MEDASSET

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MEDASSET, the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles, was founded in 1988 by Lily Venizelos. It is registered as a non-profit organization in Greece and as a charity and private company in the UK.[1] MEDASSET is an environmental organization dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles and their habitats in the Mediterranean. MEDASSET aims to raise public awareness and acts as a lobbying actor on a national and European level.[2] The organisation has been a Partner to the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) of UNEP[3] and a Permanent Observer-member of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe since 1988. The group says its mission is “To win a place for sea turtles in the hearts of the public and to establish them as a flagship species for the conservation needs of marine and coastal biotopes throughout the Mediterranean region”.

Founder

Theresia Georgia Venizelos, the founder of the organization, has been devoting the last two decades to the protection, study and conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean region.[4] Her interest in sea turtles protection begun in 1983 when, she started a campaign for the protection of turtle nesting in Laganas Bay on the island of Zakynthos.[5] Since that time, she has been involved in several lobbying campaigns intended to secure protective measures for Caretta Caretta. In particular she supported the creation of the Zakynthos Marine Park, home to the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta Caretta).

Conservation approach

MEDASSET’s current strategy to achieve its vision consists in identifying sea turtles as an agent for the protection of all species that share the same ecosystem. Its main aim is to increase public concern for turtle conservation and to act as a lobbying and campaigning actor on a national and European level.[2]

Regions

MEDASSET is currently active in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Syria.

Awareness campaigns

  • Poster Exhibition “Inspired by the Marine Environment”: for MEDASSET 25th anniversary the last of three exhibitions was shown at Athens International Airport. These initiative was the result of design competition during November and December 2012 in cooperation with AKTO, College of Art and Design. The exhibition was designed to raise awareness of the degradation of the marine environment and to promote the need to protect the Mediterranean Sea.[6]
  • "You See the Difference. A Turtle Does Not.": For the celebration of the World Turtle Day on May 23, 2012, MEDASSET worked on the creation of a poster for their campaign to raise awareness about the devastating effects of plastic bags on marine life. The poster has since been shared by dozens of institutions and groups throughout the world and has gone viral on Facebook.[7]
  • Join in & Clean up: Since 2011 the "Join In and Clean Up" campaign is carried out by MEDASSET in collaboration with the environmental programme "Mission Water" of the Coca-Cola System in Greece (Coca-Cola HBC and Coca Cola Hellas) under UNEP/MAP umbrella. The aim of this campaign is to raise public awareness towards the devastating effects of littering of Greek beaches. Community involvement was encouraged, especially among schools and youth groups. In 2013 12 clean-ups toke place in Greece on 17,6 klm of coastline. 2,541 volunteers were involved and 3,530 kg of debris were collected.
  • Small garbage: Since 1998, MEDASSET has been campaigning about 'Small Garbage'. This initiative has been carried put especially in schools through presentations, distribution of educational material and clean-up activities.

References