• The monk seal in Diafani

    The monk seal in Diafani

    A Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) carefully swims away from the coast of Karpathos island near the Port of Diafani. After following a boat in search of food (an opportunity for some net fishing), the seal entered the port and as soon as the engine turned off, made a turn and moved away towards the open sea. North Karpathos and the island of Saria are among the most important habitats for one the rarest mammals of Europe, as in the surrounding area lives a population of at least 30-35 individuals. Yet the threats are not lacking even in such a wild place. Most important of them is the overfishing by large fishing boats with trawl nets that lift everything from the seabed just a few tens of metres from the coast. Fish have become scarce over the years for both the Mediterranean monk seals and the few local fishermen of the region. So the courageous visits by seals in nets and longlines for an easy snack are almost daily phenomenon, testing the patience of the generally stoic fishermen of Northern Karpathos. There are some unique places where industrial fishing on a large scale should be banned. The local coastal fishermen have been living together with the seals for centuries in harmony and so it must continue.

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