Identification, consequences and management of the anoxic zone of Amvrakikos Gulf (NW Greece)
Amvrakikos Gulf is a highly productive coastal area and it is one of the most important wetland areas in the country. Amvrakikos is not an ordinary coastal zone. It is an emblematic bay and requires special treatment. As a particularly important ecosystem has been included in a protection context defined by several international conventions and since 2008 is designated as "National Park".
Since early 70s, the fish production capabilities of the bay have emerged. Unfortunately, the last twenty years massive fish kills in fish farms (1992, 1998, 2008) have recorded in the Gulf, culminating in the death 800-1000 fish tonnes in February 2008. The size of the latter incident resulted in a series of initiatives which highlighted the environmental problems of the gulf.
The ecological, economic and cultural importance of the Amvrakikos’ ecosystems fully justifies the need to understand their structure and dynamics. Available information and data and the recent point of view of the international scientific community suggest the need for the study and management of the anoxia problem, whose impact on the ecosystem but also in important productive activities remain unknown or seriously underestimated. The Gulf is a complex and fragile ecosystem and it should be studied, considered and managed as a whole.
The project aims at gathering, archiving, analysis, and presentation of biological, physical and resource exploitation elements associated with the anoxic zone and its impact, while the organization of a monitoring and management structure. Following the principles suggested in the Integrated Coastal Zone management, the project aims to the development of a multidisciplinary structure for monitoring the ecosystem of Amvrakikos, mainly focusing on the major problem of anoxia. After the achievement of the project, this structure will serve to strengthen the activity of Amvrakikos Wetlands Management Body, enhancing that its institutional and thematic position. The project is therefore expected to result in the formulation of an action plan to improve the quality of Amvrakikos water masses thereby limiting the negative impact on exploitation and other activities of the local communities depending directly on the ecosystem.