Loggerhead turtle nest found at Golden Bay

A section of Golden Bay has been cordoned off due to a loggerhead turtle nest; this is the second confirmed nesting of a loggerhead turtle this year

A section of Golden Bay has been cordoned off due to a loggerhead turtle nest.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) said that an Emergency Conservation Order would be issued to ensure the protection of the nest, as well as also assessing the situation to decide on measures that would ensure it was not endangered in any way, working in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta, the Majjistral Park, the Environment Ministry and Climate Change and Planning.

ERA said that among others, excessive noise and trampling in the nesting area and unnecessary artificial lighting pose a danger to turtle eggs and any hatchlings.

This is the second confirmed nesting of a loggerhead turtle this year and comes four years after turtles hatched on the same bay.

ERA said that increased nesting could be the result of what is known as increased site fidelity in sea turtles, possibly indicating more frequent returns of this species to nest in Malta.

The authority confirmed that the loggerhead turtle is currently at an advantageous conservation status in the Maltese Islands; however, ERA acknowledged that more long-term monitoring is required.

ERA said that it could also possibly be due to increased protection in Malta and the Mediterranean, as well as rehabilitation programmes for injured and stranded turtles being undertaken in the Mediterranean region, including Malta.

ERA has also called for the public’s collaboration in reducing the impact on nests.

Any environmental illegality or turtle activity should be immediately reported to ERA on 9921 0404 or [email protected]

Facts about the loggerhead turtle

The loggerhead turtle (Maltese: il-fekruna l-komuni), scientifically known as Caretta caretta is a long-living, slowly maturing marine species that inhabit tropical to warm temperate areas.

This species is classified as globally endangered by the World Conservation Area (IUCN) and is also protected by various national and international legislation.

Capturing, killing, taking, and trading these turtles, as well as the deliberate disturbance of these species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and migration, is prohibited and subject to legal action. Even the destruction of eggs or taking of eggs from the wild is strictly prohibited and constitutes a criminal offence.

In fact, the national ‘Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations’ impose a minimum fine of nearly €500 and going up to nearly €2,400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild.

The area where the loggerhead turtles have laid its eggs is also a protected area under the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549) and a Natura 2000 site through the EU Habitats Directive.

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