Authors: Oikonomou, V., Touloupaki, E., Moutopoulos, D., Petza, D., Doumpas, N., Naasan Aga Spyridopoulou Citizen Guide for the Protection of Sharks, Batoids and Sea Turtles. Alliance for Survival II, Thessaloniki, 2021. pp:22
83 organisations advocate for biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean!
Author(s): Nikoletta Digka, Laura Bray, Catherine Tsangaris, Konstantina Andreanidou, Eirini Kasimati, Evangelia Kofidou, Anastasia Komnenou, Helen Kaberi. Date: 14/04/2018 Journal: Environmental Pollution Vol: 263, Part A (2020) Pages: 9
The Mediterranean Sea is a biodiversity hotspot of high importance worldwide and hosts significant sea turtle  populations across its range for mating, nesting, as well as for feeding and wintering of adult, sub-adult and juvenile individuals. As the largest semi-closed basin on our planet surrounded by 23 countries with a total coastline length of 46.000 km, consequently sea turtle strandings occur every day across the Mediterranean, either alive, injured or dead. It is important that these incidents are managed and recorded. To date, some Mediterranean countries have a National Stranding Network that use a specific protocol for recordings, whereas others operate independently, applying different protocols within the same region. The necessity of the elaboration of a Pan-Mediterranean Stranding Protocol and Database has been identified as a priority, for data collection regarding sea turtles of the Mediterranean . MEDASSET  perceiving this necessity and priority, with the aim of conserving these emblematic creatures, organised a workshop on 24th & 25th February in Athens with representatives from international organisations, ministries, research institutes and NGOs from nine Mediterranean countries: Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The key aspect of this meeting is the significant role of the representatives […]
Tracking of juvenile sea turtles is a research priority to inform the protection of relevant habitats and ensure sustainable rates of recruitment into adult populations. Based on satellite tracking, mixed stock analysis, and mark–recapturestudies, Drini Bay in the South Adriatic Sea, Central Mediterranean, has been con-firmed as an important foraging site used by loggerhead turtles from all major rookeries in the Mediterranean subpopulation
This Year let's All do the best we can to protect the Environment!
David was not only an enthusiast but a serious and profoundly knowledgeable botanist also, who, by the end of his career, held several professorships at leading universities in the UK and abroad.
As a partner to the United Nations Environmental Programme – Mediterranean Action Plan, MEDASSET attended the COP21 meeting presenting critical issues for marine biodiversity such as sea turtle habitats’ degradation, fisheries interaction, tourism impact, marine litter and pollution, climate change, maritime traffic impact and marine protected areas (MPAs) challenges.
The Mediterranean Sea is a bountiful yet dangerous place for sea turtles
For the last 40 years, the Bern Convention has become an essential tool for the conservation of our natural heritage and hence, for the safeguarding of our most basic human rights.
The Marine Litter Node is the one stop information point for marine litter and prevention efforts in the Mediterranean
Greece hosts some of the most important nesting sites to sea turtles across the Mediterranean Sea, while also holds wintering and foraging sites for resident population of adults and juveniles. In the past few years, a small number of sea turtle nests have been reported in other locations in Greece where nesting has not usually occurred in the past. Additionally, information on stranded individuals has been increasing during the last decade across Greece. Both factors indicate a rising need in identifying and understanding any possible shift in sea turtles’ behavior, as they are a highly migratory species and they may be responding to climatic changes by using new habitats to nest, feed and overwinter. MEDASSET is surveying the North Aegean Coast in the west from Thessalia and Macedonia to the Turkish border in the east including the islands of Samothraki, Thassos, Limnos, Agios Efstratios, Lesvos and Chios, in order to conduct a rapid assessment across the region, in the form of a questionnaire survey targeting fishers, responsible authorities and locals. The questionnaire focus will collect information on nesting and in-water sea turtle presence. Data will be combined with stranding and observation data, to create a baseline to direct further targeted […]
Second year’s fieldwork of “Exploration of potential nesting sites and design of conservation measures for sporadic nesting in Albania “(2018-2019) has successfully been completed
This baby loggerhead sea turtle couldn't survive the 104 pieces of plastic clogging its digestive tract
Joint press release of ARCHELON, MEDASSET and WWF Thursday 8 August 2019 Collisions of boats with sea turtles continue at Zakynthos National Marine Park – When will fines be imposed? At the end of July 2019, twenty years after the establishment of the National Marine Park in Zakynthos (ICZM), we witness yet another turtle injury due to a boat collision in Laganas Bay. “This is the second incident of the year and it was to be expected as many violations are recorded every day and reported to the competent authorities, but no fines are imposed”, says Anna Lamaj, the program officer of ARCHELON in Zakynthos. Meanwhile, thousands of tourists visiting Laganas Bay this summer are beginning to realize that there seems to be no enforcement of protection measures, and many express their concern by sending comments to ARCHELON. “It is not difficult to see that a boat is moving in the zone where navigation is completely prohibited (Zone A) from 1 May to 31 October. Just as easily, one can observe that a vessel is moving at speeds above the limit of 6 nautical knots established for the rest of the bay (Zones b and C) ”, says Panagiota Theodorou, […]
We presented our work for the protection of sea Turtles in the Mediterranean, giving feedback on the threats that continue to exist and calling on countries to take further conservation action.
The Final Event and International Conference of the MEDSEALITTER – Interreg program was organized in Rome, on June 11-12 at Villa Celimontana. The MEDSEALITTER program is a partnership among 11 organizations across four European Countries: Greece, Italy, Spain and France. In Greece the project is coordinated by MEDASSET in collaboration with HCMR. MEDASSET, HCMR, Water Management Secretariat, Thermaikos Gulf and Schinias Protected Areas Management Bodies representatives attended the meeting, together with stakeholders from the European Union, local and international institutions and environmental organizations. Nadia Andreanidou, Project Manager of the MEDSEALITTER project in Greece for MEDASSET, presented the results of awareness raising, communication and policy activities in Greece. The objectives of the meeting were to further disseminate the new Monitoring Protocol, to exchange ideas for its efficient implementation and to create synergies on the basis of the good practices deriving from the program activities.
Second year of exploration of the country’s sandy coast in order to discover which beaches are suitable for sea turtle nesting....
