2018 - 2021 News
Table of contents:




 July 2021 (volver)

The Tenth Conference of Parties (COP10) in the 20th anniversary of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (2001-2021)

Representatives from 15 of the 16 countries of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) met virtually on June 30, 2021, for their first part of the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) and the 20th anniversary of the Convention.
Sixty (60) delegates from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, the Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and observers from the governments of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago attended the meeting.
In the opening remarks, the COP10 Chair, and Costa Rica´s Focal Point, Mr. Rotney Piedra Chacón, highlighted that although the Convention is small, it has made great progress in the conservation of sea turtles across the region in the last 20 years, which has been possible thanks to the efforts and commitment of each of the countries and their strategic partners. "There are still great challenges, including stabilizing sea turtle populations; solving administrative issues of the IAC; and maintaining the rapprochement with countries that are not IAC members through diplomatic channels, to urge them to consider acceding to the Convention," he said.ó.
The Secretary, Ms. Verónica Cáceres, presented some of the activities carried out by the Parties to comply with the Resolutions that guide the actions of the countries, which include the resolutions for the conservation of the Northwest Atlantic leatherback, the Eastern Pacific leatherback ,the hawksbill , the loggerhead ,adaptation of sea turtle habitats to climate change , reduction of the adverse impacts of fisheries , and the exceptions for subsistence in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama.
During the meeting, the Parties approved updates to the operational resolutions on the IAC finances and secretariat. It was decided that the Pro Tempore modifier be removed from the Secretariat title, which will hereafter be the IAC Secretariat.


The second part of the COP10 will be held in person in June 2022, with Panama as the host country. By then, it is hoped that this process concludes successfully and continues contributing to the recovery and conservation of sea turtles in the region.


Group Photo COP10

Group Photo COP10

Group Photo COP10





 June 2021 (volver)

The IAC celebrates its 20th Anniversary and World Sea Turtle Day together with the CPPS´s Action Plan for the Conservation of the Marine Environment with the Workshop “Actions to Record the Impact of Climate Change on Sea Turtles”

To celebrate World Sea Turtle Day on June 16, 2021, the IAC and the South Pacific Permanent Commission Action Plan for the Conservation of the Marine Environment organized the Workshop “Actions to Record the Impact of Climate Change on Sea Turtles”. The subject is developed within the framework of the IAC Resolution “Adaptation of sea turtle habitats to climate change” which is a call to “strengthen, identify, and implement corrective measures relating to adaptation to climate change within management plans, regulatory plans, and protection and conservation programs for sea turtles and their habitat.”

The workshop highlighted the actions implemented by the IAC countries to monitoring environmental parameters such as the impact of temperature on the incubation and the hatchlings sex determination in nesting index beaches.

Concrete actions include the IAC Scientific Committee Climate Change Working Group, that advices the countries participating in pilot project designed to monitor the climate change impacts on nesting beaches, and have produced two technical documents “Mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of climate change on nesting beaches” and another one to monitor temperatures, in preparation.

The workshop main speakers Dr. Jeffrey Seminoff, M.Sc. Marcela Sanchez, and Dr. Maria del Pilar Santidrian presented research carried out in the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica, respectively. The workshop was designed by the IAC Climate Change Working Group to share their work and collect recommendations for the first draft of the document on Best Practices to Monitor Sand Temperature on Index Beaches.

This year celebration is even more special as is the 20th Anniversary (2001-2021) of the Sea Turtle Convention (IAC) coming into force with 16 member countries. Within this context and understanding that international cooperation is required to achieve migratory species conservation objectives such as sea turtles, the IAC fosters collaboration with regional organizations important for the conservation of the marine environment. Therefore, this year we celebrate together with our partners the CPPS and their Action Plan for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Area of the South Pacific, organizing a series of joint activities in June, and this workshop was the first one.

The activity was attended by 70 participants from 16 countries, carried out virtually and transmitted through the CPPS Facebook site.








 April 2021 (volver)

10TH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF SEA TURTLES

IAC COP10 The Tenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles – Part I, is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021 on June 30th. Due to the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAC Secretariat Pro Tempore will host this meeting virtually.

