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Turtle protection

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, January 24, 2014

THE Fisheries and Forests Ministry says it is enforcing the "No Take" policy on the harvesting of vulnerable and endangered species of sea turtles.

The reassurance from the ministry comes as it tracks two turtles via satellite tags towards the Northern Islands.

Permanent secretary Inoke Wainiqolo is also urging the public against tampering with the tags on the turtles which were released from USP last month.

"We strongly advise any member of the public who may come across these two turtles with an odd looking device and antennae to be mindful of these tracking devices and not to tamper with these special expensive equipment as they are being monitored," he said.

Every year from September to February, these sea turtles have their nesting period, and Mr Wainiqolo also requested the public to "be mindful of these current policy to protect sea turtles across Fiji waters".

Coastal communities have been asked to be vigilant as the turtles may come on to their beach to nest.

"The 10-year turtle moratorium has been established and has been in effect since 2009 until December 31, 2018, and is also currently enforced by the department and stakeholders," Mr Wainiqolo said, adding the moratorium prohibited any form of capturing, killing, handling or molesting of turtles.

At last reading, the turtles were around the Vatu-i-ra waters and heading towards the Northern Islands

Mr Wainiqolo said the high-tech equipment was useful in gathering data on travel paths and areas for sea turtle migration, within Fiji and outside Fiji waters.

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