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WWF, in alliance with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and other partners, is carrying out a program to reduce the bycatch of sea turtles on longlines that capture tuna, sharks, swordfish and mahi-mahi. A program to exchange J-type fishhooks for circular ones that capture fewer turtles includes training about the proper handling and release of turtles aboard vessels. The program includes working with fishery agencies, fishers and NGOs of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. This program is essential for making bold steps toward the sustainability of this fishery. Furthermore WWF is testing adaptation measures to temperature and sea level rise in nestings beaches, like Junquillal in Costa Rica, and Galápagos, Ecuador.

More information:, Julio Mario Fernández, Communications Coordinator for the Bycatch Program,, Bogotá, Colombia, Tel + 57 (2) 558 25 77 Ext 117


WWF coordinates an alliance of partners for the conservation of the Atlantic leatherback, focusing on designing measures to reduce bycatch through knowledge about the migration routes of these reptiles. More than 24 satellite transmitters have been deployed on turtles in Panama, Surinam, Brazil, Uruguay, Gabon, and in international waters by the project. Previously unknown migration routes for leatherbacks in the southern Atlantic have been revealed. Argentina will be attaching transmitters on leatherbacks for the first time in the coming months. In FY10, WWF French Guiana will host the final, collective analysis workshop of partners to generate spatio-temporal recommendations for leatherback bycatch reduction.

More information:
Ana Fonseca, Marine and Species Program Officer,, San José, Costa Rica, tel. +506-22348434.


WWF and the MacArthur Foundation are advancing the regional program for adaptation to climate change for sea turtles and their ecosystems. Scientific information about the impacts of climate change on seas and coasts is being compiled and organized to produce an adaptation toolkit for marine turtles and their associated ecosystems and coastal communities. ,

More information:, Marianne Fish, Marine and Coastal Adaptation Leader for Latin America and the Caribbean,, Vancouver, Canada, tel. +1 604 678 5152 ext. 6655


WWF has focused its marine conservation efforts on the promotion of sustainable tourism and fisheries, as well as strengthening the creation of a network of marine protected areas. Moreover, it has supported alternatives for two fishing communities affected by the closure of the sea turtle fishery since 2007, including improvements to their fishing gear and the exploration of ecotourism options based on nesting turtles. Outstanding recommendations for our WWF work in Cuba are: illegal tortoise shell trade (TRAFFIC should be engaged), adaptation of nesting and feeding sites to climate change, and consolidating some sites in Cuba as turtle tourism destinations. Also, the fate of the Cuban stockpile of hawksbill shell is uncertain in the CITES arena.

More information:
José Luis Gerhartz,
Director of the WWF Cuba office, la Habana, tel. +53 7 2049016


WWF finances and equips projects and activities for the conservation of species and habitats in the Gulf of California, which has been described as the world’s aquarium. It promotes the use of better fishing technologies to prevent harm to ecosystems and the incidental capture of endangered species, encourages cooperation among institutions, and it helped reform the General Law of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (2007). It also supports the consolidation of organizations such as Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. and helps communities improve their quality of life with economic alternatives and incentives such as the eco-certification obtained by the red lobster fishery of Baja California. It has a conservation program for marine species (whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, billfish and the critically endangered vaquita). In the Mesoamerican Reef, the second most important barrier reef in the world, WWF supported the Action Plan that led to the establishment of the Inter-governmental Program for the Mesoamerican Reef System; developed best fishery practices for spiny lobster capture; strengthened fisher cooperatives through ecosystem-based management and training in methodologies for gathering scientific information, certification, monitoring and best fishery practices; and encouraging the conservation of spawning fish aggregation sites and the responsible use of natural resources. It promotes alternative economic activities like ecotourism and carries out hurricane impact assessments. In both ecoregions WWF supports the consolidation and creation of Protected Natural Areas. WWF Mexico participates in the regional program to reduce turtle bycatch in longline fisheries of the Pacific.

More information:
Jatziri Pérez, Communications Coordinator,, D.F. México, Tel. +52 (55) 52865631 ext. 223


The WWF regional program in the Guyanas includes sea turtle conservation activities in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. This region has one of the largest leatherback nesting populations of the Atlantic. Conservation efforts include research, strengthening of local capacities and environmental education for controlling illegal egg harvest, the occasional killing of females, and incidental capture by fisheries. Furthermore, it promotes the viewpoint that live turtles are a tourism attraction that can generate income for communities and contribute to local sustainable development.

More information:
Marie Louise Felix, Marine Program Coordinator,, Paramaribo, Suriname.Tel: +597-422357 #118.


WWF focuses the efforts of its Coastal and Marine Program on the protection of species such as humpback and finback whales, sea turtles, some sharks, the conservation of marine and terrestrial habitats such as those within natural national parks, improvement of living conditions for local communities, and the conservation for perpetuity of key resources such as fish.

