The Network of Sites of Importance for Marine Turtles in the Indian Ocean – South-East Asia Region was formally adopted by the Signatory States to the IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU at their Sixth Meeting, held in Bangkok in January 2012. An accompanying Guidance document describes the background, purpose and benefits of the Site Network; the site nomination and evaluation process; various network financing options; the roles of different actors; and next steps required to operationalise the network.
Click to download as a PDF file the Resolution and associated Guidance document.
The expected benefits of the region-wide site network include:
- Optimal use of limited resources for governance
A fully functional network will coordinate available financial, technical and human resources to conduct common training, facilitate exchange of information on best practices, carry out joint research and monitoring, undertake performance evaluation, and encourage adaptive management;
- Enhanced local-to-global scale recognition of the importance of the networked sites
The strength of a credible selection process should in turn catalyse increased support and resources for more effective site-based and regional management
- Mitigation of adverse socio-economic impacts over a wider geographic scale
Activities incompatible with marine turtle conservation cannot be eliminated entirely, but such activities may be restricted at selected network sites in a way that diffuses adverse impacts across the wider region.
- Protection of ecological connectivity between habitats
The spacing and shape of network sites will be taken into account in the development of the network in such a way as to promote connectivity between nesting, foraging and developmental habitats required by marine turtles.
- Optimisation of regional resistance and resilience of marine turtle habitats to environmental stress
Resistance and resilience will be strengthened by including and managing sites containing marine turtle habitats necessary for different life cycle phases, by protecting multiple examples of each habitat type, and by including sites that act as refugia to current and predicted stress.
Countries are invited to nominate turtle nesting beaches and adjacent areas considered to be important sites for marine turtles and, in doing so, will hopefully have an added incentive to secure additional resources and protection at the sites. However, provision of additional resources is not a binding commitment or obligation upon joining the network.
Detailed information on the rationale for the site network proposal, the process for nominating and evaluating candidate sites, and alternative approaches for coordinated governance of sites included in the network is presented in the annex to the resolution that formally established the Site Network.
The Site Network is populated with sites nominated by Signatory States, and formally accepted for inclusion in the network by the Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States, based on a recommendation of the IOSEA Advisory Committee. A complementary, parallel process has been initiated to draw up a “master list” of priority candidate sites to help guide Signatory States in their site nomination considerations.
An attractive two-page A3-size handout gives background information on the IOSEA Marine Turtle Site Network and summarises its current activities. The format allows for regular updating so that the information is as current as possible.
Potential Candidate Sites
The 'Guidance Paper' for the IOSEA Marine Turtle Site Network notes that: "A complementary, parallel process is envisaged whereby a master list of priority candidate sites will be drawn up to help guide Signatory States in their site nomination considerations".
The Secretariat solicited suggestions of potential candidate sites from members of the IOSEA Advisory Committee and other experts. This exercise generated a list of about 90 potential candidate sites or areas in some 35 countries around the IOSEA region.
An Image Gallery has also been created, containing satellite images of most of the sites or areas that experts have suggested for inclusion in the IOSEA Marine Turtle Site Network. Click here to open the Gallery of satellite images of suggested candidate sites.
The depiction of these suggested sites or areas does not imply any endorsement or undertaking by the countries concerned to formally nominate them for inclusion in the Network; though there is a good possibility that this will eventually happen for many of the sites.
Sample Site Data Sheets
Additionally, the Secretariat has begun to compile Site Information Sheets for several of the suggested sites – including, among others: Itsamia (Comoros) St. Martin’s Island (Bangladesh), St. Brandon (Mauritius), Ponto do Ouro (Mozambique), Thameehla Island (Myanmar), Sir Bu Nair (United Arab Emirates), and Socotra (Yemen). The idea is to demonstrate what information is already available for a selection of sites, while drawing attention to details that would still be required in order to prepare a complete submission. These provisional data sheets will be circulated to the countries concerned and added to the website in due course.
As many as possible of the suggested sites will be assessed using the agreed Evaluation Criteria to determine whether or not they would qualify for inclusion in the Network if they were to be formally nominated by a Signatory State.