Photo:
© Jeremy Bishop - Unsplash





 April 2021 (volver)

14th Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts

The fourteenth meeting of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles Consultative Committee of Experts (CCE14) was held on March 4-5, 2021 via videoconference. The delegates from 14 IAC country members participated in the meeting representing Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay, as well as the CCE sectorial members and observers from Canada and Trinidad & Tobago governments.
The items agreed at this meeting to present to the IAC 10th Conference of Parties included the recommendation to amend the Resolution for the conservation of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle CIT-COP7-2015-R2, the presentation of an analysis of the first year of data on the interactions between sea turtles and industrial longlines, and the recommendations from the Consultative and Scientific Committees on the implementation of the Resolution on Exceptions in Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala.
The Consultative Committee updated its work plan including the implementation of a bi-national pilot project in Chile and Peru on the collection of data regarding the interactions between fisheries and sea turtles, the activities of the working group on artisanal fisheries to use catch/mortality, and effort indices, and the activities of the Northwest Atlantic which include mapping areas of importance to this population.
The implementation of these activities will facilitate addressing issues such as documenting and mitigating the interactions between sea turtles and fisheries, and the protection of their habitats.

Photo:
Group photo CCE14





 febrary 2021 (volver)

Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) reborn in Manabí- Ecuador

The Eastern Pacific leatherback turtle is the most threatened sea turtle species on the planet, more than 90% of its population has drastically decreased. In mainland Ecuador, there was no evidence or records of births of this species from 1983; until 32 years later, in 2015 and 2017, when the sea turtles started showing evidence of their occurrence on the beaches of Ecuador. Nesting females were recorded in Puerto Cabuyal, Crucita (Manabi), and in Las Palmas (Esmeraldas). Despite the efforts to protect the clutches none of the nests was successful but were a good sign of what was about to come.

As part of its commitments, the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles -IAC- has provided support to the activities carried out by the government of Ecuador since its beginnings. Within the framework of Resolution CIT- COP7-2015-R2: Conservation of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle, the Convention has provided scientific and technical support to these nesting events. Through a collaboration between Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment and the Government of Mexico Environment and Natural Resource Secretariat and its Commission of Protected Natural Areas of Mexico, two officials of Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment were trained in Mexico, on in situ management and monitoring of leatherback nests, in March 2018.

On November 26, 2020, after 3 years since the last nesting, in Manabí – Ecuador, a leatherback turtle was reported arriving in San Clemente beaches (Manabi) again. The clutch was reported by the local volunteers from the “Contamos Contigo Ecuador” foundation. Immediately the officials of Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment and Water, together with a technical team made up of government personnel and IAC experts from Mexico and Ecuador joined forces again, to establish the actions to protect the clutch and increase the chances of successful hatching. This team included the technical assistance of Mexico´s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP in Spanish) through its National Program for the Conservation of Sea Turtles Coordinator, the IAC Ecuador Focal Point (the Galapagos National Park Directorate), the Undersecretary of Natural Heritage, and the MAAE National Directorate of Biodiversity.

The team established a monitoring plan for the protection of the clutch in situ; Also, with WildAid financial support, 12 eggs were extracted for incubation ex situ for the first time in Ecuador´s history, to increase their hatching success. The eggs were constantly monitored by technicians and park rangers of the Wildlife Refuge Isla Corazón and Fragatas. The clutch in situ and the incubation ex situ were monitored by the volunteers throughout 57 days, with the assistance of the technical team, until they witnessed the birth of 61 hatchlings in situ and 9 hatchlings ex situ. In total, this clutched contributed with 70 hatchlings, marking a historical milestone regarding the occurrence of the Leatherback in Ecuadorian coasts, highlighting the Government of Ecuador efforts towards the conservation of this species, as well as the collaborative and synergistic environment for which the IAC has served as a platform, enabling these actions.

The birth of these turtles in Manabí-Ecuador is encouraging for both, the species and all the people involved in the efforts for the conservation of the Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles, and is directly related to the compliance with the IAC objectives at a regional level, where member countries of the Convention support each other by sharing their technical experience, resulting in important achievements such as this successful nesting, as an evidence of their commitment to the conservation and protection of sea turtles in the Americas.

