28/01/2020

The first research results on plastics in sea turtles in Greece

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Plastics were found in more than 70% of the 36 turtles analyzed. In total, more than 250 plastic pieces were recorded, most of which were found in young individuals. The average number of plastics per turtle was 11 pieces. These were fishing lines, pieces of plastic bags of various uses and "microplastic" pieces of hard plastic and were found both in the stomach and the intestine of the turtles.

It was the first time the HCMR team carried out analysis of the stomach content of a large organism for plastic detection. The percentage of turtles found with plastics in their stomach in Greece (frequency of occurrence) is about the same as in the western and central Mediterranean and well above other eastern and southern Mediterranean countries such as Turkey and Tunisia. The percentage found in a study for Cyprus was much higher than that found in Greece.

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The research relates to the implementation of Marine Strategy Framework Directive of the European Union for the reduction of marine litter. In Italy, Spain, France and other European Union countries this indicator has been included in national legislation, but not yet in Greece.

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* The study has been funded by the MEDSEALITTER program (INTERREG-MED, 2016-2019), INDICIT (DG ENV -EU Environmental Directorate- 2018-2019) and the current INDICIT II (DG ENV, 2019-2020).

Information: Eirini Kasimati, ARCHELON Rescue Network and Rehabilitation Officer, tel: +30 6941 511 511, +30 210 8944 444, e-mail: rescue@archelon.gr.

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