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Issue No. 9 October 2010 - June 2011

UNEP/MAP: The colossal challenge... At a meeting of the Mediterranean coastal states in Barcelona in 1975, an Action Plan for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea and the coast (MAP) was adopted. UNEP was entrusted with the task of coordinating the activities of the Mediterranean governments to develop and implement this Plan. Rarely has an organization had to operate in a more difficult and ephemeral environment than has the UNEP/MAP. It has been working for 36 years over three continents, with the European Union and 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, and speaking more than 15 different languages overlaid with a number of dialects. Its aim to cope with environmental degradation in coastal and inland areas and to link sustainable resource management with development, in order to protect the Mediterranean region, is a colossal challenge indeed. MAP is asked to work through collaboration with Mediterranean governments, most of which give overriding precedence to economic growth. MEDASSET has been working successfully with MAP since 1985 on several projects and in several countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Albania, and Turkey. The centre of MAP's activities is the MAP Coordinating Unit (MEDU), which has been based in Athens, Greece since 1982.

Lily Venizelos President MEDASSET IUCN MTSG Member

Three-year research reveals important sea turtle feeding ground MEDASSET's research has confirmed that Drini Bay, on the northern coast of Albania, is a regionally and nationally important habitat for loggerhead sea turtles in the Mediterranean. Turtles use the Bay as a foraging ground, refuge and part of a key, as a refuge and as part of a key migratory corridor between the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. Information on the sea turtle population visiting Albania's waters had been scarce and research fragmented until 2008. Based at the Patok Lagoon area in Drini Bay, MEDASSET's researchers systematically collected data from June 2008 to October 2010 and monitored turtles captured incidentally in "stavnikes", a type of static fish-trap used in the area.

IN THIS ISSUE -UNEP/MAP: The colossal challenge... -Three-year research reveals important sea turtle feeding ground -Bern Convention Meeting at Council of Europe: 6-9 December 2010 -Greece: Sea Turtle Conservation in Zakynthos at its worst! -Campaign: Turtles in trouble in Fethiye, Turkey -TUI interational travel group and MEDASSET promote sea turtle conservation in Turkey -Patara sea turtle nesting and important heritage site to be sacrificed to development for tourism in Turkey -Kyparissia Bay: the legitimacy of new building developments is being investigated! -Turtles in Cyprus... in trouble! -"Sammy's Adventures" -"Join In and Clean Up" -We Were There‌ -RCL "Ocean Fund� Project -Racing for the Sea Turtles! -Education -Events -Gift Shop

402 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) were studied and released back into the wild, as well as 5 green turtles (Chelonia mydas), confirming that Albania is a range state for this species also. Two out of ten turtles were either captured more than once within the same 1

season, suggesting short term residency in the Bay, or were caught again in between field seasons (inter-annually), suggesting that Albania forms part of their migratory destinations. It was noted that juvenile turtles are also using the area as a developmental habitat. Promoting Conservation Policies in Albanian The sea turtle population in Drini Bay has yet to be completely understood. However, the findings and conclusions of MEDASSET'S three-year project led to the formulation of "National Sea Turtle Management Strategy", a document which MEDASSET will submit, with the kind support of the MAVA Foundation, to the Albanian Authorities at a Meeting in Tirana in November 2011. The long-term aim is for Drini Bay to be Fisherman's son lifting a loggerhead turtle recognised as a nationally and regionally trapped in "stavnikes", into the boat important foraging and developmental habitat for sea turtles and that these endangered species are fully protected under Albanian national law.

Donate Now! Become a "Friend" of MEDASSET NOW for a minimum yearly donation of 15€/£10 and enjoy -10% discount off all items on our gift shop

To find out more, read the three-year Project Report "Monitoring and conservation of important sea turtle feeding grounds in the Patok Area of Albania, 2008-2010". Click here or visit "Publications" at Education & Awareness Raising Fulfilling its second main goal, the project trained 11 Albanian university students as Research Assistants, aiming to build capacity among the next generation of Albanian scientists to enable them to monitor the sea turtle population. The project also offered a unique opportunity to over 250 Albanian university students to attend workshops at the project field station. MEDASSET worked with Prof. Idriz Haxhiu, Director of the Herpetofauna Albanian Society, to raise awareness both locally and nationally through the Media. The researchers worked with the local fishermen, demonstrating good animal-handling skills and advocating conservation practices. Satellite Tracking

