Cyprus Mail

Greens outraged over boat dropping off tourists at Lara beach

The Greens called for action on Sunday after a boat anchored on the protected turtle beach at Lara in  the Akamas had unloaded tourists to have a party on shore.

The party said that the boat anchored on the shore of the beach at noon “blaring loud music and dropped the tourists off on the beach to have fun on the very sand where turtles lay their eggs”.

It said that they have contacted the Paphos district officer who gave reassurances that she would take action.

This is not the first time the party reported violations on the beach, the Greens said.

Visitors often enter the beach and behave in a way not compatible with the high level of protection, the party said.

“We have had reports of quad bikes, night beach parties, garbage, and so on,” it said.

Last year, the party said, the local authority had asked the interior minister for permission to turn the beach into an organised one so that it could earn money from renting sun beds, umbrellas and kiosks selling water and ice-cream.

“God knows how we succeeded in averting such a disastrous decision,” the party said, expressing concern that the incident could be an attempt of “legitimisation of the irrational demand of the local authority”.

The party called for full respect for the beach and urged members of the public not to tolerate noise pollution coming from tourist boats. It also called for slapping offenders with penalties to put a stop to such practices.

Lara beach is protected as Loggerhead turtles (Caretta–Caretta) lay their eggs there each year.

In Cyprus, where the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead Turtle breed, turtles and their eggs are protected by law since 1971. Both turtles, especially the Green, are endangered species. If beaches outside the Natura network are found to have turtle nests, they are also protected.

Local authorities in whose jurisdiction these areas lie however, disagree with the call of environmentalists for zero development, arguing they have been neglected by the state and that incentives are needed to encourage development, such as increase of the building coefficient and relaxation of the Natura network.

The Mayor of Polis Chrysochou had asked Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides last year to scrutinise the national turtle protection programme maintaining that experts have planted eggs in the Chrysochou Bay to prevent any form of development.

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