MEDITERRANEAN SEA TURTLES: their fate depends on the continuation of ongoing conservation measures
A review of all available information for the two sea turtles breeding in the Mediterranean In (loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta and green turtle Chelonia mydas) was published recently. Three members of ARCHELON, D. Margaritoulis, A.Panagopoulou and A.F. Rees, participated in this work, presenting the most significant data that are collected in ARCHELON projects every year.
Based on the evidence presented by experts from across the Mediterranean, the recent positive trends of nest counts at some nesting sites may be the result of the cessation of past exploitation and decades of conservation measures on land, both in the form of national regulations and of continued active protection of clutches. Therefore, the current status should be considered as dependent on such ongoing conservation efforts.
Although a large body of knowledge has been generated on certain aspects of biology, identification of breeding and foraging areas, ecology and behaviour, research efforts have been inconsistently allocated across geographic areas, species and topics. Significant gaps still exist like age at maturity, survival rates and behavioural ecology, especially for certain areas (e.g. south-eastern Mediterranean). These gaps are particularly marked for the green turtle.
From the analysis of the present status, a comprehensive list of research and conservation priorities is proposed. Mitigation of incidental catch in fisheries, the main anthropogenic threat at sea, is still in its infancy.
We were happy and proud to read a special mention of the many hours of hard work and dedication of ARCHELON field leaders, assistants and volunteers in the acknowledgements of the report.
You may download the publication here https://www.int-res.com/articles/esr2018/36/n036p229.pdf