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T-PVS (98) 50

“NATURE CONSERVATION” IN DALYAN, TURKEY. UP-DATE REPORT FOR THE 18TH MEETING OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF EUROPEAN WILDLIFE AND TH TH NATURAL HABITATS (BERN CONVENTION, NOV. 30 - DEC. 4 1998)

This report is based on a re-assessment of the situation in August 1998, and should be considered in conjunction with the MEDASSET 1997 st report T-PVS (97) 42, dated 31 October 1997. Report prepared by an independent wildlife consultant commissioned by MEDASSET The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles, with additional information from conservationist June Haimoff. October 1998

According to a statement by the Turkish delegate at the UNEP meeting of Experts in Athens (October 1997), “of 2,580 Km of the Turkish coast adjoining the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, 120 Km have a significant importance for the turtle nesting beach complexes. In accordance with International Conventions and Turkish Environmental Law, 17 nesting sites are under protection”. WWF - DHKD surveys from 1994 to 1998 found that only five of these beaches remain fairly viable as sea turtle nesting sites. 1998 showed a decline in the number of visitors coming to Dalyan. A head count of the numbers of visitors on the beach at one time showed 1252 persons, which is some 20-30% less than in previous years. 55% of all tourists were concentrated on Dalyan beach, 25% at Iztuzu beach. That means that 80% of all visitors are concentrated on 31% of the total beach length. There was this year a considerable extension of the tourist use zone on the beach: boats started in 1998 to approach the Dalyan beach not only at the main mooring site at the rear of Dalyan beach (next to the kiosk and toilet blocks), but also further to the south-east. During the assessment in August 1998, eight tourist boats were recorded mooring approx. 2 km to the east of Dalyanagzý. These boats bring tourists who make campfires on the banks of the lagoon and cross the beach for swimming in the sea. This creates considerable disturbance to the area: •

• •

The place where these boats come to moor is used by a number of Nile Soft-shelled Turtles, Trionyx triunguis, for nesting. Successful nesting of soft-shelled turtles on the lagoon side of the sand spit therefore seems to be no longer possible. Tourists and their operators leave litter on the beach. Heaps of garbage, mainly plastic bottles and plastic wrappings, were observed around the mooring site. The usage by tourists of a third place in the middle of the beach (in addition to Dalyan beach and Iztuzu beach) does not harmonise with the

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T-PVS (98) 50

efforts to concentrate tourists, and thus to minimise the impact of tourists on marine turtles. On Wednesday 16th September 1998, a large cruise ship, the Sea Goddess (chartered by General Electric Corp.) anchored about a mile offshore, and about 150 people were illegally ferried up the river by speed boats to one of the last remaining comparatively undisturbed beach areas, where tents, umbrellas and a bar had been set up for them. A representative of the local tourist office with whom it had all been arranged, was in attendance but no attempt was made to observe the SPA regulations, and plastic bags of garbage were left on the beach, and still there a week later. This was stated to be a pilot project, to evaluate the feasibility of regular cruise ship visits. It is therefore strongly recommended to the Government of Turkey to immediately stop boats from landing outside the already established mooring site in the lagoon to the rear of Dalyan beach. Students from the Hacetepe University were camped on the beach for parts of July and August monitoring the sea turtle nesting, but no protective cages were observed around the nests on the beach. In April 1998, MEDASSET was informed that a road was being built along the banks of the River, which would totally destroy the reed beds and the natural habitat. MEDASSET immediately informed all interested parties and wrote to Dr. Aykut, the Turkish Minister of the Environment, drawing her attention to the matter. The road construction has for the moment been stopped, but we understand that a court decision is pending, the road being a project of her own Ministry. 1998 saw the laying of the foundations of a sewage treatment system for Kรถycegiz and Dalyan. This has been planned for almost 10 years, and is receiving external funding assistance from Germany. It is hoped that rapid progress will be made to establish the sewage treatment plant and to make it operative. In Spring 1998, a treatment plant for the purification of oil-polluted water originating from the motors of the boats has been established. The aim is to reduce the pollution of the Dalyan River and Lake Kรถycegiz by oil originating from boats. The plant has been installed by the Agency for Specially Protected Areas (APSA) with funds provided by Germany, and is being operated by Dalyan Municipality. On April 22nd, MEDASSET wrote to Dr. Aykut offering, in collaboration with the WSPA, to finance and erect signs in 3 languages on the nesting beaches of Turkey. In response to a reminder in June a reply was received not from the Ministry but from APSA, detailing all the wonderful measures which had been carried out, including the erection of signs, distribution of leaflets etc. All patently a misstatement of the facts, which have been clearly laid out in a report circulated by the Turkish non-governmental organisation DHKD.

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Other observations on nature conservation in the Dalyan area set out in the previous report were fully confirmed. Notwithstanding the comments of the previous report, in 1998 there has been • no reduction of the area of the beach used by tourists, i.e. no further concentration of tourists on the beach • no dissemination of information to tourists on nature protection and necessary restrictions for visitors • no implementation of an environmental awareness programme for local people • no assessment of the status and conservation needs of threatened species such as the Otter, White-tailed Eagle, White-breasted Kingfisher, Nil-Softshelled Turtle, etc. • no limitation of the boat traffic in the Dalyan River • no designation of sensitive zones within the Specially Protected Area, and no highlighting of the borders of the protected area • no measures to minimise the pollution of Lake Köycegiz with agrochemicals • no efforts to correct the reduced flow of freshwater into Köycegiz Gölü • no implementation of recommendation no. 26 of the Standing Committee (adopted on 6 December 1991) on the protection of the Nile Soft-shelled Turtle The Government of Turkey should be urged to fully implement the recommendations given in the previous report.

Appendix Assessment of the tourist use of the Dalyan beach in August 1998. For the purpose of this assessment, the beach was divided into 19 equally long sections, each being approx. 220 m in length. The numbering of these sections is from north-west (Dalyanagzý) to south-east (Iztuzu).

west of Dalyanaðzý 1

number of visitors 0 117

2

320

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

260 40 42 33 0 2 61 12 0

remarks

145 sun-beds, 70 umbrellas, many boats mooring in lagoon 330 sun-beds, 175 umbrellas, many boats mooring in lagoon 240 sun-beds, 112 umbrellas

3 boats in the lagoon

8 boats in the lagoon

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12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 total

0 0 17 6 30 127 78 107 1252

180 sun-beds, approx. 90 umbrellas

895 sun-beds, approx. 450 umbrellas

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T-PVS(98)50: Specific sites, "Nature Conservation" in Dalyan, Turkey, update report