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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The money that countries spend to manage and maintain protected areas should not be considered an “expenditure” but an “investment.” This is not only a semantical issue, but also a conceptual and theoretical one. In general, countries, citizens, press, and ministers of finance praise the investment, but not the expenditure. For instance, in the case of the guards that work for these areas, should those salaries be considered as a general expenditure, or as an investment? If we do not pay for the guards, can we keep a protected area safe?