There are 8 species of sea turtles are living in the world. These turtles are Dermochelys coriacea (Leatherback Turtle), Chelonia mydas (Green Turtle), Chelonia agassizii (Black Turtle), Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Turtle), Ertmochelys imbricate (Hawksbill Turtle), Lepidochelys olivace (Olive Ridley), Lepidochelys kempii (Kemp’s Ridley), Natator depressus (Flatback Turtle) (Lutz and Musick, 1997). Two of these species (C.caretta and C.mydas) are nesting on the beaches of the Mediterranean coast of Turkey (Baran and Kasperek, 1989).
Three species of marine turtle – Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea – have been reported from Turkish waters (Baran and Kasparek 1989; Baran et al., 1998; Taşkavak et al., 1998; Sönmez et al., 2008). Only the first two are known to nest on the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean, whereby green turtle nesting is mostly limited to a few eastern beaches. Baran and Kasparek (1989) conducted the first comprehensive survey of the Turkish Mediterranean coast for turtle nesting sites. Their primary objective was to locate nesting sites and to assess their relative importance. More recently, a series of population studies have been carried out on selected beaches, and problems affecting the turtles there were determined. The studies carried up to date covers all nesting sites and information on those nesting beaches are available. In spite of some regional studies (Oruç, 2001) the main information gap at present is the interaction of fisheries and marine turtles in Turkey. The overall mortality and/or injury rate of captured turtle is still unknown.
The Mediterranean coasts of Turkey are important nesting grounds for both loggerhead and green turtles. Turtle nesting mainly occurs in a region over a coast length of 2577 km, of which 606 km are beaches (Baran & Kasparek, 1989). Based on the nest numbers, Turkey holds the most important green turtle stocks (Kasparek et al. 2001) and the second most important loggerhead turtle stocks (Margaritoulis et al. 2003) in the Mediterranean. The loggerhead turtle is categorized as endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (IUCN, 2003). The survival of this species primarily depends on the nesting beaches as well as on the protection of mating, feeding, migration and wintering grounds. Predation, tidal inundation and tourism constitute the major impacts on sea turtle populations (Magnuson et al., 1990). Generally, relocation (i.e., Başkale and Kaska, 2005), fencing and screening (i.e., MacDonald et al., 1994), head starting (i.e., Bell and Parsons, 2002), chemical control, and trapping or shooting of predators (Stanyck, 1982) are used for protection of sea turtle nests and hatchlings. The breeding season starts in early June and extends to early October. The peak nesting occurs in June or July depending on a beach and species. The hatching season usually starts after the second week of July.