ΠΡΟΣΚΛΗΣΗ ΣΥΜΜΕΤΟΧΙΚΕΣ ΗΜΕΡΙΔΕΣ MEDSEALITTER Τo MEDASSET και το Ελληνικό Κέντρο Θαλάσσιων Ερευνών (ΕΛ.ΚΕ.Θ.Ε.) σας καλούν σε τρεις Συμμετοχικές Ημερίδες που θα πραγματοποιηθούν στο πλαίσιο του ευρωπαϊκού προγράμματος INTERREG MED – MEDSEALITTER. ΣΥΜΜΕΤΟΧΙΚΕΣ ΗΜΕΡΙΔΕΣ MEDSEALITTER ΚΑΒΑΛΑ, 16/5/2019, 9.00 π.μ. ΙΝ.ΑΛ.Ε (Νέα Πέραμος) ΠΑΤΡΑ, 22/5/2019, 9.00 π.μ. ΟΙΚΙΠΑ – Οικολογική Κίνηση Πάτρας ΑΤΤΙΚΗ, 6/6/2019, 10.00 π.μ. ΕΛ.ΚΕ.Θ.Ε. Οι Συμμετοχικές Ημερίδες MEDSEALITTER αποτελούν ευκαιρία για την κατανόηση και καλύτερη διάχυση του Πρωτοκόλλου Παρακολούθησης Θαλάσσιων Απορριμμάτων αλλά και για την προώθηση της συνεργασίας για τη βέλτιστη αντιμετώπιση του προβλήματος των θαλάσσιων απορριμμάτων. Το MEDSEALITTER αποσκοπεί στην ανάπτυξη και υιοθέτηση κοινών πρωτοκόλλων για την παρακολούθηση των θαλάσσιων απορριμμάτων και των δυνητικών επιπτώσεών τους σε σημαντικά είδη βιοποικιλότητας στη Μεσόγειο. Το έργο εντάσσεται στο πλαίσιο του διακρατικού προγράμματος INTERREG MED 2014-2020. Για την υλοποίησή του, συνεργάζονται 10 φορείς από 4 χώρες (Ισπανία, Γαλλία, Ιταλία, Ελλάδα) και θα ολοκληρωθεί τον Ιούλιο του 2019. 1. Η ελληνική περίληψη του Πρωτοκόλλου 2. Το πρωτότυπο – ΠΡΩΤΟΚΟΛΛΟ ΠΑΡΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΗΣΗΣ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΙΩΝ ΑΠΟΡΡΙΜΜΑΤΩΝ 3. H ατζέντα 4. Η πρόσκληση Περισσότερες πληροφορίες για το πρόγραμμα MEDSEALITTER: https://medsealitter.interreg-med.eu/, Νάντια Ανδρεανίδου, [email protected] Συνεντεύξεις και θέματα Τύπου: Βίκυ Μαρκολέφα, [email protected]
A meeting was held in Tirana on 2 May 2019 within the framework of the research project “Exploration of potential nesting sites
ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ-ΠΡΟΣΚΛΗΣΗ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗΣ ΕΝΔΙΑΦΕΡΟΝΤΟΣ ΣΤΟ ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ ΥΛΟΠΟΙΗΣΗΣ ΤΟΥ ΕΡΓΟΥ «MEDSEALITTER – DEVELOPING MEDITERRANEAN-SPECIFIC PROTOCOLS TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY FROM LITTER IMPACT AT BASIN AND LOCAL MPAS SCALES» Κωδικός Έργου: 1134 ΑΠ: 24689 Αθήνα, 02.05.2019 ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ – ΠΡΟΣΚΛΗΣΗ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗΣ ΕΝΔΙΑΦΕΡΟΝΤΟΣ ΓΙΑ ΥΠΕΥΘΥΝΟ/Η ΕΠΙΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑΣ To Σωματείο MEDASSET, λαμβάνοντας υπόψη του τη σχετική ευρωπαϊκή και εθνική νομοθεσία που αφορά το διακρατικό πρόγραμμα Ευρωπαϊκής Εδαφικής Συνεργασίας «INTERREG MED Cooperation Programme 2014 – 2020», που συγχρηματοδοτείται από το Ευρωπαϊκό Ταμείο Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης (ΕΤΠΑ) (κατά 85%) και Εθνικούς Πόρους (κατά 15%), τις «Οδηγίες για Έλληνες Εταίρους Προγραμμάτων Εδαφικής Συνεργασίας», τις απαιτήσεις της Διαχειριστικής Αρχής, τον Οδηγό Διαχείρισης του Προγράμματος, τη σύμβαση και τη Συμφωνία Συνεργασίας μεταξύ των εταίρων για την υλοποίηση του έργου με τον τίτλο MEDSEALITTER – Developing Mediterranean–specific protocols to protect biodiversity from litter impact at basin and local MPAs scales», καθώς και τη Συστατική Πράξη Ίδρυσης (Καταστατικό) του MEDASSET, ΔΗΛΩΝΕΙ ΟΤΙ ενδιαφέρεται να συνεργαστεί στο πλαίσιο του ανωτέρου έργου με ΣΥΝΕΡΓΑΤΗ-ΥΠΕΥΘΥΝΟ/Η ΕΠΙΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑΣ, για την περίοδο 03.05.2019 – 31.07.2019, με συμφωνητικό συνεργασίας / Σύμβαση Παροχής Ανεξάρτητων Υπηρεσιών διάρκειας τριών (3) μηνών, με αντικείμενο: Υπεύθυνη/ος διεκπαιρέωσηςκαι παρακολούθησης εργασιών στο πλαίσιο της οριζόντιας επικοινωνιακής στρατηγικής του έργου MEDSEALITTER συμπεριλαμβανομένου του σχεδιασμού και διαχείρισης του κατάλληλου επικοινωνιακού υλικού (δελτία τύπου, social […]
After a successful season of fieldwork in summer 2018, the second year of “Exploration of potential nesting sites & design of conservation measures for sporadic nesting in Albania “(2018-2019) is starting! Our collaborator Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku is placing equipment with the help of Albanian officials and fishermen to measure sea temperatures that will help us understand the future suitability of Albanian beaches for sea turtle nesting. Stay tuned! Our research in Albania is supported by the MAVA Foundation within the regional project “Conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean” which is being implemented by ARCHELON, DEKAMER, MEDASSET, MedPAN, NMPZ, RAC/SPA (leader), WWF Greece, WWF Turkey. For more information please click here.
We are just back from a coordination meeting with our partners of the project “Conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean” which is supported by the MAVA Foundation. We discussed progress in achieving the project’s 5 strategies and shared plans on our upcoming activities in 2019. The project is investigating new areas where sea turtles are extending their nesting activity, monitoring know nesting sites, placing satellite tracking devices, building capacity among managers to study and protect turtles, elaborating national action plans where they are lacking, and much more! MEDASSET presented research results from our survey in Albania in 2018 and our planned activities to help reduce sea turtle consumption in Egypt. We warmly thank Dekamer for hosting us at amazing Dalyan in Turkey! Photos by Dekamer.
MEDASSET, The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles, is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1988, working for the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean. It is involved in conservation and scientific research programmes, public awareness, environmental education, conservation initiatives and lobbying decision-makers. MEDASSET is seeking a full time Communications and Public Relations Officer to join its communication team, based in the office in central Athens, Greece. This is a post requiring flexibility, excellent language (Greek and English) and IT skills. It offers ample scope for creativity. The successful candidate will work closely with the current Communication Officer and the rest of the team, ensuring awareness of all current projects while remaining alert for new opportunities to publicise and promote the organisation and its work. The Communications & PR Officer reports to the Director and maintains a clear understanding of MEDASSET’s objectives and priorities, taking additional guidance from the Board and President. Job Description Contribute to the updating, management and implementation of MEDASSET’s Communications Strategy and Plan, aiming to enhance media penetration, online visibility and increase public awareness of issues relevant to the preservation of the marine environment in general and sea turtles […]
The project “Fishers, Sea Turtles and Sharks: Alliance for Survival”, launched in February 2018 and completed this February, is the first program in Greece and one of the first in the Mediterranean region to implement a multi-taxa approach with the aim to tackle the incidental catch of sea turtles and sharks. One of the most groundbreaking methodologies of the project, the SEAlly© application for smartphones, is available to the public since yesterday, aiming to make a significant contribution to citizen science, as well as collecting valuable primary data on this critical environmental problem. The application is available for free, in android & iOS and is bilingual, in Greek and English. SEAlly© is the first mobile application that allows the recording of multiple species (sea turtles and sharks) whose abundance is not well known. Its “target group” are fishers, port authorities, divers, sailing community and the general public interested in the protection of marine ecosystems. The easy-to-use and interactive design of the application enables the user to input information and data about the geographic location of a sea turtle or a shark sighting, their species, the condition in which they were found or other specific features (eg gender) of the individual. […]
12 February 2019 – Ahead of crucial debates on the financing of the Bern Convention, European NGOs have addressed a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe urging it to ensure the financing and proper functioning of the Bern Convention – the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Facing difficult financial times, the Council of Europe is considering budgetary cuts that inevitably would reduce the Bern Convention’s operations.In their letter, the NGOs reiterate that the Treaty directly benefits Europe’s nature and protected species and are asking decision makers to continue to financially support the Convention. The Bern Convention aims to ensure conservation of wild flora and fauna and their habitats, affording urgently needed protection to Europe’s’ most threatened species and habitats. Encompassing all countries in the European continent, extending to the Mediterranean region, and including both members and non-members of the European Union, theBern Convention forms the foremost binding international legal instrument in the field of Nature Conservation in the European region. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Bern Convention, the NGOs call on the Council of Europe and the member countries not to cut down […]
For the 30th year in succession, MEDASSET participated in the Standing Committee Meeting of the Bern Convention...
Job Description MEDASSET is seeking a senior professional with commitment to MEDASSET’s values and mission, as a full-time Managing Coordinator at its Head Office in Central Athens, Greece, leading the team of between 5 and 10 full and part time staff. MEDASSET – the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles – is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1988, working for the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean. It is involved in conservation and scientific research programmes, public awareness campaigns, environmental education, conservation initiatives and lobbying decision-makers. Duties include: • Day-to-day management of office and staff. Development of work plans and allocation of responsibilities. • Regular coordination with and reporting to the Board of Directors, in particular the President. • Maintenance of existing relationships with partner organisations and development and nurture of new ones. • Financial planning, reporting and budget management. • Strategic planning and organisational development, under the guidance of the Board. • Policy, procedure and indicator setting. Design and implementation of monitoring and evaluation processes. Performance assessment. • Political lobbying, representation of the organisation, networking and relationship building at a national (Greek), Mediterranean, and international level. • Authoring articles, papers, presentations, […]
As MEDASSET celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018, our Founder and President, Lily Venizelos, sent a warm and powerful video message to the attendees of the 6th Mediterranean Conference on Marine Turtles organised between October 16-18, in Poreč, Croatia.
