TRIBUTE TO THE WORLD SEA TURTLE DAY. TURTLES AND HUMANS- CAN WE ALL LIVE TOGETHER?
This special day, the 16th of June, is dedicated to all sea turtle conservation projects, be it protection of nesting beaches or rescue and rehabilitation in the world! It is exactly on these sites that we see the print of another kind of relationship of society and nature.
The battle for the survival of “Chris, the Fish” was lost in ARCHELON’s Rescue only a few days ago. She was found on Milos island in December 2018. She carried a wound on the head from a deliberate attack by humans. The wound had caused serious infections in the plastron. “We used every means that was available to us, and more of 150 hours of intensive care, still the battle was lost for another tiny piece of the puzzle of the Earth, one of those which make it an amazing and beautiful planet” said a dedicated volunteer of the Center.
Data from the Rescue Center continue to show that more than 50% of arrivals of injured or sick sea turtles are due to deliberate attacks by humans. To those people who raise their hands to hurt a turtle that was probably caught in fishing gear, we want to say ” No, do not do this”. For anyone interested to carry it on their boat, there is the Cutter, a telescopic tool, developed by the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in Crete. With this tool one can set a turtle caught in fishing gear without hurting the animal and without destroying the nets. Testing and using this tool will be important for the fate of sea turtles, as it can contribute to less drownings and deliberate attacks.
Fish in our seas will not become more abundant if sea turtles go extinct. On the contrary, sea turtles contribute to the good condition of sea grass meadows, where many fish spawn. Sea turtles are a component of the marine ecosystem.
Amongst the countries of the European Union, Greece is the country with the highest number of small fishing vessels (less than 12m long, except for trawlers). Their number rises to 14,538 and they comprise 94% of the Greek fishing fleet. Overfishing in our seas does not allow many species to reach their reproduction size. The first step in saving marine life is to find out about the fish on our table, how and where they were caught.
Another World Sea Turtle Day issue for us, in ARCHELON, is the potential impact of the announced trials for hydrocarbon extraction close to all sea turtle nesting sites in Greece. Now it is appropriate that people share their opinion on this matter as well as on moving towards alternative energy sources.
Sea turtles have been swimming in the waters of our blue planet for 110 million years. We can see them depicted on ancient Greek coins, such as the stater of Aegina.They were a symbol of wellbeing and longevity. The continuation of this co-existence is in our hands.
ARCHELON is very happy to announce that loggerhead sea turtles have made their appearance in laying eggs on Greek beaches. The first nest was made on Zakynthos on 25/5, then the Peloponnese followed with Kotychi on 30/5, Kyparissia on 1/6 and Lakonikos gulf on 9/6. The firs nest of Crete was found on Rethymno beach on 1/6 and Chania followed on 6/6.
ARCHELON’s research teams are by the nesting beaches to support the protection of the nests. Local authorities and the Agencies for the management of protected areas are well informed about the existing regulations. Beach cleanings have been organized in all nesting beaches.
It seems as humans and sea turtles can live together.