- Posted by Efi Starfa
The 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 year the survey focused on the beaches which were identified from our 2018 survey with high and medium nesting suitability.
In spring, our collaborator Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku with the help of Albanian officials of RAPA staff and fishers placed three aqua loggers to collect sea temperature data; one was placed in the South at Bunec beach, one midway along the Albanian coastline at Divjaka beach and one in the North at Rana e Hedhun beach. These provide complementary data to the suitability of the beaches, as to if the Albanian waters reach a warm enough temperature for long enough period of time for female turtle eggs to internally mature to enable her to nest.
During June the research team (local students and RAPA staff) led by Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku started the survey to co-inside with the beginning of the nesting season in the central Mediterranean, with an increased focus on monitoring nesting activity as well as recollecting data on beach parameters. The focus was to evaluate their suitability for supporting sea turtle nesting by combing two different methodologies: beach transects and drone images. During this period, 14 temperature loggers were placed in seven different beaches to measure the sand temperature, to gain a greater understanding of Albania’s beaches suitability for incubation of any potential nests.
In August and September, the monitoring effort continued with concentration on high priority beaches, to identify any nests, this time by tracks left by hatchlings. Approximately 35km of coastline was monitored during 2019 and no nests were recorded this year. The completion of the research study took place in October with the successful removal of all sand loggers and the two aqua loggers.
In addition, our survey team collected sand samples from the high suitability beach at Divjaka National Park, where the first official nest in Albania was recorded last year. The sample will be sent to England to support an Exeter University global study on the effects of microplastics on sea turtles nesting sites.
All survey data will be analysed and presented to the Albanian authorities and stakeholders in a dedicated meeting and further monitoring and conservation strategies will be discussed.
See here: Albanian Press Release
Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku, lead researcher, Tel.: +: 00355 68 41 03 150
Eleana Touloupaki, Project Officer, MEDASSET, Tel.: +30 210 3613572, [email protected]
Notes to Editors:
 Three of the seven species of sea turtles are found in the Mediterranean. The loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nest here, and the huge leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is an occasional visitor. All species are included in the IUCN Red list of threatened species. Sea turtles are cold-blooded, air breathing, egg laying reptiles that spend their mysterious lives at sea but return each summer to the same area they were born to deposit their eggs in the sand. They take 20-30 years to mature and may live up to 100 years. Despite having travelled the world’s seas since the age of the Dinosaurs, their survival is threatened due to coastal development, pollution, collision with vessels, fisheries and climate change.
 MEDASSET has implemented the “Rapid Assessment Survey of important marine turtle and monk seal habitats in the coastal area of Albania” in 2005 and the project “Monitoring and Conservation of Important Sea Turtle Feeding Grounds in the Patok Area of Albania” during 2008-2010. Subsequently, in 2011, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, MEDASSET prepared “Management Recommendations for Drini Bay” and the “Action Plan for the Conservation of Sea Turtles and their Habitats in Albania” which was adopted by the Minister of Environment in 2012.
 The project “Exploration of potential nesting sites & design of conservation measures for sporadic nesting in Albania “(2018-2019) is implemented by MEDASSET in collaboration with Dr. Enerit Sacdanaku. The project is funded by the MAVA Foundation within the framework of the regional project “Conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean Region” which is being implemented by ARCHELON, DEKAMER, MEDASSET, MedPAN, NMPZ, RAC/SPA (leader), WWF Greece, WWF Turkey.