Marine Turtle Conservation in the Mediterranean Sea turtle nesting beach degradation in Çirali and Fethiye, Turkey th
The 28 Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) September 5th 2008 MEDASSET The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles
Bern Secretariat, Honourable Delegates, Two serious matters have come to our attention concerning the endangered Caretta caretta nesting beaches of Çirali and Fethiye in Turkey. Our information shows that there is continued habitat loss on the Turkish coastline, undermining the sustainability of the loggerhead sea turtle population. Half the coastline along the Çirali (Olimpos) Village at the town of Kumluca, Antalya has been lost as sea turtle nesting due to excessive construction, tourism activities, lights and sound. This leaves only 1.5km out of 3km of the nesting beach viable for sea turtle nesting. The coastline of Yaniklar, Akgöl and Çalis has been studied by Associate Prof. Dr. Çetin Ilgaz of the Dokuz Eylul University, Associate Prof. Dr. Adem Özdemir of the Adnan Menderes University and Christine Fellhofer of the University of Vienna with a team of students since 1993. Over this period it has been found that the number of Caretta carettas coming ashore has lessened every year; Prof. Özdemir even suggests a fifty fifth percentage decrease in the population of Caretta caretta in Fethiye. There is a multitude of factors contributing to the decline, but these have not happened all of a sudden- there has been a cumulative effect of tourism, construction on the coast, sand removal, increased number of beach umbrellas and chairs and shoreline erosion. We call upon the Bern Convention to investigate this continued habitat destruction and to examine whether measures to protect these important nesting beaches from long-term degradation are being enforced.