Since 1992 MEDASSET has lobbied to ensure adequate protection of sea turtles in Republic of Cyprus. The Akamas peninsula is exceptionally rich in terrestrial and marine life, including many endemic species of fauna and flora and hosts nesting sites for both loggerhead and green turtles, namely in the Lara/Toxeftra reserve. Limni beach in Chrysochou Bay is also a very important nesting site for loggerhead turtles. In collaboration with Cypriot NGOs and researchers we have advocated for improved protection of these sites and lobbied against destructive development.
In 1996, MEDASSET helped Cypriot NGOs bring these issues to the attention of the Bern Convention by submitting reports on their behalf and a Case File remains open since 1997, due to lack of adequate protection of Akamas and Limni. The areas have been protected as EU Natura 2000 sites, however, the site boundaries proposed by the government do not adequately cover the sea turtle habitats, especially in the Limni area, and management plans have yet to be implemented. In addition, right behind Limni nesting beach there are plans for the construction of the largest golf and villa complex in the Mediterranean. NGOs are fighting for a wider buffer zone between the huge complex and the beach, in order to minimise impacts on the nesting turtles.
In 2016, the Bern Convention carried out an on-the-spot assessment which confirmed NGO reports, and adopted a new Recommendation (No. 191 / 2016). Cyprus is required to urgently implement an extensive list of 14 conservation & management measures. MEDASSET continues to join Cypriot NGOs in encouraging authorities to apply measures to safeguard Limni and Akamas sea turtle nesting beaches.