Endangered turtle species nesting site discovered at Golden Bay

The loggerhead turtle is classified as a globally endangered species by the World Conservation Area (IUCN) 

2024's first turtle nest in Malta
2024's first turtle nest in Malta

A loggerhead turtle nesting site has been found at Ir-Ramla tal-Mixquqa (Golden Bay) - the first nesting site of this season, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) announced on Saturday.

The site was spotted during a routine morning patrol by Nature Trust Malta (NTM-FEE) volunteers.

In a statement the ERA said its officers are currently coordinating with Nature Trust Malta (NTM-FEE) to cordon off the area and ensure that the nest is protected. It encouraged members of the public visiting the area to act responsibly and avoid making excessive noise, foot traffic or light in the vicinity of the nesting area, as this may pose a threat to turtle eggs and any hatchlings. 

The loggerhead turtle (in Maltese: il-fekruna l-komuni), also known by its scientific name Caretta caretta is a long-living, slow-maturing marine species that inhabits 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 or taking of eggs from the wild is strictly prohibited and constitutes a criminal offence. Malta’s ‘Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations’ imposes fines ranging from €500 to nearly €2400 for every egg destroyed or taken from the wild. The area in which the loggerhead turtle has laid its eggs is also a protected area under the Environment Protection Act and is a Natura 2000 site under the EU Habitats Directive.

The ERA said it thanked the public for their support and cooperation and encouraged members of the public to immediately report any observations of turtle activity to it on 2292 3500 or directly to Nature Trust Malta on 2131 3150.

NTM also called for volunteers to help with monitoring and other tasks related to this turtle nest during the nesting period, inviting those interested in doing so email [email protected] for more information.