The 4th Mediterranean Conference on Marine Turtles will be taking place in Naples, Italy, 7-10 November 2011. MEDASSET staff, colleagues and researchers will be presenting papers and posters on our work throughout the Mediterranean. Project trainee explaining research methods to students

MEDASSET is tracking via satellite three loggerhead turtles that were found and released in Patok lagoon, in September 2009, Guximtari ("Brave" in Albanian), a young male, has returned for a third consecutive summer to Patok, reinforcing the conclusion that the area is an important developmental and foraging habitat. Guximtari’s migration, as well as the journey of the other two sea turtles: Shpresa (Hope) and Patoku (named after the area) can be viewed online here.


Bern Convention Meeting at Council of Europe: 6-9 December 2010

Adopt A Satellite Tracked Turtle!

For the 22nd consecutive year MEDASSET attended the 30th Standing Committee Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention), at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, France. Referring to the 1.5 million tons of highly toxic solid waste sitting on the most important green turtle nesting beach in Kazanli, Turkey, the Turkish Delegate informed the meeting that the neutralisation plant to convert the toxic waste has finally been established within the Factory’s grounds and that the process has started. MEDASSET was pleased to hear that after its ten-year ongoing campaign, progress is finally being made, and we called upon the Turkish Government to continue reporting regularly to the Convention. In collaboration with NGO Terra Cypria and volunteer group Episkopi TurtleWatch we brought the issue of fisheries interaction with turtles in Episkopi Bay, Cyprus to the attention of the Convention’s Contracting Parties in 2009. Episkopi is part of the British Sovereign Base Area (SBA) in Cyprus and includes nesting beaches and foraging areas of both loggerheadand and green turtles. Following a relaxation of fishing limits in 2006, the annual number of dead loggerhead and green turtles, due to intentional clubbing or net entanglement, has risen to unsustainable levels. MEDASSET reminded the Meeting that as only about 350 breeding green turtles remain in the Mediterranean, the death toll of 48 subadults in Episkopi since 2008 is alarming and should be taken into immediate consideration by the Cyprus Authorities and the SBA. The issue of uncontrolled development at the Specially Protected (SPA) loggerhead nesting beaches in Fethiye, Turkey was also discussed, following our complaint to the Bern Convention in 2009. MEDASSET informed the Meeting about the severe decline of nesting due to human impacts, and the authorities' intention to allow further development on the last remaining wetlands for the construction of a shipyard next to Akgol nesting beach. Two large posters were set-up by MEDASSET in front of the entrance to the Convention meeting room, detailing the situation on Fethiye’s nesting beaches through photographs, maps and text. The Turkish Delegate to the Convention reported that "the Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (EPASA) organised meetings in Fethiye with all relevant stakeholders in 2010, to detect all problems in the area. EPASA also developed an Action Plan for the area that will be fully implemented in 2011 to try to resolve problems and to apply beach usage principles". To read more about these campaigns, click here.

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to continue this important research! By adopting Guximtari, you help us continue tracking him until late autumn 2011. Our turtle adoptions make fun gifts for friends, family and yourself. With five packages to choose from, MEDASSET’s AdoptA-Turtle project has something for everyone! Join us now and start following his journey in the Mediterranean Sea! Click here for more information.

We Were There… On March 17th, Lily Venizelos was invited to give an e-talk about sea turtles and her 25year fight for their plight at the Laurel Springs Academy Symposium "Meetings with Remarkable Men and Women". The Academy, a recipient of the "Global 500" Forum Award of UNEP, is a private online school based in California, USA. To view the e-talk, click here David Oakley, our satellite tracking programme data manager (PhD Candidate, Southampton Solent University), attended the BCG, British Chelonia Group Symposium (13 March 2011) and presented the methodology and preliminary results of our sea turtle tracking project in Albania.


