dumps, but it seems that we are also determined to kill whatever has managed to survive these conditions we created.
Addressing this situation is a responsibility we all share. At Archipelagos Institute, we have battled this for over 20 years with all the powers we have. But once more we reach out to all like-minded people who do not accept this reality, to those who love the seas not only during their holidays, to join forces and protect our seas.