Conservation of seaturtles
Susan Today we are meeting in the chat room to discuss" Conservation of sea turtles".
The moderator is Dr. Kartik Shanker.
Kartik started working on sea turtles over 15 years ago and is
currently working on sea turtle conservation genetics both on the mainland
coast as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
kartik Hi Just logging on now
Susan Hi Kartik, welcome
Susan Hope you had no problem logging in
kartik No problem at all. Thanks for the reminders. Though my father heard
about this in the morning and called about it.
kartik I also read a little bit of Ravi's interactions last week
Susan Hope that an enthused crowd will come in today too.
kartik Yes, sea turtles these days seem to attract almost as much
attention as tigers and elephants
Susan If you have to think of a flagship species for the sea, what will it be?
kartik whales, dolphins, sea turtles - there is a book coming out in the
next year or so talking about the use of sea turtles as flagships. I have
written about this aspect in India
Susan Are you a co-author?
kartik it is an edited volume the editor is Jack Frazier of the
Smithsonian, who has been working on sea turtles for more than 30 years.
kartik Roshni kutty of Kalpavriksh and I have co-authored the chapter on
sea turtles as flagships in India.
Susan Hi Nishant
kartik hi nishant
nishant are my messages visible to you two...
Susan When did we start getting concerned about sea turtles, what was the
kartik from 1974, when Robert Bustard 'discovered' Gahirmatha. some years
later, the extensive meat trade from Orissa to West Bengal was documented and became a major conservation issue
nishant I have heard that Orissa has long beaches where sea turtles come
each year and lay eggs... are these eggs are protected by government or some
sort of agency...
kartik all sea turtles and their eggs are protected by law since they are
in schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act. In Orissa, Gahirmatha is part of
the Bhitarkanika sanctuary.
kartik the current major threat is that more than 10000 turtles die each
year as incidental catch in trawl and gill net fisheries
nishant so what is the solution to this -10000 in numbers each year...
Susan Are there similar nesting sites in any other part of the world?
kartik there are Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) for trawlers and area time
closures for gill netters - but the fishermen have to be convinced to
kartik susan, olive ridley mass nesting beaches are found in pacific costa
Rica, pacific Mexico and in Orissa.
nishant fishermen do not install these devices.. right? what is the reason
for them not installing them...
kartik one, they believe that they will also lose a lot of their fish
catch. now this is not true if the TED is used properly. but this is where
education comes in. the issue has become very politically charged in
Susan Do Mexico & Costa Rica face similar problems?
kartik yes, very much so. things very bad a couple of decades ago but
Effective protection in Mexico has seen their nesting figures go up to
Nearly a million per year
what are the other causes of decline in sea turtle's population in
India... does production rate play some role in this...
Susan The fishermen there are using TED?
kartik there have been similar problems there getting fishermen to use
TEDs but they have been at it for a couple of decades so there is some
progress now kartik other major causes are loss of habitat (due to erosion, beachfront
development, beach armouring), predation of eggs by feral animals,
where do the turtles come in food chain...
Susan How long does the nesting season last normally?
Susan Welcome Sadan
kartik the nesting season for olive ridleys in Orissa is December to
April. it differs for other species
kartik to answer nishant, some turtles are complete herbivores, like green
turtles, leatherbacks eat only jellyfish, while others like loggerheads
and ridleys are omnivorous
sanjayan hai everybody
Susan Sanjayan & Santosh, shoot your queries
kartik hi all
nishant where do the turtles get the market (as meat) ...
sanjayan I would like to know what are the practical problems that one
manager will face while managing such a sensitive and fragile zones where
kartik there is very little meat trade in India now, mostly local in a few
places like southern Tamil nadir, Kerala. and some consumption by local
tribes in the Nicobar.
kartik all over India, coastal development is a major problem. associated
problems of sand mining, erosion and armouring are threats. and also
lighting which disorients turtle hatchlings and prevents them from
reaching the sea
sanjayan I have been to gahirmatha in Orissa and Cutbertbay sanctuary in
Betapur, Andamans and on interacting with the local people it is known that
a well netted mafia is running for long and the department and the
government couldn't do much .I would like to know some of your suggestions
regarding the turtle management
kartik mafia for what ?
