The Paphos district administration said on Wednesday that it will be shutting down illegal beach bars set up on state land along the Polis-Yialia beach which threaten local turtle populations.
The Polis-Yialia area is a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle and part of the Natura 2000 network.
A beach bar set up within this area, has drawn authorities’ attention after posts on social media showed fireworks and loud music, but according to Paphos district officer Mary Lambrou, it is not the only one.
The bar, which is located within the Yialia community and named after the Caretta caretta turtle, is adjacent to a now defunct restaurant and operates during the summer months, Lambrou said.
“It was set up arbitrarily by the owners’ children with no permission,” she told the Cyprus Mail, adding that the loud music, lights, and drunk patrons the police keep spotting leaving the bar are creating problems in the area.
Like this specific bar, Lambrou said that at least two others have been spotted along the same beach, set up with no regard for the legislation applying to the area, nor the law for the protection and preservation of nature and wildlife.
In the coming days, the Paphos district administration will be moving in to shut down and dismantle any makeshift bars in the area at the expense of the owners.
All relevant parties, including the environment department and fisheries department, are involved in the operation.
Meanwhile, the Greens issued a statement criticising the fisheries department’s decision to allow the creation of two “milder-form” organised beaches in the communities of Argaka and Yialia.
Back in March, the department argued that their creation was necessary to ensure the protection of turtle nesting habitats from the unregulated use and exploitation of the beaches in the area, which stretches along 12 kilometres of coastline.
Any new beaches were to be governed by strict restrictions limiting noise and bright lights during nesting season and providing for the installation of protective cages in case nests are detected.
However, in a written announcement the Greens said that the lifeguard tower installed has destroyed local vegetation, while no measures have been taken to prevent the light pollution of the beach after acacias growing in the area were cut down.