Α Presidential Decree has been set in place to protect the Kyparissia Gulf, the second most important nesting area of the Caretta caretta in the Mediterranean, a significant habitat which is a part of the European network of protected areas NATURA 2000.
Fourteen environmental non-governmental organizations in Greece, have expressed their satisfaction regarding the issuance of a Presidential Decree for the Kyparissia Bay (EU Natura 2000 sites GR 2550005, GR 2330005 and GR 2330008).
Each summer sea turtles lay their eggs on sandy beaches in the east and south regions of the Mediterranean basin (mainly Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, etc). In the past years, a small number of sea turtle nests have been reported in Italy, Spain and other locations where nesting has not usually occurred in the past. This so-called “sporadic” nesting is of high scientific and conservation interest as it may indicate a possible shift in the nesting range of sea turtles towards the west and northern areas of the Mediterranean. Sea turtles are a highly migratory species and they may be responding to climatic changes by using new habitats to nest, feed and overwinter. A research team led by Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku is exploring all the sandy beaches of Albania in order to assess which beaches are suitable for sea turtle nesting. In the first few days of the field work, Dr. Sacdanaku and his team, in collaboration with the staff from Regional Agency of Protected Area of Divjaka – Karavasta National Park, visited the Divjaka beach, where a sea turtle nest had been officially documented a few weeks earlier, found from a local fishermen, Sokol Gjermeni and confirmed by Dr. Vilma Piroli. […]
Accidental fishing, or “bycatch” is one of the most severe threats to marine biodiversity and it is happening on a global scale. It is the unintentional entanglement or capture of non-target species, such as sea birds, marine mammals, sharks and sea turtles in fishing gear – both nets and long lines. Given how critical the issue has become, the joint project “Fishermen, Sea Turtles and Sharks: An alliance for Coexistence” was recently launched. It is being run jointly by NGOs MEDASSET and iSea and supported financially by the Greek Government’s Green Fund. The principal aim of the project, which focusses on the incidental fishing of sharks and sea turtles, is to highlight the problem and provide in depth information to those most intimately involved in the industry. That is, the fishermen themselves. The greater their awareness and understanding, the more chance there will be of turning them from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution. This is the first programme in Greece but also in the wider Mediterranean region, to take a multi-taxa approach to the bycatch of non-target sharks and turtles. It is being piloted in 5 locations, covering a substantial portion of the Greek […]
BERN CONVENTION CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS RECOMMENDATIONS AND ADOPTS DECISIONS FOR SEA TURTLE HABITATS IN GREECE & TURKEY For the 29th year in succession, MEDASSET participated in the 37th Standing Committee Meeting of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France, 4-8 December 2017). We presented the results of our sea turtle nesting beach surveys, raised our concerns and submitted recommendations. As a result, the Standing Committee of the Convention adopted important Decisions to monitor several sea turtle habitats and urge signatory states to improve protection. TURKEY Fethiye & Patara (Caretta caretta) We have been conducting assessments of these two sites and campaigning to improve the protection of loggerhead nesting beaches in Patara and Fethiye since 1988 and 2009 respectively. These efforts continued in 2017. Both sites are listed as Specially Protected Areas (SPAs) by the Turkish government. We found that, unfortunately, the majority of the Recommendations made by the Bern Convention in 2015 have not so far been implemented by the Turkish authorities. In Fethiye, there was minimal improvement in the protection and management of the site, except for a few new signs and […]
For the 29th year in succession, MEDASSET participated in the 37th Standing Committee Meeting of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France, 4-8 December 2017). We presented the results of our sea turtle nesting beach surveys, raised our concerns and submitted recommendations. As a result, the Standing Committee of the Convention adopted important Decisions to monitor several sea turtle habitats and urge signatory states to improve protection. TURKEY Fethiye & Patara (Caretta caretta) We have been conducting assessments of these two sites and campaigning to improve the protection of loggerhead nesting beaches in Patara and Fethiye since 1988 and 2009 respectively. These efforts continued in 2017. Both sites are listed as Specially Protected Areas (SPAs) by the Turkish government. We found that, unfortunately, the majority of the Recommendations made by the Bern Convention in 2015 have not so far been implemented by the Turkish authorities. In Fethiye, there was minimal improvement in the protection and management of the site, except for a few new signs and some litter collection efforts. Once more, we documented severe light pollution, the presence of summer furniture and fixed structures […]
Since November 2016, MEDASSET has been running the MEDSEALITTER European Program
The second phase of a dive funded by the European initiative, “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear”, took place on a wreck lying off Alepochori in the Gulf of Corinth
Yesterday, over 13 tons of waste fishing nets were transported from Greece for recycling, thanks to DIOPAS
This year’s third dive of the “Healthy Seas: a journey from waste to wear” initiative took place in the waters surrounding the island of Salamis
Over the weekend of 22-23 July, MEDASSET, in its capacity as coordinator for Greece, managed the first phase of the year’s second dive off the town of Alepochori, at the eastern end of the Gulf of Corinth.
Last week saw the President of the United States of America Donald Trump withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Out of 200 countries, only three have rejected the Paris Agreement- Nicaragua, because it didn’t go far enough, Syria, which is in civil war and now the United States of America. Even North Korea has signed up, which shows just how out-of-step President Trump is with the rest of the world.
In November 2016, a paper appeared in the scientific journal Science Advances, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The authors, all graduates of the University of California, have been looking at how three of the most common types of plastic acquire a coating of a chemical – Dimethyl sulphide or DMS – that produces an odour many organisms associate with their natural food.
Being General Secretary of an international organisation has its upside! At the end of April, I was invited to represent MEDASSET at the 37th International Sea Turtle Symposium in Las Vegas. Holding a symposium on marine reptiles in the middle of a desert, far from any ocean, may seem a rather eccentric decision but, as it turns out, turtle people will discuss sea turtles and all that concerns their survival more or less anywhere!
What difference does it make if Greece has been found guilty of operating an illegal landfill site in Zakynthos by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)? Not a lot, it seems. So what if the landfill site in question sits at the edge of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, almost on top of a beach that is the most vital to the survival of the loggerhead turtle in the whole of the Mediterranean?
The international environmental NGO MEDASSET (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles), working to protect sea turtles and their marine and coastal habitats in the Mediterranean, launches its new online game “TEAM TURTLE” at the 37th International Sea Turtle Symposium (15 – 20 April 2017, Las Vegas Nevada, USA). The aim is to bring marine life and the challenges faced by endangered sea turtles closer to everyday experience and to creatively educate children through an activity they would choose for themselves – playing a game!
Click to read the joint EC LETTER from MEDASSET, Mom and WWF Greece regarding the operation of the landfill in the nesting area of Caretta caretta in Laganas Bay, Zakynthos, Greece (Natura 2000 GR).
Fancy a ride around Athens? Join the MEDASSET Team in the 24th Athens Cycling Round and #SweartoCare for Clean Seas!
Exciting news! The “Healthy Seas Fashion Project” Exhibition arrived at Deltapark Neeltje Jans in the Netherlands where it will remain for 2 years.
To deliver the objectives of the MEDSEALITTER programme, MEDASSET will be working with the Greek Centre for Marine Research and eight further partner organisations: the University of Barcelona and the University of Valencia (Spain); the EcoOcean Institute and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (France); and finally from Italy the Cinque Terre National Park and Marine Protected Area (acting as Lead Partner), the Comune di Villasimius - Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area, and the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Legambiente Onlus.
Sea turtles have played a significant role in human culture and spirituality for thousands of years, as they appear in storytelling, religious and folk traditions from all around the globe:
In collaboration with Kaleidoscope Publications MEDASSET has presented 1,500 copies of its educational kit “Mediterranean Sea, A Source of Life” to the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs so that the groundbreaking educational materials contained in each packet can be included in lesson plans used in the introductory classes being offered to the children of refugees.
