MEDASSET, a leading, well respected and long established sea turtle protection NGO covering this part of the Mediterranean (Greece as well as Turkey), is encouraging local Fethiye businesses that operate along the beaches from Fethiye to Yanıklar to be aware that now is the time when the endangered loggerhead turtle is nesting on our beaches.

Akgöl and Karaot Beach where turtles lay their eggs
Akgöl and Karaot Beach where turtles lay their eggs

What’s this all about?

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling: courtesy of Tahsin Ceylan
Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling: courtesy of Tahsin Ceylan

Let MEDASSET tell you:

Fethiye’s sea turtle nesting beaches, which are designated as protected areas, have been severely degraded and human disturbances are negatively affecting sea turtle nesting on the beaches.

Plastic bags can be fatal for turtles: courtesy of cafnec.org
Plastic bags can be fatal for turtles: courtesy of cafnec.org

Before the start of the nesting season, within the framework of MEDASSET’s campaign to promote better protection and management of Fethiye’s sea turtle beaches, MEDASSET posted letters to beachside businesses to ask for their collaboration in relation to the protection of the beach, and to assist the businesses by providing them with the steps that they can take to minimise their impact on sea turtles.

Our expectation/hope is that Fethiye’s beach businesses adopt turtle-friendly practices so that their operations have the minimal possible impact on sea turtles, their nests and baby hatchlings.

This will help reverse the current degradation and negative impacts on sea turtle nesting. In this way, at the same time, businesses will also be re-shaping their coast into a high-quality tourism destination that could figure among international showcase examples of well-managed sea turtle nesting beaches.

 

How can you help?

As an individual or a business, please can help protect sea turtles nesting on beaches in the Fethiye SEPA during the nesting and hatching season (May-September).

Nesting hotspot damaged by uncontrolled human use
Nesting hotspot damaged by uncontrolled human use

All the time

Please cooperate with the sea turtle conservation project teams and with the protected area managers.

Keep the sea turtle nesting zone free, safe and clean.

Please discourage and avoid…

Turtle nesting among sunbeams that remain on the beach despite the rules. ©2012-K.-Olgun-E.-Bozkurt
Turtle nesting on Patara Beach among sunbeds  that remain on the beach despite the rules. ©2012-K.-Olgun-E.-Bozkurt

Placing sunbeds and umbrellas in the designated area and outside the nesting zone.

Placing the following equipment behind/away from the nesting beach: water sport equipment, showers, volleyball courts, carpets and fixed structures (such as permanent shades, huts, pavilions, cabanas, patios, playgrounds, wooden walkways).

New resorts are building cabanas and walkways inside the nesting zone.
New resorts are building cabanas and walkways inside the nesting zone.

Planting trees and bushes in the sand – their roots, shade and irrigation obstruct nesting turtles, destroy nests and alter the natural sandy profile of the beach.

Permanent cabanas inside nesting-zone: note the wooden posts where the information signs used to be and the caged nest in the foreground
Permanent cabanas inside nesting-zone: note the wooden posts where the information signs used to be and the caged nest in the foreground

Driving vehicles or ride horses on the beach (make sure your guests, friends etc don’t do this either).

Channelling shower water, watering the beach washing equipment on the beach.

Do…

Continue to manually collect beach rubbish. Litter is a death trap for turtles and bad for tourism.

Words are not enough
Words are not enough

As the sun goes down…

Keep the beach clear, dark and peaceful

Light pollution on nesting beach disturbs turtle nesting and leads hatchlings to their deaths

Remove and stack sunbeds behind the nesting zone, or rearrange them in an upright position and secure or hang them on the umbrellas, chained and locked. Level sand castles and holes between the water and the nesting zone (no sand digging in nesting zone).

At night…

Shade, reduce, lower or turn off lights that shine on the beach at night and use light mitigation measures for security lights e.g. motion sensors.

Do not install lights directly on the beach or on beach equipment.

Make sure only security personnel should be present on the nesting beach.

Other staff and guests should not visit the beach from 8pm-8am.

Discourage camping, bonfires, parties, fireworks on the beach at night.

On-going threat to Fethiye’s sea turtle nesting beaches

Keep the sea safe, quiet and clean

Boat propellers and speeding boats can injure or kill sea turtles.

Sorry ... but this is the reality
Sorry … but this is the reality

Avoid using of offering motorised water sports.

This will reduce noise disturbance to your guests, create a safe environment for both swimmers and turtles.

If you must use motorised water sports, make sure they are in a marked corridor from shallow to open waters and comply with the speed limits.

Do not install new jetties/docks

Do switch off lights on existing jetties

Inform and train yourself; if you’re a business, you staff.

Inform and actively encourage everyone you meet to be turtle-friendly.

English translation of MEDASSET’S letter

We are contacting you to request your collaboration to protect …………. beach in Fethiye.

As you may know, the beach is protected by Turkish law and belongs to the Fethiye-Göcek Special Environmental Protection Area (SEPA) since 1989.

Fethiye’s beautiful beaches are among Turkey’s most significant nesting sites for sea turtles (Caretta caretta).

Each year from May to September, female turtles come ashore to nest and hatchlings emerge from the nests and crawl to the sea to begin their long life.

Sea turtles are rare and endangered species that are protected by international and Turkish law.

On Fethiye’s beaches, human disturbances by visitors and businesses have reduced the space that sea turtles need to nest and have led to a steady decrease and destruction of nests.

These human impacts are also bad for tourism.

The natural beauty of Fethiye’s beaches, which is the main attraction for tourists, is being lost.

Tourists prefer well-managed beaches and choose businesses that are protecting and not harming the local environment and wildlife.

Your organization can surely make a difference.

We offer simple and easy steps that you can take to help maintain the natural beauty of the beach and help ensure that your local beach is attractive for visitors and is safe for sea turtles and their nests.

By taking care of the beach and turtles, you are protecting your business and showing your pride in Turkey’s important natural heritage.

Businesses are required by Turkish law to comply with such conservation measures (Deniz Kaplumbağalarının Korunması, Genelge 2009/10, Çevre ve Orman Bakanlığı).

In addition, in December 2015, the Bern Convention, an international environmental treaty, recognised the severe degradation of the sea turtle nesting beaches in Fethiye SEPA and asked Turkey to urgently apply 17 specific conservation actions (Recommendation No. 183/2015).

Please take this letter under serious consideration.

We kindly ask you to take the attached steps as soon as possible, before May 2016, in order to help stop the destruction of Fethiye SEPA sea turtle beaches.

We are at your disposal to help if you need more information or advice.

Tourist reading sea turtle information in İztuzu.
Tourist reading sea turtle information in İztuzu.

For more information about MEDASSET visit www.medasset.org

 

 

 

 

 

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