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Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats COMPLAINT FORM Please continue on a separate sheet if necessary and attach all the documents necessary to support your complaint.

First name: Lily Surname: Venizelos On behalf of (if applicable): MEDASSET – The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles Address: c/o 24 Park Towers, 2 Brick Str. Town/City: London County/State/Province: Westminster County Postcode: W1J 7DD Country: UK Tel.: 0044 2076290654 Fax: 0044 2076290654 E-mail: medasset@medasset.org , medasset@medasset.gr

Web site: www.medasset.gr


1. Please state the reason of your complaint in detail (refer also the Contracting Party/es involved).

MEDASSET – The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles – is an international nongovernmental organisation (NGO) founded in 1988, working for the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean through conservation and scientific research programmes, public awareness, environmental education, and lobbying decision-makers. MEDASSET’s role is also to ensure that the endangered loggerhead marine turtles and their habitats (nesting beaches, foraging and overwintering areas) are fully and effectively protected in Greece and that all revelant laws associated to their protection are properly enforced and implemented. It was recently brought to MEDASSET’s attention that the second most important nesting area in the Mediterranean, in Southern Kyparissia, Western Peloponnese (Greece), which hosts the second largest population of Caretta caretta in the Mediterranean Sea (average 529 nests/season over 26 consecutive years) (ARCHELON, 2010) is currently facing a very serious threat : In specific, the 10Km beach between River Neda and Kalo Nero in southern Kyparissia Bay, one of the few remaining pristine coastal areas in Greece featuring a well-preserved sand dune system and coastal forest is threatened by uncontrolled development. This area has been included as a NATURA 2000 site under the code name THINES KYPARISSIAS (GR2550005). As a result of the Ministry of Environment’s inaction to bring forward essential legislative acts to effectively protect and manage the area, the first signs of catastrophic development have started to emerge. Summer houses are built on the nesting beach, coastal roads are constructed and beachfront lights installed (List of Fig.1-15 attached). The beach sector in front of the village of Kalo Nero is almost totally inaccessible to turtles due to masses of umbrellas and deck chairs as well as several beach bars with bright lights shinning directly onto the nesting beach at night (List of Fig.1-15 attached). The site is Public. The main threats to the area, and consequently to the Caretta caretta, are the degradation and erosion of the sand dunes and coastal forests, due to road construction and building activity and the encroachment of land for tourismc and agricultural use. The main ecological value of this site are the sand-dune ecosystems. In Greece, sand dune ecosystems are decreasing in number and size, and in some cases have disappeared altogether. On these coasts of the Western Peloponnese, well-developed sand-dune formations still exist making this area ideal for Caretta caretta to nest. We Believe that the area is unique in a European context and has the potential to offer many assets. Instead of being destroyed in the name of uncontrolled development, we urge the Bern Convention to exercise its influence in persuading the Greek Government to accomplish its duty by introducing and enforcing the appropriate legislation necessary for the sound management of this important NATURA 2000 site.


2. Which are the specific specie/s or habitat/s included in one of the Appendices of the Bern Convention potentially affected? (Please include here information about the geographical area and the population of the species concerned, if applicable)