Researchers at NASA wanted to find out whether they could use the scientific data-collection buoys that have been released into the world’s oceans over a 35-year period to create images of the “Great Garbage Patches” that form as a result of oceanic currents.
The first of the year’s missions to collect disused and discarded fishing nets took place. MEDASSET organised the action that is part of the European initiative: “Healthy Seas: A journey from waste to wear”.
We love what we do! Everyday we work to protect the marine environment and promote positive change in people. When someone like 15 year old Kerstine asks for our help because she and her team want to stop sea turtles from ingesting plastic bags, we jump at it. It is opportunities like these that make us love our jobs even more!
The Andromeda Group is not only a leading group of companies in the field of aquaculture in the Mediterranean but also a valued partner of the ground-breaking initiative known as “Healthy Seas: A journey from Waste to Wear”, which for the last two years has been coordinated in Greece by MEDASSET.
MEDASSET is seeking a dynamic part-time Field Officer at its Central Office in Athens, Greece. Closing date: 7 November 2016 MEDASSET – the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles – is an international environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded in 1988, working for the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean. It is involved in conservation and scientific research programmes, public awareness, environmental education, conservation initiatives and lobbying decision-makers. (For more info: www.medasset.org). MEDASSET Greece joined the ‘Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear’ initiative, as a local partner in 2015. The initiative aims to recover disused fishing nets from both land and sea and to regenerate them into high-quality ECONYL® yarn, which is subsequently turned into brand-new products such as socks, swimwear and carpets. http://www.medasset.org/our-projects/healthy-seas-initiative/ DUTIES The Field Officer will be in charge of the planning, management and coordination of the Healthy Seas Initiative in Greece. He / She will report to the MEDASSET Director and to the Healthy Seas Project Coordinator in the Netherlands and will perform the following duties: • Day to day coordination of the Healthy Seas Initiative in Greece • Report regularly to both the Healthy Seas Project Coordinator and to […]
All 25 of the students from the Kellogg School of Management in the US have declared themselves helplessly addicted to summertime in Greece following their trips to Mykonos, Santorini and Schinias this August.
Athens, 26 September 2016: Last Saturday, 24 September, MEDASSET in cooperation with the AquaTec diving team performed another successful ghost net clean-up mission, as part of the “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear” initiative in Greece. The team’s mission was to remove lost fishing gear from the wreck of the “Kira Leni”, which sank back in 1978 due to bad weather near the south coast of Patroklos Island. The two main pieces of the wreck, the bow and stern, are now lying at a depth of around 32 metres. Over the years, the wreck has gradually been colonised by a wide range of marine life including moray eels, groupers and smaller fish who seek shelter here. Diving conditions were good, which helped in the success of the mission. The six person team managed to clear the whole of the “Kira Leni” wreck and by the end of the day a total of 250 kilograms of nets had been brought to the surface for processing. Note to Editors: The “Healthy Seas” initiative aims to recover fishing nets from the seas and to regenerate them into high-quality ECONYL® yarn, which is subsequently used in the manufacture of brand-new products such […]
The beaches of Kyparissia Bay are emerging as the most significant nesting area for loggerhead turtles in Greece for the fourth year in succession. By the end of May, the number of Caretta caretta nests had exceeded 2,500 (according ARCHELON) breaking every previous record. However, the good news has been somewhat overshadowed by reports of vandalised nests; a practice that regrettably has reached new levels this year. The area around Kalo Nero beach has been hardest hit by the vandals, who have been removing signage, protective mesh, and the reeds that are often placed around and over nests to discourage the predation of eggs by foxes and other animals. This new threat has been included in the report sent by MEDASSET to the Secretariat of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe in August. The report also described the existing challenges that have already worked substantially to reduce the available nesting areas, such as: the construction of illegal buildings and roads; street lighting that acts both to disturb adult turtles and to disorientate hatchlings; the ever increasing numbers of beach umbrellas and sunbeds, and more besides. MEDASSET’s report condemns the lack of effective measures in place for the protection […]
Job title: Programmes Officer Application deadline: October 9th, 2016 Duration: 10-12 months (Maternity leave cover) JOB DESCRIPTION MEDASSET is seeking a fulltime Programmes Officer at its Central Athens head office in Greece. Job Purpose: Leading advocacy/lobbying campaigns and conservation & research projects in relation to sea turtle populations and habitats, marine and coastal biodiversity across the Mediterranean. Reports to: Director. Duties include: • Developing and implementing environmental advocacy campaigns. Report writing and presentation to international conventions and national authorities. • Managing and/or implementing research or conservation projects, ensuring delivery within budget and on time. • Researching funding sources and calls, writing and submitting proposals. • Developing partnerships and maintaining relationships with NGOs, scientists, authorities, stakeholders, funders, etc. • Writing and editing articles, press releases, scientific papers and other material. Attending national/international meetings and conferences, and presenting posters or oral presentations. • Administrative work, including internal reporting, filing, data retrieval, correspondence, database updating, etc. Qualifications & Skills Required: • Master’s or higher level university degree in biology, marine or environmental sciences and at least 1 year of relevant professional experience. Or, a bachelor degree in these disciplines with at least 5 years of relevant professional experience. • Knowledge of international and […]
Athens, 16 September 2016: A new online map of sea turtle rescue centres in the Mediterranean has been created by MEDASSET. The new tool was launched at the 41st Congress of the CIESM (Mediterranean Science Commission) in Kiel, Germany (12-16 September 2016). The “Database & Online Map of Sea Turtle Rescue & First Aid Centres in the Mediterranean” is a new project by the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET) which was prompted by a paper by Ullmann and Stachowitsch (2015) that called for ‘better information on the number and types of rescue facilities on a Mediterranean scale’. The sea turtle rescue centres are presented to the public via a new interactive Google Map that is managed by MEDASSET. The primary aim is to provide open access to accurate and current information on all facilities that rescue and care for sea turtles in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the new tool helps increase awareness about the existence of the network of facilities. “Up-to-date information has been provided by each facility, making this a most reliable source” remarked Liza Boura, Project Manager. The information includes the facility location, type, contact details and volunteer opportunities. The map will be periodically […]
MEDASSET’s (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles) exhibition of clothing made with yarn reclaimed from the sea has reached the second stage of its journey, after a month’s stay at Golden Hall shopping centre in Marousi. CRETAquarium, one of Europe’s largest and most contemporary aquaria, near Heraklion, Crete, has opened its doors to the “Healthy Seas Fashion Project” and presents the exhibition until the end of September.
MEDASSET and the Hellenic Anti-Cancer Society announced their new collaboration in a joint press conference at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, Athens, on the 28th of June. They will work together in the context of MEDASSET’s “Clean Seas: Swear to Care” campaign lead by the slogan: “Smoking seriously harms the beach”.
After a month’s stay at Golden Hall shopping centre in Marousi, our exhibition of clothing made with yarn reclaimed from the sea has reached the second stage of its journey. We are particularly delighted that one of Europe’s largest and most contemporary aquaria, CRETAquarium near Heraklion, Crete, is to open its doors to the “Healthy Seas Fashion Project” and present the show until the end of September.
Amparo Albacete Cremades is an enthusiastic teacher of English at a Spanish primary school, CEIP Magraner School in the town of Tavernes de la Valldigna in Valencia. Her 27 pupils there, aged between 7 and 8, are the “Untameables”. Amparo and her class are on a mission to learn more about the things that make them happy. Their list is a long one, and among other things, it includes “the sea” and “sea turtles”!
We have just published a new Report that presents the full findings of our 2014-2015 survey on the illegal trade in sea turtles in the fish markets of Alexandria in Egypt. Between September 2014 and March 2015, with the help of young volunteer Sherif Abdullah, and under the supervision of Mohamed Nada, we organised a new survey to reveal the current status of the trade in Alexandria’s fish markets and to gain insights into the local community’s perceptions.
The educational outreach work MEDASSET does usually happens in Greece. So when the office in Athens got a call from a primary school in the UK, asking if someone could come and talk to their class of 6-year-olds about our work, we thought we would have to decline.
