The Government of Pakistan has established a “National Committee for Conservation of Marine Turtles” by way of a resolution published in the Gazette of Pakistan. As announced by Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forests, Ministry of Climate Change, the committee aims to ensure the conservation of marine turtles in accordance with the IOSEA Conservation and Management Plan, and to enhance cooperation and coordination among different government and non-government sectors in the conservation or marine turtles and their habitats in Pakistan.
The Committee will be chaired by the Inspector General of Forests, and will comprise members from relevant federal and provincial government agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations and institutions. The former include the Conservator Wildlife (Ministry of Climate Change, Islamabad), the Chief Conservator South (Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department - Quetta), and Conservator Wildlife (Sindh Wildlife Department – Karachi). Additionally, the committee will include representatives of the Marine Fisheries Department (Karachi), Sindh Fisheries Department, and Balochistan Fisheries Department. Representatives of WWF-Pakistan, IUCN-Pakistan, the Center of Excellence in Marine Biology (CEMB - University of Karachi), and the National Institute of Oceanography, Karachi, will round out the committee’s composition.
The Secretariat congratulates the Government of Pakistan for having taken this initiative to better coordinate marine turtle conservation activities in the country, and hopes that resources can be mobilised to enable the committee to meet regularly and conduct its important business.
The Ministry has also confirmed the appointment of Dr. Fehmida Firdous, Deputy Conservator Wildlife, Sindh Wildlife Department (Karachi) as Pakistan’s official Focal Point to IOSEA. Having worked in the field of marine turtle conservation for over three decades – and the first Pakistani to hold a PhD in marine turtles – Fehmida is known as “The Turtle Lady of Pakistan”. In 2007, the President awarded her the Pride of Performance, the country’s highest civil award, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to conservation.
Fehmida is also no stranger to IOSEA, having represented Pakistan in the Third Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States back in 2005. The Secretariat welcomes her renewed engagement with IOSEA and we look forward to working with her again in the months ahead.