National Workshop on Marine Turtle Conservation (29-11-2019)

On October 19, 2019 in Da Nang City, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with the Directorate of Fisheries (MARD) organized the National Workshop on conservation of marine turtles in Vietnam. The workshop revolved plans and actions on marine turtle conservation, as well as establishing a network to rescue turtles and other marine creatures. Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung – Deputy General Director of D-Fish chaired the conference.
National Workshop on Marine Turtle Conservation

Within the framework of the workshop, with comments and presentations from experts, representatives of units and organizations of Marine Protected Areas, National Parks, etc. have updated the status of marine turtle conservation, discussed regulations and policy to effectively implement the national action plan for the conservation of marine turtles. The workshop also aims to build a network for rescuing marine turtles and marine mammals in Vietnam.

According to the report of the D-Fish, there are 5 known species of marine turtles in Vietnam, including green turtles, tortoiseshell tortoise, pineapple tortoise, guinea pig and leather turtle. In the face of a sharp daily decline in numbers, all of these species are listed in the IUCN red list and are on the list of endangered wildlife species that need to be prioritized for protection. According to research results conducted by IUCN and the Institute of Marine Environmental Research (IMER), the number of turtles to lay eggs in Vietnam has decreased from 10,000 individuals per year (1980s) to 450 individuals (2019). In particular, it is worrying that the breeding grounds of marine turtles are being wiped out more and more, IUCN data shows that most of the turtles lay eggs in Con Dao (425 individuals per year).

According to a survey conducted in 2017, two of the five species of turtles, tortoises and leather turtles, have been confirmed to disappear in the waters of the Northern and Central provinces. One of the reasons for the decline in the number of marine turtles is due to overexploitation of turtle breeding grounds, illegal fishing, illegal trade of marine turtles and products made from turtles, loss of birth landscape, food sources, and environmental degradation. Pollution of plastic waste is also one of the causes of negative impacts on the health of marine creatures. Marine turtles are at a significant risk of ingesting plastic debris at all stages of their life cycle and can have fatal consequences.

In the face of alarming numbers, many activities have been carried out by local authorities to reduce the deadly agents for marine turtles, establishing protected areas and marine turtle breeding grounds; raise community awareness in marine turtle conservation.

At the workshop, many opinions presented solutions to overcome the alarming situation of marine turtles such as: Strictly handling violations of the law on marine turtle conservation, conducting impact assessment of fisheries exploitation activities on the conservation of marine turtles, the operation of supervisors of fishing vessels with sanctions restricting the fishermen's disposal of damaged fishing gear and waste into the sea, planning go back to the breeding grounds of marine turtles, increase inspection and supervision. Technically, 100% of fishing vessels need to install turtles escape equipment in the lower part of the net (for trawl fishing), 100% of the fishing boats with turtle chasing device (for gill net), encouraging fishermen to use round hooks in the tuna fishing industry, besides promoting propaganda to raise the people's awareness about the conservation of marine turtles.

In addition, many initiatives were launched at the workshop such as: Establishing a central turtle rescue station, socializing marine turtle rescue work, establishing a marine turtle protection mass group, issuing a process of rescue marine turtles guide fishermen operating on board, put turtle breeding grounds into the list of protection of aquatic resources.

Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has developed a Vietnam Marine turtle Conservation Action Plan (MTCAP) for the period 2016 - 2025 to effectively conserve and protect marine turtle populations and their habitats in Vietnam. In 2019, one of MTCAP's important goals has been achieved. Con Dao national park has been approved to become a member of the IOSEA Marine Turtle Conservation Network.

Le Mai

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