Following late night reports of a turtle nest at Għadira Bay, officers from the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and Nature Trust Malta (NTM‐FEE) went on site and confirmed the nesting. While on site, ERA officers immediately cordoned off the area to protect the nest. The area is currently being monitored.

ERA is assessing the situation to decide on immediate measures that are to be put in place so as to ensure that the nest is not endangered in any way. ERA will therefore work 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.

An Emergency Conservation Order (ECO) will be issued by ERA to ensure more direct protection to the nesting area. As for other turtle nests, excessive noise and trampling in the nesting area and unnecessary artificial lighting pose a danger to turtle eggs and any hatchlings.

The Environment and Resources Authority notes that this is the third reliably confirmed nesting of loggerhead turtle this year. This is the first time on record that Malta is hosting 3 nests simultaneously.

ERA is calling for the public’s collaboration in reducing impacts to such nests and that any observations of any 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 

30 July 2020