Chios and Turkish Coast IMMA

Area Size

3 838 km2

Qualifying Species and Criteria

Mediterranean monk seal – Monachus monachus

Criterion A; C (1)

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This region of the Central Eastern Aegean Sea comprises an area surrounded by Chios, Psarra, Cesme, Karaburun Peninsula, Gulf of Izmir, and Foça, extending offshore towards the 200m isobath. This area is an important breeding and pupping area for the Endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), due to the caves located along the coastal zone. However, it is known from telemetry studies that monk seals easily cross such deep areas even though they tend to spend their time in shallower water.

Description of Qualifying Criteria

Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability

The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is assessed as Endangered [EN C2a(i)] in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species is still widely distributed throughout coastal and insular Greece; important population units can be found in the Aegean, mainly in Northern Sporades, Kimolos, Gyaros and Karpathos, and Ionian Seas mainly in Zakynthos and Cephalonia. The minimum population size estimate for Greece is 179 adult individuals, which represents 40-51% of the estimated world’s total of mature adults.

Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities

Sub-criterion C1: Reproductive Areas

The main criterion upon which the IMMA was identified was based on the knowledge that the area contains important breeding nuclei of monk seals, in which 11 caves were potential seal habitats, nine seals have been observed. Two pups were born inside the Foça Pilot Protection Area.

Supporting Information

Adamantopoulou, S., Androukaki, E., Kotomatas S. 1999. The distribution of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece based on an information network. Contributions to the Zoogeography and Ecology of the Eastern Mediterranean Region 1(1999):399-404.

Barnes, M., Gibson, R.N. 2000. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review 2000, 38, 157–187


Cebrian, D. 1998. La foca monje (Monachus monachus Hermann 1779) en el Mediterráneo oriental (Grecia y Croacia). Ed. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Madrid. 367 pp plus 2 appendices.

Cebrian, D. 2005. Information Report on the Status of the Monk Seal in the Mediterranean. Ed. UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA.

Güçlüsoy, H. and Savaş. Y. 2003. Status of the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, in the Foça Pilot Monk Seal Conservation Area, Turkey. Zool. Middle East, 28:5-16.

Karamanlidis, A.A., Dendrinos, P. 2015. Monachus monachus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T13653A45227543. 13 p.

Karamanlidis, A.A., Dendrinos, P., Fernández, de Larrinoa, P., Gücü, A.C., Johnson, W.M., Kiraç, C.O., Pires, R. 2015. The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus: status, biology, threats, and conservation priorities. Mammal Review 46(2):92-105. DOI: 10.1111/mam.12053

Katağan, T., Tokaç, A., Beşiktepe, Ş., Öztürk, B. Eds. 2015. The Aegean Sea Marine Biodiversity, Fisheries, Conservation and Governance. Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), Publication No: 41, Istanbul, TURKEY.

Kotzageorgis, G., Mantzavelas, A., Hadjicharalambous, E., Defingou, M., Gioutlakis, M., Papagrigoriou, S., Alexandridou, E. (Editor) 2015, “Deliverable C7: New Natura 2000 areas or Natura 2000 sites proposal with digital or printed maps, filled in Standard Data Forms and new updated Natura 2000 database (Access 2003) with data from the new proposed areas”. YΡEN, Athens, Joint venture of Enveco S.A., Omikron S.A., Karolidis Theodoros, Fyselias Spyridon, Consultant EKVY, pages 124

Legakis, A. & Maragou, P. 2009. The Red List of Endangered Animals of Greece. Hellenic Zoological Society, Athens, 528 p.

Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Kotomatas, S. 2016. Are Mediterranean monk seals, Monachus monachus, being left to save themselves from extinction? In: G. Notarbartolo di Sciara, M. Podestà, B.E. Curry (Editors), Mediterranean marine mammal ecology and conservation. Advances in Marine Biology 75:361-388.

Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Adamantopoulou, S., Androukaki, E., Dendrinos, P., Karamanlidis, A.A., Paravas, V., Kotomatas. S. 2009. National strategy and action plan for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece, 2009 ‐ 2015. MOm, Athens: 1‐ 19.

SoHelME, 2005. State of the Hellenic Marine Environment. E. Papathanassiou & A. Zenetos (eds), HCMR Publ., 360 pp.


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