ANNOUNCEMENT – 5 July 2016: A new report by MEDASSET reveals that sea turtles are being illegally traded openly once again in the fish markets of Alexandria, Egypt, and that covert trading persists. Sea turtle captivity, trade and slaughter was recorded in 6 fish markets in 3 areas of Alexandria. Fishermen in Alexandria reported that they bring ashore 90% of by-caught sea turtles, instead of releasing them, and estimated an annual catch rate of 4.51 turtles/vessel. MEDASSET – The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles – carried out a survey in September 2014 – March 2015, through interviews and visits to fish markets and artefact shops in Alexandria. The new report reveals the route traded turtles are taking as they pass from boat to buyer. Sea turtle meat is sold to customers either by fishermen or by fishmongers. Three fishmongers are specialised in turtle trade and at least 36 trade sporadically. Fishmongers keep turtles alive from 1 to 30 days until slaughter. Placed on their backs, they suffer from exhaustion, dehydration, injuries or disease. Fishermen and fishmongers also supply a sea turtle artefact market. Interviewees reported the sale of sea turtle artefacts to tourists, which may imply infringements of […]
Between now and the 6th July the Golden Hall shopping centre is offering a unique opportunity to visit an exhibition that shows what can happen when environmentally aware fashion encounters the circular economy. The exhibition was created with the support of the Representation of the EU in Greece, and celebrates the first anniversary of MEDASSET’s role as coordinator in Greece of the successful European initiative: “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear”.
ΜEDASSET presents an exhibition of “clothing raised from the sea” at the most exclusive shopping centre in the city of Athens – Golden Hall.
The Korean leading company NK CO., Ltd., being a global leader manufacturing Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) for ships, and fire- fighting equipment, has entered in to a new environmental sponsorship agreement with MEDASSET (Mediterranean Association to save the sea turtles), as part of NK’s philosophy to preserve the environment and especially the sea. On the other hand, MEDASSET mission is to protect sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean basin.
On the 17th of May, MEDASSET celebrated the first anniversary of its successful coordination in Greece of the European Initiative, Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear.
Where can there be an overlap between ecology and the circular economy? The environmental NGO, MEDASSET, provides one possible answer: Since the beginning of 2015 the charity has been responsible for the coordination in Greece of the innovative European initiative, “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear”.
Our first dive of the year, which took place over 3 days, was carried out in early April off the island of Makronisos. The team was made up of specialist divers from the Netherlands supported by experienced Greek volunteers. Working together with passion and enthusiasm they succeeded in clearing all the nets snagged on the wreck of the “Portugal”, which lies on the seabed off the island’s west coast at a depth of 32 metres.
A worn out fishing net that has reached the end of its useful life and has been abandoned at sea by its owner can carry on ‘fishing’ endlessly as it drifts with the currents. Nets such as these are responsible for the needless deaths of hundreds of marine creatures – sea turtles among them – and that is why they are known as “ghost nets”.
On June 30th, 2015, the Marine Turtle Research Group of Exeter University in conjunction with several other partners and sponsors, launched a new green sea turtle satellite tracking project in the northern part of Cyprus. MEDASSET supported the project via online promotion of turtle adoptions and by sharing project news. Why so special? Since 1998, the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP) has tracked a total of 22 green turtles in the Mediterranean, effectively discovering important foraging areas in the region. They do this by taking a tissue sample from each tracked animal and recording the stable isotope ratios present. Iso…what? Stable isotope ratios are stored in body cells and come from the organic matter that animals ingest. Because of geographically unique properties and peculiarities of each region, each ratio is indicative of a particular foraging area. Using the information collected from previous turtle tracking projects, MTCP had successfully labelled each foraging area with its particular isotopic ratio. But then, scientists identified a new isotopic ratio that did not match any of the previously collected data in a significant number of turtles. This meant there must be a foraging area somewhere that had, purely by chance, so far gone unrecognized. Its location […]
This year and always, through taking action in ten simple ways, through showing respect and taking personal responsibility, we can keep our beaches clean and our seas brimming with life. Let’s take a look at what was achieved last Summer as a result of our “Clean Seas: Swear to Care” campaign…
The collection of 22 tonnes of waste and ghost nets marked the first year of MEDASSETs partnership with the Healthy Seas initiative which aims to clear the seas of “ghost” nets.
Following the Council of Europe’s “Recommendation No. 174 for the case file Greece: Threats to marine turtles in Thines Kyparissias”, which urged Greece to prevent habitat deterioration and ensure improved protection of Southern Kyparissia Bay, MEDASSET, in cooperation with other Environmental NGOs, lobbied the Greek state for the implementation of the Recommendation.
Eleven tonnes of waste fish farm nets, 8 tonnes of waste fishermen nets and 2 tonnes of derelict ghost nets fished from the seabed in Tolo and Kalymnos will be recycled to produce high quality yarn which will then be used for create beautiful garments. This is our contribution to the “Healthy Seas” initiative, a first for Greece as far as recovery activities of this aim and scope go! To produce the above results we partnered with 3 fishermen associations in Attica, the Sea Breeze Divers Club and Nireus Aquaculture. The “Healthy Seas” Initiative promotes marine protection and reduces ocean debris and is a prime example of how taking a circular approach to business practices and partnerships can yield new opportunities and fight a serious problem such as ghost nets. Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence to shows that marine litter, in particular derelict fishing nets (“ghost nets”), poses serious environmental, conservation, animal welfare, human health and economic costs that are of relevance to many stakeholders. It is a global problem that requires urgent action. If implemented on a large scale, the waste diversion and reverse supply chain model will encourage a global closed-loop manufacturing economy, completely changing the way companies source […]
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP21 is here. Negotiators, ministers and heads of state will gather in Paris to finalise the framework through which the world will seek to reduce carbon pollution and tackle climate change after 2020.
A few weeks ago we told you the story of five female green turtles released from Alagadi (Alakati) beach in Cyprus to be tracked via satellite by researchers* aiming to identify foraging areas in the Mediterranean so far unknown. “To know is to do” so if we know where the rare green turtles feed we can then help protect these areas.
Our project “Wiki Loves Sea Turtle Monuments" has reached a significant milestone, as it now includes photos from six of the seven continents! In addition, an interactive monuments map has been created.
On June 30th, 2015, the Marine Turtle Research Group in conjunction with Exeter University, MEDASSET, other partners and sponsors, released five green sea turtles from Alagadi beach in north Cyprus in order to track them via satellite. Before: why satellite track at all? Since 1998, the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP) has tracked a total of 22 individual turtles in the Mediterranean, effectively discovering important foraging areas for these marine species in the region. Now: what have we learned from satellite tracking? With each turtle that is tracked, the scientists take a tissue sample from the animal to analyze and also to record the stable isotope ratios present. What does chemistry have to do with satellite tracking? These stable isotope ratios present in the bodies of each animal come from the organic matter that they ingest and are then stored in the cells of their body. Each particular ratio of carbon and nitrogen isotopes is indicative of a particular foraging area; because of geographically unique properties and peculiarities of each region, these foraging areas can be identified by these isotopic indicators. From all of the previous tracking projects, they have successfully labeled each foraging area with its particular isotopic proportion. […]
When your message in a bottle washes up on a beach after days upon the rolling seas, you want it to land on the sparkling and pristine sands of Grecian paradise. You don’t want it to arrive amidst the detritus of crumpled soda cans, soiled plastic bags, gnarled plastic rings, and other refuse and ocean rejects that populate so many beaches.
MEDASSET and Healthy Seas have joined forces in the battle against marine litter. To this aim we have established partnerships with three fishermen associations in Attica who have began collecting their useless nets so they can be processed and reconstituted to make ECONYL ® yarn, a high-quality raw material that can be used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear or carpets.
Egyptian authorities recently confiscated sea turtles that were being illegally traded by fishmongers in Alexandria’s fish markets.
Egyptian authorities recently confiscated sea turtles that were illegally traded by fishmongers in Alexandria’s fish markets. Sea turtles are endangered species and their trade or consumption is prohibited by law in Egypt and throughout the Mediterranean.
