| || || Jit, Joytishna Navnita.|
| || || Status of sea turtle conservation in Fiji : an assessment of the International, Regional and National focus|
Author:Jit, Joytishna Navnita.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: Pac SH 327 .65 .S42 J58 2007
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Sea turtles will become extinct unless appropriate action is taken to reverse the decline. This study assesses the existing framework and mechanisms for sea turtle conservation at the international, regional and national levels. The study is a combination of literature and legislative review, a case study of a traditional sea turtle fishing community, and interviews with key contacts. Local perspective on sea turtle conservation in regard to culture, traditional knowledge, and socio-economic considerations is addressed to provide insight into the status of turtle conservation in the country. Sea turtles are a shared resource therefore the international community is driving regions and nations to take measures to minimise threats to sea turtles, especially bycatch. Fiji cannot afford to be left out of this action. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) drafted a Resolution to mitigate the impact of fishing for highly migratory fish species on sea turtles. Existing sea turtle bycatch data and information in Fiji's tuna industry is limited, and measures to better monitor bycatch through greater observer coverage, improved fishing techniques and proper turtle handling onboard is needed. Although Fiji is not a party to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), it is obliged under several other Conventions to conserve sea turtles domestically. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is the leading the regional sea turtle conservation agenda. Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been working closely within the context of international environmental Conventions to conserve sea turtles under its Asia-Pacific Programme. The regional initiative has been important in raising awareness and education among stakeholders and conducting research, regionally. However, there are many gaps in scientific, ethnobiological and socio-economic research, legislation and policy, enforcement and compliance for sea turtle conservation in Fiji, limiting the effectiveness of sea turtle conservation initiatives. In the case study of the coastal community, which relied on sea turtles for livelihood, the ban on domestic sea turtles was ineffective. The case study and other findings indicated that there were no mechanisms in place in the duration of the study to induce positive incentives for sea turtle conservation in Fiji's communities. It is recommended that inclusion of carefully planned sea turtle conservation strategies into the existing and otherwise highly successful locally managed marine areas network is the ideal way forward.