Greece: Sea Turtle Conservation in Zakynthos at its worst! The financial situation for the Zakynthos National Marine Park (ZNMP) could not be any worse. The Park’s Management Agency was left without funds to accomplish its mission. Wages of its few remaining wardens have not been paid since November 2010! The loggerhead nesting season commenced in Laganas at the start of May 2011, and yet the majority of the nesting beaches remain unguarded due to the limited number of unpaid wardens available! Illegal activities and incidents of non-compliance with Park rules and legislation, such as the construction of new illegal parking lots on Daphne nesting beach and a newly assembled underwater wave breaker in the sea next to the nesting beach in Marathonissi islet. An increased number of turtle strandings within the marine area of the Park and violations such as speeding, have also been recorded, due to very poor patrolling of the Bay. Four involved NGOs, namely MEDASSET, WWF, ARCHELON, and MOm appealed to the new Minister of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, to immediately release the necessary funds and to implement all the necessary measures to ensure the Park’s smooth operation. As this goes on Press we are informed that the M.O.E. has released the necessary funds for the ZNMP operation. The underwater wave breaker next to the nesting beach in Marathonissi islet Credit: Archelon

Campaign: Turtles in trouble in Fethiye, Turkey Fethiye-Gocek Specially Protected Area (SPA) includes one of the 12 most significant loggerhead nesting beaches in Turkey. Increased pressure, due to unplanned construction and development to accommodate tourism activities on the nesting beaches, since 1988 has resulted in a scientifically documentated dramatic drop in nesting. In 2011, the relocation of the shipyard/drydock currently situated within Fethiye town to the very middle of Fethiye's Akgol nesting beach is being considered by the Turkish Authorities. This project will not only permanently and irrevocably destroy the Akgol nesting beach, but will also adversely May 25th 2011, Yaniklar, Fethiye. Stakeholders and NGO's "Brainstorming" affect the entire region. We expressed our lunch at Majesty Club Tuana objection to the project to the Turkish Authorities, issuing a press release, informed the European Commission, the Barcelona Convention and the UN Development Programme, a report was submitted to the Bern Convention and the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group was alerted. Local conservation organisations, hoteliers and civil society groups have also demonstrated their opposition to the project. In May 2011, we visited the nesting beaches in Fethiye and met with hotel representatives, Turkish conservationists, university researchers, and local NGO TEMA to discuss the

We attended the 31st Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in San Diego, California (12-15 April 2011) and presented the poster: "MEDASSET– A Unique Approach to Conservation". An update on our recent research and action was also presented at the Mediterranean Meeting held under the Symposium. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has graciously included MEDASSET's conservation and research work in its book "The Mediterranean: splendid, fragile, alive", published in conjunction with the new Museum Exhibition of the same title. The exhibition opened on November 20th, 2010 and will remain so until spring 2012. The book's comprehensive texts and stunning images make a great impact on the reader, educating the general public about the beauty and vulnerability of the Mediterranean Sea and its diverse life forms. MEDASSET is also featured in the Exhibition website and in a 30'' video clip that, as a part of the Exhibition, beautifully portrays sea turtles, the threats they face, and the work of Intergovernmental Organisations and Conventions on behalf of their protection.

RCL "Ocean Fund" Project Destination Stewardship, Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainable Tourism Standards

Under the Project "Destination stewardship, stakeholder engagement and sustainable tourism standards", funded by the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) "Ocean Fund", we are joining forces with Sustainable Travel International (STI) to carry out 4

problem. We again corresponded with the Authorities stressing the lack of conservation measures. At the end of June we received an encouraging reply stating that beach monitoring has finally started: beach furniture is being regulated, plastic lawn imitation, carpets and wood walkways on the beach are being removed, speed of water sport boats is being adjusted, lights shining on the beaches are being screened, and new information signs have been installed. MEDASSET will visit Fethiye again in August to confirm the above.

TUI international travel group and MEDASSET promote sea turtle conservation in Turkey TUI AG, in response to our film "Turkey's Turtles in Trouble", organised the meeting "Travellers without boundaries - a Kick-off event for implementation of sea turtle protection measures in the Dalaman region" on May 24th in Sarigerme, Turkey. MEDASSET and Prof. Yakup Kaska presented the deteriorating state of the nesting beaches in Fethiye and Sarigerme due to uncontrolled tourism development. Present hoteliers and representatives of the TUI Group (UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany) were informed of the measures needed to protect the nesting turtles and hatchlings.

interactive educational workshops in Athens and Crete, Greece. These workshops for key stakeholder groups will inform and engage them in sustainable tourism and the best practices for maintaining the environmental, cultural, social and economic integrity of local destinations. MEDASSET will also design an educational programme for RCL’s guests, and STI will be training local tour operators and assessors on implementing basic sustainable tourism criteria for eco-certification.

