Members of marine turtle convention reaffirm commitment to conservation



Posted on 06 June 2011  | 
Meeting achieves agreement on reducing bycatch in tuna fisheries

Parties to the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the members of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission ensuring greater cooperation for marine turtle conservation.

Unintended bycatch in commercial fishing gear is a significant threat to endangered marine turtles in the Americas. The agreement was signed at the bi-annual meeting of IAC parties, where representatives of member countries met to discuss and coordinate sea turtle conservation efforts.

IAC is a regional agreement that seeks the protection, conservation and recovery of marine turtle populations and their habitats. Member states include Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, and the United States.

Two countries are new members of the IAC this year, Argentina, which is in process of ratification, and Chile. Both countries have sea turtle feeding habitats in their coastal waters. The IAC Secretariat is also working to incorporate other countries with important turtle habitats such as Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Colombia, El Salvador and Dominican Republic.

WWF and other non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental conservation were active observers at the conference. Observers were given the opportunity to speak during the meeting and provide scientific expertise, an important contribution to furthering the convention's objectives.

"I am pleased to have participated as an observer as part of WWF’s mission to build capacity in the region for turtle conservation. I hope to make recommendations to relevant authorities of the added value of Guyana and Suriname joining the IAC," said Marie Louise Felix of WWF-Guianas.

IAC parties will meet every two years to evaluate the status of marine turtle populations and their habitats, and to determine appropriate conservation measures.

The magnitude of beach habitat loss predicted in the study could be the point of no return for critically endangered sea turtles like this hawksbill turtl
© WWF-Canon / Cat HOLLOWAY Enlarge

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