La Caretta, a shelter of hope!

Dedicated to the protection of the marine environment in the Mediterranean sea, the Fonds HLD pour la Méditerranée accompanies several associations and supports in particular the Caretta project carried out by the Centre d'Étude et de Sauvegarde des Tortues Marines de Méditerranée. Jean-Baptiste Sénégas, head of the CESTMed, talks about a shared commitment... for life!
May 19, 2023
Fonds HLD Méditerranée

Turtles, fragile inhabitants of the Mediterranean sea

Injured, victims of stranding or accidental capture in fishing nets, turtles are the object of special attention in the Mediterranean because, as Jean-Baptiste Sénégas reminds us, "The Loggerhead turtle is very vulnerable (a species on the IUCN red list) and human activity can endanger it in many ways. With the help of the RTMMF* and in partnership with the Clinique Vétérinaire de Camargue we have collected and cared for more than 550 turtles since 2002.” Thus the CESTMed is a unique care center which carries out an individual follow-up of each animal with the objective of a return to the sea in the best conditions: its 11 basins of 1500 liters indeed make it possible to clean, look after and handle the tortoises before transferring them to the rehabilitation center of La Grande Motte to readapt them to the natural environment.

Welcoming, caring for AND studying...

As a committed player, the CESTMed plays a major role in the preservation and study of marine turtles by organising, for example, part of the beach survey and by helping to improve our knowledge. “Pollution is an important issue for this species," continues Jean-Baptiste Sénégas. “It is often said that turtles are 'indicators of waste at sea' and it is important to collect information on this population to take the necessary measures.” With almost 200,000 tonnes of plastic discarded each year in the Mediterranean, the stakes are indeed high! "Since 2005, we have also been equipping certain turtles with Argos tags to track them and collect data on their behaviour, their habitats and the risk zones linked to human activity. Traceability is an important element and we are also working on integrating marine turtles into the REPCET application to identify their presence and implement appropriate conservation measures," concludes Jean-Baptiste Sénégas.

La Caretta, a unique place!

Located in La Grande Motte, this space, developed with the support of the Fonds HLD pour la Méditerranée, will support the development of the CESTMED's work and strengthen the scientific dimension of the project as well as public awareness. "House of care, education, expertise, awareness... The Caretta is all of these things at the same time," explains Jean-Baptiste Sénégas. "We want to host conferences and specialists (veterinarians, carers, scientists, etc.) from all over the world to make the Caretta a place for exchange and progress on pathologies and care protocols.” The work carried out will also enable the "pathologies and care" database to be completed and best practices to be promoted to a large community.

Exhibitions, workshops, training courses, etc., the Caretta is also a lively place that aims to inform the public at large about the richness of the marine environment and to raise awareness of the challenges of preserving turtles and the Mediterranean.

With this partnership, the Fonds HLD pour la Méditerranée is pleased to support a sustainable project for the Mediterranean and to continue its involvement with a community of actors who are passionate about life, who commit us to action and who make this "common good" a treasure to defend.

* Réseau Tortues Marines de Méditerranée Française (French Mediterranean Sea Turtle Network)