The Trinidad Express recently published a really informative article about turtle conservation in Tobago. Here’s an excerpt:
Tobago is a very special place for sea turtles. So who is working in Tobago to promote a more sustainable relationship between people and sea turtles?
Though a small island, Tobago is divided into the bustling south-western end and the more remote north-eastern end. In the south-western end, turtle conservation efforts are spearheaded by Save Our Sea Turtles (SOS) Tobago, a registered community-based organisation. With the help of volunteers and various funders, their dedicated staff monitor sea turtle nesting and hatching activity mainly on Courland Bay (Turtle Beach), Grafton Beach and Mt. Irvine Back Bay and undertake a range of educational programmes.
Heading north-east in Tobago, towns give way to sleepy fishing villages nestled in steep valleys that are bordered by the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. Villages such as Speyside, Charlotteville, L’anse Formi and Parlatuvier all have long, interconnected histories with turtles and the sea.
Speaking up for sea turtles on this remote end are two small community-based groups, the Speyside Eco-Marine Park Rangers (SEMPR) and North East Sea Turtles (NEST), led by Mr. Jace Bishop and Mr. Ancil Kent respectively. Both are young groups with a passion for looking after their communities and their natural resources.
According to these groups, turtle harvesting in the north-eastern end is quite common. As one NEST member explained, “People here grow up knowing the sea have plenty and we always have turtles. We eating them all our lives. Many don’t even know the Law is there and having a Law doesn’t make much difference if nobody obeying or enforcing it. We don’t realise that the sea has less and less and our turtles disappearing really fast! People don’t know yet that the turtles need our help but we also need them to look after our sea.”
Read the full articleTalking Turtles in Tobago on the Express website.
Some previous Green Antilles posts on the same topic: Video: Protecting sea turtles beyond the beach in Trinidad and Tobago, National Geographic Video: Tobago Turtles, SOS (Save our Sea Turtles), Tobago.
[Photo: via Paul Mannix]