Rescued turtle’s release marks awareness-raising snorkelling trails

Turtle ‘Paul’ rescued off Filfla after ingesting hook released back into the sea

A male loggerhead turtle, ‘Paul’, was released back to the sea by the Environment Resources Authority after being rescued in May 2021 near Filfla.

The rescued turtle had been found to have ingested a hook. Following an operation and rehabilitation it made a full recovery and was strong enough to be released.

The turtle release marked the start of Nature Trust’s guided snorkelling tours in Malta’s coastal waters.

“Snorkelling has the potential to enhance public participation in the conservation of marine biodiversity when developed within an environmental education framework.  Nature Trust’s guided snorkelling tours will provide the opportunity for the public to gain a better understanding of the diversity of habitats and species associated with the marine environment and thus raise awareness on the need for marine conservation,” the ERA said.

Snorkel trails help develop ecological awareness across the public on the importance of the marine environment and contribute to conservation efforts within Marine Protected Areas in Maltese waters.

Eighteen (18) Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering over 4, or 35% of Malta’s Fisheries Management Zone were designated throughout a period of ten years 2008-2018.

The MPAs were designated in accordance with legal obligations of the EU’s Habitats, and Birds directives.

These areas seek the conservation of various seabed habitats, including Posidonia meadows, sandbanks, reefs and caves, as well as marine species including dolphins, turtles and seabirds.