Life Nature Project
Reduction of mortality of Caretta caretta in
the Greek seas
loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) is listed as
an endangered species within the EU boundaries. It is included
in Annex II (priority species) and Annex IV of the Habitats
Directive (92/43/EEC). Since its major nesting areas in Greece
have been identified and are under various protective and
management schemes (all included in the national list of
proposed Natura 2000 sites), mortality at sea emerges as
a high priority, which if not addressed might also undermine
conservation efforts at nesting areas.
The project deals with two major threats Caretta
caretta faces at sea:
1. Indirect (delayed) mortality. Prolonged submergence after
capture in fishing gear may cause anoxia, which brings the
turtle to a comatose state. Turtles in comatose condition
thrown back into the sea usually drown. Additionally, turtles
released with ingested hooks and fishing lines are subject
to secondary severe health problems.
2. Deliberate mutilations, killings or attempts (intentional
mortality) following incidental captures. Many fishermen
try to kill incidentally captured turtles as they consider
them as competitors and responsible for damages to fishing
In accordance with the above threats, project objectives
are summarised as the reduction of losses of Caretta
caretta at sea, owing to delayed and intentional mortality
following incidental capture.
Actions and means involved in achieving
the above objective are:
1. Upgrading of existing sea turtle rehabilitation
facilities to treat and release injured turtles nation-wide,
in co-operation with Municipality of Glyfada.
2. Upgrading of existing Sea Turtle Stranding Network,
in co-operation with Port Police Stations and Fisheries
Departments throughout Greece and evaluation of areas with
high numbers of stranding reports ("hot spots").
3. Collaborative programme with fishermen and creation of
First Aid Stations at two selected "hot spots" and organised
interventions in 4 other "hot spots".
4. Evaluation of behaviour of treated turtles following release
from the ARCHELON-Rescue Centre through flipper tagging and satellite
5. Awareness campaign for the general public, fishermen, schoolchildren
and other groups, assisted by production of audio-visual material.
6. Improvement and standardisation of rehabilitation practices
through international exchange of experience.
7. Elaboration of a national Action Plan for the Conservation
of Sea Turtles.