January 21, 2022 6:05 pm

The Canary Islands create a care protocol for the stranding of sea turtles


The Ministry of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the Government of the Canary Islands has presented this Friday the protocol for the attention to the stranding of sea turtles, a document co-financed with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) that, according to its regional manager, José Antonio Valbuena, “will serve to standardize the criteria for action and data recording that are followed in this type of action”.

In this sense, the counselor explained that the Government of the Canary Islands delegated the reception of stranded animals to the island councils and wanted to highlight the great work that is being carried out on their part in this regard.

“The regional Executive is responsible for the inspection, control and monitoring of the work of the island administrations and from there arises the need to establish a common protocol of action that allows us to know in detail the work carried out and to be able to analyze the different data” , he pointed.

For his part, the regional vice-councilor for the Fight against Climate Change, Miguel Ángel Pérez, indicated that sea turtles are one of the indicator species of the presence of marine litter in the Spanish Marine Strategies, so it was of vital importance to order the Obtaining and recording the data on attention to strandings of this species.

“This protocol sets out a series of guidelines and recommendations for action against any stranded sea turtle in the Canary Islands and utilities as a ‘check list’ of actions and materials necessary for the attention of a stranding, based on the information extracted from the strandings of the last 30 years and in the great experience and knowledge acquired by the personnel responsible for the island councils, “added Pérez.

The regional vice councilor also emphasized that “the standardization of data collection will allow long-term monitoring of the main threats to sea turtles in the waters of the Canary Islands, as well as identifying new impacts that may arise in the future.”

Furthermore, the incorporation of the RedPROMAR application in the systems of attention to stranding of sea turtles in the Canary Islands will allow the photographs of each beached specimen to be recorded and stored in an organized manner, taken at the place and time of its location.


The Canary archipelago is in the migratory passage of several species of sea turtles, such as the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) or the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and can even be considered a temporary residence for other species, such as the green turtle. (Chelonia mydas).

Unlike what happens in the rest of the national and European marine demarcations in which 80% of stranded specimens are dead, in the Canary Islands 82.9% of sea turtles stranded alive.

Therefore, it is necessary that the action against the stranding of sea turtles is highly effective in order to allow the recovery of the largest number of specimens.

The great strength of these animals, together with the experience acquired by the personnel responsible for the Canary Islands, have allowed us to obtain great success in the recovery of these animals, which is over 70% of cases.

In the Canary Islands, the species with the most strandings is the loggerhead turtle (96.7%), followed by a lower number of juvenile green turtles (1.9%) and leatherback turtles (1%).

There are also records of other species, considered sporadic in the Canary Islands, such as the 18 records of hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), 3 records of olive sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and 1 single specimen of olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempi), which recently ranged in the Tenerife island.

The stranding of sea turtles on the Canary coasts is a frequent phenomenon, mainly due to the anthropogenic impact that is being exerted on them.

Thus, an adequate, constant and homogeneous data collection of the stranded specimens, allows to deepen the study of their biology and ecology, which can help to improve the conservation and management strategies of these species and their habitat.

The main threat that impacts sea turtles located in the Canary Islands is marine debris (46.3% of the records), in which the animals become entangled or entangled causing significant injuries to the neck and fins, even causing them to lose any of its fins.


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