MEDASSET, one of MIO-ECSDE’s member organizations based in Greece, having as its core mission to contribute to the conservation and protection of sea turtles in their natural habitats throughout the Mediterranean, retrieved nearly 2 tons of abandoned aquaculture nets from the seabed of the marine area near Patroklos island in the Saronic Gulf after 4 separate missions of seabed cleanups from January to March 2023.

“Ghost nets”, as are called the abandoned or lost-in-the-sea nets, are a major source of plastic marine pollution. As they are made of plastic, ghost nets stick around under the sea for hundreds of years trapping vulnerable species like sea turtles Caretta Caretta, and other marine species.

The retrieved nets were transferred to a dedicated collection point for nets and marine plastic waste in the fishing port of Lavrio, Greece, with the aim of reusing the materials through their introduction into the circular economy.

In their effort to reduce bycatch in the Mediterranean, MEDASSET partnered with 22 other organizations for the implementation of the Medbycatch project across the Mediterranean to test mitigation tools and techniques for reduction. On the 25th of May 2023, the program was awarded the first prize: The Navy-Blue Award as part of the EU4Ocean coalition #MakeEUBlue #Awards in Brest.

To sensitize the public about the lifecycle and the journey of a Caretta Caretta turtle across the Mediterranean Sea and to honor the work of some who dedicated their lives to save these emblematic species from extinction, MEDASSET produced the My Name Is Blue documentary that premiered on 17 Feb 2023. This documentary, funded by MAVA Foundation, won the Bronze award in the International Short Film category at the International Nature and Environmental Protection Film Festival Nemzetközi Természet- és Környezetvédelmi Filmfesztivál.

Phot credit: Still from the Documentary My Name is Blue

Read in French here