October’s Profile of the Month
focuses on the outcomes of a meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna
Commission’s “Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch”, which Dr. Ronel
Nel attended on behalf of the IOSEA Secretariat. The meeting,
which was held in Cape Town in mid-September, lamented the paucity of
data on marine turtle bycatch and made a number of specific
recommendations regarding data collection and mitigation measures.
In related news, the IOTC and
IOSEA Secretariats are collaborating to finance the preparation of an
‘Ecological Risk Assessment’ (ERA) for marine turtles of the Indian
Ocean. Coincidentally, Dr. Ronel Nel was selected from a field of
potential candidates to assemble a team of experts to conduct the
work, which will benefit from BirdLife International’s ERA and
fisheries expertise. An interim report will be presented to the
IOTC Scientific Committee which meets in Seychelles in mid-December
The Secretariat is pleased to
announce the creation of a brand new section on the IOSEA website to
house all information about the Network of Sites of Importance to Marine Turtles.
Some of the new pages will be populated with information once the Site
Network is formally launched at the next meeting of Signatory
States. In the meanwhile, readers can already find all of the
background papers on the Site Network, as well as an informative
‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section.
Preparations for a Regional
Workshop and 4th Meeting of the IOSEA Western Indian Ocean – Marine
Turtle Task Force are progressing well. The gathering will be
organized in Port Elizabeth in early December, coinciding with a
celebration of 50 years of turtle conservation in South Africa.
The meeting will concentrate on integrating and analyzing available
data, and making preliminary recommendations of WIO candidate sites for
the IOSEA Site Network. There has been a good response from Task
Force members and other experts expected to participate; and formal
invitations will be sent out shortly, together with the detailed
workshop schedule and data sheets for compiling information. It
is hoped that the methodology introduced in this IOSEA sub-region may
be suitable for application elsewhere.
This month, we welcome three
new Focal Points to the IOSEA family: Ms. Fiona Bartlett (Australia),
Dr.Adel Khalifa Al-Zayani (Bahrain), and Mr. Ashley Naidoo (South
Africa). Their contact details can be found in the Membership
section. We look forward to their active participation in the
IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU in the coming months and years.
Last, but not least, the
Secretariat extends its thanks to the Ministry of Environment and
Forests of the Government of India, which has recently fulfilled its
pledge of support for IOSEA for the years 2011 and 2012.
As always, there are many new
headlines from the month of September for readers to peruse, with a
particularly high number of articles devoted to stranded and rescued
turtles in several IOSEA member countries.