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5-9/06/2012: First Regional training workshop on Mediterranean Monk seal

Observation during a field session

 In the framework of the Capacity Building efforts for the conservation of the Monk seal (Monachus monachus) in the Mediterranean,the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) and the Institute of Marine Conservation, Archipelagos, have organized a Regional Workshop on Monk Seal monitoring, from 5th to 9th June, 2012 in Fournoi island (Greece).

The main objective of this training workshop is to provide marine scientists from countries, whereby preliminary study have highlighted the presence of Monk seal, with relevant seal surveying techniques.

A series of lectures and discussions have been conducted on the following topics:

  • the Monk seal monitoring and survey techniques,
  • the standardization of protocols for the implementation of such techniques (GIS, fishermen questionnaires, databases etc),
  • the uses and methodologies of photo-identification, and
  • the threats, management and conservational practices affecting the species.

There has also been a boat based field work, which involved boat surveys of important Monk seal shelters in order to provide the participants with practical experience in the following:

  1. Monk seal rapid assessment surveys,
  2. Assessment of Monk seal caves as to the suitability of placement of monitoring cameras

The training session has been attended by participants from 5 Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Libya, Tunisia and Turkey) also the Former President of the National Marine Park of Alonisos Northern Sporades, Mr Christos Neofitou, was present during the workshop and has shared his experience and information on  the conservation of Mediterranean Monk seal through the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The training was delivered by Mr. Vassilis Kourtous, a Monk seal expert, who has assured the field work and theory lessons.

Ms. Anastasia Miliou, Manager and Head scientist (Archipelagos) and her team had assured the success of the Workshop running.

 For any further information: lobna.bennakhla@rac-spa.org