Advisory Committee and Western Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force Kick Off the Series of Meetings in the Anniversary Year

The 9th Meeting of the Advisory Committee (AC9), the first ever held independently of a Meeting of Signatory States (MOS), convened online from 15 to 19 March 2021.  Signatory States had agreed to the Secretariat’s suggestion to arrange for an additional meeting of the Advisory Committee about 18 months into the intersessional period.

Through a mixture of daily video call sessions and online collaboration on cloud documents, the ten AC Members made substantive progress on several tasks given to them by Signatory States. They were supported by the four Sub-Regional Focal Points, representing the Western, North-western and Northern Indian Ocean and South East Asia sub-regions, as well as representatives of the two Marine Turtle Task Forces established under the MOU (more information here).

AC9 addressed the following activities foreseen in the Work Programme 2020-2024:

  • A review of the near-final Hawksbill Turtle Assessment, the third in the series of species assessments carried out by the AC (WP #12)
  • Development of guidelines on the management of beaches for successful hatchling production, including management of hatcheries if required (WP #15)
  • Defining criteria for identifying habitats critical for marine turtles (WP #30)
  • Development of a revised Site Information Template, refined evaluation criteria and scoring instructions, and a simplified post-scoring process for consideration of the Site Network Working Group established by MOS8 (WP #35)
  • Development of a list of IOSEA-endorsed research projects to help leverage funding for scientific research to investigate the conservation biology of marine turtles (WP #42)
  • A status overview of genetic information for marine turtles in the IOSEA region and recommendations on how to improve the situation (WP #44, 45)
  • Recommendation of guidelines and protocols for data collection and management of sea turtles and their habitats (WP #46)
  • Capacity Building Strategy for 2021 and Beyond (WP #48, 85, 87, 88, 89)
  • Celebration of World Sea Turtle Day in 2021 as a major event in the context of the 20th Anniversary of the MOU (WP #50)
  • New and emerging issues related to species and habitat management, with discussions in particular focussing on citizen-science programmes, sustainable use and plastic ingestion (WP #97)

Delegates achieved major progress with many of these tasks and made concrete plans how to complete implementation. National Focal Points will be consulted on several issues in the coming weeks and months to ensure the products the AC is developing meet the needs and wishes of the Signatory States.

On 23 March, also the Western Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (WIO-MTTF) held its ninth – but first virtual – meeting. In a three hour video call, some institutional matters were addressed, a new Chair (Dr. Jeanne Mortimer, Seychelles) and Vice-Chair (Cristina Louro, Mozambique) were elected, and the sub-region invited to take part in the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU.

The IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU Secretariat wishes to express its sincere appreciation for the efforts and flexibility shown by all participants in the AC9 and WIO-MTTF-9 Meetings.

Last updated on 31 March 2021

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