The public have been invited to attend tomorrow's deployment of the first vessel to be deliberately sunk off the shore of Cyprus to create an artificial reef.
The deployment ceremony will be taking place at 11am in front of Kouzalis Hotel in the Vrysoudia area of Protaras, the Fisheries Department said on Wednesday..
Previously a fishing boat, the Nemesis III was has been cleaned up according to the UN Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan relevant guidelines, as part of the establishment of marine protected area with artificial reefs in Protaras.
The vessel is being deployed by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment through a project co-funded by the EU through its European Fisheries Fund 2007-2013: Investing in sustainable fisheries, with the support of Cyprus Tourist Organisation (CTO) and Cyprus Dive Centre Association (CDCA).
Meetings between all the involved parties throughout 2012 led to the CDCA purchasing four disused shipping and live-a-board vessels using its own funds as well as contributions from municipalities and the CTO and donating them to the Ministry of Agriculture — under which's jurisdiction the Fisheries Department falls.
The process put the Ministry in a position to use EU funding to properly clean and sink the vessels amongst other necessary procedures in creating the artificial reefs-two in Limassol and one each in Paphos and Protaras. Reef poles and other suitable materials will also be used to create the fifth reef in Ayia Napa.
Thousands of holiday-makers and residents of Cyprus enjoy scuba diving at a wide variety of sites around the island and dives to wrecks are often the most popular. The Zenobia wreck off the coast of Larnaca is also considered to be one of the world's best.
Wrecks have the added advantage of quickly turning into artificial reefs which attract a wide variety of marine life, particularly if fishing is outlawed at the sites which will be the case for the new reefs.
Artificial Reefs (AR) are constructions that have the same characteristics as natural reefs and act as areas for reproduction, growth, feeding and refuge for marine organisms.
The materials used for AR vary from marine cement, steel and limestone to clay. Once appropriate shapes, sizes and design are selected, the different modules, including vessels, are deployed on the seabed in accordance to specific special planning.