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06.10.2008

EU-funded project acts for Gökova


A recent project funded by the European Union will help preserve Gökova Bay and Sedir Island for future generations, a local mayor believes.

The project by Muğla University's engineering faculty combat illegal fishing, support small-scale fishermen, build an information desk on Sedir Island and publish information brochures about the island for visitors, Ahmet Çalca, mayor of Muğla's Akyaka district, told the Anatolian news agency.

The integrated shoreline administration project covering the borders of Akyaka started two and a half years ago and will end six months from now, said Çalca.  “In our last meeting with the EU representative, using conservation techniques in the costal areas and creating a tourist center in the Akyaka district along with Cedar Island were on the agenda,” he said. 

“We want to give accurate information about our natural wonders to the people who visit the district.  We will distribute brochures and booklets to visitors with first hand information about the islands."

‘We will prevent illegal fishing': 

Çalca said the brochures were prepared with help from Muğla University's Sociology Department concerning how the land usage of Akyaka's shores could be made legal, modern and environmentally conscious.

“There are 33 fisherman families living in Akyaka and 65 in Akçapınar. These families fish in the seas near the Sedir Island and they have problems because of illegal fishing in the area,” he said. The aim is to implement better and more effective controls with an administration in Gökova that will listen to fishermen's complaints.

“We were informed about how small-scale fishermen handle illegal fishing practices in Foça. That project will serve as a model for our fishermen, who live under the roof of our integrated shoreline administration. We will apply and support Foça's method in Akyaka.”

Nature sports:

He said they were considering Akyaka's Azmak county for the location of a visitor's center. "Visitors will sit comfortably in a 6,000-square-meter area drinking tea and coffee while they receive information about restaurants, sights and sporting activities in Akyaka," he said.

The project will help develop environmental consciousness among locals and create a culture that both benefits from and protects nature.

"We created a system for the tourist-carrying Blue Cruise boats to properly empty their bilge and septic tanks. For the past two and a half years, these boats have been emptying their waste into our municipality's sewer system before leaving on voyages.  The waste treatment facilities have been undergoing tests by the Special Commission for the Environment for a year now. This year samples tested from Azmak as well as the beach have proven to be fairly clean. This is good news for Akyaka,” Çalca stated.

In Akyaka, where alternative tourism opportunities are expanding, no loud music is allowed and the visitors are guided to participate in nature sports,” the mayor added. “We have been preparing advertisements and booklets boasting the history and culture of the Sedir Island. We want our visitors to know that the island is a kaleidoscope of six or seven different cultures."

EU-supported Gökova Project 

 The on-going project, titled “Preparation and implementation of the Integrated Management Action Plan,” is financially supported by Euro-Mediterranean Regional Programme for the Environment.  It has so far included activities such as the protection of natural areas and species, administration of historic ruins, recreation programming, controlling damage to beaches, the development of administration for beaches, initiatives for the families of fishermen, regulating the quality of costal waters, waste management, creating a GIS database, awareness campaigns, education and consciousness advertising, public meetings, organization of conferences and workshops, various sea-related and underwater observations and measurements, producing documentaries about Gökova Bay, Akyaka and Sedir Island, designing and building a visitors' center and preparing and implementation of the integrated shoreline administration plan.