- Protection of marine cetaceans: Work is underway to declare two new marine protected areas in the Pacific, with the approval of national environmental authorities, the national protected area system and the support and commitment of diverse NGOs, local communities and academia.
- Fresh water dolphins: work is being done to protect the fresh water dolphins of colombian Amazon and Orinoco.
- Generation of public opinion about the potential construction of a deepwater port in Málaga Bay: In conjunction with its partners, WWF has been developing a campaign to show the biological and cultural importance of Málaga Bay for humpback whales and local communities, as well as the negative impacts that would occur with the construction of a deepwater port in the bay.
- Protection of sea turtle nesting beaches: The declaration of a new protected area in the Gulf of Urabá (Chocó-Darién) is expected to protect a key leatherback nesting site on the Caribbean shore of Colombia. But its impacts will go beyond this: the declared area will protect a significant number of beaches and a marine area that is important to local artisanal fishers.
- Protected Areas: In the Gorgona National Nature Park, a sea turtle conservation and management plan was developed to improve management effectiveness in protected areas, communication and educational materials were prepared for ecotourists, and there is scientific research underway on the Eastern Pacific green turtle, Chelonia mydas.
- Incidental capture program: As part of the Eastern Pacific, there is ongoing work with artisanal and industrial fishers, as well as with environmental authorities and NGOs to advance activities for reducing the incidental capture of sea turtles in particular.

More information:
Luis Alonso Zapata,, Coastal and Marine Program Coordinator, Cali, tel. +57 2 558 2577 ext 123


WWF has an office in the Galapagos Islands, a globally important site due to its endemic species and geographic location. In 1959, the Galapagos was the first national park to be declared in Ecuador and in 1978 it became a World Heritage Site. In 1984, it was added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Subsequently, the government of Ecuador created the Galapagos Marine Reserve in 1998 and it was also declared a World Heritage Site in 2001. WWF’s goal in the Galapagos is to maintain a marine environment that sustains diverse, abundant native species as well as the people whose lives depend on them. The four pillars of the Galapagos program are sustainable tourism and immigration regulation, innovative fisheries management, improved waste management, adaptation to climate change and strengthening capacity of the National Park Service in the Galapagos regarding administration and inspection. Our Ecuador office participates in the regional program to reduce turtle bycatch in longline fisheries of the Pacific. Furthermore WWF is promoting certification for Mahi Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) fisheries.

More information:
Pablo Guerrero,, Galapagos Ecoregional Program Director, tel. Quito: +593-2-2271220, and Galapagos: +593-5-2526053


Off the coasts of Peru, an average of 739 pounds of fish is extracted per second, or more than 20 tons per minute. The Peruvian sea is so productive that it concentrates 10% of the world’s fishing. If measures are not taken, the ocean fishery will collapse and many communities will lose their main source of food. The WWF Peru sea program has proposed the following priority objectives to reverse this situation: (1) Establishing an efficiently managed network of marine protected areas, and (2) ensuring sustainable use of marine species. WWF Peru participates in the regional program to reduce incidental capture of sea turtles in tuna fishery longlines and promotes marine certification as a local development alternative for conserving hydro-biological resources; for example it is promoting certification for anchovy (Engraulis ringens) fisheries.

More information:
Kjeld Nielsen,, Director of Communications, Lima, Tel: + 51 1 4405550


WWF Chile supports the preparation of a marine conservation strategy for the Chiloense ecoregion (Chiloé, Gulf of Corcovado, Chonos archipelago), to protect one of the most productive and diverse habitats of the southern Pacific coast. This ecosystem is a feeding and breeding area of important endangered cetaceans such as the blue whale, the largest animal to exist on Earth. WWF supports the work of researchers (from the Centro Ballena Azul and the Universidad Austral de Chile) who are studying the ecology of the blue whale and planning for its ecosystem. WWF Chile is now working on a new participatory conservation strategy for the protection of the Chiloé - Corcovado – Chonos area, after the Government of Chile postponed the approval of a “Multi-Use Marine and Coastal Protected Area (MU-MCPA)” for the zone in August 2007. Since that date, WWF Chile and CBA have continued to push hard for a joint strategy with the area’s many stakeholders, artisanal fishers, and coastal and indigenous communities, to meet the need to develop common, participatory criteria that will help advance the establishment of a protection zone for the conservation of this important marine habitat and facilitate the sustainable development of adjacent coastal communities.

More information:
Mauricio Gálvez, Marine Program Coordinator,, Valdivia, tel. +56 63 244590


The Argentine sea has one of the most extensive continental shelves on the planet with an area of one million km2 and 4,000 km of coastline. Oceanographic conditions generate high productivity with a food chain that sustains populations of right whales, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins, penguins, sea turtles, petrels, albatrosses and dozens of commercially important fish species such as Argentine hake, Argentine red shrimp and Argentine shortfin squid. The Recommendations for the area’s conservation are as extensive and passion-inspiring as the Argentine sea. The main threats include overfishing, illegal fishing, incidental capture, the negative impacts of tourism, and pollution. Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina, a partner of WWF since 1988, works to ensure the sustainable management of the ecosystems in the Argentine Sea and the southwestern Atlantic through three approaches: promoting sustainable fishery development; supporting the creation and effective management of a network of marine protected areas; and supporting conservation projects for the area’s main flagship species, including whales and dolphins.

More information: 
Florencia Lemoine, Marine Program Communications Officer,, Buenos Aires, tel. +54 2

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