Cristina Louro, Executive Director of Centro Terra Viva - Mozambique has kindly provided for circulation the annual report of marine turtle monitoring and tagging for the 2011/12 season. The following text is taken from the executive summary.
The 2011/12 season recorded a total of 1122 nest, of which about 82% were recorded in the southern part of the country, from Cabo de São Sebastião to Ponta do Ouro, and the remaining 18% of the nests were recorded in the northern part of the country, between Vamizi and Rongui islands — Quirimbas National Park. The majority of these nests were recorded between Ponta do Ouro and Cabo de Santa Maria (75%) and in the Vamizi and Rongui Islands (17%) -- once again, demonstrating the importance of these two areas as marine turtle nesting sites in Mozambique.
In terms of the number of nests laid per species, C. caretta (loggerhead turtle) was dominant (845), followed by C. mydas (green turtle, 204) and D. coriacea (leatherback turtle, 61). The area from Ponta do Ouro to Cabo de Santa Maria recorded 784 nests of C. caretta and 56 nests of D. coriacea, while Vamizi and Rongui islands recorded a total of 192 C. mydas nests.
Marine turtle eggs and hatchlings monitoring data was not included in the present report due to the fact difficulties in implementation are still being encountered, more precisely in the methods being applied to collect and record data.
On the other hand, tagging continues to be implemented but only from Ponta do Ouro to Cabo de Santa Maria and Vamizi and Rongui islands. During the current season, a total of 201 marine turtles were tagged, of which 89% were tagged in the Ponta do Ouro to Cabo de Santa Maria area. As it happened in the last season, the most tagged species was C. caretta (84%), followed by C. mydas (11%) and D. coriacea (5%).
Although slaughter of marine turtles continues to be a serious problem that occurs all along the coast, only 14 dead marine turtles were reported, which obviously represents an under estimation of the real number of marine turtles that are being killed annually. For the second consecutive season the area between Ponta do Ouro and Cabo de Santa Maria did not record any mortality caused by anthropogenic actions, possibly because the Ponta do Ouro Marine Partial Reserve (POMPR) considers marine turtle monitoring and conservation activities to be of a priority. The same can be said for the work that has been developed in the Vamizi and Rongui islands throughout the years. However, nest loss due to natural causes (mainly inundation by the sea) in Vamizi and Rongui islands is still of concern (34).
Significantly, the present report shows a reduction in the number of areas involved and supporting the monitoring and conservation programme. Areas such as Inhaca Island and Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), which conducted marine turtle monitoring during the 2011/12 season, were not able to provide monitoring data. While in areas like Macaneta, Xai-Xai and Závora to Macanza, monitoring was not conducted due to financial restrictions.
A few of the areas that did provide monitoring data, such as Zavala, Ilhas Primeiras and Segundas and Quirimbas National Park (QNP) still show data that is deficient -- demonstrating that these valuable areas require greater support in the implementation of the monitoring and conservation programme.
Finally, one of the obstacles that the monitoring and conservation programme in Mozambique is currently facing and which has been thoroughly highlighted in the last annual reports as fundamental, is the need to secure long-term financial support. It is believed that it will provide for greater collaboration, communication and data sharing between local communities, projects and institutions involved in the monitoring and conservation of marine turtles in Mozambique.
Click to download the full report, in PDF: English version (1.7 MB) Portuguese version (1.7 MB)