LIFE15 NAT/HR/000997

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Contact details:

Contact person: Drasko HOLCER
Tel: 38514851700
Fax: 38514851644
Email: lifeeuroturtles@gmail.com

Project description:


The project focuses on areas that are pivotal for the conservation of the two sea turtle species occurring in the EU and listed as priority species in Annex II of the Habitats Directive, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). In the EU, the loggerhead turtle has major nesting sites in Greece and Cyprus, and limited nesting in Italy. Most turtles from these sites remain in the eastern Mediterranean, with key foraging grounds located in EU waters, such as the Adriatic (Italy, Slovenia, Croatia), Ionian (Italy, Greece), and the Levantine basin (Cyprus).

In the EU, the green turtle only breeds in Cyprus, and its foraging grounds in EU waters are in Cyprus and Greece (Casale & Margaritoulis, 2010). Those foraging grounds are also frequented by turtles from other Mediterranean nesting sites.

The nesting sites and foraging grounds located in the EU are extremely important for Mediterranean sea turtles. However, anthropogenic threats are also particularly intensive in the EU, with high coastal development and fishing activities, which combined affect sea turtles at all stages of life, from the critical reproductive phase to all age classes at sea.

The activities of this project are focused on those areas where conservation measures are considered important and urgent, and could make a difference for the sea turtle status at EU, national and local levels. The project includes six EU countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Slovenia.


The aim of the LIFE EUROTURTLES project is to improve the conservation status of the EU populations of two priority sea turtle species, the loggerhead turtle and the green turtle.

The specific project objectives are to:

  • Reduce the impact of anthropogenic threats at nesting sites;
  • Reduce the impact of anthropogenic threats, in particular fishery-related threats in foraging grounds;
  • Improve the effectiveness of marine Natura 2000 sites for sea turtle conservation by extending current sites over turtle hot spot areas and improving management;
  • Set up a consistent approach to the conservation of the EU sea turtle populations in order to optimise current and future efforts and resources in the EU;
  • Contribute to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive with consistent methods and with baseline data for improving the capacity of monitoring the conservation status of the EU sea turtle populations in the future;
  • Promote among EU citizens the concept of shared responsibility for EU sea turtle populations and the value of natural marine resources of which sea turtles are viewed as an excellent and charismatic flagship species; and
  • Set up an EU network for sea turtle conservation based on common objectives and methods.
  • Expected results:

  • New regulations for the protection of 45 sea turtle nesting sites in three countries (Greece, Italy and Cyprus);
  • Nest protection activities established in 19 sites in the three countries (Greece, Italy and Cyprus), resulting in 700 extra nests successfully protected per year (3 500 during the project and more afterwards);
  • At least two marine Natura 2000 sites created/expanded in two countries (Croatia and Italy) to cover turtle hot spot areas;
  • 130 fishing boats involved in voluntary dynamic fishery management to avoid disturbance in eight turtle hotspot areas in six countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Malta), resulting in around 700 fewer turtles captured per year (2 100 during the project and more afterwards);
  • 290 fishing boats in 10 areas in five countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Slovenia) informed about onboard best practices to reduce sea turtle mortality, resulting in more than 600 turtles correctly treated per year (2 000 during the project and more afterwards);
  • Modified fishing gear (set net) to reduce turtle catch introduced in three countries (Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia) through a minimum of 20 fishing boats;
  • Two coastal foraging areas in two countries (Cyprus and Greece) cleaned of ghost gear;
  • Three rescue centres and rescue networks in three countries (Croatia, Cyprus and Greece) improved, resulting in their capacity to treat more than 40 additional turtles per year (160 during the project and more afterwards);
  • An app for smartphones to report sea turtle encounters/catches, used by fishermen for avoiding sea turtle hotspots and also as an awareness tool (a public competition); and
  • A report and guidelines on best practices for EU sea turtle conservation.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Reptiles


endangered species‚  fishing industry‚  environmental awareness‚  marine environment

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Target species

 Caretta caretta   Chelonia mydas   

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Croatian Natural History Museum
Type of organisation Research institution
Description The Croatian Natural History Museum (CNHM) is a national institution responsible for natural history collections, carrying out data and specimen collection, scientific research and public awareness activities. It is part of both national cultural and scientific networks. Among other activities, sea turtle research in Croatia has been initiated and lead by its staff since the early 90s. Following on from this, the CNHM has carried out an Adriatic marine turtle project aimed at collecting baseline data on sea turtle distribution, human interactions and conservation status in the Croatian Adriatic. The activities of the programme resulted in the legal protection of sea turtles, information related to threats and threats mitigation etc.
Partners Department of Biology and Biotechnologies "Charles Darwin" - Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy ARCHELON - The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, Greece Plavi svijet Institut za istraživanje i zaštitu mora (Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation), Croatia Nature Trust Malta University of Cyprus, Cyprus WWF Italia ONLUS, Italy Department of Fisheries and Marine Research - Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Cyprus University of Primorska, Slovenia


Project reference LIFE15 NAT/HR/000997
Duration 01-SEP-2016 to 31-AUG -2021
Total budget 5,116,167.00 €
EU contribution 3,793,167.00 €
Project location Kontinentalna Hrvatska(Croatia Hrvatska) Mediterr. Croatia (CRO)(Croatia Hrvatska) Kypros / Kibris(Cyprus) Extra-Regio(Cyprus) Mediterr. Cyprus (CY)(Cyprus) Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Dytiki Makedonia(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Ipeiros(Ellas) Ionia Nisia(Ellas) Dytiki Ellada(Ellas) Sterea Ellada(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas) Voreio Aigaio(Ellas) Notio Aigaio(Ellas) Kriti(Ellas) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Malta(Malta) Extra-Regio(Malta) Mediterr. Malta (M)(Malta) Pomurska(Slovenia Slovenija) Podravska(Slovenia Slovenija) Koroska(Slovenia Slovenija) Savinjska(Slovenia Slovenija) Zasavska(Slovenia Slovenija) Spodnjeposavska(Slovenia Slovenija) Gorenjska(Slovenia Slovenija) Notranjsko-kraska(Slovenia Slovenija) Goriska(Slovenia Slovenija) Obalno-kraska(Slovenia Slovenija) Jugovzhodna Slovenija(Slovenia Slovenija) Osrednjeslovenska(Slovenia Slovenija) Extra-Regio(Slovenia Slovenija) Associated Slovenia (SLO)(Slovenia Slovenija)


Read more:

Leaflet Project's leaflet (238 KB)
Leaflet "LIFE EUROTURTLES: Collective actions fro improvin ...
Poster "LIFE EUROTURTLES: Collective actions for improvin ...
Poster Project's poster (263 KB)
Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version