Racing for the Sea Turtles!

In collaboration with MEDASSET, DEKAMER, and the newly-established Kaptan June Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation, TUI will be producing guides in English, Turkish and German, with instructions on how to ensure sea turtle protection on nesting beaches in Turkey for guests and hoteliers.

Patara sea turtle nesting and important heritage site to be sacrificed to development for tourism in Turkey MEDASSET has been campaigning internationally since 1988 for the protection of Patara’s precious biodiversity and historical heritage site through the "Save Patara" campaign. In December 2010, we received news of plans to construct 400-750 summer houses on the hillside in Gelemis village close to the ancient city of Patara, which is located about 1 km north of the loggerhead sea turtle nesting beach within the Patara Special Environmental Protection Area. Vila construction in Patara, Turkey Credit: Trevor Jones

We corresponded with the Government expressing extreme concern that such a development would encroach upon Patara’s unique ecosystem and the relics of the Lycian civilisation, which is history's earliest example of a democratic form of government. Patara is also the birthplace of Saint Nicholas, the Christian patron, whose giftgiving nature became the model for the modern 'Santa Claus'.

On June 12th, John Flynn raced for MEDASSET sea turtle conservation projects in the Wicklow 100km Cycling Challenge in Ireland, raising 450€ through on the spot donations and the fundraising webpage John crossed the finishing line with a top time despite the gruelling stormy weather! John says: "I was introduced to sea turtle conservation by chance back in 2009 and since then I have spent a number of weeks on sea turtle conservation projects in the Mediterranean. I believe that the work MEDASSET is doing is vital to the survival of the species, which is why I decided to do some fundraising when the opportunity arose". A big thanks to John!

Our appeal was widely publicised by the Turkish Press (e.g. Hurriyet Daily News) the issue was also brought to the attention of UNESCO, the European Commission and the Bern and Barcelona Conventions. Construction has currently been suspended until the end of tourism season; in the meantime, local archaeologists, architects, academics, journalists, the Contemporary Lawyers Association, the Antalya Chamber of Architects, NGO "Patara Bizimdir", and the "Turkish Association for the Conservation of Nature" are filing suits against the project.


Kyparissia Bay: the legitimacy of new building developments is being investigated! In August 2010, MEDASSET submitted a complaint to the Bern Convention regarding illegal building activities in the sand dunes behind the nesting beaches, new roads leading to the beaches, etc, in Kyparissia Bay. Kyparissia is a "NATURA 2000" EC protected site in the Western Peloponnese, Greece. Subsequently, upon the Bern Convention Secretariat's request , the Ministry of Energy, Environment & Climate Change (MoE) submitted information on August 2010, illegal building in the development plans in the area and future plans for its sand dunes of Kyparissia protection. The Bern Convention Bureau will assess the merits of our complaint towards information acquired by the MoE regarding Kyparissia, at their Meeting in September 2011.

Turtles in Cyprus... in trouble!

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Education "Niretta the Caretta" Project

Episkopi Turtlewatch is a voluntary organisation based in the British Sovereign Base Area in Southern Cyprus. A small number of loggerhead and green turtles nest on Episkopi beaches each year. Until 2008, normal stranding numbers in the area were a maximum of 5 or 6. In 2008, the situation changed dramatically and 21 deaths were recorded. This figure rose to 26 in 2009 and to 33 in 2010. So far in 2011 there have been 13 deaths. Virtually all deaths are fishing related. Since 2008, the majority of deaths have been of green turtles, with the remainder being of adult loggerheads. The previously unsuspected presence of large numbers of green turtles in the area prompted Episkopi Turtlewatch to investigate whether it actually is a year-round foraging ground for both species in its area. Initial results from aerial and boat surveys suggest it is. Since 2009, MEDASSET has been working with Episkopi Turtlewatch to persuade the British government to introduce better protection measures in the area. In 2010, MEDASSET and TERRACYPRIA submitted a complaint to the Bern Convention that is now under consideration.

In 2010-2011, our award winning Creative Learning and Awareness Raising Programme "Niretta the Caretta" visited 8 elementary schools and 6 youth festivals in Athens and was shown on 2 major Greek TV channels.


"Sammy's Adventures" In December 2010, we partnered with the Greek launch of the Belgian 3D animation film for children "Sammy's Adventures: the Secret Passage".

