Driven by innovation

The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary will be housed in an entirely natural environment and aims to set the international standard for all future sanctuaries. For this reason, we have consciously incorporated innovative practices at every stage of the design and development of the Sanctuary.

Highlights include:
  • The use of sustainable antibacterial copper netting for underwater fencing in the bay as an alternative to plastic nets.
  • The first veterinary clinic in the world to use antibacterial copper surfaces to minimize disease transfer.
  • The utilization of experimental methods of biodiversity enrichment in the sanctuary Bay.
  • Feeding the dolphins with live fish to better acclimate them to their environment and allow them to exercise their natural hunting instincts.
The first marine animal rehabilitation center to be powered entirely by renewable energy sources

Biodiversity enrichment

AMLS is employing controlled enrichment practices to prepare Vroulia bay for the dolphins. Through the introduction of select species of juvenile and adult fish and invertebrates; the experimental replantation of vulnerable seagrass meadows; and the installation of small artificial reefs designed to target specific species, the overall fish population of the bay and surrounding areas will increase. This will have the added benefit of aiding in the recovery of degraded local fisheries.

Antibacterial copper

Copper is the netting material of choice for the Sanctuary. Unlike plastic netting, it allows for efficient water circulation; is easily maintained; long-lasting; fully recyclable; non-corrosive; and has natural antimicrobial properties to keep it free from unwanted microorganism growth.

AMLS will also be the first veterinary clinic in the world to use copper surfaces in a marine medical facility to aid in preventing the spread of disease.

Live fish feeding

Dolphins in captivity are fed dead or frozen fish. In order to acclimate formerly captive dolphins to a natural environment and develop their hunting instincts, AMLS will feed them live fish from Markellos fish farm on Leros Island. The farm primarily produces sea bass and sea bream and has well-equipped hatching station with the capacity to produce grey mullet and other species of fish found in a wild dolphin’s diet.

International Research Center

AMLS will make a significant contribution to international dolphin and coastal habitat research by providing a base for researchers, veterinarians, and scientists to study dolphin behaviour in a controlled natural environment. Through the use of veterinary records, underwater cameras, hydrophones and external viewing points, researchers working at AMLS will be able to passively collect data without anthropogenic influences or disturbances to the animals.

Sustainability

Renewable energy sources

A Model Self-Sufficient Building.

Α specially designed, 10KW, Autonomous photovoltaic unit powers the AMLS building. This unit uses state of the art technology for efficient energy production and comprises of 32 solar panels. It has been operational since August 2019 and covers 100% of the current needs, but also will cover 100% of the predicted energy needs for the sanctuary building during at least the first phase of operation in 2020 – 2021.

Also there are on site two electrical generators and a biodiesel converter that will operate as a backup for tasks which require higher amounts of electricity. The generators will run on biodiesel from recycled cooking oil provided by local restaurants.

Renewable Energy Sources-A Model Self-sufficient Building

Water is provided to the sanctuary building initially through the collection of rain water and at a later stage by installing a desalination system powered by the already installed photovoltaic unit. In this way the AMLS building will be completely autonomous operationally, with zero carbon footprint. Learning about and experiencing the operation of the sanctuary building off the grid, with all its needs in electricity and water covered by renewable sources will be an educational and inspiring experience for all (on-site and online) visitors of the sanctuary. We aim that the operation of this autonomous building will become a model for electricity and water supply, based totally on renewable energy sources, with a relatively small cost and zero impact to the landscape.

Natural Enrichment Processes

Our goal is to employ only natural processes to maintain a healthy habitat for the marine life under our care.The bay will be selectively populated with native detritivore species to help manage organic waste from the large marine mammals.

A solar pump will supplement natural sea currents leading in and out of the bay, providing constant enrichment of the nutrients necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy ecosystem and prevent organic waste build up.