Marine Turtle Conservation Moves into High Gear
Coastal development and harmful fishing activities under the spotlight
Bali/Bangkok, 20 August 2008 - An innovative regional agreement is beginning to turn the tide for the 'ancient mariners' of the world's oceans.
Marine turtles traverse the seas for thousands of kilometers, returning after decades to nest in the same area where they entered the world as tiny hatchlings.
They are threatened by degradation of critical habitats on land, interaction with fishing gear at sea, and excessive harvesting of eggs and for meat.
A new report, prepared for a forthcoming meeting in Bali of 27 signatories to a region-wide turtle conservation agreement, gives the most comprehensive picture to date of how well countries have been tackling these problems.
Douglas Hykle, who coordinates the agreement's activities from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) office in Bangkok, said national reports clearly show signatory states are making efforts to monitor, manage and protect their marine turtle populations.
"Participating countries have made progress in many areas, but there is still room for improvement. Many have yet to clearly describe their resource needs and to mobilise sufficient funding for domestic implementation; and only a few are carrying the burden of supporting international coordination efforts," he said.
Examples of progress include Australia, which has multi-million dollar programmes in place to support the development of community-driven approaches to turtle conservation and to find solutions to the problem of ghost nets.
Indonesia is carrying out advanced research to identify interactions between fisheries and turtles and to work with industry to mitigate impact.
The Seychelles has devised innovative approaches to involve the private sector in practical conservation measures
Official delegations from more than 30 countries are expected to attend the Bali conference.
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