Field work Team
© Leonardo Cagua
Ex situ incubation
© Leonardo Cagua
Checking eggs to determine fertilization
© Lissette Ramírez
Measuring hatchlings
© Kevin Reyes
Leatherback hatchling born in Manabi, after almost 40 years
© Cristian Soledispa



 November 2020 (volver)

Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding between the IAC and Ramsar

The Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Ms. Martha Rojas Urrego, and the Secretary PT of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, Ms. Veronica Caceres, signed the renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to continue the collaborative work to protect sea turtle species and the habitats on which they depend, and are crucial for their development and survival, such as wetlands.

At the event attended the IAC COP10 Chair Mr. Rotney Piedra, Ramsar Focal Point from France Ms. Ghislaine Ferrere, Dr. Jacques Fretey, and Ms. Maria Rivera, Ramsar Adviser to the Americas.

The IAC Secretary PT highlighted the results of the document Wetlands of International Importance and Sea Turtle Conservation, that highlight that there are 108 Ramsar sites with the occurrence of sea turtles in the IAC member countries. This encouraged Focal Points from both conventions to get more involved to recommend new areas, important to sea turtles to be considered for Ramsar site designation to increase the level of protection.

Also, the IAC expressed the willingness to embrace the new opportunities for collaboration within the framework of the MoU and Ramsar Resolution XIII.24 “the enhanced conservation of coastal marine turtle habitats and the designation of key areas as Ramsar sites ".

The French Government Focal Point to Ramsar announced the document prepared by Dr. Jacques Fretey, which includes an inventory of global wetlands that are important as sea turtle habitats, that will be of great importance to find actions to implement the IAC-Ramsar MoU.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed Friday, November 6, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EST) in a virtual ceremony.


Signing of the IAC- Ramsar Memorandum of Understanding renewal between Ramsar Secretary General, Ms. Martha Rojas Urrego and the IAC Secretary PT, Ms. Veronica Caceres.



IAC COP Chair – Mr. Rotney Piedra from Costa Rica


 June 2020 (go back)

IAC Countries Celebrate World Sea Turtle Day 2020

We invite you to attend the virtual talks organized by IAC member countries Ecuador, Peru and Panama together with IAC Secretariat PT, celebrating World Sea Turtle Day on June 16th.

The presentations are in Spanish via Facebook Live at the links below.
Ecuador: https://www.facebook.com/parquegalapagos/
Peru: https://www.facebook.com/imarpe.pe
Panama: https://www.facebook.com/miambientepma


 June 2020 (go back)

Presentation of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback EASI-Fish model at the 10th meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission working group on ByCATCH.


The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT) Working Group on bycatch held its annual meeting on June 04, 2020, this time by a virtual meeting. More than 80 delegates attended, the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), was represented by the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, Ms. Veronica Caceres, and Dr. Bryan Wallace, Coordinator of the East Pacific Leatherback Task Force.

The IAC and IATTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, under which they collaborate. The IAC with support from members of Laud OPO network, collaborated with IATTC Scientific Staff on a project to assess the vulnerability of the Eastern Pacific (EP) leatherback turtle to fishing activities in IATTC region. This collaboration resulted in the document “Vulnerability Status and Efficacy of Potential Conservation Measures for the East Pacific Leatherback Turtle Stock Using the EASI-Fish approach”.

The documents is available at: https://www.iattc.org/Meetings/Meetings2020/SAC-11/BYC-10/_English/BYC-10-INF-B_Leatherback%20turtles%20and%20EASI-Fish.pdf

This document was presented at the IATTC bycatch WG by its co-authors Dr. Bryan Wallace and Dr. Shane Griffiths, (IATTC Staff). This study allows evaluation of possible benefits of the conservation measures described in IATTC Resolution C-19-04.

The results from this EASI-Fish assessment showed a combination of conservation and management measure (CMM) using multiple strategies in concert, with the most effective being closure of coastal fishing grounds adjacent to nesting areas coupled with the use of circle hooks in all longline fisheries and exercising best handling and release practices in all fisheries. This modelling exercise provided an important first step towards assessing the potential effects of CMMs described in the IATTC Resolution C-19-04. The results of the EASI-Fish models can inform strategies to implement these CMMs within the IATTC Convention Area to reduce bycatch impacts on EP leatherbacks.

