The Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO), through the General Directorate of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea, has promoted a series of measures to guarantee the protection of sea turtles and promote nesting on the Spanish coast.
Due to the effects of climate change, the distribution of loggerhead nests (Caretta caretta) has shifted and now also includes the western Mediterranean coasts – Italian, French and Spanish. This species is highly migratory and is listed as "vulnerable" in the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species.
An adequate and rapid management, which favors its settlement on the Mediterranean coast, is essential to guarantee the conservation of this species. Therefore, new action measures have been implemented with coastal autonomous communities and recovery centers and scientists within the framework of the project INTENSE LIFE, coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation, dependent on MITECO.
During this season, the breeding females that reach our coasts will be marked for satellite monitoring, with the aim of studying their behavior and facilitating the detection of their nests. Sea turtles usually spawn on the beaches where they were born, so the success of their birth will determine that they return to our shores to perform the laying and thus favor the conservation of the species.
According to experts, the number of nests in the Spanish Mediterranean coast is greater than is known, so it is necessary to promote measures that contribute to its location and ensure its survival.
Another of the measures promoted by the MITECO consists in carrying out studies to analyze the environmental characteristics of the Spanish beaches chosen by the turtles for spawning and determine those that would be more suitable for, where appropriate, moving the nests located there Beaches that are not suitable.
The human pressure that exists on Spanish beaches is one of the main risks for these nests, so citizen collaboration is essential. Before locating a nest or specimen of sea turtle, 112 should be notified immediately.
Additionally, a national action protocol will be implemented soon to strengthen coordination among all the agents involved in sporadic nesting events, including scientists and technicians, recovery centers and administrations.
Other actions for turtle conservation
Within the framework of LIFE INTEMARES, other actions have also been developed in this line. On the one hand, the behavior of 10 loggerhead pups has been studied after being released on the beach of El Saler (Valencia), in collaboration with the Valencian Community, and the creation of a common document for the centers has been launched of recovery that manage stranding cases, as well as specific training actions aimed at beach staff.
In Spain, six of the seven species of sea turtles in the world have been observed. The loggerhead, leatherback, green, hawksbill, lora and olive turtles are characterized by being highly migratory species and use Spanish waters as feeding, development and as a place of passage in their long transoceanic journeys.
Their populations are threatened globally due to numerous factors derived from human activities, such as the loss and degradation of essential habitats, interactions with various fisheries, pollution or marine litter.
The LIFE INTEMARES project, which coordinates the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition, aims to achieve effective management of the marine spaces of the Natura 2000 Network.
The General Directorate of Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea of the same ministry, the IEO, the Spanish Fishing Confederation, SEO /Birdlife Y WWF-Spain. It has the financial contribution of the LIFE program of the European Union, among other sources of financing.