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Our Ocean An Ocean of Potential

Our Ocean An Ocean of Potential

9th Our Ocean Conference Greece 2024

The idyllic city of Rethymno on the island of Crete has long been a champion of sustainable practices and environmental conservation, particularly in its efforts to protect the endangered sea turtle species, Caretta Caretta. This commitment was further solidified at the 9th Our Ocean Conference in Athens on April 16th and 17th, 2024.

Representing the Municipality of Rethymno, Executive Councilor for Tourism Kostis Gasparakis participated in the Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit, which ran parallel to the main conference. Greece's hosting of this prestigious event reaffirmed the nation's dedication to transitioning towards a "Blue Economy" – a harmonious balance between economic growth, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability. 

He mentioned that "Protecting the Caretta caretta turtles and preserving their natural habitats in Rethymno is vitally important to us. These magnificent creatures are an integral part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Through close collaboration with ARCHELON and other stakeholders, we have developed a comprehensive action plan for raising public awareness, responsibly managing tourism, and safeguarding the nesting areas. Through education and technical support, we will continue to ensure that the turtles can safely return to our shores for many generations to come."

9th Our Ocean Conference Greece 2024
Nesting of  Caretta caretta turtles

Challenges and Opportunities

The rapid growth of tourism in Rethymno posed significant challenges in balancing the city's development with the protection of its natural environment and the survival of the Caretta Caretta turtles. However, through close collaboration with ARCHELON, a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation, the Municipality of Rethymno has embraced these challenges as opportunities to raise awareness, promote responsible behavior for sustainable development.

Awareness and Education Campaigns

Information kiosks in central locations inform visitors about responsible behavior near nesting sites.
Educational programs for schoolchildren raise environmental awareness from a young age.
Sea Turtle Beach walks, Public nest excavations organized by trained ARCHELON volunteers provide hands-on learning experiences.
Integration of ARCHELON's activities into local events and festivals promotes wider outreach.

Technical Interventions

Adjustment of municipal lighting along the beachfront to prevent disorientation of hatchlings.
Installation of protective fencing around nests to safeguard them from disturbances.
Collaboration with hotels to manage nesting sites on their beachfronts responsibly.

Awareness and Education Campaigns
Caretta caretta turtle

Despite the uncertainties posed by global challenges such as climate change and regional conflicts, the Municipality of Rethymno remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainable coexistence with the Caretta Caretta turtles.  Rethymno aims to safeguard the future of these magnificent creatures while promoting responsible tourism practices and environmental stewardship.

Rethymno's efforts to protect the Caretta Caretta turtles and promote sustainable tourism serve as a model for other destinations worldwide. By fostering a deep connection with nature and embracing collaborative approaches, Rethymno has successfully balanced economic development with environmental conservation, ensuring that the sea turtles continue to return to its shores for generations to come.

City of Rethymno

You are invited to travel to areas, which are perhaps still unknown to the majority, and which are sometimes remote, but always magical and magnificent throughout the seasons. We recommend our visitors to see our picturesque villages through the eyes of the soul, try the Cretan cuisine, our wine and “tsikoudia”, participate in our revelries and festivities, but most importantly get to know our soul, our hospitality, the safe, untouched interior of the region, the other Rethymno.
Rethymno Guide       visitgreece2
small map of Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
Department of Tourism
  tourism (@)
  +30 28310 21459
  +30 28310 21459
  21 El. Venizelou Str, 74100, Rethymno, Crete, Greece

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