Regional Symposium on Sea Turtle Conservation in Asia

Sameer Nazir

Karachi: A regional symposium on marine turtle conservation is being organized by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi, from March 24-25, 2015.

Marine turtle conservation experts from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand and Germany will be presenting papers at the Symposium, which aims to serve as an opportunity for knowledge-sharing, experiences and lessons learnt in sea turtle conservation in Asia. The symposium will also explore opportunities for regional cooperation for conservation purposes.

Marine turtles are some of the oldest surviving reptiles on the planet. Globally, there are seven species of marine turtle of which six species are found in the Indian Ocean – the South East Asian Region. Four of these have been reported from coastal areas of Pakistan. The populations of the six species of marine turtles of the Asia Region are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Turtles are an integral component of a coastal ecosystem and related livelihoods.

Sea turtles face a number of threats due to habitat degradation, un-targeted killing due to lack of awareness. While moving through the fishing areas, a large number of turtles get trapped in fishing nets and die. Higher rates of mortality in fishing nets pose one of significant threats to the turtle, leading to a decline in turtle population globally, besides habitat degradation. Discarded or lost fishing nets and coastal pollutions is also a major threat to marine turtles