The impact of fishing activities is considered as the most important anthropogenic mortality factor for marine turtle populations in the Mediterranean Sea. The Barcelona Convention adopted an Action Plan for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Turtles in 1989, acknowledging that catches by fishermen are the most serious threat to the turtles at Sea and that their conservation deserved special priority. In the Mediterranean, interactions of sea turtles with fishing gears, including trawl nets, are still insufficiently studied. Surface longline, driftnet and bottom trawl nets operating in the Mediterranean are the major threats to the survival of this species, even if the impact of fixed gears (gillnets and trammel nets) should be carefully considered.
Several countries (22 Mediterranean and 15 non-Mediterranean) are usually fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, and an undefined number of small boats are really active in non-EU countries. Thus the fishing effort in this area is a key factor to take into account in considering the turtle bycatch.