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Fkieren 101: Everything You Need To Know About Spotting And Caring For Malta’s Marine Turtles

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Mating season is currently underway for marine turtles in national waters, as female turtles scour for a good place to lay their nest.

Unfortunately, some turtles are still getting stuck in marine litter, with the latest incident involving ‘Shelly’, who was trapped in a plastic sack at a beach in Qawra before she was saved by 10-year-old Mira.

Lovin Malta spoke to Nature Trust Malta to gather some tips on how everyone can contribute to their protection and safeguarding.

1. Don’t litter

You’d think this is an obvious one after Malta’s very own Neil Agius swam over 120km from Linosa to Malta to raise awareness about littering.

Nature Trust urges people to dispose of plastic in the appropriate way, as marine turtles often have a tendency of mistaking plastic for jellyfish. Trash disposed of outside often makes its way back to the sea due to wind, especially given that Malta is an island.

2. Boat owners: Be careful!

Boat owners are urged to be mindful of marine turtles, as they would be in our waters during the hot summer months. Boat hits are too common, especially by high-speed vessels, and normally occur whenever a turtle rises to the surface for air.

3. Fishermen: Don’t throw away hooks and lines in the sea!

It’s extremely important that hooks and lines used for fishing are not disposed of in the sea. These can be extremely damaging to marine turtles, and ingestion of hooks often leads to death.

4. Report any injured turtles

Nature Trust urges fishermen and boat owners out at sea to get in contact with them if they ever come across an injured turtle, or accidentally capture one while fishing. They also expressed that they mostly depend on fishermen’s support to rescue injured turtles.

5. If you find turtles, don’t remove any entanglement yourself!

Nature Trust urges people not to remove any entanglement, as if it’s tight around the turtle and removed badly, it could send blood clots in circulation or activate bleeding if it’s an open wound.

6. Pick up some trash whenever you’re out

It would be truly beneficial if everyone picked up trash and disposed of it appropriately whenever they encounter it. Picking up some pieces of plastic whenever you’re at the beach can really prevent all marine creatures from ingesting plastic.

Boat owners and fishermen finding injured turtles are urged to report to Nature Trust on this number 9999 9505 and bring the turtle in until help arrives. 

Anyone who wants to help turtles under rehab or wildlife rescues can also adopt a turtle and can write to Nature Trust at [email protected]
This article was originally published on 22nd August 2021 and re-published with information on the latest case of a rescued turtle on 3rd June 2022

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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