Viet Nam’s coastal provinces used to be important nesting grounds for many species of marine turtle. But the numbers of nesting sites has declined sharply over the past 10 years as beaches have been converted to shrimp ponds, hotels, and other uses, and marine turtles have been killed as fishing by-catch or suffocated by plastic bags. For the past five years, IUCN, with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), has partnered with the Sub-Department of Capture Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DECAFIREP) in Binh Dinh Province to promote the conservation of marine turtles.
In collaboration with Sub-DECAFIREP, IUCN has run a series of awareness raising campaigns for local communities. The Marine Turtle Conservation and Say No to Plastic Bags campaign, held on April 21, 2013 in Quy Nhon City attracted over 400 participants from secondary schools, youth unions, and the Sea Turtle Nesting Beach Protection Network. The event involved beach cleaning, public speaking, recycling contests, and the exchange of plastic bags for environmentally friendly woven bags. Please see below the1st winner video clip of the public speaking contest.
Attitudes and behavior are changing. “Many fishermen in Binh Dinh Province now use a “C” hook instead of “J” hook when fishing. Although the “C” hook is more expensive, fishermen prefer this hook as it prevents the by-catch of marine turtles without affecting the quality of the catch,” said Ms. Nguyen Hai Binh, the Head of Aquatic Resources and Environment at Sub-DECAFIREP.
But while campaigns such as this can help, conserving marine turtles requires a much stronger commitment by the local authorities.
Ms. Nguyen Thuy Anh - Communications and Outreach Officer - IUCN Viet Nam