Athens, May 29th, 2015: The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and the ECNC Group together with MEDASSET (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles), Aquafil and Nofir held an workshop at the European Maritime Day 2015 entitled “Innovative business models for marine litter in Europe”. The growing threat of marine litter and derelict fishing gear may have been at the core of the presentations and discussions but the emphasis was on the importance of solutions that are integrated in business models involving cross-sectoral collaboration and resulting in prevention and minimisation of marine litter in European seas. The DeFishGear project and the Healthy Seas initiative were showcased by the panellists. The DeFishGear project is carrying out fishing-for-litter activities, setting up derelict fishing gear management schemes in the Adriatic Sea and collecting in the process large amounts of litter and derelict fishing gear. Healthy Seas provides a good example for circular economy. Discarded fishing nets are used to produce top-quality nylon yarn for textile products. On the occasion of the EU Maritime Day and the workshop, MEDASSET and Healthy Seas launched their collaboration in Greece. MIO-ECSDE also presented some first results of a UNEP/MAP supported Mediterranean-wide survey […]
Athens, 15 May 2015: Swear to care for the Greek Seas, whether you are visiting now or you dream to one day A new environmental action campaign has just been launched, aimed at everyone that will be going to a beach in Greece, encouraging each of us individually to monitor our own behaviour – through the simple power of making a promise! Voluntary beach clean-ups, such as those that have frequently been organised over the past years throughout Greece, served to highlight the problem of litter at sea. But although as individuals we may be aware of the issue, many of us don’t take part in such organised voluntary actions. MEDASSET’s new campaign Clean Seas: Swear to Care aims at mobilising people so that less rubbish finds its way into the sea, while at the same time shining a spotlight on some basic values – like showing respect for others and taking responsibility for our own actions – that seem to have fallen off our everyday agenda. The promises people make will be recorded on a dedicated webpage (www.katharesthalasses.gr). The campaign team will help the public keep their promise through use of its network, activities and wide reaching promotion campaign. Using […]
27 April 2015: Lily Venizelos, President and Founder of MEDASSET was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her accomplishments in the field of sea turtle conservation. The award was made by the International Sea Turtle Society during the 35th annual International Sea Turtle Symposium in Dalaman, Turkey, which took place between 18 and 25 April, 2015. The award comes as a tribute to 32 years of work on behalf of the Mediterranean’s sea turtles. It represents the highest honour the marine turtle conservation community can bestow and is awarded by a committee composed of professionals in the fields of biology and species preservation who are internationally active in the effort to save these vulnerable animals. Venizelos stated: “I feel particularly honoured to be recognised. With MEDASSET, we have fought significant battles for the survival of these endangered flagship species for many years, throughout the Mediterranean. Furthermore we have been doing so in the face of human actions and greed that seem to take no account of the right of other forms of life to exist.” She added “This award simply reinforces our sense of responsibility and makes us determined to continue our work to protect marine ecosystems and […]
Each year, about 1,000 people that care about sea turtles gather somewhere in the world to exchange views, share latest techniques and research findings, form alliances, and renew old friendships. MEDASSET can’t always be represented, as travel expenses can be prohibitive, but in 2015 the ISTS, the International Sea Turtle Society’s annual Symposium, came to Dalaman, Turkey, and that meant MEDASSET was able to send a team and get involved on many levels.
In the Mediterranean, sea turtles suffered a major decline caused by intensive exploitation in the past (until the 1970s) either for consumption or for trade. In some parts of the Mediterranean, turtles are still, illegally, taken ashore destined for the cooking pot or a tourist attraction.
Monitoring the conservation situation in Zakynthos for yet another year, we found that the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (ZNMP) remains at the stage of struggling to address the same challenges and problems as in previous years. Inadequate control and supervision of the Park’s marine area results in private and business boats becoming a constant nuisance to sea turtles, and also in the illegal entry and anchoring of fishing boats in Maritime Zones A and B, especially during the hours of darkness. Available space for nesting has been significantly reduced in the past few years, while noise and lights from nightclubs and hotels disturb nesting. ZNMP visitors are inadequately informed about the safety measures due to inefficient and sparse signage at key locations. On several occasions nesting disturbance was observed at night. Obviously, in the currently dreadful economic situation, the uncertainty surrounding the funding of the managing body of the NMPZ undermines the conservation of the most important loggerhead nesting site in the Mediterranean. The oversaturated and illegal landfill Greece’s failure to take the right steps towards sealing the oversaturated and poorly functioning landfill site within the ZNMP, resulted, unsurprisingly, in condemnation from the European Court of Justice. […]
MEDASSET volunteers are a cheerful group of highly motivated individuals of all ages who share our vision and who wish to make a difference for sea turtles in the Mediterranean. In July 2014 we participated with our volunteers in the UpFestival; a famous summer open air music event in Koufonisi island, that brings together bands and young people from all over Greece. This tiny island, part of the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea, is an EU NATURA 2000 protected site of great ecological importance and an up-and-coming tourism destination. Hellenic Seaways was our transportation sponsor. In partnership with the organising team, our volunteers discovered an original way to help reduce the impact of the festival (mainly from waste) to the environment: As the arena was located just a few meters from the sea and as strong winds were blowing, they designed and wore cool “sea turtle shells” that acted as litter bins raising awareness at the same time. The volunteers mingled with the crowd throughout the concert enjoying the music, while the shells on their backs were being filled-up with empty bottles! Some participants to the festival even asked if they could wear the ‘shells’ themselves! Litter was kept […]
The Libyan Seaturtle Program LibSTP (an initiative coordinated through the Environment General Authority (EGA) of Libya since 2005), recently established an activity aiming to educate school children and teachers about the endangered species of the Mediterranean Sea.
Around 34 years ago, a handful of young scientists whose love of marine turtles was equalled only by their specialist knowledge of them, organised the first American workshop in Waverly, Georgia, dedicated to “the protection and study of sea turtles”: About 70 people took part. The initiative proved such a success that it became established, and since then has been organised on an annual basis, hosted by a different country and on a different continent each time – but always one that enjoys a relationship with marine turtles. Gradually the number of delegates annually has reached 1,000 and attendance figures seem still to be rising! In 2002 the workshop morphed into an Association and was renamed the International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS). Its aim is to present and share the most recent research findings, studies, protection initiatives, environmental education programmes, and new techniques carried out or devised by scientific researchers, NGOs, students, educators and others. Each Symposium now features two auctions that are organised by teams of many volunteers. All the items offered for sale are donated by the delegates themselves and almost all include a turtle – often portrayed in a humorous way. The proceeds, which can amount to […]
Monitoring the conservation status of important sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean is one of MEDASSET’s key activities since 1988. We present our findings and recommendations to national and international authorities, such as the Bern Convention, to bring international attention to local conservation problems and encourage governments to take action.
2014 marked the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 50th anniversary! The Red list is an invaluable conservation resource, a health check for our planet – a Barometer of Life. All 7 species of sea turtles have been assessed and added to the Red List.
Written by Marlene Jahnke, PhD student working on seagrass population genetics at the Stazione Zoologica “Anton Dohrn”, Napoli, Italy. Seagrass meadows are one of the most important and valuable marine biomes, comparable to coral reefs and mangroves when considering biodiversity, economics and ecosystem services. Their role is so important because seagrasses are habitat-providing species as well as ecosystem engineers, meaning that they can modify their environment to the benefit of other species. For example, they are an important food source for charismatic and endangered species such as sea turtles, dugongs and manatees, and provide nursery grounds and shelter for commercially important species. In addition, they are responsible for exporting important amounts of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus to coastal food webs. Other ecosystem services that seagrasses provide include influencing nutrient cycling and the food web structure, reducing wave impact, stabilizing sediments and adding oxygen to the water. In addition to them being our planet’s “blue lungs”, seagrasses are also a very important sink for carbon. One third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are absorbed by oceans, also known as “blue carbon”, and much of this is due to seagrass meadows, mangroves and tidal salt marshes. Posidonia oceanica: Mediterranean’s underwater forest Snorkelling in […]
The Standing Committee of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats adopted a Recommendation at its annual meeting last week, urging Greece to prevent habitat deterioration and ensure improved protection of Southern Kyparissia Bay. Indicative of the strong European reaction is the call for a permanent construction ban in the area.
With so many options available for your gifts this year, it may be difficult to decide what to get for your loved ones.
Seventy-two people played the new tug of war game we are calling “Human vs. Turtle“ at the Plissken music festival held in Athens in June 2014. The digital experience was designed by the Mixed Reality Lab of the University of Nottingham with some help from MEDASSET.
