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Boa Vista hosts national sea turtle conference 12 Maio 2015

A meeting of all organizations working with sea turtles in Cape Verde has been under way on the island of Boa Vista since yesterday, May 11, and will continue until Friday, May 15. The TAOLA meeting has brought some 30 specialists to the island with the objective of presenting sea turtle protection work data and figures for the 2014 nesting season. The major innovation of this year’s event is the workshop on “by catch” – the term used when turtles, sharks, dolphins and other species are “accidentally” caught by fishing vessels, considered a serious threat to Cape Verdean waters.

Boa Vista hosts national sea turtle conference

The meetings of the Cape Verdean National Sea Turtle Protection Network (known by the acronym TAOLA) have brought together non-governmental organizations working on sea turtle protection on a yearly basis since its creation in 2009 in order to refine methodologies, compare work developed and support the creation of new institutions. For the current year, the event brought another concern to the agenda: By Catch of turtles, as well as other marine species, such as sharks and dolphins.

For marine biologist Ana Líria, who is the director of NGO Natura 2000, the situation is one of great concern and deserves greater attention on the part of national authorities, “mainly due to the fishing accords with the European Union and the large amounts of money involved.”

According to Ana Líria, the subject has yet to be duly studied in Cape Verde, but the NGOs Grupo Biosfera, Bios and Maio Biodiversidade Foundation have begun taking the first steps. The NGOs in question will present the data from the studies they have carried out so far on the island of Boa Vista. The By Catch workshop will be led by a specialist from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The TAOLA was initially founded by the four non-governmental organizations that work to protect sea turtles in Cape Verde. It is currently made up of other entities as well, including a number of municipal governments (Tarrafal de São Nicolau, Tarrafal de Santiago and Brava), NGOs (Natura 2000, The Turtle Foundation, Bios, the Maio Biodiversidade Foundation, Grupo Biosfera, SOS Tartaruga) and other groups and associations from all of Cape Verde’s islands.

The meeting is being financed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and will feature the participation of the National Directorate of the Environment.

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