To protect marine turtles in the Mediterranean Sea, the MedPAN network is involved in the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region project.

  • Funding: The MAVA Foundation
  • Partners: SPA/RAC, ARCHELON, DEKAMER, MEDASSET, MedPAN, National Marine Park of Zakynthos, WWF Greece and WWF Turkey.

The activities related to the MAVA project “Conservation of marine turtles in the Mediterranean” have been divided into 3 main strategies:

1. Knowledge

Important Marine Turtle Areas

Exchanges were initiated in 2019 with the IUCN international expert group on marine turtles to build on international and standardise processes to define criteria for Important Marine Turtles Areas (IMTAs) and identify IMTAs in the Mediterranean. MedPAN, in collaboration with SPA-RAC, contributes to the identification of criteria that will lead to an indicative map of IMTAs for the Mediterranean. The identification of important areas for highly mobile species is key to:

  • designate areas to be protected,
  • identify existing gaps in the protection of these species,
  • assist MPA networks and national authorities to develop strategies for their conservation and marine spatial planning.

The 2020 Mediterranean MPA Status Report

MedPAN, conducted, in 2019, an intensive data collection among more than 250 Mediterranean MPAs to collect management data that are complementary to MAPAMED. Those data include governance bodies, key habitats, main species, pressures and regulations. Related to species, some MPAs identified marine turtles (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) and specified if these species justified designation of the MPAs, if these species were monitored or if these species were subject to management measures.

→ Those results will contribute to the 2020 Mediterranean MPA Status Report that is carried out every 4 years in collaboration with SPA-RAC.

2. Communication

MedPAN communication tools:

A Scientific watch is conducted every month and published on the MedPAN website. It is sent out to MedPAN’s entire database including MPAs. Some scientific articles of this scientific watch concerned marine turtles. In addition, the 2019 MedPAN Special Edition on Science for MPA management was dedicated to the conservation of mobile species with a focus on marine turtles.

MedPAN newsletter highlights case studies and good practices to be promoted related to marine turtles management within Mediterranean MPAs. Capitalization, promotion of success stories and good projects related to marine turtles management in Mediterranean MPAs are also shared through MedPAN network communication tools.

A Marine Turtle Working Group:

A first exchange visit took place in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, Greece in May 2017 and gathered together MPA managers, scientists and NGO representatives from all concerned Mediterranean sub-regions. This visit was the opportunity to lay the foundation of a Mediterranean MPA marine turtle working group (MPATWG). MPA managers can adopt measures that help decrease pressures on nesting beaches and sometimes in waters around and by collaborating, they can be increasingly effective at curbing pressures and impacts in mating, migrating, foraging and wintering areas for marine turtles.

The MPATWG met in Torre Guaceto, Italy in 2018
The MPATWG met in Torre Guaceto, Italy in 2018

Among the activities of GTTAMP we can count:

MedPAN annual regional sharing-experience workshop:

During the 2019  MedPAN regional sharing-workshop in Turkey, Mediterranean MPA managers shared their experience to improve the management of marine turtles in their protected area.

Recommendations from the 5th ICoMMPA (International Conference of Marine Mammal in Protected Areas) that was held in Greece in April 2019 were promoted during the MedPAN regional experience-sharing workshop, especially the role of networks of MPA managers to better manage mobile species including marine turtles. A dedicated session about IMTAs was organised in collaboration with SPA-RAC with experts from IMMAs and the IUCN expert group on marine turtles. During the field exchange visit, the group visited the sea turtle rescue centre DEKAMER where participants had the opportunity to exchange about the management of injured marine turtles.

3. Capacity building and transfer

A Monitoring and Management Marine Turtle Guide

The protection of highly mobile species such as marine turtles whose home range stretches well beyond the boundaries of individual MPAs and may actually encompass several MPAs requires the adoption of a regional approach. The use of harmonised and standardised MPA monitoring protocols can support such an approach by facilitating the sharing, analysis and comparison of data. 

The Monitoring and Management Marine Turtle Guide will aim to guide MPA managers through all the necessary steps to establish a marine turtle monitoring programme tailored to their own needs:

  • the definition of objectives,
  • the choice and adaptation of the protocol,
  • the implementation of the protocol,
  • analysis and interpretation of data, etc.

→ This guide proposes a set of standardised protocols, each of which will address a specific management question.

Training locations

MedPAN continues to coordinate the steering committee, initiated in 2016, to supervise the creation of a permanent and operational training mechanism for MPAs in the Mediterranean. A first test training has been organized in 2019 in Port-Cros. The training course on mobile species and the first training module on marine turtles will be developed in 2020 and a training session will be organized in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, in Greece.

MedPAN regular training programme - map
The training venues are located in 5 Mediterranean MPAs

MedPAN small projects

Supporting Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas is at the heart of MedPAN’s mission. To this end, the network has set up a small projects scheme that aims to help MPAs provide sustainable protection of biodiversity while ensuring the sustainable economic development of human-based activities. These small projects provide direct support to MPA managers for the implementation of concrete actions, which will improve management effectiveness, test pilot schemes or put in place tools that can be useful to other MPAs.

Under the MAVA project  « Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region », MedPAN supervised two small projects on marine turtles selected in 2017:

Delimitation of a nesting area in the MPAs of the Pelagic Islands in Italy – © Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa

© Association Bado