Five Hawksbill Turtles were given the chance to explore the vast Pacific Ocean after being released at Treasure Island by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services and High- Level Champion for Global Action, Inia Seruiratu as part of World Turtle Day.
“Since the year 2000, World Turtle Day has been celebrated annually on the 23rd of May,” Seruiratu said.
The turtles were part of the resort’s continuous programme on the protection of the turtles which have been listed as an endangered species.
Minister Seruiratu said the protection of our turtles and our other marine animals is no easy feat.
“You are aware of the threats that face the survival of turtles which includes the increase foreshore development, industrialization, pollution, waste disposal that destroy breeding grounds and contaminate marine habitats, ” Seruiratu said.
He said turtle population are also threatened by unsustainable and illegal fishing practices and by the increase in maritime traffic. It is crucial that these threats are addressed through – among other measures, stronger regulations, effective policies, and wide education and awareness.
“In addition, nation-wide awareness and education on the moratorium has seen increased engagement and dedication of local communities in safeguarding the survival of turtles. This is a truly significant outcome as the involvement of local coastal communities is key to protecting these precious marine species,” Seruiratu said.
Seruiratu added that climate change is another grave and real threat right now, the stakes could not be higher as global temperatures continue to soar and the impacts of climate change intensify all around the globe.
“Sea turtles live in the sea but nest and breed on sandy beaches and because climate change is already impacting our coastal areas and our oceans the impact this will have on the life-cycle and lives of our turtles will be devastating,” said Seruiratu.
He said increasing global temperature will affect the temperature of beach sand and this will affect the sex of turtle hatching’s normally the eggs in the lower, cooler part of the nest will become males, while the eggs in the upper, warmer part of the nest will become females.
“With increasing nest temperature, scientists predict that there will be more female than the male hatching’s, creating a threat to genetic diversity,’’ said Seruiratu.