Saving our Global Voyagers:
Help WWF & Canon to Save the Marine Turtles
Marine turtles have travelled the sea for over 100 million years. Today, six of the seven species of marine turtles are listed as endangered or critically endangered, and the outlook is increasingly grim. Turtle populations are in steep decline in many areas, as nesting beaches are converted to holiday resorts, turtles and their eggs are over-harvested for food, and turtles are accidentally caught and killed in fishing nets.
As a result of the reduction in marine turtles, both ecosystems and people are suffering. Coral reefs and sea grass beds are among the marine ecosystems becoming unbalanced as marine turtles decline. Opportunities to create sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities through ecotourism are rapidly disappearing in many places as turtle populations plummet. The cultural importance attached to marine turtles will also fade. Only global conservation effort will ensure their survival.
Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) searching a coral reef for its favourite food: sponges. Fiji
In 1998, in recognition of the “Year of the Turtle”, the Fiji Government, in consultation with the University of the South Pacific and other non-government organisations such as WWF, developed “The Fiji Sea Turtle Conservation Strategy. Hawksbill turtles (taku) are commonly observed on coral reefs where they feed on sponges, seagrass, ascidians and soft corals. A thousand Hawksbills are thought to nest in the Pacific Ocean, which includes a Fiji breeding population of approximately 120-150. The estimated numbers of adult Hawksbill turtles for Fiji is estimated at 2-3,000. The main threats to Fiji’s sea turtle populations are from traditional harvesting of adults for ceremonial purposes, subsistence and commercial harvesting of adults, their eggs and shell, and mortality in commercial fishing nets.