Zakynthos Marine Park

National Marine Park of Zakynthos
IUCN category II (national park)
Marathonisi.jpg
Marathonissi islet
Map showing the location of National Marine Park of Zakynthos
Map showing the location of National Marine Park of Zakynthos
LocationZakynthos, Greece
Nearest cityPatras
Coordinates37°42′18″N 20°53′18″E / 37°42′18″N 20°53′18″E / 37.70501; 20.88844
Area135 square kilometres (52 sq mi)
EstablishedDecember, 1999
Governing bodyjoint venture between ministries

The National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Greek: Εθνικό Θαλάσσιο Πάρκο Ζακύνθου) founded in 1999, is a national park located in Laganas bay, in Zakynthos island, Greece. The park, part of the Natura 2000 ecological network,[1] covers an area of 135 square kilometres (52 sq mi) andis the habitat of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). It is the first national park established for the protection of sea turtles in the Mediterranean.[2]

Geography

Zakynthos Marine Park encompasses the marine area of the Bay of Laganas, on the southern shores of the island of Zakynthos, and hosts one of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean.[3] The nesting habitat in the bay comprises six discrete beaches: Gerakas, Daphni, Sekania, Kalamaki, E. Laganas and Marathonissi islet, totalling about 5 km (3 mi) in length, of which Sekania is rated amongst the world's highest loggerhead nesting concentrations.[2] Apart from the nesting areas the park encompasses the wetland of Keri Lake and the two small islands of Strofadia, which are located 50 km (31 mi) south from the island of Zakynthos.[4]

The marine park is composed of three marine zones (A, B, C) in the Bay of Laganas, in addition to the strictly protected nesting areas, as well as the terrestrial and peripheral zone. For the protection of the ecosystem, fishing activities are strictly prohibited inside each of the marine zones.[2]