Marine Park of Zakynthos
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos (N.M.P.Z.) is the recently established marine park situated at the southern most part of the island of Zakynthos. The Presidential Decree for the establishment of the N.M.P.Z. was signed on the 1st of December 1999 by the President of the Greek Republic. Within the Marine Park is the most important loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta nesting rookery in the Mediterranean, a habitat essential for protection.
The Marine Park’s objectives are to preserve the natural environment and conserve the ecological balance of the marine and coastal area of the Bay of Laganas and of the Strophadia Islands, as well as the development of activities aiming at the protection of nature and the landscape in the wider area of Zakynthos.
Objectives of the N.M.P.Z. is the protection and conservation of:
• The most important nesting beaches of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta.
• Habitats and the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus population.
• Habitats of protected avifauna and in particular the migrant birds.
• Native flora habitats.
• Coastal and marine habitat types of European and Mediterranean importance.
• Fishery resources and generally the marine ecosystem, both from sea activities and pollution.
Also, the objectives include the development of activities, compatible with the above, such as:
• Tourism and recreation in accordance with the principles of sustainability.
• Environmental education - information and awareness on naturalist public activities.
• The preservation of traditional uses (fishing, grazing, agriculture, etc.).
• The preservation of the natural and cultural landscape.
The National Marine Park of Zakynthos was the first legislated Protected Area in Greece managed by a Management Agency and it serves as an example for other regions of Greece that require comprehensive management.
The Marine Park encompasses the marine area of the Bay of Laganas, the sea turtle nesting beaches and a zone of land adjoining them, the wetland of Keri Lake and the two small islands of Strophadia, which are 50 miles south from the island of Zakynthos. Τhis includes a total of 36 km² of terrestrial territory and another 90 km² of marine area.
It is worth noting that Zakynthos is one of the most important nesting areas in the Mediterranean, with Sekania beach having one of the most dense nesting efforts with a Mean number of nests from 1984 to 2008 of 661.2 nests (1.54 nests/m in 2008).
Furthermore the area is characterised by a variety of habitats of European interest, including sand dunes, Posidonia oceanica beds (a seagrass species that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea), the critically endangered Sea daffodil Pancratium maritimum, submerged reefs, as well as hundreds of species of flora and fauna, some of which are of great importance.
It should also be noted that a resident population of the critically endangered species of the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is present at the west coast of Zakynthos.