Cyprus has a long-standing fisheries tradition. Despite its limited contribution (around 0.8%) to GDP, the Cypriot fisheries sector holds significant socio-economic importance, particularly in coastal areas. Over 300 types of fish have been found in the sea around Cyprus, some of them immigrants from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. The Cypriot fishing fleet comprised 858 vessels in 2019, with a combined GT of 3,811 and a total engine power of 40,801 kW. The fleet is classified into three categories: small-scale coastal fishing vessels, bottom trawlers and purse seiners. Since 2010, the compulsory use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) is applicable to all professional fishing vessels of less than 15 metres in length overall that hold an A and B Category licence.
Cyprus accepted the European directions with respect to Cypriot Chapter 8 - Fisheries Law and it was generally agreed that the policy, priorities, management and other measures applied by Cyprus in this sector are aligned to this. A Fishing Monitoring Centre has been established to enforce the European Common Fisheries Policy.
The authority responsible for fishery matters in Cyprus is the Department of Fishery and Marine Research (DFMR) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment. The mission of the DFMR is the sustainable management and development of fisheries and aquaculture, and the protection and preservation of the marine environment through an integrated scientific approach.
The fishing shelters in Cyprus
The DFMR is also responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of existing fishing shelters on the island, along with the construction of new ones, with the aim of providing safe harbouring of professional fishing vessels. Currently, there are 16 fishing shelters in operation in Cyprus, 13 of which are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the DFMR.
The other three (Limassol old port, Latchi port and Paphos port) are partially used as fishing shelters, but they are under the jurisdiction of the Cyprus Ports Authority and not of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFMR). More precisely, the DFMR hires a specific side of the ports from the Cyprus Ports Authority, in order for the fisheries to moor their fishing vessels at the aforementioned 3 small ports.
The Fishing Shelter Law and relevant Regulations apply for all fishing shelters as well as the surrounding area within a 100m radius. Most fishing shelters have a boat ramp (slipway), accessible free of charge to anyone who would like to use it.
It is worth mentioning that the new Paralimni Marina, which is under construction, is situated in Pernera area, where the Ayia Triada fishing shelter is currently located and its value will amount around to 100 million euros, including 300 berths and building sites. The Paralimni marina is the second major maritime tourism project in the region of the free city of Famagusta after the marina of Ayia Napa and the third in a row maritime project in Cyprus concerning the construction and development of marinas (after the Ayia Napa and Larnaca marinas). The construction works of Paralimni marina are expected to last 4 years, while the marine works are expected to be completed in 34 months from their start.
- Kato Pyrgos Fishing Shelter
- Ayia Napa Fishing Shelter
- Ayia Triada Fishing Shelter
- Paralimni Fishing Shelter
- Potamos Liopetriou Natural Fishing Shelter
- Xylophagou Fishing Shelter
- Akrotiri Fishing Shelter
- Limassol Old Port*
- Zygi fishing Shelter
- Psarolimano (Kastella) fishing Shelter
- Ormidhia Fishing Shelter
- Xylotympou Fishing Shelter
- Pomos Fishing Shelter
- Agios Georgios Pegeias Fishing Shelter
- Latchi Port*
- Paphos Port*
New policy on the registration of fishing vessels under the Cyprus flag
On 23 May 2019, the Shipping Deputy Ministry updated its policy on the eligibility of fishing vessels registered under the Cyprus flag, imposing strict age-related restrictions. More specifically, fishing vessels aged 25 years and above are not accepted for registration in the Register of Cyprus Ships and in the Book of Parallel Registration. In other words, any fishing vessel of up to 24 years is eligible to be registered under the Cyprus flag, provided that an entry inspection and an annual inspection are carried out.
Furthermore, the Registrar of Cyprus Ships will not consider applications for the registration of fishing vessels unless they are accompanied by an official communication from the Director of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, informing the Registrar that the registration of the fishing vessel in question is allowed. Currently, 43 fishing vessels are registered in the Register of Cyprus Ships with total GT of 2,507.
The redevelopment of the Liopetri fishing shelter
On 5 August 2020 the contract for the ambitious revamp of the Liopetri fishing shelter was signed. The EUR8.5 million project, one of the biggest involving a fishing shelter in Cyprus, includes the construction of a bridge over the Liopetri river, 100 berths for pleasure boats and another 35 for professional fishermen. In addition, there will be a training centre for canoes, coastal paths and facilities for fishermen, contributing significantly to sustainable fishing in Famagusta.
The project will boost not only the professional fishermen and tourism, but will also protect the marine environment. The project is co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (75%) and National Resources of the Republic of Cyprus (25%) and it is expected to be ready before the end of 2022. More specifically, the duration of the construction will last 30 months. The project has been on the cards for some years and was first intended to be launched in 2013 but was postponed because of the economic crisis that year.
Establishment of a Network of Scientists and Fishermen of Cyprus
On 23 September 2020 the Network of Scientists and Fishermen of Cyprus was created, which is co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The Network is led by the Oceanographic Center at the University of Cyprus and is attended by the Pancyprian Association of Professional Coastal Fishermen, the Professional Fishermen of Multipurpose Boats, the Pancyprian Association of Professional Fishermen of the Small Fishing Boat and the Enalia Physis Environmental Research Center Ltd.
The main objectives of the Network are:
- the protection of fisheries;
- the safeguarding of the interests and rights of fishermen;
- the identification, promotion and resolution of problems related to fisheries; and
- the better and sustainable exploitation of fishery stocks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.