MARINE TURTLE NESTING BACK IN MALTA AFTER NEARLY A CENTURY
Over the past days the Maltese shores witnessed a long forgotten biodiversity phenomenon when a marine turtle made its way into Gnejna Bay and laid a number of eggs in the sand. This case is the first confirmed sea turtle nesting event in Malta after a century, although other unconfirmed records of such events have been reported from other beaches in the last 50 years. The loggerhead turtle, known in Maltese as il-fekruna l-komuni is a marine reptile which is strictly protected by a number of national and international legislation. To ensure that the maximum protection is rendered to the site where a marine turtle laid a number of eggs, Mepa declared Gnejna Bay as an Emergency Conservation Area (ECA) after publishing an Emergency Conservation Order (G.N.683/12).
The Emergency Conservation Order prohibits a number of activities from being carried out in the designated area including:
• vehicular parking and use of caravans in the ECA;
• excessive noise and loud music; no music is allowed between 20:00 hrs and 08:00 hrs;
• camping, campfires, barbeques, any other open fires, or any large organised events are not permissible at all times;
• no animals shall be allowed on the Gnejna bay;
• only manual beach cleaning is allowed, and this is not allowed in the areas cordoned off, unless there is prior consultation with MEPA;
• beach users shall not trespass any enclosures at all times;
• any large, deep holes left by beach users shall be filled in before leaving the area.
Mepa is working in close collaboration with the Ministry for Tourism, Culture and the Environment; Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs; the Mġarr Local Council; and Nature Trust (Malta). A surveillance system has been in place since the start. Such surveillance system is operated jointly by MEPA, MRRA and Nature Trust (Malta).
The general public is invited to report any evidence of marine turtles or turtle activity to MEPA on 22907102 during office hours; or else contact MEPA on 99210404 or 99381811 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit http://www.mepa.org.mt/species-turtlenest