Events New Year's tea party special!

A variety of educational Sea Turtle Games and other engaging activities targeted at young audiences and adult viewers were organised during the week leading up to the movie premiere at "The Mall" in Athens. For a week, thousands of visitors followed our sea turtle awareness event, presented by our volunteers and mascot "Niretta the Caretta". The official advertising leaflet for the movie was turned into a charming sea turtle educational resource by MEDASSET in collaboration with the film's distributor. This film, released in March 2011 in the UK under the title "A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures", was in 2010 awarded the Le Trophee de L'Oeuvre Europeenne (Trophee du Film Francais) and the Cartoon Movie Tribute Award (Cartoon Movie) and was nominated for the European Film Award Best Animation (European Film Awards).

"Join In and Clean Up!" We are happy to announce MEDASSET's launch of the "Join In and Clean Up" campaign. The campaign aims to raise public awareness on waste reduction, proper disposal, and recycling and to encourage community involvement, especially among schools and youth groups. It aims to bring together central government agencies, port and local community authorities, and civil society, in order to achieve a common mission. Every year, millions of marine animals and sea birds die worldwide as a result of marine debris found in our seas and oceans. Partnering with Coca Cola in Greece under their programme "Mission Water", the "Join In and Clean Up" campaign has planned 16 beach clean-ups in eight different locations all over Greece, over the course of four months. 4.000 volunteers will clean over 23km of coastline. The first eight beach clean ups were extremely successful, over 2.000 volunteers were mobilized and removed over 2.000 Kilos of recyclable materials. The waste found was mostly plastic and also included 800 kilos of various larger items, all destined for disposal in landfills.

On February 22th, we held our annual ladies-only fundraiser at the Athens Plaza Hotel in Greece. The late afternoon buffet tea party included live music, a glamorous fashion and jewelry show, the traditional cutting of the "Pita cake", and a raffle.

With a View on our Sea: "Mare Nostrum"

On June 22th, "Friends of MEDASSET" and supporters gathered at the Hellenic Yacht Club in Piraeus for a dinner Gala fundraising event with live music, a fashion show, and a raffle with outstanding presents!

Data collected by the volunteers will be processed and results compiled into a report. This information will help tackle the problem of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea through promoting a more responsible attitude towards recycling and disposal.


A big THANKS to all our sponsors and donors!

€28.00 The 2011 exclusive good luck charm is the 14th distinctive sea turtle charm produced for MEDASSET since 1988. This year’s charm is exclusively crafted by LIANA VOURAKIS. Inspired by a traditional Mayan design, "Tortuguita" symbolises longevity, wealth and good fortune. Comes with cordon in a beautiful pouch, also available pink-gold plated.

€10.00-€15.00 MEDASSET t-shirts Available in many colours and sizes!

€14.00 Environmental Education Kit: "The Mediterranean Sea, A Source of Life" for children 6-14. Available in English/Greek/Arabic

€12.00 Japanese SAORI hand woven broach (Length 7.5 cm)

Coca Cola Hellas Dolphin Capital Foundation MAVA Foundation Born Free Foundation Ocean Fund (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd) Vardis and Marianna Vardinogiannis Norton Rose LLP Karenta S.A. Leventis Foundation Angellight Web Services Anna Maria Mazaraki Skipper Lily Venizelos Erietta Latsi Fotini Livanos Irene Daifa & "Stavros Daifas Marine Enterprises" Anna Stamatiou Eleni Mousoulos Nondas Papailiou John Flynn Eleni Economou Eleni Tsambarlaki Doris Christopoulou Epi Nikolakopoulou Venia Dimitrakopoulou Seegy Themis Hatzigianni

MEDASSET c/o 24 Park Towers 2 Brick Street, London W1J 7DD, UK Tel/Fax: (020) 76290654 MEDASSET GREECE 1c Licavitou Street 10672, Athens, Greece Tel: +30 210 3613572 +30 210 3640389 Fax: +30 3613572

Editors: Eleanna Georgiou, Liza Boura If you do not wish to receive Turtle Dives, please send an e-mail. We hope you enjoy our 9th issue and would love to hear your feedback:


Turtle Dives No. 9  

Annual MEDASSET Newsletter

Turtle Dives No. 9  

Annual MEDASSET Newsletter