Three marine turtle species occur in the Mediterranean Sea. The Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest here, while the huge Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is an occasional visitor, mainly in search for food.
These three species are included in the List of Endangered and Threatened Species, annexed to the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean.
In the IUCN RED List of Threatened Species, Green turtles are classified as globally “Endangered", Loggerhead turtles as globally “Vulnerable” and Leatherback turtles as “Vulnerable”. The Mediterranean sub-population of Loggerhead turtle is assessed as “Least Concern” (LC), BUT conservation dependent. This means that if conservation efforts cease, their population will start decreasing again.
It is estimated that only about 800 green adult females and 1.800 loggerhead females nest in the Mediterranean1.
In summer, marine turtles nest on sandy beaches. Loggerheads mainly nest in Greece, Turkey, Libya and Cyprus and in smaller numbers in Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Tunisia and Italy.
Green turtles mainly nest in Turkey, Cyprus and Syria, while a few nests are recorded in Lebanon, Egypt and Israel. Important feeding and overwintering areas have been identified, however further research is needed.
1. *Hochscheid et al. (2018). Sea Turtles in the Mediterranean Region: MTSG Annual Regional Report.
The Project Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region aims to enhance the protection and conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region by reducing human-induced direct mortality. Activities are taking place in 13 Countries: Albania, Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, France,…read more
Loggerhead turtles are be found throughout the Mediterranean region, with nesting activity concentrated in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean basin and mostly in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus1. Monitoring programs of loggerhead turtle nesting have recorded about 8.500 – 11.600 nests laid…read more
Green turtles are named after the green colour of the fat under its shell and are some of the largest marine turtles, with a primarily herbivorous diet. Green turtles can be easily distinguished from loggerhead turtles by the single pair…read more
The Leatherback marine turtle is the largest of all living turtles and one of the biggest reptiles on earth. It is the only marine turtle to have a leather-like soft carapace, consisting of skin and oily flesh, which provides the…read more