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.
Volunteering at ARCHELON as part of the European Solidarity Corps: «The most rewarding experience» - «Τhe perfect mission»!
Become an ARCHELON volunteer for the summer of 2022
- 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…
- OUR NEWS20/03/2023
More than half of the rehabilitated sea turtles got released back to the sea in 2022!
The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON in Glyfada rescues, takes care of and rehabilitates injured sea turtles from all parts of Greece since 1994. More than half of the sea turtles that were under care at the Rescue Centre in 2022 got released back to the sea after reaching full recovery this year! Read more…