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Lipsi island news and views

Lipsi is a Greek island found at the northern end of the Dodecanese chain that runs up the west coast of Turkey. Lipsi has a good natural harbour and accommodates plenty of visiting summer yacht flotillas. Lipsi island is very small and holiday visitors can walk to all the beaches from the single port town. The island has oodles of charm and offers holidays of peace and tranquillity.

archipelagos boat
Lipsi fishermen's appeal

Campaign to save marine mammals and fish stocks. Fishermen on the Greek holiday island of Lipsi have been urged to back an appeal to save their livelihoods and preserve fish stocks. There has been a dramatic decline in stocks of fish in recent years which has an caused inevitable competition between Lispi coastal fishermen and marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and the endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Now Greek marine conservation group Archipelagos has launched a campaign to save both marine mammals and fishermen from the effects of depleted fish supplies. The aim is to give incentives for fishermen to switch to nets with a larger mesh to catch their fish and, at the same time, protect endangered species. Lipsi is found in the eastern Aegean Sea and boasts a huge marine biodiversity, which includes many endangered marine mammals. The Greek island of Lipsi has a only a small population of around 800 and, apart from holiday tourism, the basis of the island's economy is small scale fishing. Many of the Lipsi islanders have small fishing boats and spend all night, every night working hard at sea to bring in the catch. But a drop in fish stocks has led to a serious conflict between the Lipsi fishermen and the marine mammals who feed on the same fish. Fish scarcity means marine animals increasingly snatch food directly from the nets of the fishermen. Not only can this cause costly damage to nets, but hard working boatman see their catch are also being 'stolen' and their livelihoods threatened. Hungry dolphins and monk seals can even become entangled in the fishermen's nets and die. This is obvioulsy detrimental to local populations, especially for the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. A short-term solution is for fishermen to replace their small mesh nets with a larger mesh. Marine mammals tend to cause less damage to larger mesh nets while this type of net is also more selective, catching only larger fish and so contributing to more sustainable fish stocks. But switching nets costs money, so Archipelagos want to raise €5,400 in order to get the scheme off the ground and has appealed for cash aid towards the project A spokesman for Archipelagos said: "We are grateful for any amount you are willing to donate. We invite you to support this effort with your donation with as little or much support you can offer. Our goal is €5400, to cover the whole coastal fishing area of Lipsi. Anyone interested to see the campaign can visit igg.me/at/archifishermen and donations can visit the website of the Archipelago at www.archipelago.gr Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation is an environmental non-profit organization founded in 1998 and committed to protect and defend the marine and island biodiversity of the North Eastern Mediterranean. Their main actions are to carry out scientific work about biodiversity conservation, work in close collaboration with the local communities and develop realistic and sustainable management measures, in cooperation with the island communities.

Lipsi harbour
Lipsi medics

Lipsi island left with no medical cover. Health sector cuts could leave local residents and holiday visitors to Lipsi without proper medical cover, island officials have warned. Councillors on the island are outraged at island doctors being sent to work elsewhere, medical equipment going to rust because of the lack of staff to operate it and the doors of the medical clinic locked closed because of staffing shortages. They claim the island's only resident doctor was recently posted to the hospital on neighbouring Leros so that Lipsi was left without a resident qualified medic. A shortage of medical supplies is endangering the lives of patients on Lipsi and the lack of medical cover means Lipsi residents must make expensive ferry trips to other islands to get proper treatment, councillors warn. It is claimed that simple medicines such as aspirin, antibiotics or painkillers are not available on Lipsi and patients must sometimes travel as far away as Athens to get their medications, Councillors were told: "Another serious problem is the lack of sufficient human resources, medical, nursing and paramedical, needed to meet the health needs of the population." Now they have called on the government to station a doctor on the Lipsi permanently and to ensure the medical centre has full-time staff. They also want the state to fund proper medical supplies and provide regular visits from specialist such as dentists and gynaecologists. In a statement they said: "We, the residents of Lipsi, facing all these problems refuse to let our lives be left to chance. We condemn the political degradation and com modification of health services and call in constant struggle and effort to change this unacceptable situation in health that endangers our very existence."

Wind power on Greek islands
Wind power plans

Many smaller Greek islands plan on going green in the near future by meeting the full total of all their power needs entirely from renewable energy sources. Now, in a programme announced by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and financed by the European Community, there are plans to give several Greek islands a zero footprint in terms of the energy they use. The aim is to enable as many Greek islands as possible to supply all their total energy needs from renewable energy sources only. They will use wind and wave power to supply electricity, drive electric vehicles, promote energy conservation in all island buildings and use agricultural waste to create gas and fuel. The Greek holiday island of Paxos as well as Leros, Fourni, Symi, Tilos, Gavdos and Agathonisi have all expressed interest in the scheme.  To qualify for aid the islands must have a small population (500-800 people), get the backing of the island community and have the ability to utilize alternative energy sources such as wind, geothermal, biomass, waves and agricultural waste. The aim is to create a zero energy balance so that power production with be greater than demand, with 100% renewable energy.  Island authorities have until late July to lodge submissions of interest and judging the cases will take place by the end of September. Islands that have been selected for the scheme will be announced in October and November. The trend for islands to become self sufficient in energy has been growing in recent years.  The island of Samson, in Denmark, is the most famous along with the Pelvorm island of Germany.  Similar projects do exist in Greece, notably Lipsi which has only limited help in meeting its energy needs which is generated largely from renewable sources.