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  WWF 29 Aug 06
Tri-national commitment to leatherback turtle conservation in the Pacific

Antara 28 Aug 06
Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands agree to conserve leatherback turtles

Jakarta, (ANTARA News)- Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on conservation and management of western Pacific leatherback turtle nesting sites, feeding areas and migratory routes in the three states.

The three countries reached the agreement in a workshop of the 3rd Meeting of Tri-National Partnership to the Conservation and Management of Leatherback Turtles which was being held in Bali`s popular tourist resort of Jimbaran on August 28-30, the Forest Ministry said in a statement made available to ANTARA here Monday (8/28).

Human consumption of leatherback turtles and their eggs, religious rites, handicraft and fish industry, as well as dwindling habitats have put leatherback turtles on the verge of extinction.

The waters north of Papua coastal areas notably in Sorong district is the greatest leatherback turtle habitat in the South Pacific. The leatherback turtles were found to have immigrated from Sorong waters through Bismarck region in Solomon Islands to the United States.

The three-day workshop is aimed at evaluating the implementation of Bismarck Solomon Seas Ecoregion (BSSE) agreement in Indonesia, PNG and Solomon Islands and formulating a strategy as well as action plan of the three states.

The three countries held the 2nd Western Pacific Leatherback Turtle Preparatory Committee Meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands on last February 21-23. The 2nd forum was held to follow up the 1st meeting which took place in Port Moresby, PNG on October 20-21 last year.

WWF 29 Aug 06
Tri-national commitment to leatherback turtle conservation in the Pacific

29 Aug 2006 Bali, Indonesia — Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have agreed to protect the endangered leatherback turtle in the southwestern Pacific Ocean through joint conservation activities.

The tri-national partnership will allow the three countries to enhance conservation of leatherback turtles in the three countries through information sharing, data exchange and cooperative research.

It also plans to establish a network of marine protected areas covering a minimum critical area of habitats that supports Western Pacific leatherback turtle conversation efforts across the Bismarck Solomon Seas Eco-region.

“The three governments have showed their commitment to improving the livelihood of their people through sustainable development and conservation,” said Michael Avosa, WWF's Country Programme Manager in Papua New Guinea, at the tri-national MOU signing event.

Although protected under various national laws and international treaties, population trends of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) show alarming rates of decline due to domestic and commercial exploitation of eggs, development and destruction of nesting beaches, accidental capture and drowning in fisheries using long line and purse seining methods, ocean pollution and ingestion of plastic and other garbage.

“We strongly support this partnership for shared responsibility to protect such a migratory species," said WWF-Indonesia Executive Director Mubariq Ahmad. "Sharing responsibility regionally and internationally will safeguard critical feeding areas, reproduction and nesting habitats. We hope it will also lead to improved fisheries management to reduce by-catch of these magnificent animals.”


• The tri-national leatherback conservation partnership was signed by: Papua New Guinea Ambassador to Indonesia, HE Mr Christopher Siao Mero; Solomon Islands Minister of Forest, Environment and Conservation, Hon Mr Job Dudley Tausinga; and Indonesian Forestry Minister, Hon Mr HMS Kaban.

• Stretching from the Vogelkop (Doberai) Peninsula of Papua, Indonesia, across the Admiralty and Bismarck archipelagos of Papua New Guinea to Makira Island of the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Solomon Seas Eco-region covers approximately 2 millionkm2 and is home to approximately 3 million people of which 80 per cent rely on coastal resources for their livelihoods. It is also home to numerous marine species, including the leatherback turtle, as well as hawksbill, green, olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, and Blainville's beaked whales, dugongs, giant clams and finless porpoises.

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