. .

The regional Activities for the implementation of the Action Plan

RAC/SPA throughout the period of implementation of the Action Plan (1998 to the present) has catalysed the implementation of this Action Plan through a variety of initiatives and actions.

Assistance has been given to the countries every year in Capacity Building through the support of scientists, nominated by the countries, to attend training courses in Conservation Techniques and Beach Management held at Lara Reserve, Cyprus (these are 10 day, hands-on courses) and in Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation (Rescue Centres) at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy (these are 5-day courses).

RAC/SPA also helped directly a variety of programmes for surveying, monitoring and research in several countries (Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Turkey and others). Through cooperation with Barcelona University it helped key genetic research into loggerhead turtle populations in the Mediterranean, with very interesting and useful results.

The publication by RAC/SPA of guidelines for legislation to protect turtles, setting up and improving Rescue Centres, Sea Turtle Handling by Fishermen (the Fishermen’s Handbook), among others, was aimed at helping the Contracting Parties implement the Action Plan. These have been translated into different languages, according to needs. These can be obtained from RAC/SPA and are also downloadable from here.

In order to help with tagging issues RAC/SPA set up a tagging working group that met in Kemer (Antalya, Turkey) just before the Second Mediterranean Conference on Marine Turtles (May, 2005) and came up with a set of tagging guidelines aimed at putting tagging issues into perspective, at recommending acceptable tagging techniques and at avoiding pointless and hazardous tagging activities. The tagging recommendations of the workshop were adopted by the MAP National Focal Point meeting and ultimately by the Contracting Parties meeting.

RAC/SPA in cooperation with the Bonn and Bern Conventions organised the four Mediterranean Conferences on Marine Turtles (in Rome 2001, Kemer- Turkey 2005, Tunisia 2008, and Naples 2011) and assisted a number of researchers to participate. It was also instrumental in the publication of the Proceedings, which are available for downloading from its website.