Natura 2000 sites development
The project aims to extend the current marine areas included in the Natura 2000 network by including additional areas which are highly frequented by sea turtles. Two areas are specifically targeted. The first one is the North-Eastern Adriatic (Croatian waters), where turtles are much more abundant than in other areas of the Adriatic Sea and which is recognized as important for the species as a major foraging ground. Currently, there are no Natura 2000 sites for loggerhead turtles in Croatia while different anthropogenic threats to loggerheads occur in the area (e.g., fishing, maritime traffic, hydrocarbons extraction etc.). The second area is the Pelagian Archipelago (Italy) where an existing Natura 2000 site protects many plant and animal species, including the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta, but focusing only on the nesting sites located in Lampedusa and Linosa islands. Although worth protection, these are minor nesting sites with just few nests per year, if any. On the other hand, the Pelagian Archipelago is orders of magnitude more important for the species as a recognized major foraging ground, where several anthropogenic threats occur (e.g., fishing, maritime traffic). Therefore, new or extended marine Natura 2000 sites in these two areas would increase the protection and conservation status of the species in Italy, EU and the Mediterranean.
The project will first identify specific marine areas worth of protection and will then work with competent authorities in order to establish the new Natura 2000 sites.