European Commission takes Greece to court over failure to protect sea turtles

The European Commission on Friday announced that it is taking Greece to court over its failure to impose legislation for the protection of the Caretta-caretta loggerhead sea turtle, an endangered species that is endemic to the southern Ionian Sea and which nests there.

The case specifically concerns Kyparissia Bay in the Western Peloponnese, one of the most important nesting sites for loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean, and an area protected under EU legislation.

“A high number of developments and construction activities are being tolerated and given permits in the area, and the developments are having a significant negative effect on the endangered turtles. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is referring the case to the EU Court of Justice,” it said in a statement.

The European Commission first voiced concerns about the situation in Kyparissia Bay, an area protected under Natura 2000, in 2011 and followed up with recommendations a year later.

“The Commission has learned that construction developments are continuing and that the turtles’ habitats protected under EU legislation are suffering as a result. As the 2014 nesting season is about to begin, it has therefore been decided to call Greece before the European Court of Justice,” Friday’s statement read.