The MPA incorporates the MV Elpida and LEF1 wrecks that were submerged in 2019 to create Larnaca’s first artificial reef, as well as the Dorida natural reef. An initial 60 environmentally-friendly amphorae were added at the reef at the end of August, with more to be added this autumn. The amphorae will create a habitat for marine life and encourage their increase in numbers in the absence of natural rocks and crevices due to Larnaca region’s seabed being mostly sandy.
The area of the MPA is located just one kilometre from the coast of Voroklini and at a depth of 13 m with its shallow waters making it perfect for snorkellers too.
The artificial reef was the initiative of Larnaka Tourism Board and the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, with the support of local authorities, agencies and businesses of Larnaca as a response to the threat of degradation and overfishing of sea waters. It very quickly attracted grouper, wrasse, damselfish, mullet, sardines, seabream, lionfish and seahorses. Even turtles sometimes visit the spot!
The reef is one of several actions being taken to dually protect marine biodiversity and promote diving as a specialist activity in Larnaca region. Other recent actions include the innovative Larnaca Virtual Diving Routes platform where both divers – and non-divers – can view the wrecks of the MPA along with that of the top-ranking Zenobia wreck dive, and the Skopia dive site.
The routes were executed in cooperation with CMMI and CYENS and map out the dive areas in 3D form, complete with the ability to navigate and view at all angles. The platform also includes a tour through underwater footage at different parts of dives; suggested dive routes, and other useful, practical information and statistics.