Protecting turtles

MoU to safeguard the dwindling number of turtles on the anvil in India

Published: Thursday 31 October 2002

india is all set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (mou) to protect and conserve marine turtles in Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. The mou emphasises on data collection and monitoring programmes to gather information on the nature and magnitude of threats to the turtle population. It encourages the development of devices, which will minimise the incidence of the capture of turtles during fishing.

The mou specifically takes into account six endangered species of turtles including loggerhead Olive Ridley, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. Increasing cases of culling of turtles for food and medicines in Southeast Asia has led to the decline of the species in the region. Other factors, which have contributed to their decline, are pollution, fishing, mariculture and destruction of their natural habitats.

The mou came into force in 2001, under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (cms). Till date the mou has been signed by 11 countries including Sri Lanka, Australia, Philippines, us and Vietnam.

cms deputy secretary, Douglas Hykle however explicitly stated at the seventh conference of parties (cop-7) that the success of the mou depends largely on voluntary contributions. The cop-7 was held in Bonn, Germany from September 18-24, 2002 and was attended by 70 countries. However, cms projects are bound to face a setback due to the acute shortage of funds. After heated discussions on the revision of budget at the cop-7, the parties finally agreed to a miniscule rise in the contributions. At the conference, under appendix I, which lists highly endangered species of the world, 20 species have been added to the existing 85.

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