The plan to construct breakwaters in coastal tourist areas of Paphos and Yeroskipou will cause significant destruction of the south-west coast and marine environment, the federation of environmental organisations (Opok) said on Tuesday.

The construction of new breakwaters and overhangs will bring destroy of an area of over 11,000 m.sq: 165.5 sq. m. of sandy shallow seawaters, ​​9,779.72 sq.m. of rocky reef substrate, and 1,506.04 sq.m. of Posidonia meadows (commonly known as Mediterranean tapeweed), a seagrass of critical importance to the Mediterranean marine ecosystem, the conservationists claimed.

The plan for the construction of 15 breakwaters including at the harbour of Kato Paphos and the Moulia peninsula in Yeroskipou should be negatively evaluated by the environment department, Opok said in a press release, noting that claims that the works are a necessary means for preventing coastal erosion, are not substantiated by a previous study.

This study, carried out in May 1995 by Delft Hydraulics on behalf of the public works department, recommended preserving the status quo of coastal and marine environments through small local improvements in combination with evaluating alternative environmentally friendly engineering options.

Conditions and effective mitigation measures should be imposed, Opok said, in this area of ​​particular ecological value and great archaeological importance.

Opok was responding in part to a recent statement by the ministry of agriculture that Moulia sea area habitats are not affected, stating that the area where the breakwaters and overhangs are to be located does not seem to be facing serious erosion along its entire length and thus the construction of such a large project, with subsequent destruction of a large area of ​​marine habitats, is not justified.

“The purpose of the project is to create sandy beaches and not to protect and improve the beach front,” the Opok statement said.

Moreover, Opok added, the scientific committee for protection and management of nature and wildlife from 2003 to 2015, had proposed prohibition of breakwaters and cantilevers within or near the special conservation areas, noting that since end of September 2022, the decree to declare the Moulia marine area as a special conservation zone has been pending.