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Earth Sea & Sky Ltd

Earth, Sea & Sky Newsletter 2011

PO Box 1063, Saxilby Lincoln, LN1 2TN 0871 7115 065 +30 26950 36029 m: +30 69799 34746

Dear Friends and Supporters As many of you may have noticed, we started the season off with a new face and ‘mascot’ for our Rescue Centre cause, courtesy of Sea Life centres. Paul the Oracle Octopus, of World Cup predicting fame, was chosen to represent our Sea Turtle Rescue project, with Paul ’vowing’ to save his turtle friends by helping us raise 100,000€ to continue works on the Centre. Posters and boards were displayed around turtle displays in all participating Sea Life centres, across UK and Europe, as part of the campaign. Sadly, Paul passed away on the 26th Oct, to the chagrin of his keepers at Oberhausen Sea Life, as well as his many fans from all over the world, who were inspired and delighted by his psychic talents! Collaborative efforts to complete the Centre are planned for early 2011, with a group of skilled volunteers coming out to assist with building works. This is the final year we will focus on completing the Centre, and as many of you are aware, building this Rescue Centre has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Finally, the light is at the end of the tunnel! At this crucial stage, your continued support is vital. Please be generous, dig deep, and help us get this important facility open and ready for the upcoming sea turtle breeding and nesting season. Yannis Vardakastanis Director. NMPZ State of Affairs 2010 The NMPZ suffered from severe funding cuts during the 2010 season, with only 18 staff in their employ to warden beaches, compared to 70-80 for previous years. Most evenings throughout the summer a lack of Marine Park presence was evident, with no wardens stationed at beach entrances to safeguard nesting areas. On several occasions tourists and vehicles were witnessed trespassing onto the nesting beaches at night time, potentially causing serious disturbance to females attempting to nest and to emerging hatchlings. Sekania remains a feeding haven for sea gulls preying on hatchlings, as the badly managed land fill site X.Y.T.A operates without a license above the beach and within the NMPZ. Harassment of sea turtles by Turtle Spotting boats and privately rented vessels continued unabated throughout the summer, with operators promising ‘No Turtle, Money Back’.

2010 Volunteer Project Each summer, in order to promote public awareness of the need for everyone to accept their individual responsibility for the protection of sea turtles and their habitats, we enlist a number of volunteers to operate our information Centre and participate in conservation projects. This last season was our most successful yet, with the highest number of volunteers joining our project so far. With our volunteers we maintained an active role in the protection of the turtles and their habitats through research, visitor education, media and public awareness campaigns. Assessments of the pressures threatening nesting beaches within the NMPZ is central to establishing knowledge and promoting change, and we will continue to carry out this work for years to come. We are committed to promoting the future success of conservation in the NMPZ and Greece as a whole, and we could not have done it without the support and enthusiasm of our dedicated volunteers! We thank every one of you and look forward to seeing some of you return in the near future! Highlights of the Project We joined the PADI Aware International Marine Cleanup project, and throughout the season we conducted weekly beach cleans of Gerakas and other nesting beaches, collecting an estimated 500kg (1100lb) of debris and waste. Our collection consisted mainly of plastic bottles and carry bags; cigarette butts and around 500 glow in the dark fishing lures. This event is the largest of its kind, where organisations and volunteers in more than 100 countries tackle marine debris issues head on. Every piece of litter collected is reported and compiled into national and international reports helping to influence change. As part of our environmental education campaign, a group of 50 students and teachers from St Catherine's Embassy School in Athens joined us for sea turtle information sessions, which included a nest excavation on Ionio beach, and a day cleaning up rubbish from the coast. Media coverage of our project and the NMPZ state of affairs peaked mid-season, with u... the BBC, ARD German News and Canadian World of Wonders coming out to interview or anyone you know Do Yo and film Yannis and our volunteers for their programmes. It was an exhausting, but fun want to become a volunteer? experience, and we thank you all for your fantastic support in letters, emails and phone Now is the time to apply by calls. It is very motivating to see our important message reaching so many interested visiting the ESS website: people. The next series of WOW will begin broadcasting in January 2011, and you can catch the BBC and ARD news reports on our You Tube channel - web links overleaf.

