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 species in the Mediterranean,” said Lily Venizelos, MEDASSET’s president, referring to the organisation’s research projects in Albania. “Based on the scientific results and within MEDASSET’s mission to promote sea turtle conservation throughout the Mediterranean, we submitted the Action Plan in order to assist Albania in its efforts to protect the species. We wish to thank the Ministry for the excellent collaboration that led to this important milestone in sea turtle conservation in the Mediterranean. Of course, much work lies ahead in order to achieve the implementation of the Action Plan,” she added.
The Action Plan for the Conservation of Sea Turtles and their Habitats in Albania is a result of extensive consultation with Albanian experts and scientists, which was carried out during 2011 by MEDASSET and the MoEFWA, with the support of the MAVA Foundation and under the auspices of the Barcelona Convention and the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas of UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan.