“We need to all work together in order monitor and grow the sea turtle population in Fiji.”
These are the words of Ministry of Fisheries Director, Aisake Batibasaga as he addressed the 37 participants who attended the Fiji National Sea Turtle Conservation Workshop.
The workshop which was attended by known conservative organisations such as WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme) addressed difficulties faced in the protection of the endangered species and called for more dialogue between government bodies and organisations to improve and strengthen efforts.
Each conservative organisation that presented at the workshop agreed that the data collected from the monitoring of sea turtles needed to be saved and shared amongst their respective organisations for research purposes.
The Department of Fisheries raised that the greatest threat to sea turtles in Fiji is not traditional and subsistence harvesting but the commercial harvesting of sea turtles for their meat which claims 400-500 Green and Hawksbill turtles each year in Fiji.
The department also highlighted that they have working groups in place that currently create awareness and advocacy, conduct research and monitoring and most importantly provide enforcement.
The Fiji National Sea Turtle Conservation Workshop aims to share information and resources amongst the respective organisations and government bodies to improve the conservation of sea turtles.