Turtle lays eggs at Ramla Bay; First time in 70 years

Nature Trust / Facebook

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A loggerhead turtle laid eggs on Ramla Bay in Gozo on Friday night, in what was the first recorded and confirmed nest in Gozo in 70 years.

The news was announced by Nature Trust on Facebook, saying that the loggerhead turtle was spotted emerging from the sea at around 10pm and left around 90 minutes later, at 11.30am.

Nature Trust dispatched its volunteers within a short time of being informed about the nesting.

The Environment and Resources Authority was informed and will now decide on how to best protect the turtle eggs until they hatch. Nature Trust is expected to rope in volunteers to keep guard of the hatching site. The eggs are expected to hatch some time between the middle and end of July.

Loggerhead turtles have been seen nesting in Malta in 2012, 2014 and 2018. 111 out of 112 eggs hatched in 2018.

The NGO has urged the public to keep distance from the nest and to observe directives issued by ERA.

Eggs will be monitored – ERA

The eggs will be monitored, the Environment and Resources Authority said on Saturday morning following the reports of the nesting. ERA officials went on site and confirmed that eggs had been laid. The authorities will now assess the situation in order to decide on the immediate measures that are needed to safeguard the nest.

ERA reminded that the destruction of eggs or taking of eggs from the wild is strictly prohibited and constitutes a criminal offence. The national ‘Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations’ sets a minimum fine of nearly €500 and can go up to nearly €2,400 for each egg that may be destroyed or taken from the wild.

The area where the loggerhead turtles has laid its eggs is also a protected area under the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549) and a Natura 2000 site through the EU Habitats Directive.

The environmental watchdog is expected to issue an Emergency Conservation Order which would allow the authority to implement direct measures aimed at protecting the nesting area.

ERA has called on the public to cooperate in order to reduce the negative impact which may pose a threat to the turtle eggs. Excessive noise and trampling in the nesting area as well as unnecessary artificial lighting may pose a danger to turtle eggs and any hatchlings which may emerge.

Any illegality should be reported immediately to ERA on 99210404 or ced.nature@era.org.mt.