Sea turtles are still in danger in Laganas bay, Zakynthos
July has had a rough start for the sea turtles in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, where one of the major populations of the loggerhead sea turtle in the Mediterranean nests. On Thursday, July 1, the ARCHELON team was notified by the staff of the Park about a dead female loggerhead near Agios Sostis with an obvious propeller injury.
"We examined the turtle, recorded the incident, and the animal was moved to the sand dunes for a necropsy by the vet" said Nikoletta Sidiropoulou, the Zakynthos Project Manager of the organization. “The turtle bore a metal ID tag and had been recorded by ARCHELON nesting in Sekania this year, on June 20.”
Two days later, on Saturday July 3, another sea turtle was found hit by a propeller in the marine area of Laganas Bay, alive but in a visibly weak condition. The ARCHELON team collected the animal in collaboration with the staff of the Marine Park, but despite the help of the veterinarian, it died soon after.
Over 20 years have gone by since the creation of the first National Marine Park in Greece. However, compliance with the protection measures in the marine area of the Park, which is designated as a Nature Protection Area, remains incomplete and the issue has repeatedly been publicized. In 2019, ARCHELON, together with MEDASSET and WWF, appealed to the authorities, requesting the imposition of fines. Obviously, this request remains unsatisfied, and we are raising it again today. See the relevant post of 2019 here.
Instead of the harsh photos of the two turtles that were lethally hit, we publish the last photo (22.6.21) of the first turtle that was killed, which was provided by the researcher and member of ARCHELON Kostas Papafitsoros. "It is so tragic that turtles which have been coming to lay nests in Laganas for the last decade or two are suddenly killed because some people continue to ignore the rules of the Park," said Kostas, who is participating in the Zakynthos project for the 15th season this year.
The ARCHELON project for monitoring the reproductive activity in Zakynthos continues for the 38th year. The volunteers who, despite the pandemic, came to Zakynthos from Greece and abroad, have been on the beaches every day since May, recording and protecting the nests where necessary, in collaboration with the National Marine Park Management Body.
ARCHELON is a non-profit organization and, while the Zakynthos project is normally self-financed by private donations, it has been co-financed by the Green Fund of the Ministry of Environment and Energy in the last two years, due to the pandemic.
Along with nest recording, the ARCHELON team has also started the public awareness activities, where visitors are being informed about the sea turtles and the threats they face in the marine environment. The activities take place in selected hotels of the area, on the NEFIS and TUI turtle watching boats and at the entrance of Crystal beach from 12:00 - 18:00 daily. The ARCHELON Info Station in the center of Zakynthos city will also be open soon.
ARCHELON believes that safeguarding the marine part of the Park should be intensified and that the systematic presence of the Coast Guards is essential in order to identify violations and punish the offenders. Measures in the marine area must be observed but technical solutions regarding the propellers in the area where the movement and mooring of boats is allowed should also be considered.
We hope to see no more dead turtles this year in Zakynthos.
ARCHELON, Nikoletta Sidiropoulou, Project Manager for Zakynthos, tel.: 6940454976