Sea turtles data needed for research purposes

Participants at the Fiji National Sea Turtle Conservation Workshop in Suva on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Picture: SUPPLIED

CONSERVATION organisations that presented at the Fiji National Sea Turtle Conservation Workshop today agreed that the data collected from the monitoring of sea turtles needed to be saved and shared among respective organisations for research purposes.

This was highlighted in a Government statement issued this afternoon saying the workshop aimed to share information and resources to improve the conservation of sea turtles.

The workshop, which was attended by known conservation 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), addressed difficulties faced in the protection of the endangered species and called for more dialogue between government bodies and organisations to improve and strengthen existing efforts.

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

The department also highlighted that they have working groups in place that create awareness and advocacy, conduct research and monitoring and most importantly provide enforcement.

Meanwhile, while addressing the workshop participants this morning, Ministry of Fisheries director Aisake Batibasaga said they (stakeholders) needed to all work together in order monitor and grow the sea turtle population in Fiji.

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