Protecting Mediterranean Monk Seals in Greece & Italy

Monachus Defense Campaign

Protecting an Endangered Seal Species in Two Countries
'Monachus Monachus'

In 2022 Sea Shepherd has launched a unique campaign to protect the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal, or Monachus Monachus, working simultaneously in Greece and Italy to protect these seals and their natural habitat. Almost half of all Mediterranean Monk Seals live in Greek waters, inhabiting the National Marine Park of Alonissos in the Northern Sporades, where Sea Shepherd Greece is patrolling with the M/Y Emanuel Bronner. In Italy's Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Sea Shepherd Italy is patrolling with the M/Y Sea Eagle to stop octopus poaching in the area, an important food source for Monk Seals currently being decimated by illegal fishing traps. 

Working with Local Authorities in Greece
National Marine Park of Alonissos

Sea Shepherd Greece will be cooperating with the Ministry of Environment, the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (N.E.C.C.A), the Management Unit of the National Park of Alonissos, the Coast Guard, and other local organisations in coordinated efforts to protect the seals in Greece. The national park measures approximately 3000 Km2, and includes the island of Alonissos, parts of the islands Skiathos and Skopelos, six smaller islands (Persistera, Kyra Panagia, Psathoura, Piperi, Skantzoura and Gioura), over 25 little islets and the surrounding waters. Under the direction of Sea Shepherd Greece, the M/Y Emanuel Bronner will be patrolling night and day to monitor the area for all threats, especially during the high summer season. Particular focus will be on illegal fishing (especially speargun fishing), uncontrolled sailing in prohibited parts of the area (activities that cause disturbance of the ecosystems) and degradation of the Posidonia seagrass.

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Partnering to Fight Octopus Poachers
The Coast of Tuscany, Italy

Sea Shepherd Italy is working with the Arcipelago Toscano National Park and the Guardia di Finanza of Tuscany to protect the Tuscan coastline from illegal fishing activities onboard the M/Y Sea Eagle. The Mediterranean Monk Seal is slowly returning to Italy's shores, but one of the biggest challenges is scarcity of food. Half of the Monk Seal diet consists of octopuses, which are overfished in this part of Italy, often illegally. Sea Shepherd aims to stop illegal fishing during the biological rest period and fight against unsustainable overfishing, to help in the return of the Monk Seal to Italy.

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Latest News
Biggest seizure of fishing gear ever made in Italy

September 15, 2022 --  While patrolling the Arcipelago Toscano National Park onboard the M/Y Sea Eagle since August, Sea Shepherd Italy has removed over 7672 pots from the sea, the largest seizure of octopus fishing traps ever in Mediterranean Sea, turning the evidence over to the Guardia di Finanza of Tuscany, and saving thousands of octopus lives. 

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