Winner of LIFE Citizens’ Prize 2021


Preventing sea turtles from getting caught up in fishing nets.

As the Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most overfished sea, it also has the highest sea turtle by-catch rate. TARTALIFE reduced the numbers of sea turtles being caught up in fishing nets along 15 Italian coastal areas. They encouraged 1 290 local fishermen to use circular hooks instead of traditional sharper ones. This reduced the number of sea turtles being caught by up to 40%. The team also used ultraviolet LED lamps as a deterrent, collapsible fish pots to replace nets, and special turtle excluder devices, which stopped turtles from being accidentally captured. They launched a ‘Turtle Safe’ quality certification for fishing vessels. Nearly one million tourists were targeted through 6 000 events, boosting awareness of the challenges the sea turtle faces.

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Scienze Marine
Italy (interest for replication from institutions in Slovenia, France, Croatia and US)