A loggerhead making a nest with her flipper wrapped in a fishing net
Through the Rescue Network, ARCHELON’s volunteers take care of 15 sea turtles entangled to fishing nets on average every year. Last August, however, the Zakynthos team was surprised to observe a loggerhead laying her nest on Kalamaki beach, with her front flipper tightly wrapped in a fishing net. This is adding to the evidence of the impacts of abandoned fishing nets in the Mediterranean on sea turtles. Within the Life- Euroturtles project, ARCHELON is collaborating with Oceanography Centre of the University of Cyprus in order to communicate a code of conduct with regards to ghost gear next year.
Sea turtles injured by fishing gear are something that ARCHELON’s team at the Rescue Centre is used to, as more than 100 such cases have occurred in the last decade. All turtles received treatment but in some cases the infection was so bad that a flipper needed to be amputated to save the animal. Our special patients remained under care in the Rescue Centre until they were healthy again and were released after a couple of months.
This year’s surprise, however, came from the Zakynthos team of ARCHELON volunteers who were monitoring the nesting activity on Kalamaki beach last August. They observed a loggerhead making a nest, despite that her front flipper was tightly wrapped in a fishing net. After contacting the Rescue Centre of ARCHELON, it was imperative that the net should be removed. The team waited until the nest was done and the turtle turned around towards the sea. They then immobilized the turtle in order to remove the net. This took some long and struggling minutes but she was soon free again to reach the sea. The encounter was recorded on an infrared video by Simon Renier, an ARCHELON volunteer. So far so good.
What is worrying though, is that the numbers of fishing nets that are abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded in the sea is on the rise. Studies suggest that ghost nets are a significant and very persistent type of marine litter with numerous harmful effects for the marine and coastal environment and human livelihoods and well-being.
Why is that? The environmental impacts of abandoned fishing gear in the sea include:
By adopting the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean (RPML) in 2013, the Mediterranean became the first regional sea with contracting parties committed to legally binding measures, programmes, and related implementation timetables on management at regional and national levels. The EU has consequently proposed legislation to reduce marine litter and ensure the recycling of disposed fishing gear.
Surveys conducted by ARCHELON in Mesolonghi Lagoon in 2017 – 2018- 2019 showed that there were not any removable ghost nets in the lagoon, that would endanger sea turtles. The Lagoon is part of a National Wetland Park and is used by loggerheads as a foraging site. Fishermen were trained on how to safely release turtles from the natural fish culture units.
Within the Life- Euroturtles project, ARCHELON is collaborating with the Oceanography Centre of the University of Cyprus in order to communicate a code of conduct with regards to ghost gear next year.
There is much more to be done and ahead of us lies the challenge of collaboration, awareness, innovation and action.
What is it that ARCHELON does, finally?
ARCHELON’s retreat was a sea turtle summit at 1850m.
- OUR NEWS27/09/2023
World Tourism Day 2023: Are there sea turtle-friendly hotels in north Crete?
But why is tourism important to sea turtles?
- OUR NEWS15/09/2023
Lilo, the tiny green turtle, made it back to the sea!
In November 2021 a small green turtle arrived at the ARCHELON Rescue Centre with a very serious head injury. After almost two years of intensive care, one Wednesday in September 2023 he was finally discharged and returned to the sea!
- OUR NEWS17/08/2023
World record of 37 years of reproductive life for a loggerhead sea turtle in Zakynthos, Greece – increased number of nests this summer, says ARCHELON
ARCHELON – the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece announces an important outcome of the systematic work of this year's sea turtle nest monitoring team in Zakynthos. Based on their long-term observations, ARCHELON managed to certify a new World Record of reproductive activity for loggerhead turtles.
- OUR NEWS07/08/2023
ATTENTION! Sea turtles are not pets: Do not touch them or feed them!
The Municipality of Eastern Mani and the Port Authorities requested the assistance of ARCHELON to inform beach users in the area of Limeni, near Mani, where 35 new incidents of sea turtle attacks on sea bathers have been recorded during this summer season. These are added to the already long list of 200 such records of previous years found in the nearby Health Center in Areopolis.