29 July 2014: MEDASSET applauds the entry into force of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean, on 8 July 2014, within the framework of the Barcelona Convention. Marine litter is polluting the Mediterranean’s ecosystems and is a direct threat to the survival of protected species, such as sea turtles which are especially vulnerable to injury or death due to entanglement or consumption of litter. We encourage and support Mediterranean countries that are now bound by this Plan, to take swift action to implement policies and activities that will ensure litter-free seas and coasts. The announcement issued on 23 July 2014 by the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan is available here. For further information: Ms. Konstantina Kostoula, MEDASSET. (+ 30)-210-3613572, konstantinakostoula[@]medasset[.]org Editor’s notes: 1. Since its founding in 1988, MEDASSET is a Partner to the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) of UNEP. Information on MEDASSET’s recent marine litter monitoring and educational activities: Poster: Marine litter and sea turtles: Results of MEDASSET’s activities Campaign: Join in & Clean up Campaign: Small Garbage Campaign: You See the Difference – A Turtle Does Not 2. The Barcelona Convention is the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the […]
The recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) to condemn Greece for the operation of a landfill within the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, did not come as a surprise. Rather, it was the sad result of unprecedented negligence for one of the most important ecological sites and tourist destinations in Greece.
In the Mediterranean, especially over the past six years, countries hit by the economic crisis look at coastal tourism and real estate development to help them recover economically. Together with Spain, Turkey and Cyprus, Greece is reshaping policies to attract investments and increase commercial activity.
The value of Australia’s newly established network of marine parks has been highlighted by an international project that used satellite transmitters to track the vulnerable flatback sea turtle, which only inhabits the waters of Australia and New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. The project may also serve as a template for marine conservation elsewhere in the world.
16 June 2014: MEDASSET announced today, on World Sea Turtle Day, the winners of the first International Sea Turtle Beauty Contest. Contestants included representatives from the seven species of sea turtles living in our oceans today: Olive Ridley (“Miss India”), Loggerhead (“Miss Greece”), Kemp’s Ridley (“Miss Mexico”), Hawksbill (“Miss Brazil”), Green (“Miss USA”), Leatherback (“Miss Gabon”), and Flatback (“Miss Australia”). Each turtle entry features a headshot, an image for the swimsuit competition, a funny motto (“Big, black and proud!”), a brief but informative bio, and the turtle’s witty response to a personal question. Starting on May 23rd, sea turtle lovers across the globe could support their favorites in pursuit of seven separate titles: “Miss Travel,” “Miss Exotic,” “Miss Cutie Pie,” “Miss Sexy,” “Miss Mysterious,” “Miss Gourmet,” and “Miss Ocean” (the overall winner). The wide variety of prizes served to highlight the unique beauty and magnificence of each species of sea turtle. By the time voting closed on Monday, June 16th, nearly 200 turtle fans had voted. Miss Greece (the Loggerhead) went home with the overall title of Miss Ocean, while the competitive Cutie Pie category went to Miss Mexico (the Kemp’s Ridley), fittingly the smallest member of the sea turtle […]
Stakeholders met in Cairo to discuss sea turtle mortality and conservation problems in Bardawil lagoon. The Mediterranean semi-enclosed coastal water body in North Sinai is listed among the Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance.
Monitoring the status of important sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean, against unsustainable development to bring about improved management is an important goal for MEDASSET. CYPRUS Akamas & Limni: These important green and loggerhead turtle nesting beaches are only protected on paper, as conservation measures are still not in force despite the fact that the beaches belong to the European Union’s (EU) Natura 2000 network of protected sites. In addition, the habitat in Limni is under threat because the land behind the nesting beach is not part of the protected zone. Following complaints, the European Commission stepped in and there is an ongoing process regarding the inadequate designation of the site boundaries for both Akamas and Limni. 2013 saw further degradation of the sites. In Limni, NGO Terra Cypria reported sand ploughing during the nesting season. This is the same site where the largest golf resort in the Mediterranean will be constructed. Disregarding objections from NGOs and scientists, authorities recently cancelled the 500 m buffer zone between the resort and the beach, and decided on a 20 m zone instead, with no justification. MEDASSET is working with Terra Cypria to convince the Cypriot government to revoke this decision and […]
Europe ringed in the New Year with a brand new fisheries policy. After four decades, the European Union’s (EU) common fisheries policy has been reformed to place the marine environment and sustainable livelihoods in the forefront. This is especially important for the Mediterranean Sea, where 88% of studied fish stocks are overfished, and destructive fishing threatens the survival of marine species such as sea turtles but also of fishing-reliant local communities. Since 2012 we are working side by side with the pan-European Ocean2012 group of organisations that monitor the reform of the fisheries policy and of the €1.6 billion fund that will subsidise fisheries till 2020, with EU taxpayers money. Throughout 2013, we directly lobbied Greek Ministers and Members of the European Parliament, requesting that they vote against policies that fuel overfishing and support a fund that will invest in better instead of more fishing. The reform process has now concluded. In summary, the Ocean2012 coalition campaign: – secured a legally binding target to end EU overfishing by 2020 – defeated proposals for compulsory transferable fishing concessions (fishing quotas) – ensured the inclusion of mitigation measures such as creation of marine protected areas, gradual elimination of wasteful discarding practices and […]
In October 2012 Egyptian NGO Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE) alerted us about news of “mass deaths of sea turtles” in Bardawil, a semi-enclosed coastal lagoon in North Sinai, Egypt.
For 25 years, MEDASSET has been working closely with educators and students to convey the message that cooperation and active participation are needed if we are to achieve our aim of conserving sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean for the future. In 2013 we engaged over 6,400 pupils from 116 schools in this endeavour! Getting young people interested in sea turtles Our mascot, Niretta, proved to be an extremely useful tool in successfully conveying the message about the need to save our ancient mariners from extinction. In 2013, with the valuable contribution of a highly energetic team of volunteers, our award winning “Niretta the Caretta” programme visited 27 schools in Athens, met with 800 pupils and spoke to them about sea turtle conservation. MAD TV, a very popular station among young people, welcomed Niretta to their studios, providing us with an opportunity to promote our campaigns concerning sea turtles and their plight in a fun way. Getting students to turn their knowledge into practice In October 2013, throughout the “Join in & Clean up” campaign, 2,541 pupils and educators helped clean up 12 beaches throughout Greece, actively showing their concern for the marine environment. Acting as young citizen- […]
We are pleased to announce the release of a new paper: Population Structure for Sea Turtles at Drini Bay: An Important Nearshore Foraging and Developmental Habitat in Albania, by M. White, L. Boura and L. Venizelos.
20 December 2013: Bardawil lagoon in North Sinai, Egypt, is a unique Mediterranean semi-enclosed coastal water body that is listed among the Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. Its eastern section – the Zaranik Protected Area – was afforded national protection in 1985 and is renowned worldwide as a key habitat for migratory birds. In response to news in October 2012 of “mass deaths of sea turtles” in Bardawil lagoon, a two-day survey was carried out in November 2012 by researchers of NGOs MEDASSET and Nature Conservation Egypt in collaboration with Dr. M. El-Alwany of the Suez Canal University. Staff of the local fisheries authority (General Authority for Fish Resources Development) and of the Zaranik Protected Area, who first documented the sea turtle carcasses, also participated in the survey. A joint report entitled “Egypt’s Bardawil Lake: safe haven or deadly trap for sea turtles in the Mediterranean?” (December 2013), presents the survey findings and recommended conservation action. The peer-reviewed report can be downloaded at www.medasset.org. The survey and subsequent data analysis was enabled thanks to funding from the British Chelonia Group. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS Among the 80–100 sea turtles found dead on the shores of Bardawil lagoon, researchers identified all three […]
December 11, 2013: Bern Convention, Council of Europe: 3-6 December 2013 For the 25th year in succession, MEDASSET attended the Standing Committee Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the Bern Convention, in Strasbourg, France. The following sea turtle conservation problems in the Mediterranean were discussed: Kyparissia Bay (Peloponnese, Greece): In summer 2013 there were more than 1,300 loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nests in Southern Kyparissia Bay. Zakynthos, which is considered the Mediterranean’s most important nesting beach, had 1,000 (ARCHELON data). Although the area has been a European Union (EU) Natura 2000 site since 2002 the Greek government has failed in its obligations to introduce and enforce the necessary conservation and management measures. In 2012 the EC issued a Reasoned Opinion to Greece for its failure fully to protect the sea turtles. Since 2010, when MEDASSET first submitted a complaint about the degradation of the area, the issue has been raised on an annual basis. In 2013 the Convention opened a follow up Case File. MEDASSET presented a slideshow on actual and proposed developments during the 2013 nesting season. These included: housing construction; ploughing of sand dunes; illegal roads to […]
We are just back from Strasbourg, France, where we participated in the Bern Convention’s annual meeting at the Council of Europe (3-6 December 2013).
