Actions that can make a difference for sea turtles in the Mediterranean

Last May saw the completion of the 5-year long European project LIFE EUROTURTLES. "Everyone at ARCHELON (the beneficiary of the project in Greece) acknowledges the good results and important findings of the project, the experience gained, the new collaborations that were developed and the successful overcoming of the challenges presented during its implementation," says Daphne Mavrogiorgos, Director of ARCHELON. LIFE EUROTURTLES focused on those areas of the European Union where protection measures can make a difference in the conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean. It was implemented in 6 countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia), through 9 Beneficiaries.


Collaboration with fishermen

It is well established that sea turtles are randomly by-caught by fishing gear such as longlines and static nets and die in large numbers in their feeding areas. The project implemented actions in collaboration with fishermen of 317 boats in 9 project areas. In Croatia and Cyprus the project tested the use of LED lights in static fishing nets so that the nets become visible to sea turtles which avoid their entanglement. In Cyprus, a large number of "ghost nets" that threatened the turtles with drowning were removed from the seabed of a large area. This material was converted into thermal energy.

“In Greece, ARCHELON manufactured and distributed in collaboration with the Hellenic Center for Marine Research on Crete a telescopic ‘cutter‘ that releases turtles entangled in longlines" says Ioanna Fytou, environmental scientist, who was the project manager for ARCHELON.

Rescue and conservation


Sea turtle Rescue Centers in Croatia, Cyprus and Greece have been refurbished with new equipment and facilities to respond to the growing number of turtles arriving there for treatment. A 24-hour Sea Turtle Rescue Hotline operated in Cyprus. Finally, a joint seminar on specialized treatment methods was held at the ARCHELON Rescue Center, in Greece.

Monitoring new nesting beaches

Enhanced nest protection actions were carried out in Cyprus, Greece, Italy. The identification of the nests was improved with the use of drones in both Italy and Cyprus. In total 4,419 nests were protected in 56 nesting beaches in the 3 countries involved during the implementation of the project. New regulations to protect sea turtle nests from human disturbance were developed in 39 nesting beaches.

"We found out that 2 nesting beaches in Greece (Kotychi, Preveza) produce mainly male hatchlings, a finding which is significant for the survival of sea turtles in view of climate change," said Daphne. "It is reminded here that the sex of the hatchlings depends on the incubation temperatures of the nest, so the increase of the temperature on the nesting beaches leads to a decrease of male hatchlings", she adds.

Communication and outreach

More than 7 million European Union citizens were informed about the protection of sea turtles in marine and coastal ecosystems. There were 279 public events, 36 conferences, 157 press releases during the project. Amongst the communication tools created were the project website, a video, a new exhibition and the new educational package for children, translated into national languages.

As in other Life-nature projects under implementation during the same period, the Green Fund of the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy financed part of ARCHELON's participation in LifeEUROTURTLES. Ioanna Fytou presented the overall results of the project at the event for celebrating the 30 years of Life projects, organized in the beginning of June in Athens by the Green Fund. "Many of these actions will continue in the future using the equipment and tools that have been developed," she said.

See more in the final Layman’s report which can be downloaded HERE.



    Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. These vulnerable areas of the planet are a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife species, including sea turtles. ARCHELON is present in wetlands that play an important role for sea turtles, such as the Amvrakikos Gulf.

    Read more

    Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?

    ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation projects are organized with the valuable contribution of volunteers who come to Greece every year not just from Europe but from more distant places such as South Korea, Australia, and Colombia. Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities as well as when interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects.

    Read more

    ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada

    Turtles with IV and bandages, rehabilitation and recovery tanks, special environmental enrichment equipment, recovery greenhouses, and… renovated train wagons! The hospital for injured and sick turtles that ARCHELON has set up in the 3rd marina of Glyfada, next to the sea, is certainly something out of the ordinary.

    Read more

    What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?

    A world record for reproductive life for a sea turtle and 40 years of ARCHELON’s actions for protecting sea turtles are some of the moments we celebrated together this year. So, what happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023? Here are some highlights of the past year.

    Read more

    Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives

    “ARCHELON is an opportunity, not only for the animals and the ecosystems, but also for us who participate in it and for the society in which we operate”. Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of ARCHELON, talks about the efforts of the organization and about what he aspires for the future.

    Read more

    Forty years later: the world of ARCHELON has expanded

    Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of the Association gives the current coordinates of ARCHELON. "We encounter many turtles in our daily activities, and even more people, many more people actually, who help us. Amongst them are the people who work for us, they stand out for they represent the Association out there, through thick and thin".

    Read more

    19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe

    Read more

    Messages of love from the world turtle community!

    Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide

    Read more

    When the past becomes a lighthouse for the future

    Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON and one of its founding members talks about the quality and values, and the people who marked the setting up and subsequent action of ARCHELON. “Dimitris Margaritoulis taught us, not only the methodology for monitoring and protecting them, but also what it means to organize tasks, take responsibility, work as a team, evaluate our course and cooperate with each other”, he says.

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 2): Ηead trauma happens more often and is more serious than you think

    Jessica Van Damme who volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre for 6 weeks in 2023, talks about what she learned while taking care of sea turtles with human caused injuries.

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 1): Jessica Van Damme was at the Rescue Centre

    “During my 6-week stay, there were more than 30 injured sea turtles being treated at the Rescue Centre. Seven of them were successfully released, but, during the same period there were five new arrivals – all turtles with human-caused injuries. We, humans, are their biggest threat!”, writes Jessica.

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    Summer 2024: Come back to sea turtle conservation as a leader!

    Joining or returning to ARCHELON’s sea turtle projects as a Field Leader will give you the opportunity to lead specific activities as well as train and help others in the projects. These positions provide a higher level of experience in nature conservation/ environment protection, as well as improved communication and leadership skills. Hurry and apply now! Only a limited number of experienced and skilled volunteers are selected to serve as leaders in each project.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”

    The Alliance's vision in collaboration with the local community is to highlight the unique ecological value and the natural and cultural heritage of Amvrakikos, for the most effective management, restoration, and protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    Kids Beach Competition 2023: Turtles made of natural materials that stole our hearts!

    The little friends of ARCHELON who participated in the Kids Beach Competition 2023 formed turtles from pebbles, sand, water, rocks, sticks, leaves and shells, spreading the message of protecting sea turtles on the various beaches of Greece. Angeliki's (7 years old) little turtle on top of the big rock stole 694 hearts and became the winner!

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    The Field Leaders of 2023 and their role

    Matthew from the UK, Noha from France, David from the Netherlands, Aris from Greece started one summer as volunteers knowing little about turtles and their protection. Their experience made them return to the conservation projects as Field Leaders to take on more responsibilities, as trainers and mentors for new volunteers.

    Read more
1 out of 0
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Learn about our latest actions and find out about our programs and how you can help sea turtles!