The document highlights future work to be done such as including information on species distribution in the model for leatherbacks. The USA delegation at the expressed being pleased with the results of the EASI-fish model that shows the measures in C-19-04 will positively impact leatherbacks. The USA supports further work between the IATTC and IAC, including the development of a species distribution model.


 May 2020 (go back)

Thirteenth Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts (CCE13)

The 13th Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts (CCE13), was held via video conference on April 14th, 2020. Delegates from thirteen IAC countries attended the meeting representing Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, and the United States. The CCE sectorial members from the scientific community, industry, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) sectors also attended the meeting, with a total of 32 participants.

The CCE Chair Dr. Paul Hoetjes provided a summary of the compliance with the CCE Work Plan in the previous year, and guided the discussions of the plenary to adopt the meeting recommendations listed below:

1- Inclusion of two new sections in the IAC Parties Annual Report, the first one to follow up on the implementation of the Northwest Atlantic (NWA) Leatherback Resolution, and the second section for IAC countries to report data on sea turtle bycatch in industrial longline fisheries.

2- The NWA Leatherback Working Group was established to increase the collaboration with SPAW Protocol, WIDECAST, and WWF, as they are also working on the protection of this Endangered population (according to the IUCN).

3 - The IAC Eastern Pacific leatherback task force was assigned to assess the compliance with the IAC East Pacific leatherback Resolution five-year strategic actions, and prepare a report to be presented at IAC Conference of the Parties in 2021.

4 - Considering the concern on the impacts of artisanal fisheries on sea turtles, and the lack of data on this issue, a working group was formed to discuss the need and mechanisms to collect sea turtle bycatch data from small scale fisheries in the IAC countries.

5- The CCE revised a draft text for a Memorandum of Understanding between IAC and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and the request from Stetson University College of Law to establish a cooperation agreement with IAC. The CCE recommended to begin dialogue with both organizations.

Mexico was nominated as new Chair of the Consultative Committee of Experts, and will confirm their delegate in the following weeks. Ecuador´s delegate, Mr. Eduardo Espinoza, accepted the position as Vice-Chair of the CCE.

The CCE expressed their gratitude to the former Chair, Dr. Paul Hoetjes, acknowledging his collaboration, support, and significant contributions to sea turtle conservation during his 15 years working with the IAC as the Caribbean Netherlands Focal Point, and for the last seis years as the CCE Chair.

Some delegates to the IAC CCE13


 February 2020 (go back)

Second meeting of the IAC COP10 (2021) preparatory working group.

The second preparatory meeting for the IAC COP10 was held on February 14th by video conference, convened by COP10 Chair Mr. Rotney Piedra. The 10th IAC Conference of the Parties COP10 will take place in Panama in June 2021. The objective of the working group meeting was to identify strategies to increase IAC membership and strengthen partnerships with other organizations. The participants from Costa Rica presented a proposal for IAC communication and outreach strategy, to promote participation at COP10.

The IAC Working Group Members attending the meeting from Costa Rica Mr. Rotney Piedra (COP10 Chair), Ms. Viviana Tinoco (Costa Rica Foreign Affairs Ministry), and Mr. Christian Diaz collaborator at Costa Rica´s Las Baulas National Park. Participants from Panama Mr. Marino Abrego (COP10 Vice-Chair), Panama´s Ministry of Environment representatives, Mr. Jonny Pardo, Mr. Carlos Hookings, and Mr. Julio Gonzales. The Scientific Committee (SC) Chair, Mr. Diego Albareda, and the Consultative Committee (CCE) Vice-Chair, Mr. Joao Thome. The IAC Secretariat Pro Tempore Ms. Veronica Caceres and Ms. Luz Helena Rodriguez were the moderators and facilitated the videoconference.

Mr. Piedra and Mr. Diaz presented a proposal for the IAC communication strategy that includes the following objectives: 1. Increase IAC membership, 2. Report to IAC Parties on resolution implementation and sea turtle conservation challenges, and 3. Report on conservation actions taken by IAC member countries. To address the first objective Ms. Tinoco offered the support of Costa Rica´s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to collaborate with their embassy in Panama to promote COP10 attendance. The meeting discussed the strengthening of partnerships with technical groups such as the LaudOPO network and the IUCN Marine Turtles Specialists Group, this will be done with of CCE sectorial members by coordination of CCE Vice-Chair.