On these coasts of the Western Peloponnese, well-developed sand-dune formations still survive. The presence of well-structured coastal Alepo pine forests at a distance of no less than 100-200m from the sea are growing on top of high stabilized sand-dune formations, and are of high aesthetic value. The mosaic of vegetation in this site is fairly unique, and representative of well-preserved sand-dune ecosystems in Greece. Pancratium maritimum is included in Section 3.3 with motivation D (Habitat Directive) since it is a species whose populations have been considerably reduced along the Greek coasts. In some documented localities this taxon has been reported by several investigators of the hellenic flora, to be no longer present. The zoological importance of this site is assessed by the fact that it is considered one of the most significant nesting beaches for the sea turtle Caretta caretta in Greece and in the Mediterranean. Indeed, for the part of beach lying between the estuaries of the rivers Neda and Arkadikos (about 10km in length), an average nest production rate of 529 nests/season over 26 consecutive years has been recorded (Special Environmental Study (SES), LIFENAT98/GR/5262, ARCHELON). Caretta is a priority species in Directive 92/43/E.E.C. and a threatened animal (threat category: "Endangered"). For more detailed information regarding the population of Caretta caretta in the concerned area please refer to the attached document ‘Important Notes on nesting of Caretta caretta in Kyparissia Bay (Source: Special Environmental Study (SES), LIFENAT98/GR/5262, ARCHELON). Area characteristics : Site Code : GR2550005 Type : E Longitude 21.678611 Latitude 37.268333 Size in HA : 1342.8600 Administrative Region: Peloponnisos, Prefecture : Messinia Other Taxa Other Directive taxa which live in the area are the tortoises Testudo hermanni and T. marginata, and the snake Elaphe situla. Among the remaining 11 taxa evaluated as Other and Greek Important (sections 3.3 and 3.4) there are four Greek endemic lizard species (Anguis cephallonicus, Lacerta graeca, Podarcis erhardii livadiaca and P. peloponnesiaca). All 11 taxa are protected by the Bern Convention, and are therefore marked with the C motivation. All except Vipera ammodytes are also protected by Greek legislation (Presidential Decree 67/1981) and receive motivation D(Habitat Directive). Rana dalmatina and Natrix tessellata are additionally indicated by D (Habitat Directive) since they are also mentioned in the handbook of the CORINE-Biotopes Project. Similarly, the legless lizard Ophiomorus punctatissimus and lacertid lizard Podarcis taurica ionica also obtain D motivation(Habitat Directive) since the former taxon shows the westernmost end of its distribution area (covering southern Greece and southwestern Turkey only) in Peloponnisos, and the latter taxon since it is an endemic element of the SW Balkans. The invertebrate species listed in section 3.3 with motivation C are protected by the Bern Convention. Saturnia pyri is protected by the IUCN Red List and the European Red List of Globally Threatened Animals and Plants and is included in the "Listing of biotopes in Europe according to their significance for invertebrates".The invertebrate species listed in sections 3.3 and 3.4 with motivation D (Habitat Directive) are protected by Greek Presidential Decree


67/1981. Anthocharis damone, Thersamonia thetis, Pieris krueperi, Thersamonia thersamon are all included in the IUCN Red List. Pieris ergane and Plebejus sephirus are also included in the "Listing of biotopes in Europe according to their significance for invertebrates". 3. What might be the negative effects for the specie/s or habitat/s involved? Human activities are putting pressures on the ecosystem of the site, these include sand extraction, the clearance of sand-dune vegetation, flattening of dune formations, the expansion of cultivated land on sandy substrate close to the sea, opening of new roads and building activity within the sand dune system. The locality of Agiannakis is a good example of the above (see List of Figs. 115 attached). These activities cause intensive pressure to the fauna of this site, especially to nesting activity of Caretta caretta. Uncontrolled development in the area can lead to shrinkage of the available loggerhead nesting rookery and reduce this unique breeding population of sea turtles. Studies have shown (Bowen et.al.) that the Caretta caretta population of Kyparissia is geneticaly unique and cannot be replaced by a different one e.g the breeding population on the island of Zakynthos or Lakonikos Bay in the Peloponnese. Hence, introduction and enforcement of specific protective measures is considered vital. 4. Do you know if potentially affected species or habitats also fall under the scope of other international Conventions, (for instance: RAMSAR, CMS, ACCOBAMS, Barcelona Convention, etc) or if the area has been identified as a NATURA 2000/Emerald network site?

The sea turtle species Caretta caretta, also commonly know as loggerhead fall under the scope of the following international Conventions: 1. The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as CMS or Bonn Convention, (1979) (Appendix I - Endangered Migratory species). 2. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 1973 - Appendix I for the most endangered species). 3. The Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution (the Barcelona Convention). The Parties to the Barcelona Convention included among their priority targets for the period 1985-1995 the protection of Mediterranean marine turtles (Genoa Declaration, September 1985) and to this end the Mediterranean countries adopted in 1989 the first Action Plan for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Turtles within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). In 1996, the Parties confirmed their commitment to the conservation of marine turtles by including the 5 species of marine turtles recorded for the Mediterranean in the List of Endangered and Threatened Species annexed to the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (Barcelona, 1995). 4. The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979), also known as the Bern Convention (or Berne Convention) (Appendix II - strictly protected fauna species). 5. The Council Directive 92/43/EEC (1992) on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Annex II, Caretta caretta listed as priority species).


The area under examination has been designated as a NATURA 2000 site (confirmed as a SCI, September 2006) under code name THINES KYPARISSIAS (GR2550005). The site in question is related to another NATURA 2000 site namely, the ‘THALASSIA PERIOCHI KOLPOU KYPARISSIAS’ under code name GR2330008. The latter NATURA 2000 site represents the wider marine area of Kyparissia bay. The total amount (45%) of the land area of this site is under the zone of control of urban development act (ZOE), (FEK1161/D/93, 86/D/94)

5. Do you know if there are any pending procedures at the national or international level regarding the object of your complaint?

