Publicado por: pongpesca | 2010/04/14

Fiji: Support grows for turtle project

“THERE has been a rise in public support for turtle conservation among fishermen and local coastal communities in Fiji, says World Wide Fund For Nature South Pacific Program marine species officer Merewalesi Laveti.

Ms Laveti made the comment following the tagging and release of a Hawksbill turtle last week in Suva.

The turtle was caught by a local Suva fisherman and handed over to the University of the South Pacific, who tagged and released the turtle with the help of WWF. “The event symbolises a recent rise in public support for turtle conservation among fishermen and local coastal communities in Fiji,” she said

“Recently, there seems to have been a shift in public opinion towards turtles and their prosperity.

“Hopefully, it has something to do with the recent work undertaken by national stakeholders in Fiji including WWF but we hope this support continues to increase as do the numbers of turtles in Fiji.”

Ms Laveti said local communities were essential in the implementation process of conservation works in Fiji.

She said the WWF had tagged and released four sea turtles in Fiji this year including Lady Nakalou who was fitted with a satellite transmitter to relay her location for at least six months.

“Nearly 40 days after it was released in Nadi, Lady Nakalou has returned to the reef where she was first found off the coast of Nakalou,” she said.

“This seems to support the theory that turtles feed in specific locations and reinforces the importance of marine protected areas in Fiji.”

USP School of Islands and Oceans head, Professor Randolph Thaman said communities were the only ones who know how biodiversity has changed over long periods of time in Fiji.

“They are the only ones that can continuously assess how MPA’s are performing over time and their help is invaluable to the protection of Fiji’s environment,” he said.”

Fonte: Fiji Times Online – 14 de Abril de 2010


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