The Mediterranean Monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the larger species of seals in the world. It is around 2.5 m in length and weighs about 300 kg. It can live to the age of 45. The greater part of its population is situated in Greek waters and is estimated to be about 250-300 seals.
The Mediterranean Monk seal prefers rocky and inaccessible shores on the islands or adjacent areas, and are thus found on the Sporades, NW Cyclades, Ionion and Dodecanese islands. They live only in clean, non-polluted waters, so the presence of the Monachus monachus seal in Greece is an indication of the health of the sea environment and part of its rich biodiversity.
National Marine Park of Alonissos-Northern Sporades (NMPAS)
Alonissos, together with a number of remote islands and rocky offshore islets, Peristera, Dio Adelefia, Skantzoura, Kyra-Panagia, Gioura, Psathoura and Piperi, comprise an island complex of unrivalled beauty that hosts one of the largest populations of the Mediterranean Monk seal in the world.
In 1992, the Hellenic Republic declared the region a protected region, and consequently created the National Marine Park, the first of its kind in Greece and one of the largest at the Mediterranean and European level. The formation and subsequent administration of NMPAS is a decisive step at the international level for the protection of the Monachus Monachus seal.