- OUR NEWS01/08/2023
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre
Interview with a volunteer: Lea Heinen, Rescue Centre Lea shares her experience volunteering at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre: “I think when a turtle starts to eat after a month of trying, when you can see the improvement or healing of a turtle's injury and when a turtle is released back into the sea, into its natural habitat, into its home - then you know that you are indeed saving turtles”.
- OUR NEWS21/07/2023
Kids Beach Competition 2023: Make your own little sea turtle with natural materials and send us a photo!
Help us spread the message about the protection of sea turtles by making your own baby turtles with natural materials you will find on the beach. Sand, stones, pebbles, shells, seaweed, sticks and whatever else you have available, can be transformed with a little imagination! Take a photo of your work and send it to the ARCHELON Beach Competition.
- OUR NEWS18/07/2023
Paving the way for next steps in conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean region
Last week the partner organizations of the project “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region” met for the 9th Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting was organized by SPA/RAC in the area of Kyparissia Bay, Greece on the 4th and 5th of July, 2023 in collaboration with ARCHELON.
- OUR NEWS04/07/2023
An offer to EXPERIENCED volunteers: You can now join the beach projects for 2-3 weeks!
The time is just right to join the projects again, even if you have only 2 or 3 weeks of available time. This offer is valid for August, September, October 2023. Apply through our new website and find out more about the dates and places you can join. More…
- OUR NEWS22/06/2023
The nesting season has begun! Learn what you can do if you find sea turtle tracks or nests on the beach
The nesting season for the loggerhead sea turtles has begun. The nests that are made in the areas monitored by ARCHELON and other collaborating groups are already being recorded. However, if you find tracks or nests on other beaches, you can also participate in the effort to record and protect these sporadic nests. Find out why it's important…
- OUR NEWS16/06/2023
A breath away from registering a new world record on the years of known active reproduction of a loggerhead sea turtle is ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece
This is the year when ARCHELON, a nonprofit environmental NGO, is celebrating 40 years of continuous and targeted action to save sea turtles in Greece and the Mediterranean. At the same time, the project teams of ARCHELON are ready to register the longest period of active reproduction known for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), in case it happens this year!
- OUR NEWS15/06/2023
A Saturday unlike any other - Turtle Festival 2023
ARCHELON invites kids and adults to celebrate the environment and the sea in an exciting way at the "Sea Turtle Festival" on Saturday, May 27 at the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in the 3rd Marina of Glyfada.
- OUR NEWS07/06/2023
Announcement for all past volunteers of ARCHELON: Shall we meet this September?
Highlight: Hi everyone! This year marks 40 years of ARCHELON’s action for protecting sea turtles in Greece. During these four decades, thousands of volunteers from many countries joined our sea turtle projects and the Rescue Centre to help save the turtles. Let’s meet again this coming September and celebrate the animals we saved during all these years.
- OUR NEWS07/04/2023
Waiting list for schools that want to visit the ARCHELON Rescue Centre
Thousands of Greek students visit the Centre and get informed about the value of protecting the environment through contact with a particularly beloved animal, the sea turtle. "All the available visiting hours until the end of the 2022-2023 school year have been booked, but there is a waiting list that is activated in case of cancellations", says Anna Kontoleon, ARCHELON’s Education Officer. More hours for online tours may be added in May if volunteers become available.
- OUR NEWS28/03/2023
People are supporting wildlife conservation
The donations and "adoptions" made at the Rescue Centre in Glyfada, Attica and at ARCHELON’s field projects in Zakynthos, the Peloponnese and Crete in 2022, reached the amount of €350,000. We did a lot last year thanks to all these people, who also made it possible for us to continue this year.
- OUR NEWS24/03/2023
We learned with deep sadness the passing away of Gail Schofield, a pronounced sea turtle researcher and former ARCHELON volunteer. Read more…