Hope for the Dwindling Sea Turtles

[Linked Image] "Turtle steak" - it's considered a delicacy in Belize but one that's increasingly hard to find, first, because it's illegal and second, because the population of hawksbill turtles is on the decline. Well, that's true all over the region and that's why a group called the Consultative Committee of Experts on Sea Turtles Conservation is meeting in Belize. They're here to discuss the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, evaluating the region's performance in the last 10 years. Two of the experts told us that there are encouraging developments.

Paul Hoetjes, Netherlands

"Basically that is all what this whole Inter-American Sea Turtle Convention is all about, trying to protect the [Linked Image] remaining sea turtles so that we will have them for our children. The Hawksbill Turtle is critically endangered, that means it has been reduced in numbers more than 90% over the last say 50 years and there is real cause for concern that they could actually go extinct if we don't do something."

Veronica Caceres, Secretary
"We need to work on regional cooperation to be able to better protect them. Conservation measures that we only in one country or two countries won't cover the whole wide range of the migratory path so what happens is it is not enough to only protect them in one place, we have to think of a regional approach to protect this migratory species so we could actually be effective in protecting them."

Jules Vasquez,
"You can't foresee the future but will our children see or know these magnificent animals in their natural wild environment?"

Paul Hoetjes,
"There is a good chance they will because we are actually seeing progress and in some places the numbers are increasing so there is a lot of hope."

The Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the legal framework for countries in the American Continent to take actions that benefit sea turtles. Belize has been a part since 2003.


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