Identification, consequences and management of the anoxic zone of Amvrakikos Gulf (NW Greece)
The 2nd Oceanographic cruise was followed by a short survey to collect specific information for the processing of satellite images. Scientists of the University of Patras and the staff of Amvrakikos Wetlands Management Agency, they used the Agency vessel to cover an important part of the Gulf making measurements of the radiation reaching the surface of the sea. The opportunity to collect these data combined with observations of surface waters was great because the specific day (04/27/2016) three satellites covered the Amvrakikos area.
After the first Oceanographic cruise, a second one is carried out by the oceanographic vessel 'PHILIA' of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). The main aim of the field work is to estimate the abundance of small pelagic fishes (sardine and anchovy) and the study of their distribution in relation to the anoxic - hypoxic zone. Recordings with specialized echo sounders and hydrological surveys of the water column in combination with experimental fishing in the Gulf is planned.
After the end of the first Oceanographic cruise and before the start of the second one a meeting with professional fishermen was organized in Preveza in order to discuss the objectives and actions of the project, their participation in the collection of basic data to identify areas of special importance for fisheries and also to exchange elements on their recent point of view about the distribution of fish populations in the bay related with the special meteorological and hydrological features occuring the last months (warm winter and spring).
On the occasion of a working meeting organized by the fish farmers of Amvrakikos (15/04/2016) a team composed by participants of the project (representatives of the University of Patras, of Amvrakikos Wetlands Management Agency and the Department of Fisheries of the Regional Administration of Preveza) presented the structure, actions and aims of the project requesting their assistance in the exchange of information on hydrological observations recorded in the farms and agreed, on a voluntary basis, the installation of data loggers in selected farms for recording parameters which could be used in the analysis of satellite images planned to be collected, analysed and disseminated by the project.
The first oceanographic cruise gathered in Preveza an important part of the scientific staff of the project. On this occasion, a working meeting was held in the building of Regional Unit of Preveza at Saturday night (04/09/2016) aiming to inform the partners about the progress of field work and for the coordination of future actions.
Τhe first oceanographic cruise is carried out (5-15 April 2015). Particular attention is given to the Western part of the Amvrakikos bay, from the entrance channel leading to the Preveza port up to the Louros river basin. Observations and accurate recordings of bathymetry, bottom nature, currents, hydrological characteristics and visual surveys of the main habitats are realized. The first results reveal unknown to date aspects of primary importance for both management and research.
The administrative and scientific processes started for the realisation of oceanographic cruises in Amvrakikos Gulf. Four cruises using two oceanographic vessels are planed. One vessel has the necessary infrastructure and equipment to record and analyse the abundance, distribution and behaviour of small pelagic fishes (sardine and anchovy) which are an important component of the food web of the Amvrakikos Gulf. The second vessel is targeting a detailed mapping of geological and hydrological features. The cruises will be carried out in March - April and September 2016 (depending on meteorological conditions).
The collection of satellite images from various sources has started. The aim is to search, collect from various sources and archive in a database satellite images of the area. Search and archiving started from recent years and will be extended back to the 80s. The recorded images will be linked to significant environmental events (fish deaths, floods, ...), features or extreme weather conditions.
A network of professional fishermen operating mainly or exclusively in Amvrakikos was organized. Fishermen were equipped with small data loggers recording environmental parameters. The loggers have been placed on the fishing gears. The fishers also record and provide useful information concerning the position and catches of specific fishing days. Their contribution is valuable since they are directly concerned by the expansion of the hypoxic zone. The fishers network will gradually expand.