The Department of Fisheries and Marine Research engages in a broad field of activities such as the sustainable use of marine resources, the development and sustainable management of aquaculture, marine ecology, the protection of endangered species and habitats and the prevention and combating of marine pollution.
During 2012, the annual production of fish from capture fisheries was about 1.302 tons valued at €8.5 million. The marine aquaculture production for the year 2012 was about 4.300 tons valued at €23 million. Fish production mainly derives from inshore fishery, bottom trawl fishery (territorial and international waters) polyvalent fishery and purse seiners as well as from aquaculture. During 2012, the Cyprus fishing fleet consisted of 461 small fishing vessels (artisanal small scale fisheries), seven bottom trawlers and 22 polyvalent vessels, fishing swordfish and tunas. These vessels are mainly berthed within the 16 fishing shelters under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research.
Regarding aquaculture, during 2012 there were in operation three marine fish hatcheries, one inland shrimp hatchery/grow-out unit and nine private offshore cage grow-out units culturing mainly sea bass and sea bream. Additionally, there were in operation seven small fresh water aquaculture units, culturing mainly rainbow trout and sturgeon.
Moreover, great importance is given to the protection of the marine biodiversity, endangered species and habitats, as well as the establishment of marine protected areas within the Natura 2000 network. Currently in Cyprus, there are six coastal/marine Ν2000 sites, hosting important habitat types and flora/fauna species of Directive 92/43/EEC. Among these, the coastal/marine protected area of Lara – Toxeftra includes the important breeding sites of two species of marine turtles, Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta, and is protected since 1989 under the Fisheries Law. The Lara – Toxeftra protected area has been accepted and included in the SPAMI List, in the framework of the Protocol for the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity in the Mediterranean of the Barcelona Convention. Furthermore, four additional Marine Protected Areas with Artificial Reefs (AR) are currently under development, in addition to the AR of Amathus.
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