On May 22nd, during the first visit of the ARCHELON volunteers to the nesting beaches for 2018, two Caretta caretta nests were discovered. The nests were located in the areas of Agia Marina and Gerani and were marked for protection purposes.
Caretta caretta sea turtles live in our seas since ancient times. Adult turtles visit the Cretan beaches in the summer, to lay their eggs. Approximately 2 months later, the eggs hatch and thousands of hatchlings run to the sea, where they are will spend the rest of their lives. According to ARCHELON’s records, a significant decrease in the number of Caretta caretta nests in Crete has been observed over the past decade and the hopes of preserving this subpopulation, which is genetically distinct from the others in the Mediterranean, are decreasing.
The nesting beaches of sea turtles in Chania have been included in the Natura 2000 network, and there are specific legal provisions to protect them.
Recently, relevant responsibilities of the National Forest Management Authority of Samaria-West Crete Municipality were established. The necessary protection measures are implemented with the apprehension and cooperation of the Municipality of Chania and Platanias, the Regional Directorate of Public Property of Crete and the Central Port Authority of Chania.
In order to improve the implementation of the protection measures this year, and hope to preserve the “Cretan” subpopulation of Caretta caretta, here is a list of guidelines for all, visitors and businessmen, to follow at nesting beaches:
- Umbrellas should be placed at fixed points with their axes perpendicular to the wave.
- Beach furniture should be removed/suspended after sunset, to allow sufficient space of nesting during the night.
- Beach furniture should be washed in an area outside the beach, to avoid watering the nests and risking rotting of the eggs.
- Adult and hatchling tracks should not be tampered with, to allow for ARCHELON’s morning survey teams to record all night activity.
- Facilities like tents and/or showers should not be placed on the beach, if possible.
- Human presence, noise and artificial lights should be avoided on the beach during the night
- Heavy duty beach cleaning vehicles should not be used during May-October.
A meeting between ARCHELON representatives, the National Forest Management Authority of Samaria-West Crete Municipality, the Chania and Platania Municipality, the Regional Center of Public Property of Crete and the Central Port Authory of Chania will be held on Friday May 25th, where the implementation of the legislation for the previous year will be evaluated and further actions for its more effective implementation will be discussed.
You can reach out to ARCHELON volunteers daily at the Information Station at Chania Old Port, and on the nesting beaches from Kato Stallo to Kolympari in the Chania bay, from 05:00am.
Odysseas Paxinos, Crete Program Coordinator, ARCHELON, tel: 6937352379, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
fb: ARCHELON Crete, ARCHELON, the official page
(translation: Danai Kyriaki)