Italy celebrates Tartaday for turtles

Events and release of rescued and treated ones into the sea

(ANSAmed) - ROME, AUGUST 17 - Suffocated by plastic, trapped in nets, poisoned by waste and injured by blades: marine turtles need help. Every year more than 40,000 turtles die in the Mediterranean due to accidental capture during fishing activities or due to maritime traffic, water pollution or plastic that they mistake for food. On Friday, as part of Tartaday, a day dedicated to safeguarding of marine turtles and their habitat, various partners and centers for the rescue and treatment of marine turtles taking part in the TartaLife project will be opening their doors to visitors to illustrate their work and raise awareness on the world of marine turtles. Some centers will also be releasing turtles that have been treated and are ready to return to life at sea. The events can be found at
    ''The TartLife project and its partners, which are the past five years have been working constantly, 365 days year-round, to help the conservation of marine turtles,'' said Alessandro Lucchetti of the Ancona branch of CNR-ISMAR, which is leading the project.
    ''We did this by developing and distributing low-impact fishing equipment, developing recovery centers, and training fishermen on what to do in case of accidental capture. After five years we can say that we have fishermen that are more aware, responsible, and collaborative, and this is certainly the most comforting result.'' Over 70% of the turtles recovered have plastic in their gastrointestinal tracts, mostly floating plastic that the turtles think are jellyfish.
    However, turtles have also been found with cotton swabs, pieces of nets, corks and small objects littering the sea.