Sea Turtles plays a pivotal role in the world’s vast marine ecosystem. The Ministry of Environment, energy and climate Change implements its annual sea turtle monitoring programme during the months of October to March and throughout the year focuses on education and awareness raising campaign to sensitize members of the public about the important ecological as well as social and economic values of sea turtle conservation and protection.
Sea turtle are listed as endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their high risk of extinction contributed by increased poaching and over- exploitation, marine pollution, loss of nesting habitats, predation from animals both on land and the sea as well as the ever increasing climate change associated threats and impacts.
To compliment international efforts towards global sea turtle conservation, The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change has made significant contributions towards sea turtle conservation in Seychelles. Efforts have extended beyond the government, but through the continuous support from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), the Police Department and members of the public.
This year as has been the case for many years now, from October 2018 towards the end of March 2019 the Ministry implements its Annual sea turtle monitoring programme on key nesting beaches found on the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue with NGOs doing their own monitoring on other islands of Seychelles. Collaborations, education and enforcement have been key towards the decreased reported number of poaching incidents. Two official cases have been reported from October 2018 till now. This is not the end of our work as we aim towards better surveillance on our beaches, effective law enforcement, greater educational campaigns and national events and many others. Challenging but not impossible.
In addition the Ministry in collaboration with other key partners such as Wise Oceans Seychelles, MCSS, ICS, SIF organized many activities last year in celebration of the International Year of Reefs (IYOR 2018), International Biodiversity Day was dedicated to the important national contributions different organizations are making towards protection of marine ecosystems, different projects on reef restoration as well as significant efforts towards the fight against plastic pollution, and the Sea turtle Festival promoting the wonderful marine life with sea turtles .
The Ministry has worked persistently over the years by implementing and enforcing laws and penalties to protect the sea turtles. It is evident that there are small groups of people who are still failing to follow the protection measures and are willing to risk the long term conservation of these animals. However our efforts will continue and we will keep reminding members of the public that it is an offence to disturb, catch, injure, fish, kill, sell, purchase, receive or possess any turtle and strict penalties will be imposed on anyone who fails to do so.
The Ministry extends its deepest gratitude to everybody who continues to support sea turtle conservation in Seychelles.
For anyone who has any information on illegal activities pertaining to sea turtle, please contact greenline on 2722111 of the Office of the Biodiversity Conservation Section on 4670541 or 4670540.