The island of Gyaros, in the Northern Cyclades island complex at the Aegean Sea of Greece, hosts a rare colony of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seals and a number of unique marine habitats and species. It is an area that local fishermen consider as appropriate for the creation of a marine protected area (MPA). Gyaros serves as a laboratory for the design, establishment and management of a new MPA.
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Biodiversity offsets offer a promising option for promoting the conservation and sustainable management of natural ecosystems on an expanded scale. In an era of often flat--and sometimes declining--governmental support for conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets can provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding. This funding can come from public infrastructure accounts (such as for dams and roads) as well as from the private sector (including extractive industries).