A sea turtle is released by the rescue team of a marine protected area in Việt Nam. Côn Đảo National Park, off the coast of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, has been recognised as an official member of the Indian Ocean-Southeast Asia (IOSEA) in the marine turtles conservation network. — VNS Photo Chu Mạnh Trinh
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — Côn Đảo National Park on Côn Đảo Islands lying off the coast of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province has been recognised as an official member of the Indian Ocean-Southeast Asia (IOSEA), becoming the 11th member of the marine turtles conservation network.
Lê Hồng Sơn, head of biodiversity conservation and the science research section at the Côn Đảo National Park, confirmed the news to Việt Nam News on Wednesday, stressing that the park is first site in Việt Nam to get the recognition from IOSEA.
He said the IOSEA member status would help boost international co-operation and information sharing as well as raising funds and technical assistance from worldwide organisations and individuals in conservation of the marine turtle species.
Islanders of Chàm Islands help baby turtles leave their hatching nests to the ocean. —VNS Photo Hải Phạm
According to the park, at least 500 turtles used the protected beaches on Côn Đảo Islands to lay their eggs each year, and the park was seen as the best shelter for marine turtles in Việt Nam.
More than 1,600 turtle (Cheloniidae) eggs were moved to the Chàm Islands from Côn Đảo Island National Park 1,000 kilometres away for artificial hatching between 2017-19, and 1,200 baby turtles were released into the sea.
Chu Thế Cường, an expert from the wildlife trade monitoring network (TRAFFIC), said the park has reserved 10 safe areas – 50 per cent of the country’s total turtle conservation – for turtles laying and hatching eggs.
Cường also warned that 85 per cent of egg laying sites on beaches of Việt Nam would disappear due to rising sea levels, and 70,000 fishing boats would catch sea turtles during their fishing trips.
Sea turtle eggs at a nest on a beach of Việt Nam. About 20 beaches were recognised as hatching areas for turtles. —VNS Photo Công Thành
According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), 1,000 sea turtles were believed to have been caught by hooks from offshore tuna fishing vessels in Việt Nam.
WWF said 165 fishing boats were supplied with 25,000 ring hooks (or C hook) – a less risky tool for sea turtles – since 2014.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has launched a plastic waste monitoring programme at 11 marine protected areas (MPA) in Việt Nam as an urgent action to save the ocean and sea turtle species from extinction.
Old fishing nets that were cut or dropped by fishermen at sea are a major reason behind the deaths of sea turtles as they confuse the waste for food. — VNS