Sea turtles show the way to mystery foraging area in the Mediterranean

Source: Medasset

A few weeks ago we told you the story of five female green sea turtles released from Alagadi (Alakati) beach in Cyprus to be tracked via satellite by researchers* aiming to identify foraging areas in the Mediterranean so far unknown. “To know is to do” so if we know where the rare green turtles feed we can then help protect these areas.
Since their release on June 30th, we have been following the 5 sea turtles closely, wondering if they would reveal their secret. And they did!

All 5 migrated through the Levantine sea, south of Cyprus, passed the waters of Lebanon, Israel and Gaza, and arrived at (drumsticks)….Bardawil lagoon in N. Sinai in Egypt! If that name sounds familiar it is because MEDASSET and our Egyptian colleagues surveyed Bardawil lagoon in 2012 following reports of numerous dead turtles there.  Our survey indicated that Bardwil may be a feeding, development or overwintering habitat for sea turtles. But back then we could not say for sure how important this area is for the green turtles.

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The International Sea Turtle Symposium

Around 34 years ago, a handful of young scientists whose love of marine turtles was equalled only by their specialist knowledge of them, organised the first American workshop in Waverly, Georgia, dedicated to “the protection and study of sea turtles”: About 70 people took part.

The initiative proved such a success that it became established, and since then has been organised on an annual basis, hosted by a different country and on a different continent each time – but always one that enjoys a relationship with marine turtles. Gradually the number of delegates annually has reached 1,000 and attendance figures seem still to be rising!

In 2002 the workshop morphed into an Association and was renamed the International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS). Its aim is to present and share the most recent research findings, studies, protection initiatives, environmental education programmes, and new techniques carried out or devised by scientific researchers, NGOs, students, educators and others.

Each Symposium now features two auctions that are organised by teams of many volunteers. All the items offered for sale are donated by the delegates themselves and almost all include a turtle – often portrayed in a humorous way. The proceeds, which can amount to several thousand dollars, are used to fund the attendance of students at the following Symposium, giving young people an opportunity of presenting their work and competing for prizes. On the final evening there is a party for all ages that usually carries on into the small hours!

Another feature of the Symposium is the “vendor’s tables” at which NGOs, craftspeople, publishers, manufacturers of technical equipment (like satellite tracking devices) and more, present their wares – all turtle-related, of course. MEDASSET usually attends the ISTS every 2-3 years. The associated costs, (fees, travel, accommodation, preparation, etc.), make it effectively impossible for us to take part more frequently. Last April we travelled to New Orleans for the 34th Annual Symposium – a journey of 16 hours – and yet we felt it had been worth the effort as the team returned brimming with new ideas and with renewed commitment, enthusiasm and energy… and an even greater passion for the work it does.

In 2015 the 35th International Sea Turtle Symposium will take place between the 19th and 24th of April in Turkey, at Dalaman. MEDASSET will be presenting the special children’s activity “You see the Difference a turtle does not” , a poster on “New Observations of Sea Turtle Trade in Alexandria, Egypt” and running a workshop on Novel technologies for environmental campaigning. In addition, our Trustee Anna Stamatiou, is chairing Video Night, coordinating a Beauty Pageant during the Live Auction and Vice President of MEDASSET Greece, Professor John Pantis, is co-chairing the Poster Session. For more information visit

La colaboración entre el Ministerio y la flota pesquera contribuye a salvar entre 15.000 y 20.000 tortugas marinas al año


La Fundación Biodiversidad, coordinadora del proyecto LIFE+ INDEMARES, ha puesto en marcha un plan de formación de ámbito nacional para sensibilizar a los pescadores

La colaboración entre el Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente y la flota pesquera española de palangre contribuye a salvar al año entre 15.000 y 20.000 tortugas marinas, según se ha puesto hoy de manifiesto en un acto celebrado en Vigo (Pontevedra) coincidiendo con la celebración del Día Mundial de los Océanos.

El director general de Ordenación Pesquera del Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, Andrés Hermida, ha intervenido en este acto, junto al secretario general de la Confederación Española de Pesca (CEPESCA), Javier Garat, el investigador del Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), Jaime Mejuto  y el director científico de KAI Marine Services, Ricardo Sagarminaga.

El Ministerio, además de intervenir hoy en Vigo en la entrega testimonial de una pértiga corta-sedales al armador del buque “Siempre Juan Luis”, ha puesto en marcha a través de la Fundación Biodiversidad, un plan de formación dirigido al sector pesquero que tiene como objetivo minimizar la pesca accidental de especies protegidas en los mares españoles, especialmente de tortuga boba (Caretta caretta), en peligro de extinción.

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Guidelines for setting up and management of Specially Protected Areas for marine turtles in the Mediterranean – CAR/ASP (2011)

Source: MedPan

©RAC/SPA (2011)

The complex biology of marine turtles needs to be taken into account in the setting up and management of protected areas for marine turtles.

Conserving adult female turtles and their nesting habitats merits top priority in any conservation strategy. The measures implemented to protect the Loggerhead turtle and the Green turtle must therefore focus on the terrestrial and marine areas, on and near their nesting beaches, including their feeding and mating areas. The protection of the beaches and the adjacent sea is particularly important in the Mediterranean Basin, where the coast is under pressure from tourism and recreational activities.

However, the biology of turtles is such that leaves little leeway in the selection process for beaches and also predetermines, to a large degree, the extent of the area needed and the basic management measures that need to be implemented.

The guidelines consider all these constraints and provide ideas for the implementation of efficient measures for the conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean.

You can download the report here :

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Twenty-five photographs from MEDASSET’s Amateur Competition on show at the Athens International Airport


©2008, G. Issaris

Athens International Airport and ΜΕDASSET (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles) welcome travellers and airport visitors to the Amateur Photography Exhibition “The Mediterranean we Share”.

This is MEDASSET’s second photography exhibition to be held at the airport, offering a range of highly individual views into the world of the Mediterranean Sea.  The exhibition will be open to the public from January 16 to April 30 2012, in the airport’s Art and Environment Centre / Departures Level / Entrance 3 and is accessible to all passengers and airport visitors, on a 24-hour basis.

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Update report: Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Conservation Monitoring in Fethiye SEPA, Turkey

MEDASSET’s 2011 Update Report on Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Conservation Monitoring in Fethiye SEPA, Turkey. The report presents an assessment of the conservation measures, the most serious problems recorded during the 2011 nesting season and a list of recommendations. The report is submitted in in relation to the Conventions’ Recommendation No. 66 (1998) on the conservation status of some nesting beaches for marine turtles in Turkey.

The word file (7MB) is downloadable from the following link: