The program CYCLADES LIFE, “Integrated Monk seal conservation of Northern Cyclades” aims to establish for the first time in Greece, a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) around the Natura site of Gyaros (a deserted islet and former exile state situated in the Northern Cycladian complex at the heart of the Aegean archipelago), under a management plan that will be designed with a holistic and interdisciplinary approach and use a pioneering methodology that will promote sustainable development in local communities, support sustainable fisheries and protect biodiversity.

The scientific study, the conservation of the endangered Monk seal population in Gyaros, the documentation and mapping of the unique marine biodiversity of the broader area, such as Posidonia beds, the unique Coralligenous beds (maerltragana) and the submerged marine caves and finally the promotion of alternative actions, will play a vital role in the formulation of adequate protection measures, while in parallel it will contribute to sustainable development of the region as a whole.


Principles such as Ecosystem Based Management and Marine Spatial Planning will be the foundation for the efficient design of the new marine protected area, which will be based on a participatory system with the active contribution and direct consultation by all the involved and interested stakeholders at local and central level, through the formulation and co-operation of a committee, which will promote and ensure direct involvement and participation in the co-management of the area.

Moreover, a wide range of actions will be implemented in order to maintain the MPA’s environmental structure, by supporting at the same time the traditional social and economic structures of Andros and Syros and promoting new alternative ones, activating all the relevant bodies from the fishing and tourism sector, as well as the local government.

Pagiatas(c) WWF Greecesmaller

(c) G.Paximadis/ WWF Greece

The core idea of the “CYCLADES LIFE” project is the diffusion of the extensive knowledge that will be gained, as well as the dissemination of the results that will be achieved not only to the local and scientific communities but also to all the key authorities, through awareness raising and educational activities. Consequently, they will be mobilized to actively participate and act towards the protection of the new MPA, by supporting the CYCLADES team’s efforts regarding political pressure and intervention.

Accordingly, the fundamental goal is the institutional establishment and protection of the broader area, following the adoption and application of sufficient measures that will take into consideration the welfare of the unique marine environment, the biodiversity and the local community too.

Our 4 year journey begins! Follow us and learn about the reasons why we decided to start the particular project, observe the actions that will be executed from July 2013 to June 2017, stay tuned with the latest news from the field team and most importantly experience the Cyclades Islands as you have never experienced them before thanks to the remarkable and outstanding photographic and video footage that will be produced.