Marine Protected Areas given power to protect sea turtles
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam has given power to officials working in marine protected areas (MPAs) in an effort to protect sea turtles. 


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The MPA officers have the right to detain individuals who commit violations of MPA rules.

Nguyen Chu Hoi, former deputy director general of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, said that sea turtles live in many habitats and ecosystems during migration and development. The presence of sea turtles is considered one of the indicators of the health of the marine environment. 

Currently, military forces are taking advantage of the turtle’s migration characteristic to use it as a mobile bridge for a satellite positioning system.

Experts say sea turtles are at risk of extinction because of human activities, from random fishing activities to destructive fishing campaigns. 

Experts say sea turtles are at risk of extinction because of human activities, from random fishing activities to destructive fishing campaigns. 

Turtles may die if they mistakenly eat the waste people discharge into the sea. They are in danger as people build more embankments to prevent erosion and exploit sand, leading to the disappearance of spawning grounds. 

Even artificial light from tourism complexes also has big impact on turtles’ spawning, moving and feeding activities.

In an effort to protect sea turtles, Vietnam launched the 2016—2025 MTCAP (marine turtle conservation action plan) which aims to build a database about sea turtles in Vietnam, heighten community awareness about conservation and build up a legal framework for MPAs.

Reviewing the implementation of the action plan, IUCN pointed out the challenges which include the lack of money to a limited workforce.

While it is difficult to seek financial support for sea protection, it is necessary to continue giving power to MPAs. The power includes the right of MPA officers to detain people violating regulations of MPAs and penalties, including imposing fines and filing lawsuits. This will require changes in policy. D-FISH is drafting the new policy.

One of the biggest dangers for sea turtles is fishing activities. Around the globe, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are caught every year. To prevent this, scientists have worked with shrimp fishermen on turtle exclusion devices (TEDs).

MTCAP also is trying to change fishing devices with an aim to protect turtles. Under the action plan, 100 percent of tuna catching boats will be equipped with loop hooks and TEDs, and at least 3 percent of fishing boats will be equipped with TEDs.

The use of this kind of hook will help reduce the number of turtles to be killed while it won’t affect the fishing output. The circle hooks will be swallowed by fewer turtles than the J-shape hooks.


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Mai Thanh

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