Emergency conservation order for turtle nest site
Ġnejna Bay is out of bounds for barbeques, music and pets and any deep holes dug in the sand by swimmers have to be filled in before they leave.
The instructions were issued yesterday by the planning authority to ensure maximum protection for the site where a turtle laid 79 eggs on Wednesday.
The emergency conservation order prohibits various activities and is valid for six months.
Caravans and cars cannot enter the designated area, camping and bonfires are prohibited and only manual beach cleaning is allowed.
Much to the surprise of swimmers, a loggerhead turtle crawled on to the beach on Wednesday night, dug a hole and laid 79 eggs. Loggerhead turtles were protected by national and international legislation, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority said.
“Capture, killing, taking, keeping, trade and the deliberate disturbance of these species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and migration, is prohibited,” Mepa said.
This is the first time in almost 100 years that a nesting turtle has been officially recorded here.
The planning authority said the last confirmed scientific record of a turtle laying its eggs in the Maltese islands was way back in 1915. A similar event was reported some 50 years ago but no scientific records exist to substantiate the claim.
A surveillance system is in place at Ġnejna, operated by Mepa, the Malta Resources Authority and environmental group Nature Trust.
Mepa advised the public to report any evidence of marine turtles on 2290 7102 during office hours or else 9921 0404/9938 1811 at other times.