Ongoing conservation efforts in Cyprus and the rest of Europe will be marked on Friday as part of the Special Protection Areas of Mediterranean Importance (Spami) initiative celebrating May 20 as Spami Day.

SPAMI sites aim to protect and conserve habitats that are severely restricted or at risk of disappearing, as well as those considered critical for the survival, reproduction and recovery of endangered and endemic species of animals and plants.

As part of Spami Day activities, the department of fisheries has organised a clean-up of the Toxeftra and Lara beaches on Friday, in cooperation with the Youth Association of Polis Chrysochous region and the Cyprus Foundation for the Protection of the Environment Terra Cypria.

In Cyprus, the coastal area of Akamas is an important nesting area for the Green Turtle, the only one in Europe, and the Caretta Caretta Turtle.

The Akamas peninsula is included in the Natura 2000 network, which was established under the European Habitats Directive for the conservation of natural habitats and species of wild flora and fauna in the European Union.

The most notable nesting beaches in the area are the beach of Toxeftra and the beach of Lara, both of which are located in the south-western part of the Akamas peninsula.

“As we experience a biodiversity crisis, not only should we hold on to the glimmers of hope but we must ensure that we spread them around forcefully,” a statement on the UN-run Spami website said.

“And Spamis are more than promising glimmers of hope for our Mediterranean Sea. We must also pay tribute and recognition to the women and men of these areas, working together to protect nature in the most effective way.”