The fisheries department on Tuesday pleaded with the public not to harass turtles when they’re diving following a recent incident, they said.
The department condemned the incident where a group of divers were reported for harassing a turtle underwater. It was not revealed where the incident happened.
“The incident was reported by conscientious citizens and investigated. We hope such behaviour will not be repeated,” a statement said.
“The protection and conservation of these species is an obligation for all of us. Behaviours that harass and or destroy marine life are condemnable.”
The department said sea turtles were a priority species and were also protected through the European Habitats Directive, which was transposed into national law in 2003.
According to the legislation “the killing, the persecution, or the intentional harassment of these species and their capture, purchase, sale or possession is prohibited,” it added.
“Those who are fortunate enough to encounter a sea turtle or other marine species in the beautiful underwater world of Cyprus can admire them from a distance without harassing them. it is important that we can coexist with nature and respect it.”