Projects & collaborations in progress

Life MareNatura

Conservation of priority species of marine megafauna in Greece and Italy

Aiming to prevent the threats faced by nine important but also vulnerable species of the Greek marine fauna (the Mediterranean Monk seal, the Loggerhead turtle, the Green turtle, the Sperm whale, the Harbour porpoise, the Cuvier's beaked whale, the Common dolphin, the Yelkouan shearwater and the Audouin’s gull), the environmental program "LIFE MareNatura - Conservation of priority species of marine megafauna in Greece and Italy" started its actions in July 2023 and is expected to be completed in June 2029. The ultimate goal of the program is the effective protection of these species and their marine habitats, through the declaration of new marine protected areas, which will expand the Natura 2000 network of Greece.

The program is implemented by a broad consortium of experienced bodies (research and academic institutions, public bodies, environmental non-governmental organizations and private environmental consulting companies), coordinated by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) while the main partner is the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA), body responsible for the protected areas of Greece. The other institutions participating are the University of the Aegean, the University of Crete - Natural History Museum of Crete (UoC - NHMC), the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS), the Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm), ARCHELON, MEDASSET, Nature Conservation Consultants (NCC), the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), and Waterproof Marine Consultancy & Services. Also, the project's special policy partner is The Green Tank.

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TUI Turtle Aid Greece

by TUI Care Foundation and ARCHELON

In the face of continuous touristic activity combined with coastal erosion and climate change, there can be no future for sea turtles in a number of nesting sites, without more active involvement of the touristic sector. Tourism may significantly affect turtle populations, however it can also be a force for positive change when managed responsibly.

For four decades, ARCHELON has been at the forefront of protecting sea turtle nesting beaches in Zakynthos, Kyparissia, Lakonikos, Koroni, Rethymno, Chania, and Messara. Many of these areas, diligently monitored by volunteers each year, are increasingly affected by tourism. Zakynthos and Crete, in particular, have transformed into globally renowned tourist destinations. In a bid to minimize this impact, ARCHELON has undertaken public awareness initiatives, including presentations in hotels, information kiosks, and directly on nesting beaches for the last 30 years. Amongst others, TUI Care Foundation has supported our public awareness and information activities in a number of past projects.

Starting from the summer of 2023, ARCHELON implements the three year project “TUI Turtle Aid Greece” by TUI Care Foundation and ARCHELON, which includes, amongst other actions, an innovative component: the pilot implementation of a Turtle-Friendly Certification program for hotels, that aims to promote the protection of sea turtles and their habitats by engaging the hospitality and tourism sector. It encourages sustainable development in tourism, offers guidelines for businesses committed to turtle conservation, and helps tourists make eco-friendly choices when selecting hotels and excursions. This certification system is designed collaboratively by the TUI Care Foundation, TUI Turtle-Aid partners, and tourism stakeholders to ensure clear communication and a business-oriented approach. Project Partners in this process include Project Biodiversity in Cape Verde, DEKAMER in Turkey, and ARCHELON in Greece, all dedicated to sea turtle conservation.

ARCHELON is undertaking a proactive role in piloting this initiative, with a specific focus on hotels situated on nesting beaches in Rethymno and Chania. In collaboration with ECOCLUB, who are providing the expertise of external sustainable tourism specialists, the project is expected to support and guide the selected hotels through the implementation process. Furthermore, the project is supporting activities such as nest protection on heavily frequented beaches and the enhancement of public awareness campaigns. Additionally, an ARCHELON research team is to conduct a survey of sea turtle nesting activity on the island of Rhodes, contributing to the ongoing Sustainability Lab Initiative on Rhodes, in collaboration with TUI Care Foundation.

Rescue, care and reintegration of sea turtles into the natural environment in 2024

by the Green Fund

Sea turtles face serious pressures and threats, with the main ones being habitat loss of their breeding areas, predation, and accidental capture in fishing gear. Because they live in a variety of habitats including nesting beaches and migrate long distances they are exposed to pressures and threats that also threaten the marine natural environment and consequently humans. During the summer months (June – September), the threats are increased as well as the human presence at sea and on the coasts. These two factors result in greater action by the Rescue Network and an increase in the admissions of injured sea turtles to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center (STRC) of ARCHELON.

The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre operates all year round and is the only one in Greece and one of the most important in the Mediterranean. The STRC is located in the 3rd Marina of Glyfada and has been operating continuously since 1994. More than 1,350 sea turtles have been accommodated there to date, while a percentage of around 60% of sea turtles has returned to the sea after successful treatment.

The Project "Rescue, care and reintegration of sea turtles into the natural environment in 2024". "Green Fund Funding", Budget €45,000.00, of the Green Fund "NATURAL ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE NEUTRALITY 2024" and specifically in PRIORITY AXIS 1: "PROTECTION OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT - CLIMATE NEUTRALITY & OTHER ACTIONS" aims to support the operation of the STRC in 2024 aims to support the operation of the STRC during 2024.

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