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Editorial: Stakeholders Map Ways To Improve, Strengthen Protection Of Sea Turtles

Editorial: Stakeholders Map Ways To Improve, Strengthen Protection Of Sea Turtles
July 19
10:28 2018

The conservation of sea turtles was top of the agenda during a one day workshop involving 37 participants during the Fiji National Sea Turtle Conservation on Tuesday.

In attendance also were conservative organisations such as WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme).

They addressed difficulties faced in the protection of the endangered species and called for more dialogue between Government bodies and organisations to improve and strengthen efforts.

During the presentation by each conservative organisation at the workshop they agreed that the data collected from the monitoring of sea turtles needed to be saved and shared among their respective organisations for research purposes.

The Department of Fisheries raised that the greatest threat to sea turtles in Fiji is not traditional and subsistence harvesting, but the commercial harvesting of sea turtles for their meat which claims 400-500 Green and Hawksbill turtles each year in Fiji.

A research said that sea turtles had been on this earth for millions of years, yet their future was now threatened.

Their survival is dependent on a joint commitment by communities, governments and other key partners to reduce the threats facing them.

The challenge is to learn: about the value of turtles to Pacific culture, heritage and tradition, about their role in the unique Pacific environment and economies, and how we can ensure that turtles are cherished by future generations.

Realistically we need to engage young people to take up the challenge to save these ancient creatures from extinction.

As the Pacific’s future leaders, young people play a crucial role in protecting the unique and rich natural heritage of our beautiful islands.

Sea turtles are a key part of Pacific life: if we protect them, we also protect our heritage.

Turtles are reptiles; even though they live in the water, they have lungs and not gills so they have to come up for air regularly.

The 10-year moratorium on the sale and harvesting of sea turtles in Fiji will end in December this year.

However, the director for fisheries, Aisake Batibasaga, said the Government, through its ministry, was now in the process of formulating standard conservation methods for sea turtles so that it could be implemented when the moratorium was lifted.

Community members are reminded that at this point in time, if the ministry has evidence that someone has harvested or illegally eaten or sold turtles, they will be taken to task.

The new management on sea turtles will allow some level of tradition and cultural harvest.

The current fisheries regulations still protects sea turtles during their nesting seasons so they will be protected during the summer months from October to April.

Before December 31st this year the ministry has assured a new conservation management regulation for sea turtles will be ready.

We should all join in the protection of the sea turtles.

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj

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