THE Ibero will head a fleet of 30 boats which will sail around the Balearics, to raise awareness to the danger of extinction facing turtles through fishing methods. The boats will also rescue and cure injured turtles.

The Ibero belongs to La Caixa and details of the campaign were announced yesterday by Xavier Bertolin, director for the environment, and Roberto Leporace, the bank's executive director in the Balearics.

The boats will also draw up the first acoustic map of the Balearic seabed, said Bertolin, who added that it was a necessary measure as “cetaceans capture different noises to those of their natural environment and this affects their capacities.” He went on to say that the interest of this study lies in getting to know the increase in acoustic pollution in the islands during the summer, as a result of the increase in maritime traffic.

The scientific team on board the Ibero will work in collaboration with the other boats to capture 13 turtles which will be fitted with transmitters so that they can be tracked.

Bertolin explained that this would allow them to “measure the level of mortality of the turtles accidentally captured by fishing nets, after they have been cured and returned to the sea.

The Ibero will sail around the Balearic coasts until the end of September, when it will leave to continue its work in the Western Mediterranean.