DEVELOPING MEDITERRANEAN-SPECIFIC PROTOCOLS TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY FROM LITTER IMPACT AT BASIN & LOCAL MPA SCALES
The millions of tons of waste that find their way into the sea each year constitute a significant threat not only to the marine environment but also to the economic viability of local communities. In the particular case of sea turtles, there is an increasing body of evidence that points to their ingestion of drifting waste, specifically plastics. In order to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the mitigation actions taken by the Mediterranean states of the EU, four of them, (Greece, Italy, France and Spain), will implement the project MEDSEALITTER, that aims to produce a joint protocol for the monitoring of marine pollution together with improvements in the management and interconnectedness of protected areas.
The programme includes the monitoring and recording of floating debris, which will be carried out using boats, light aircraft and drones. It will also examine, under laboratory conditions, the concentration of pollutants that may be present in indicator species – such as sea turtles, fish and marine annelids.
MEDASSET will be contributing to the review of existing methods of monitoring marine pollution, participating in the collection of dead turtles found in Greece and the sending of tissue samples for analysis by the specialized laboratories of the Greek Centre for Marine Research. In addition, MEDASSET will also be responsible for the communication of the programme within Greece and for the awareness-raising and educational events of all the partner organizations, with particular emphasis on protected areas.