Two sea turtles caught in fishermen’s nets were returned to the wild in late June and early July, in response to IUCN’s work raising awareness in fishing communities about conservation of the marine reptiles.
On June 27, 2008, Mr. Nguyen Van Thang of Nam Hai Village, Minh Chau Island, discovered a turtle entangled in his net. Thanks to information he received from IUCN and Bai Tu Long National Park, he reported the find to local authorities and a marine turtle protection volunteer group.
Authorities classified the animal as a critically endangered Hawksbill weighing three kilos and tagged it for identification.
Two days later, Bai Tu Long National Park staff, local leaders and the volunteer group released the turtle to the sea in Cua Doi, Minh Chau, as Mr. Thang and other residents looked on.
Later, on July 1, 2008, a fisherman caught a tagged, 120-kilo endangered Green turtle in Gio Hai Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province. The turtle, measuring 110 cm in length and 95 cm in width, was released in good condition that day.
IUCN has been supporting marine turtle preservation since the development of the Viet Nam Action Plan on Marine Turtle Conservation 2006-2010 and as part of the support for the Plan’s implementation. The work focuses on Bai Tu Long National Park in the North and Quang Tri coastal areas in the North Central region.
In both locations, training workshops were conducted for teachers and extra curricular activities organized for students focusing on themes of saving sea turtles and their habitat.
The latest teacher workshop in March 2008 was part of IUCN’s Community-Based Management of Sea Turtle Habitat in Quang Tri Province Project.
In 2008, IUCN will continue its partnership with Bai Tu Long National Park through professional development and capacity-building work, and it will help generate revenue for the reserve by collaborating with private sector companies to establish eco-tourism excursions into the park.
IUCN enjoys the support of multiple donors for its programs in the Gulf of Tonkin, including the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Royal Danish Embassy in Hanoi, Fish and Wildlife Services, and the US State Department through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).