At around 9.00pm on Monday 10th August, a turtle was reported nesting at Għadira Bay in Mellieħa, adjacent to the third reported nest. Officers from the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and Nature Trust Malta (NTM‐FEE) who were on site confirmed the sighting and the new nest, which was then cordoned off to protect the eggs.

ERA will continue working in close collaboration with Nature Trust Malta (NTM‐FEE); the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (MECP); and other public and private entities, as applicable. To this end, the provisions currently listed in the present Emergency Conservation Order (ECO) will be extended to safeguard both nests.

Excessive noise, trampling and light close to the nesting area may pose a threat to turtle eggs and any hatchlings.

This is the fourth reliably confirmed loggerhead turtle nest this year. Malta is currently hosting three nests, whilst 85 eggs hatched between the 2nd and 4th of August from the first nest at Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo.

ERA would like to thank the public for support and co-operation. Any observations of turtle activity or environmental illegality should be immediately reported to ERA on 9921 0404 or ced.nature@era.org.mt.

Note on the species: The loggerhead turtle (Maltese: il-fekruna l-komuni), scientifically known as Caretta caretta is a long-living, slowly 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 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 €2400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild. The area where the loggerhead turtles has 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.

For further information, please refer to era.org.mt

11 August 2020

4th Turtle nest - Ghadira - 10.08.20 - Photo by: Jacques Azzopardi
4th Turtle nest - Ghadira - 10.08.20 - Photo by: Jacques Azzopardi