Slovenian Cases

Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

a joint effort of scientists, fishermen and an oil company in the protection of an endangered species

Key words:
public participation
public – private partnership

The sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is one of the most known as well as one of the most threatened species of Mediterranean. Contrary to the common belief, it is rather frequent guest of the Slovenian sea. The sea turtles nest on the coasts of Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Northern Adriatic is for them one of the two most important feeding areas in the Mediterranean. They appear in the Slovenian sea mostly in the warm part of a year, between April and November. Shallow Slovenian sea is a suitable feeding area for young turtles – in their first life stage they feed on floating organisms, later they feed exclusively on organisms from the sea bottom. Shallowness of Slovenian sea enables an easy change of feeding habits even to very young turtles, therefore the Slovenian sea is of crucial importance for their survival.

Project Description:
Project “Saving a sea turtle in the Slovenian sea” has an informative and awareness rising character. Still, collecting and supplememnting data also helps to prepare and execute a national action plan for conservation of sea turtles as it is directed in the Action Plan for the Conservation of Mediterranean marine Turtles, which was adopted by the signers of the Barcelona convention in the year 1989.

Under the title “Sea turtle seeks friends” an informative leaflet and a poster were prepared. The main goal is to raise public knowledge and awareness - especially of the Slovenian fishermen and other sea users – about the importance of the sea turtle for preservation of biodiversity of the Slovenian sea. The fishermen’s cooperation within the project is of crucial importance, because they are the ones who frequently meet with sea turtles, ussually when the turtles get caught in their nets by accident. In the past, the fishermen were not motivated to report on the captured sea turtles. Nowadays, the oil company Petrol guarantees them a symbolic award (a coupon for 50 litres of oil and a T-shirt with the project’s logo) for every given report.

With the help of data provided by fishermen, it will be possible to define more precisely the sea turtle’s status in the Slovenian sea, the importance of the northern Adriatic for its preservation, and it will also ensure that our sons and grandsons will encounter sea turtles in the Slovenian sea as well. Along with legislative protection, the first condition for successful preservation of the sea turtle is good knowledge of their life habits and nesting areas, their reproduction and feeding characteristics, their migration routes, and their areas of wintering.

Photo: Arhiv Morske
biološke postaje Piran
Results, Who, Where, When
Project received public affection and even the number of found or captured sea turtles is higher then in previous years (28 turtles in 2003 and 17 in 2004). This is a clear proof that the project is successful and that the main goal - to raise public awareness - is achieved. Unfortunately, most of the turtles found or captured were not alive any more.

At the same time, the project is a sample of a good partnership between public sector (Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning) and buiseness (oil company Petrol) that started on the 22nd of March 2003 with an agreement on partnership cooperation in the sustainable use of waters in Slovenia. Partnership gives benefits to both partners involved – to the stockholder’s company as well as to the public respectively to the local community. Project is carried out by the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, Regional Office Piran, and it is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and oil company Petrol.

Photo: Donja Rashed

Further information
Good partnership must be based on enabling benefits for all partners involved. In this case everybody benefits: public sector, company, fishermen, common public and nature.


What are different opportunities for partnership between public and business sector in order to preserve the nature?


Prepared by:
IIDE – Institute for Integral Development and Environment (Marta Vahtar, Maja Zdesar and Miran Rusjan)