Marine Turtle Conservation in the Spotlight of Workshop in Kuwait

Bonn, 16 December 2014 - The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), a government-affiliated research institute organized a workshop from 9-10 December 2014 to gather input for the development of a national plan for the conservation of sea turtles. The workshop was the first of its kind in Kuwait and brought together representatives of governments from the region working on marine turtle protection, environmental NGOs from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE, as well as scientists from a variety of European universities affiliated with IUCN and representatives of CMS.

The multiple threats facing sea turtles throughout their life stages were outlined such as the collection of eggs, the loss of nesting beaches through coastal development and the disorientation of hatchlings due to light pollution. Natural predators of hatchlings on their way to the open ocean, injury or death through bycatch as well as illegal take and trade and climate change pose additional threats. Workshop participants also highlighted a number of measures to mitigate the threats described, such as regulating visits to beaches; the establishment of turtle rescue establishments serving at the same time as visitor and research centres. Turtle excluding devices built into fishing nets and general legislation and regulations also contribute to marine turtle conservation.

 Despite many existing laws and regulations, participants recognized that these were not enforced. The workshop was hailed as a success for sharing knowledge and best practices among governmental and non-governmental representatives within the region.

The enforcement of laws and regulations could be enhanced by also using the Indian Ocean South East Asian Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU) as a future platform for regional cooperation. The next step for KISR and related Kuwaiti authorities is now to develop the national conservation plan and implement it and get fully engaged in regional and international marine turtle conservation by signing the IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU.

Last updated on 16 December 2014