I mean turtle traders I would say export to other countries
kartik there is currently little trade in sea turtles in India at all, and
almost certainly no export. perhaps you mean freshwater turtles and
tortoises for which there is a widespread traffic throughout Southeast Asia
so u say that coastal department is a major problem then one of the possibility of remedy may be the the sensitive coastal zones may be
governed by the department of forest
kartik the forest department has its limitations, the coast is extensively
inhabited by people. there has to be responsible coastal management
amongst a wide group of stakeholders (industry, residents, fishing
communities), more education and awareness for all ...
sanjayan well how far the implementation of TED is successful or is it any
substantial success story in the inclusion of TED
sanjayan what in your opinion will be best-suited management plan in these
kartik the state institute of fisheries technology has been distributing
TEDs in Vishakapatnam and Kakinada and fishers are supposedly using them
in those areas. that's a big success. no success in Orissa though
Susan Santosh & Sadan, are you there?
kartik by the way, it is a TED indigenised by the Central Institute of
Fish. Tech. in Kochi
sanjayan how in these areas the monitoring of TED can be done since we
don't have facility to control all
sanjayan is it any joint patrolling is done by the forest
officials, coastal department and coast guards etc
kartik for resource poor countries, monitoring is almost impossible. even
USA had trouble actually monitoring the use of TEDs. the fishermen need to be convinced that they will also benefit - the TED excludes
all large bycatch and actually helps them get larger and better catches of their
is the TED is supplied free of cost
sanjayan why cant in India we can start a massive breeding progamme on
lines with that of crocodile breeding started in mid 70s
kartik as of now, yes
kartik sea turtles are long lived species with complex life cycles that
include long distance migrations thousands of km across oceans. most of
the mortality occurs in the sea. so breeding programs may not be quite as effective
kartik having said that, there are hatcheries all over the country (run by
ngos and govt) that protect the eggs from poaching and predation
sanjayan why can't we can have a model in situ breeding programme initially
for at least research purpose
I wouldn't call them breeding programs, but there are already in
situ and ex situ conservation and research programs on nesting beaches
throughout the country
kartik what would you want a breedng program to acheive?
sanjayan what in your opinion should be our future strategy in achieving
the overall objective of protection of turtles
Susan The conservation approach here is in protecting the whole life cycle
of the ridley, which spans many geographical areas and time zones.
kartik I would agree with that. local and international cooperation is a
must - sea turtles have been called the ocean's ambassadors of
kartik for conservation in general, I would advocate education and
awareness and more education and awareness
sanjayan my intension regarding the progarmme is to get maximum
production of eggs such that we can a sustained viable population of
Susan breeding can protect the species from extinction for some time but
the ridley so, protected will only be a shadow of the real one.
kartik unfortunately, there is a lot of mortality at sea that we can't
prevent . and susan is right, it's not a sustainable approach
sanjayan Thanks for answering my queries patiently. Hope we I will get an
another opportunity to interact with you on some other day. Wishing you and your, I would say our, mission a very success. Bye
Susan Kartik, it has been wonderful listening to you and I think all of us
enjoyed the session.
kartik thanks sanjayan, it was my pleasure. We have a newsletter called
kachhapa that gives more information. you can get this and our sea turtle
conservation manuals at kachhapa.org
If there are no more questions, shall we close the chat room?
kartik Thanks all. I will sign off now. Best wishes.
Susan Thanks Kartik, any more resource sites you would suggest- something
from Costa Rica may be?
kartik the Caribbean conservation corporation site is a good one - I think
Thank You and Bye!