The initiatives are the result of a close collaboration between Larnaka Tourism Board (LTB), the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, the Technical and Vocational School of Education and Training of Larnaka, and the region’s dive centres.
The first action saw the submerging of 200 amphorae at the Elpida wreck – which was sunk in 2019 at a depth of 29 m. Following Elpida, the LEF1 vessel was sunk in 2020, whilst last year amphorae were submerged near a natural reef by Elpida.
The demarcation of the MPA was also recently completed and will assist in more effective policing of the area and the placement of boat mooring points. Further initiatives are planned within the next year, including the submerging of a new vessel – the ‘Lambousa II’, along with the installation of artificial reef structures in the area.
In an age where overfishing and other factors threaten marine environments, the installation of environmentally friendly structures increases the sanctuaries available for marine organisms; a significant measure as Larnaca’s sandy seabed does not naturally offer suitable substrate shelters for marine life. This action also contributes to the enrichment of diving tourism, which is one of LTB’s ongoing areas of enhancement.
It is important to note that the amphorae submerged are environmentally friendly as they do not contain any glazes, paints or toxic materials that could negatively affect marine life. This effort was possible thanks to the support of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism (DMT), as well as the diving schools: Viking Divers; Zenobia Divers; Undersea World Scuba Diving, and Hippocampus Larnaca Sub Aqua Club.
Parallel to the amphorae submerging, impressive and creative culinary dishes incorporating lionfish were presented, which were prepared by the Technical and Vocational School of Education and Training οf Larnaka, while a booklet of original recipes prepared by the Hotel and Catering Professions branch of the school was distributed. The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness about the invasion of lionfish in Cyprus’ seawaters, and to propose solutions that will turn this challenge into an opportunity through the use of lionfish in gastronomy.