The World Wildlife Fund/Adena yesterday launched Operation Turtle which will target Spain's Mediterranean coast and the Balearics over the next few months. WF/Adena said yesterday that each year, as many as 35.000 turtles get caught in fishing trawler nets and as many as 300.000 are killed each year across the world. Yesterday WWF/Adena launched its fifth annual campaign and will be touring Spanish and Balearics ports to alert people to the dangers and to increase the public's awareness as to how everyone can help save the turtle. While fishing fleets are the biggest threat, any form of plastic thrown into the sea is a potential killer for a turtle. Often the animal will mistake plastic bags etc. for a jelly fish, one of its main sources of food, but once the turtle has swallowed the plastic, it often blocks up the animals internal organs leading to its death. The erosion of the beaches is also putting the turtles at peril as the animals are finding it increasingly difficult to find safe places to lay their eggs. Of the 22.000 to 35.000 turtles caught each year in fishing nets, 24 per cent die, 37 per cent are seriously injured and the rest manage to survive. Secretary general of WWF/Adena, Carlos del Olmo said yesterday during the presentation of the campaign, that the co-operation of Spanish fishing fleets to help save the turtle is vital, as well as the help of the general public. WWF/Adena volunteers will set sail on a Spanish Mediterranean tour, visiting key areas where information tents will be mounted on the beaches and leaflets distributed, alerting the public to the crusdade to save the turtle from extinction.

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