Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance

Every year on February 2 we celebrate World Wetlands Day to raise awareness for these unique ecosystems of our planet. Photo frames for website articles.png

Wetlands are areas in which static or flowing water gets collected above the ground or near the ground surface, such as marshes, fens, peatlands, swamps, wet meadows, streams, rivers, and lakes, or areas covered by sea water with a depth of up to six meters. The ecological importance of wetlands is unique as the element of water merges with land to create diverse habitats for a large number of animals and plants from all levels of the food chain. The natural wealth of wetlands is enormous and has been fundamental for the development of great civilizations all over the planet for millennia. However, since the middle of the twentieth century, these ecosystems have been continuously degraded by the over-exploitation of their natural resources.

According to the International Convention for the Protection of Wetlands, signed in the city of Ramsar, Iran on February 2nd, 1972, wetlands may be permanent or temporary, natural or artificial. Wetlands protect and improve water quality, provide habitat for fish and other wildlife, store floodwaters, and maintain the groundwater-surface flow during droughts. The purpose of the Ramsar Convention, which Greece has also co-signed and ratified, is the protection, conservation, and wise use of all wetlands.

Kotychi Lagoon, the Messolonghi lagoons, and the Amvrakikos Gulf, which feature in the list of the 10 Greek Wetlands of International Importance, play a significant role for sea turtles too. In the last few years, ARCHELON has been involved in the monitoring of the loggerhead sea turtle nests on the beach in front of the Kotychi Lagoon and in informing the fishermen in the Messolonghi Lagoons, in collaboration with the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency, “N.E.C.C.A”, within the framework of the Life - Euroturtles program.

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The Amvrakikos Gulf hosts significant populations of dolphins, dalmatian pelicans, shark rays, and sea turtles. "Both the marine area of the Amvrakikos Gulf, as well as its swamps
and lagoons, constitute an ecological treasure that is increasingly damaged. However, in recent decades, efforts have been made for better management of these ecosystems", says Daphne Mavrogiorgos, Director of ARCHELON.

The most recent effort was the creation of the “The Amvrakikos Alliance”. On November 14, 2023, iSea, the Tethys Research Institute, ARCHELON, the Hellenic Ornithological Society, the Department of Geology, and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the University of Patras, together with the Blue Marine Foundation, endorsed their vision for a long-term collaboration and a collective commitment that aims to improve the management of the Amvrakikos Gulf.

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 about the “Amvrakikos Alliance” here



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