Marcos Pereira, Director General of the Association for Coastal and Marine Research (Associacao para Investigacao Costeira e Marinha - AICM) has kindly shared the Mozambique Marine Turtle Monitoring, Tagging and Conservation Report for 2009/10.
A total of 933 marine turtle nests were reported for the 2009/10 season. About 77% of these nests were reported from the area between Ponta do Ouro and Inhaca Island and about 16% from Vamizi and Rongui islands. These two areas proved once more to be very important marine turtle nesting grounds in Mozambique.
The loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) was the dominant species with 666 nests laid, followed by the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), with 83 nests, and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), with ten. There were, however, a high number of nests recorded (174) where no positive identification of the species was provided, especially at Vamizi and Rongui islads (information not discriminated to species level). Nevertheless, and taking in to account the records from previous seasons, it is believed that the majority of these nests were laid by green turtles.
The area from Ponta do Ouro to Inhaca Island, which was practically covered in its total length this season, proved to be the most important nesting ground in the country for loggerheads and leatherbacks (respectively 642 and 74 nests). Vamizi and Rongui islands were the most important nesting ground for green turtles.
Some components of the program, namely egg and hatchling monitoring, is still facing difficulties and is not functioning properly. Further attention should be given to this component in the following seasons.
The tagging program is being implemented a bit more cautiously, in order to ensure better quality of
the data collected. In a few areas, tagging programs are being implemented with consistency, good
quality and are actually expanding. This is the case at: Ponta do Ouro – Ponta Malongane, Ponta Malongane – Ponta Dobela and Vanizi and Rongui islands. In this season, 171 tagging events were
recorded, of which 60% in the Ponta Malongane – Ponta Dobela area.
Marine turtle poaching and collection of eggs is still a fact, despite being prohibited by law for 45 years. This takes place along the whole coastline, although, according to the data collected, some areas are particularly worrying -- such as Inhambane, Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago and Macaneta. These places are deemed of high importance for tourism development in the country.
Growth in the number of areas covered by the program is apparent as well as the consolidation of
the work conducted. However, the central and northern regions of the country still show great deficiencies with regard to marine turtle monitoring and conservation. The data provided are of low quality or, in the case of the Quirimbas National Park, non-existent. Only at Vamizi and Rongui islands is there a systematic monitoring and tagging program going on, although the information provided this year was not sufficiently detailed.
Lastly, the need for further funding for marine turtle conservation in the country should be highlighted. The participation of the private sector in all areas of activity should be encouraged, following the example of a few companies of the tourism sector which support with success the monitoring program in a few areas (for example Ponta do Ouro, Malongane and Vamizi). This is deemed important to ensure the continuity of the local monitoring teams. Additionally, there is a need to ensure the proper long-term planning, execution and continuity of the program as a whole, including the purchase of materials and equipment.
Click to download the full report in PDF (1,9 MB)