THE development of an artificial reef off the coast of Polis has been given the go ahead, according to tourism officials.
The reef will attract diving tourism and protect marine biodiversity, a spokesman for the Paphos regional bard of tourism said.
He added that concerted efforts have come to fruition and as the site has finally been agreed to, the government has agreed to construct an artificial reef in the area, the second in the district of Paphos. The reef is included in the fisheries department’s plans for 2014-2020.
“The main aim of these reefs is to protect marina natural resources and develop biodiversity and marine life, as well a more sustainable and responsible form of tourism,” he said.
The fisheries department had studied possible areas for the reef, which fall under the protection of the Natura 2000 Plan.
Artificial reefs are constructions intentionally placed on the seabed that aim to imitate the properties of a natural reef.
“They serve as a haven, a place to feed, reproduce, and grow in size and number for living marine organisms.”
Mayor of Polis Chrysochous Giotis Papachristofi told the Cyprus Mail that the government will foot the bill, which will amount to tens of thousands of euros.
“We are expecting this project to get underway in 2018, I don’t know how they will create this sea park yet, as I don’t have all the details.”
However, Papachristofi said the establishment of the reef is a good idea as it will help to promote diving tourism and snorkelling with both local and visitors.
The reef will be sunk onto the sea bed in an area of sea stretching between Latchi harbour and the five star Anassa hotel, he added.
“This is a special project, given the beautiful snorkelling and diving locations of the wider area and in crystal clear waters. The water temperature is generally good and the sea is calm, these are important elements for the further development of diving tourism as well as marine life,” said the tourism spokesman.
The effort contributes to a wider general plan for the district of Paphos that follows sustainable and responsible tourism, he said.