This month we are delighted to present a Profile that describes the work of the Kenya-based “Local Ocean Trust – Watamu Turtle Watch”. Combining in situ nest protection with a by-catch release programme and community outreach / education, LOT-WTW has put in place the essential ingredients of an exemplary turtle conservation programme. We hope to feature a more detailed article on LOT-WTW’s innovative by-catch release programme in the coming months.
For many in the global sea turtle community, the International Sea Turtle Symposium held in Baltimore was the main event of February. A feature article summarises some of the interesting aspects of the gathering from an IOSEA perspective. Here in Bangkok, the sixteenth meeting of CITES’ Conference of the Parties (COP16) will take center stage for the first half of March. The Coordinator will be involved as part of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) delegation.
The so-called “parallel process” to elicit suggestions of potential candidate sites for the IOSEA Site Network has gathered momentum over the past month, with many new contributions (or promises of same) received by the Secretariat. These have been compiled into a master list that will be circulated shortly for wider review and comment.
The Secretariat has recently taken on board some much needed temporary help to support these and other efforts. Ms. Siri Quade (who will be with us through the end of March) has been compiling information on a number of candidate sites, as a demonstration of how to complete the Site Information Sheets required in the formal nomination process. She has also been capturing GoogleEarth images of many of the potential candidate sites, which will be posted online shortly. Additionally, Ms. Pishum Migraine has just begun a five-month internship which will involve a variety of tasks, including compiling information on fisheries interacting with marine turtles in the IOSEA region, and we will benefit also from her native French language skills.
The News Headlines in February include, among others: an alarming report on the steep decline in nesting of leatherback turtles at a key site in Indonesia, a significant study from India documenting high levels of habitat destruction and predation by humans and animals, positive news of a recently discovered loggerhead rookery in Western Australia, and a reference to important research examining turtle resilience to climate change impacts. Also, the Message Board contains links to a half-dozen interesting new items gleaned from partner organisations.
Before closing, we would like to acknowledge the voluntary contributions to the IOSEA programme recently received from the Governments of Oman and Maldives, as well as steps initiated in Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand that hopefully will bear fruit in the coming weeks and months.
Finally, it’s time to sound like a broken record: If you have news to share about sea turtle conservation activities of interest to others working in the IOSEA region, please consider contributing a feature article to the IOSEA website – that’s what it’s there for!