Introduction of appropriate legislation to protect and manage the area by the Greek Government is still pending. In fact for the majority of NATURA 2000 sites in Greece no special legislative acts outlining specific management goals and guidelines have been elaborated yet. Paragraphs 6(1) and 6(2) of the Directive require that, within Natura 2000, Member States should: - Take appropriate conservation measures to maintain and restore the habitats and species for which the site has been designated to a favourable conservation status; - Avoid damaging activities that could significantly disturb these species or deteriorate the habitats of the protected species or habitat types. Following the area’s designation as a NATURA 2000 site (SCI), the Greek Government ignored introducing and/or enforcing appropriate conservation and management measures for the area while the Special Environmental Study, the Management Plan and a draft Presidential Decree elaborated by ARCHELON (The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece) in 2002, (as part of a LIFE-Nature project) have been completely ignored by the Ministry of Environment. As a result of the lack of special legislation for the protection and management of this NATURA 2000 site a variety of damaging activities (see section 3 & List of Figs. 1-15 attached) have taken place that could potentially have an irreversible negative impact on the population of the vulnerable Caretta caretta and its habitat. Planned and/or ongoing activities should be assessed, monitored and /or stopped following appropriate impacts assessments. Paragraphs 6(3) and 6(4) lay down the procedure to be followed when planning new developments that may affect a Natura 2000 site. Thus: Any plan or project likely to have a significant effect on a Natura 2000, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall undergo an Appropriate Assessment to determine its implications for the site. The competent authorities can only agree to the plan or project after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned (Article 6.3) So far none of the previously mentioned damaging activities (see section 3) have been addressed by competent local and/or central government authorities in order to assess the impact on protected species and their associated habitats in the area. No Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) or Statements (EISs) have been carried out for any of the infrastructural projects (houses, kiosks, newly opened roads, tourist platforms) within the area of interest. The local Land Planning Agency (Ktimatiki Ypiresia) of Kyparissia has received no information or


instructions from the competent Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change regarding the type of special management and conservation regulations that should be applied within the concerned NATURA 2000 site.

6. Any other information (existence of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), size of projects, maps of the area, etc)

The Area has been the target of a LIFE-Nature project (LIFE98NAT/GR/5262) entitled ‘Application Management Plan for Caretta caretta in Southern Kyparissia Bay’, under the approval of the Greek government, from 1998 to 2002. The Culmination of this LIFE project was the elaboration of a Special Environmental Study (avail. upon request, in Greek) including a Management Plan (avail. upon request, in Greek) and a Draft Presidential Decree (avail. upon request, in Greek) which, following consultation with stakeholders, specified necessary measures for a sound management of the area. The Specific Environmental Study, required by law for the establishment of a National Park, and the Management plan for Caretta caretta, were elaborated as part of the project in order to promote the legislative protection of the site. The SES was officially submitted to the Ministry of Environment. It proposed the designation of three zones: a Nature Protection Area which includes the sand dune zone and runs from river Neda to the village of Kalo Nero, a Protected Natural Formation which was added following the request of the local community so as to protect the Neda river, and an Eco-development Area which covers the inland area along the aforementioned coastal zone. Attached to this complaint are: A. Map (A4b) showing the spread and distribution of important species of flora and fauna and habitat types of the N2000 site ‘THINES KYPARISSIAS’. Map is labeled in Greek. Red-dotted line=High loggerhead breeding value Pink-dotted line=Very good loggerhead breeding value Orange-dotted line=Good to medium loggerhead breeding value Light blue-dotted line= Medium to low loggerhead breeding value B. A list of Figures (1-15) that demonstrate clearly the types of uncontrolled developmental activity in the area of interest. C. Important notes on nesting activity of Caretta caretta in Kyparissia Bay (Source: Special Environmental Study, LIFE98NAT/GR/5262, ARCHELON)

Date and signature:


20 August 2010 On Behalf of MEDASSET ‘The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles’ Lily Venizelos MEDASSET President IUCN MTSG Member

Please, fill in this form, include all supporting documents that you may consider important, and send it to the attention of: Ivana d’ALESSANDRO Biological Diversity Unit Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage Council of Europe F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex E-mail: Ivana.DALESSANDRO@coe.int


Complaint to the Bern Convention regarding southern Kyparissia Bay’s threat by development  

Author: Venizelos L. on behalf of MEDASSET, 7 pages.

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