Larnaca is boosting diving tourism with the sinking on Tuesday of 60 clay amphorae in the Oroklini marine protected area, near the LEF1 wreck, to attract fish species to the area.
In addition to the 60 amphorae, 30 more will be placed at a later stage, chairman of the Larnaca Tourism Development and Promotion Company Dinos Lefkaritis said, noting that “the amphorae are clay and do not contain glass, paint, or any toxic materials that can negatively affect marine life.”
Diving tourism, popular in Larnaca, fell off in the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic but is now expected to rise again, Lefkaritis said.
“I believe that tourism will start to recover and with it diving especially in Larnaca which attracts several thousands every year”.
The action was carried out under the guidance of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and the support of the deputy ministry of tourism.
Larnaca’s artificial reef was created on the initiative of the Larnaca tourism company and the department of fisheries in December 2019. Then, the 63m boat Elpida and the 15m LEF1 donated by Lefkaritis Bros Ltd were sunk at a depth of 13 metres about 1km from the coast.
Officer at the department of artificial reefs of the department of fisheries George Pagiatas said any action that offers something to marine protected areas is important and especially in Larnaca.
“The department of fisheries has used ceramics, amphorae in other areas and the results have been spectacular,” he said.
It is estimated that the fish attracted to the area by laying the amphorae are orcas, scorpion fish, scallops and occasionally large fish that move around such as greater amberjack, creating the food chain needed to improve biodiversity and attract the interest of divers, the officer added.
According to Pagiatas, there is soft substrate with sand in Oroklini which is why authorities are slowly trying to increase the hard substrate so that fish shelters are created.