2010 Sea Turtle Nesting Data The total number of nests in Laganas Bay for 2010 was 1,053, and it was a relief to all involved to note that this number was up compared to 2008 and 2009. Most notably the nest numbers at Gerakas beach doubled in 2010 from the year before, and represents the highest number of nests on Gerakas beach ever recorded. Initially this news is extremely pleasing, but unfortunately it does draw attention to the general nesting and conservation success of the NMPZ beaches. Due to naturally occurring and intense fluctuations of annual nest output, many years even decades - of monitoring nest numbers is essential to confidently predict overall nesting trends. The graph below shows the total nest numbers for each year since 1984, with what are considered the natural ‘peaks and troughs’. Yet it is clear that the peaks are getting conspicuously lower, and further apart, as the years have gone by. While it is still considered by many organisations that further years of study, and consequently more data, is required to predict an accurate outcome, we feel that this complacency and ‘glossing over’ the situation is counter productive, and only encourages and facilitates continued inaction. You can lend your support, and make your voice heard, by sending letters and emails calling for more transparency and effective action be taken on this issue. Included with this newsletter is a formal letter for action addressed to principal stakeholders. Please sign and return to us with £5 cheque to: Earth Sea & Sky Ltd, PO Box 1063, Saxilby, Lincoln, LN1 2TN (£5 covers printing and postal costs). OR send an email to to receive an e-letter and corresponding email addresses

Dead and Injured Turtles For the 2010 season, there was another increase in the occurrence of turtle strandings in and around the area of the NMPZ, with the number of dead turtles being the highest ever recorded in one season, creating much concern about the need for stricter regulation and monitoring of sea activities. A total of 38 turtles were reported stranded of which: 1 injured female tangled in fishing line, discovered in the early morning by an Ionian Eco Villagers customer on Gerakas beach; the remaining 37 were found dead, in the Bay or washed up on beaches. Exact cause of death is often difficult to determine due to varying degrees of decomposition, however most of the deaths were brought about by human activities and interaction, the majority being incidental catch in fishing gear, followed by boat strikes and pollution.

You Can Help Use biodegradable or reusable bags instead of plastic, and try to reduce rubbish. Stay below the 6kn speed limit when piloting boats within the National Marine Park. Share your experiences and turtle-friendly knowledge with others!

Gift Shop We will be opening a new online shop, with T-Shirts, jewellery, cards, children's gifts and more, to help continue raising money for our projects and the Rescue Centre. 100% of profits from sales are used to fund our work. Earth, Sea & Sky members will receive a 10% discount on purchases, and be eligible to enter special sales and promotions. The shop will be available on our website to browse from early 2011. If you would like to order a catalogue please contact Nicolette at: - or by phone on: 0871 7115 065 to leave a message. We hope you enjoy our latest issue and would love to hear your feedback:

Presentations The annual European Union Aquarium Curators (EUAC) conference was held in Crete this year, with our Sea Life partner Markus Dernjatin attending to present a talk - Together towards a brighter future for the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) of Zakynthos. M. Dernjatin & N. Skobier - on the ESS project and our Rescue Centre plans. We were also invited to attend the British Chelonia Group annual symposium at Chester Zoo. We did a call out for a willing and interested volunteer to present the talk on our behalf, with Emma Jackson (Volunteer 2010) putting her hand up to take part. Both audiences responded well to the presentations, showing a great deal of interest and concern for the Zakynthos sea turtle population. We thank Markus for his hard work, dedication, and continued support; and Emma for her cooperation and enthusiasm. The efforts of both were indispensable in increasing awareness about our work, message and goals.

A Moment.. To say a very big THANK YOU to Sea Life centres, their Managers and Staff, with special mention to: Mark Oakley, Markus Dernjatin and Max Leviston. And to all our dedicated supporters, members, volunteers and sponsors - we could not continue our invaluable work without you!

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Earth ,Sea & Sky Newsletter 2011  

News and updates on our conservation project with the Caretta caretta sea turtles of Zakynthos, Greece.

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