Marine Turtle Monitoring On The Chekka/ Herry Beach And The Palm Island Nature Reserve (Pinr), North Lebanon
Three species of marine turtles are found in the Mediterranean, Caretta caretta (Loggerhead turtle), Chelonia mydas (Green turtle) and Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback turtle). Loggerhead and Green turtles have been recorded to nest on the Lebanese coast while the Leatherback is an occasional visitor of Lebanese coastal waters. The egg-laying season stretches from May until September with most eggs being deposited between the months of June and July. Eggs are expected to hatch 45 days after they are deposited.
Given the importance of the conservation of marine turtles in all world oceans and seas, the PINRMC that governs the daily activities of the Palm Island Nature Reserve (PINR) collaborated with the Marine Resources and Coastal Zone Management Program at the Institute of Environment, University of Balamand on a marine turtle tagging and monitoring project. NB&T Monel flipper tags with the related applicators labeled as LB-BPI 001 through 250 were ordered to tag turtles that go up the beach for nesting. The present project is thus a continuation of the marine turtle monitoring programme.
The PINR has been recognized as a very important site for nesting turtles while the Chekka/Herry beach has been long suspected as being one of the main turtle nesting beaches in Lebanon. Within this context, a turtle has been observed digging nests to lay its eggs on the Chekka/Herry beach on 12 June 2008 (please refer to photos at the end of the document for both sites). The two sites have been chosen since they represent:
1. A relatively pristine beach, the PINR
2. A heavily stressed beach, the Chekka/Herry Beach falling in an industrial area