There is a hunt going on in Cyprus—a intensive search for a small fish that may have disappeared entirely from its ancestral home in the island’s rivers. This elusive creature is the freshwater blenny (Salaria fluviatilis), the only fish species native to freshwater rivers on the island of Cyprus. But after years of habitat degradation, pesticide use, and lax enforcement of environmental regulations, the blenny has seemingly vanished.
Seacology is helping the Cyprus Environment Foundation restore the critical river habitat of the blenny. If some of the little fish have managed to survive, the restoration will give them a chance to reestablish stable populations. If there aren’t any survivors, the CEF hopes to implement a captive breeding program and reintroduce the island’s only native freshwater fish to the river.
This project, which restores island habitat that particularly benefits a species in danger of extinction, is well aligned with Seacology’s mission. And of course, returning the environment to a healthier, more natural condition will also help myriad other plant and animal species, not just the blenny. The restoration part of the project includes:
- Cleaning up key areas of the Amathos River
- Planting 1,000 native, fire-resistant tree seedings
Another part of the project is focused on getting local people actively involved in conservation. From our experience, we know that public education and involvement are key to the long-term success of any conservation initiative. To raise awareness and commitment, our partners will:
- Get local people involved in citizen science, doing water quality testing under staff supervision
- Launch a public education campaign, intalling signage along the river, providing educational materials to local schools, and distributing 20,000 leaflets