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Home» Feature (Archive) » 25 July 2006

Myanmar conducts marine turtle research on Coco Island 25 Jul 2006

A series of research programs on marine turtle conservation have been conducted by Myanmar’s Department of Fisheries, in collaboration with the Marine Fisheries Resources Development and Management Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.

Data collection on tissue samples of green turtles for population genetic and tagging studies was conducted by research team from the Department of Fisheries at Coco Island from March to April 2006. During their stay on the island, the researchers also organized a Marine Turtle Conservation Training Workshop for fishermen, government staff and local authorities.


Myanmar is a signatory to the IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU, which was developed under the aegis of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Since its adoption of IOSEA, Myanmar has accelerated her momentum on the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats. 

Coco Island Research 

Coco Island lies 260 miles from Yangon and is a well-known and important area for turtle nesting in Yangon Division.  Many green turtles nest on the beaches of the island, which has two main areas for nesting: a two mile stretch on the northern part of the island and a three mile stretch along the southern part. 

The geographical location of the port of Coco Island is Longitude 93 22.21' 4" E and Latitude 14 08.39' 6" N.  The western turtle beach is Longitude 93 21.55' 6" E and Latitude 14 06.24' 4" N. Water salinity is between 24 ppt to 28 ppt. 

In recognition of the importance of Coco Island to green turtles, researchers from the Department of Fisheries conducted a marine turtle conservation survey at the nesting areas from 27 March to 4 May 2006. Prior to this, Coco Island had never been surveyed for marine turtle conservation by Department of Fisheries due its remote location and the lack of transportation and communication on the island. The survey found in the areas an estimated 150 sea turtles nesting and between 90,000 and 100,000 hatchlings and juveniles. 

Training Workshop

Since Coco Island is isolated from the mainland, communities on the island mainly rely on traditional fishing activities such as diving for sea cucumber and trochus shell, trapping fish, etc. Due to the rich resources of the marine turtle, the illegal collection of marine turtle eggs also occurs.
During a survey trip to Coco Island, the DOF researcher team organized a one-day training workshop in collaboration with the island authorities to educate and share knowledge on marine turtle conservation with the island communities. Talks on the importance of marine turtle conservation were made by U Cho Hla Aung, the research team leader, and photo and video shows were conducted by his team members. 

There was also an exchange views and a discussion on marine turtle conservation between the researchers and interested people from the communities. Although the training workshop period was short, it seemed that the fishermen and community gained some knowledge on the importance of marine turtle conservation for sustainable fisheries development in their respective areas. 

Text source and photos:

Maung Maung Lwin
Senior Fisheries Officer
Myanmar Department of Fisheries
Email: fisheries@myanmar.com.mm


UNEP © IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU Secretariat, c/o UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
United Nations Building, Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok, 10200, Thailand
Tel: + (662) 288 1471 ; Fax: + (662) 288 3041 / 288 1029; E-mail: IOSEA Secretariat
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