Options to Develop International Conservation Programs: An Example with Sea Turtles

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"Some species of sea turtles from the Pacific Ocean have been declining for years, and the numbers of females arriving at the nesting beaches are critically low. As the sources of mortality range from loss or degradation of nesting beaches, to incidental mortality in a variety of fisheries practiced by vessels from a dozen nations only a concerted international effort could address this multiplicity of problems. The survival of the sea turtles depends on putting together a comprehensive program, addressing the problems on the beaches, within the nations EEZs, and in the oceanic commons. "A brief consideration is presented of the options available to those trying to organize the international efforts to conserve sea turtles into a consistent and effective program. A review of the international instruments regarding sea turtles was published recently (Frazier, 2002). The point of view adopted in this document is not a legal one, but a practical and pragmatic one: which is the easiest and fastest way to launch the programs that need to be implemented? How can we build a coalition of the nations, and of the stakeholders involved, under the banner of our Common Responsibility to save the turtles, and our collective interest in preserving the employment and the economic contributions that the fisheries make to so many nations? "As sea turtle bycatches in longline fisheries have been identified as one of the primary factors causing the declines, the mitigation of this source of mortality will be the central focus. Gillnet fisheries are known to be another important source of mortaliy (Eckert, 1997, 1999), but they wont be addressed at this time, because there is much less information about them, and more importantly, because their spatial distribution is in general very coastal."



IASC, sea turtles, global commons, conservation--international, fisheries, Pacific Ocean