Cuba protects marine turtles

This is an underseas video of a hawksbill turtle swimming.

From Wildlife Extra:

Cuba Bans Marine Turtle Hunt

January 2008. Cuba has banned the harvesting of all marine turtle species and products from its beaches and seas for an indefinite period.

Conservationists have applauded the decision as a lifeline for the Caribbean’s endangered marine turtles and the communities that co-exist with them. It benefits all turtle species hatching on beaches throughout the Caribbean and coming regularly to feed in Cuban waters, including the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.

Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turtle

‘For many years, Cuba retained a legal ‘fishery’ of 500 hawksbills a year, with the hope of being able to trade their shells internationally, said Dr. Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF International’s Species Programme.

‘This far-sighted decision represents an outstanding outcome for Cuba, for the wider Caribbean, and for conservation. Cuba is to be commended for the example it has set in intelligent decision-making informed by science and the long term best interests of its people,’ she added. …

The phase out of the marine turtle fishery in Cuba is the result of a joint effort by WWF and the Cuban Ministry of Fisheries, with financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The two remaining fishing communities that used to harvest marine turtles in Cuba will be helped with funds and technical assistance to find sustainable economic alternatives, modernize their fishing fleets, re-train their inhabitants and engage them in hawksbill turtle protection activities.

The WWF/CIDA grant of over $US 400.000 will also support the Ministry’s Centre for Fisheries Research to become a regional hub for marine turtle conservation and research, capitalizing on decades of experience by leading Cuban scientists. It will also strengthen the Office for Fisheries Inspection (the Cuban Fisheries law enforcement group) to ensure compliance with the ban.

The State of The World’s Sea Turtles (2008): here.

Hawksbill turtles no longer sold as souvenirs in Dominican Republic: here.

Guardian: Endangered Hawksbill sea turtle numbers show signs of hope: here.

Turtle nesting threatened by logging practices in Gabon, Smithsonian warns: here.

Madagascar’s Plants Edging Towards Extinction: here. So are Madagascar turtles and tortoises: here.

9 thoughts on “Cuba protects marine turtles

  1. Bahamas Sea Turtle Group Launches Save Sea Turtles Campaign

    2008/07/31 17:11

    Blog Press Release

    Press Release from:
    Jane Mather

    Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group saveourseaturtles is going international in a campaign to end the harvesting of sea turtles in the country. “It’s a national disgrace that these magnificent animals are still hunted & so cruelly treated when brought ashore,” said Jane Mather, President of Advocate for Animal Rights, a spokesperson for the group. “Fishermen bring the creatures ashore with their flippers pierced & tied with straw,” said Mather. She noted that Bahamas fisheries laws still allow the catching & slaughter of certain turtles, even though The Bahamas is a party to the CITES, which calls on member states to protect all marine turtles. 9 sea turtles have been rescued over the past couple of years, rehabilitated & returned to the sea.

    Fishermen are now catching them knowing that conservationists will buy them in order to release them. The conservation group is selling “stop the killing” bumper stickers to promote the campaign locally & will be creating a website to protect sea turtles. Their online Internet advertising campaign has registered more than 50,000 hits from around the world in less than three weeks. According to Mather, headlines like “Stop the Killing,” & “If Cuba can protect Sea Turtles, why can’t The Bahamas,” will reach 1000s of Internet users & encourage them to sign a petition urging the Bahamas government to enact legislation to stop the slaughter. Other organizing members of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group include Deborah Krukoski, vice president of Animals Require Kindness (ARK) & Kim Aranha, president of The Bahamas Humane Society. Several other organizations actively support the group, including BREEF, ReEarth, & the Andros Conservancy & Trust.

    Announcing the formation of the group, Mather noted that Cuba had banned the harvesting of turtles last January. “If Cuba can take such a far-sighted decision, why can’t The Bahamas?” Mather asks. She added that a failure to stop the mistreatment & killing of turtles could negatively affect eco-tourism, an important sector of the country’s number one industry. “Since they have more to lose than many tourism dependent nations, Bahamians should take their place at the forefront of the worldwide effort to stop the killing of these beautiful animals & insist that the government take early, decisive action,” Mather said.

    Several concerned Bahamians have launched a continuing online petition (on calling for a turtle-harvesting ban that has been submitted to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Minister of Fisheries Larry Cartwright & the Minister of Tourism. About: Out to protect the interests of turtles in The Bahamas, the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group is a new organization for animal rights & strives to make the hunting of turtles redundant. Contact: Mather, Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group, The Bahamas, 242-393-2205,


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