The month of October was dedicated to the removal of debris found on beaches in Greece. This year 2,541 fantastic volunteers, most of whom students and educators, took part in the “Join in and Clean Up” campaign, helping us record and remove 3.5 tons of debris from 17.6 klm of beach. Thanks to their enthusiasm nearly 231,000 items were collected including 1,038 plastic single use cups, 1,291 plastic bags, 1,659 plastic straws, 2,585 plastic bottles, 6,053 pieces of plastic debris (smaller than 5cm) and 26,655 cigarette butts! Irene Katsifou, the Campaign coordinator had this to say: “We travelled to many places, we made new friends and of course… we cleaned up! After twelve cleanup activities we feel proud and we would like to express our sincere thanks to all of you who have devoted your time and passion to help keep our shores litter free. We are committed to continue supporting everyone who wants to be part of the solution.” Since 2011, the “Join In and Clean Up” campaign is carried out by MEDASSET and the environmental programme “Mission Water” of the Coca-Cola System in Greece (Coca-Cola Tria Epsilon and Coca-Cola Hellas) under the Auspices of UNEP/MAP. “We are especially […]
In May 2012, MEDASSET joined forces with OCEAN2012, a coalition of over 170 European NGOs, whose mission is to ensure that the reform of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) stops overfishing, ends destructive fishing practices, and delivers fair and equitable use of fish stocks for local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods. While the CFP reform does not explicitly refer to affected non-fish species, like sea turtles, its provisions to reduce discards and bycatch will have indirect benefits for sea turtles. Bycatch kills an estimated 44,000 turtles every year in the Mediterranean; European fisheries policy therefore can play a critical role in sea turtle welfare in the Mediterranean. Discover what’s at stake by watching this short video . European Fish Weeks – End overfishing or fishing will be over! On June 8, World Oceans Day, MEDASSET met in Brussels with OCEAN2012 members for the official launch of the European Fish Weeks, forming a human fish shape in front of the European Parliament. This fish shape was a symbolic gesture, as a way for citizens across Europe to call on their representatives to take bold decisions that will put an end to overfishing. MEDASSET was an active […]
The Athens International Airport and MEDASSET welcome travellers and airport visitors to the Poster Exhibition “Inspired by the Marine Environment,” celebrating 25 years of MEDASSET’s environmental and conservation work.
1 December 2012: For the 24th consecutive year, MEDASSET attended the Standing Committee Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the “Bern Convention”) at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France on 27 – 30 November 2012. We presented a slideshow that illustrated the current situation on the nesting beaches of Fethiye’s Specially Protected Area (Turkey). Several of the conservation measures implemented in 2011 were not sustained in 2012, despite commitments made by the Turkish authorities in 2010. In addition, the construction of a new beachfront hotel destroyed the last remaining section of a wetland. Following our presentation, the delegate of Turkey accepted that the images made him “uncomfortable” and said that the authorities would monitor the situation more closely. The Convention’s Secretariat stated that it would be in contact with the Turkish government to monitor this case. Fethiye is one of the 12 most important loggerhead nesting beaches in Turkey. Threats to the nesting population have continuously been increasing, resulting in serious nesting decline. Learn more about this campaign here. We also updated the Standing Committee on the ongoing problems at Kyparissia Bay (Greece) by presenting a slideshow. […]
27 November 2012: The adoption of the Action Plan for the Conservation of Sea Turtles and their Habitats in Albania was announced during the 32nd Meeting of the Standing Committee to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) at the Council of Europe. The Action Plan was adopted through a Ministerial Order (No. 596, 22.11.2012) of the minister of Environment, Forests & Water Administration, Mr. Fatmir Mediu. “The Action Plan serves as a road map for the development of sea turtle research and protection throughout Albania. Its adoption directly contributes to the implementation of international conventions to which Albania is party and that include provision for the protection of sea turtles and their habitats,” said Mrs. Elvana Ramaj, senior expert of the Biodiversity Directorate at the General Directorate of Environmental Policies, Ministry of the Environment, Forests & Water Administration (MoEFWA). “Over 10 years ago, professor Idriz Haxhiu of Tirana University alerted MEDASSET to the presence of sea turtles in Northern Albania. Our long-term research showed that both the endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas) migrate through Albanian waters, and that Drini Bay is an important feeding, overwintering and developmental habitat for the […]
5 October 2012: The European Commission (EC) has sent a Reasoned Opinion to Greece for failure to fully protect the endangered sea turtle Caretta caretta in the Mediterranean, in accordance with the European Union’s (EU) Habitats Directive. Joint lobbying by environmental organizations, including MEDASSET, and informed citizens resulted in suspension of the construction of 50 luxury residences along the nesting beaches of Southern Kyparissia Bay. In April 2012, the Secretariat of the Bern Convention announced that due to the ecological importance of the region and to MEDASSET’s complaints, an on-the-spot appraisal should be performed by the Council of Europe. Still pending, however, is the Ministry of Environment’s response to the Bern Convention’s request to arrange for the on-the spot appraisal, which will likely take place in October 2012. In September 2012, the EC asked Greece to improve the protection of sea turtles in Kyparissia Bay. In October 2011, the Commission opened infringement proceedings, but Greece continues to tolerate a significant number of projects and activities that have not undergone the appropriate assessments that correspond to an EU NATURA 2000 Protected Area. Greece has failed to adopt the necessary measures to establish and implement an effective system of strict protection for […]
12 June 2012: The Psyhico local community in Athens joined MEDASSET in sending a message to Brussels in relation to the forthcoming EU fisheries reform in 2012, which constitutes a unique opportunity for transformative change towards sustainable European fisheries.
8 April 2011: Fethiye-Göcek Specially Protected Area (SPA – listed under the Barcelona Convention since 1988) includes one of the 12 most significant Caretta caretta  nesting beaches in Turkey. Pressures due to unplanned construction and developments to accommodate tourism activities on the nesting beaches at Fethiye have continuously been increasing since 1988, resulting in a scientifically documented dramatic drop in nesting. An additional development is currently being considered by Turkish Authorities: the relocation of the shipyard/drydock currently situated within Fethiye town, to the very middle of Fethiye’s Akgöl nesting beach (a.k.a Karaot District) seems to be imminent. During 2007 – 2009, two-thirds of all nests in Akgöl were laid next to the planned project area, i.e. on the sandy sections of the beach. In 2010, almost half of all nests in Fethiye were laid in Akgöl. The shipyard/drydock project would permanently and irrevocably destroy the key nesting sites of Akgöl beach and affect the already declining nest numbers in Fethiye SPA. This project will lead to increased human presence on the beach, construction of new roads accessing the beach, new buildings, major lighting installations, mooring installations, noise, oil, solvent and paint pollution. The planned construction of a huge jetty […]
The beaches of Kyparissia Bay are emerging as the most significant nesting area for loggerhead turtles in Greece for the fourth year in succession. By the end of May, the number of Caretta caretta nests had exceeded 2,500 breaking every previous record. However, the good news has been somewhat overshadowed by reports of vandalised nests; a practice that regrettably has reached new levels this year. The area around Kalo Nero beach has been hardest hit by the vandals, who have been removing signage, protective mesh, and the reeds that are often placed around and over nests to discourage the predation of eggs by foxes and other animals. This new threat has been included in the report sent by MEDASSET to the Secretariat of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe in August. The report also described the existing challenges that have already worked substantially to reduce the available nesting areas, such as: the construction of illegal buildings and roads; street lighting that acts both to disturb adult turtles and to disorientate hatchlings; the ever increasing numbers of beach umbrellas and sunbeds, and more besides. MEDASSET’s report condemns the lack of effective measures in place for the protection of sea […]
#SwearToCare #SwearToCare All 25 of the students from the Kellog School of Management in the US have declared themselves helplessly addicted to summertime in Greece following their trips to Mykonos, Santorini and Schinias this August. The young people were simply bowled over by the dramatic landscapes, the magical sandy beaches, the Aegean’s myriad shades of blue, and, of course, the vibrant night life! So, having taken part in a beach clean-up and made donations to our work, they each went on to make a pledge to our “Clean Seas: Swear to Care” campaign. The clean-up was carried out in cooperation with the Schinias-Marathon National Park, one of whose representatives gave a talk on the value of the area as a habitat for wildlife to the team of volunteer ‘cleaners’.