The Working Group agreed on actions to implement the IAC communication strategy proposed by Costa Rica. It was decided to use outreach materials, resources, video, and expertise that is already available in IAC countries. To this effect, the representatives from Panama, Brazil, and Argentina will provide in the next months the sea turtle outreach materials to Costa Rica. The relations among the IAC Parties consular representatives in IAC countries will be strengthened, to facilitate communications with diplomatic missions to none IAC countries, under Costa Rica´s leadership in the capacity of COP10 Chair.

The implementation of the communication strategy will strengthen compliance with the IAC Resolutions and the sea turtle conservation objectives.

Group photo - 2nd preparatory meeting for IAC COP10 (2021). Presentation IAC Communication Strategy.


 February 2020 (go back)

The IAC Attended a Workshop to Assess and Update Ecuador´s National Sea Turtle Conservation Plan.

The Secretary Pro Tempore of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea turtles -IAC- Ms. Veronica Caceres, attended the workshop to Assess and Update Ecuador´s National Sea Turtle Conservation Plan, held on February 21 – 22, 2020 in Salinas, Ecuador with the support of Germany Technical Cooperation GIZ, WildAid, and Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment office in Salinas.

The workshop objective was to bring together sea turtle specialists from governmental sectors, decentralized autonomous governments, the academy, and NGOs, to discuss their progress on the implementation of the sea turtle conservation plan, and update its objectives and guidelines for the next 10 years. The 40 participants at the workshop included representatives from the Marine and Coastal Management Undersecretary of Ecuador, who are the lead on the implementation of the plan; the Marine Protected Areas, including Galapagos National Park; the Ecuadorian Fisheries Authority, the National Institute of Fisheries, Universities, Non-Governmental Organizations, and local Autonomous Government representatives. The IAC Secretary PT attended the workshop remotely by videoconference.

The experts discussed sea turtle conservation activities carried out by Ecuador´s government agencies, universities, local government, and NGOs during the last four years after the adoption of the conservation plan in 2014. Those activities were aimed to implement the following 5 objectives of the conservation plan: 1. To protect nesting, reproduction and foraging areas, 2. To reduce the impact of sea turtle interactions with fisheries, 3. To engage the public in sea turtle protection, 4. To produce priority information on sea turtle conservation to inform decision making, and 5. To actively contribute to international efforts for regional sea turtle protection.

The workshop plenary identified conservation activities that were not included, had low implementation, and those that needed to be improved in the conservation plan. A SWOT analysis was done to identify the challenges and progress of sea turtle conservation in Ecuador. The IAC invited the participants to include in the updated plan, activities to help address regional sea turtle conservation, such as data collection of bycatch in artisanal fisheries, and traffic of hawksbill products.

The two-days meeting met the goals to review the implementation of Ecuador´s sea turtle conservation plan in the last four years, updated the objectives and its activities according to the current local needs, to improve sea turtle conservation actions that will contribute to the regional recovery of the species protected by the IAC.

IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, Veronica Caceres, attending the workshop to update Ecuador´s action plan for sea turtle conservation. Sea turtle conservation activities in Ecuador. Group photo at the workshop to update Ecuador´s action plan for sea turtle conservation (Photo: Lissette Ramirez - Ministry of Environment of Ecuador)


 October 2019 (go back)

16th Meeting of the IAC Scientific Committee at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida – September 25 – 27, 2019.

Stetson University College of Law and the Department of Environmental Law, in Gulfport FL United States, hosted the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles 16th Scientific Committee meeting held on September 25-27, 2019. The college of Law Dean, Professor Michèle Alexandre, welcomed the scientists participating in the meeting and highlighted the importance of the IAC Scientific Committee work, providing technical recommendations that decision-makers from the Member Parties use to translate into environmental regulations aiming to ensure sea turtles survival.

The meeting was conducted with the participation of 27 attendants including delegates from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States, representatives of the United States Department of State, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and accredited observers.

The subjects discussed were the implementation of the Resolution on Exceptions in Panama and Guatemala, based on the five-year report presented by each country; the development of forms to report sea turtle bycatch in fisheries in the IAC Annual Report, according to the Resolution for the Conservation of the Northwest Atlantic Leatherback (CIT-COP9-2019-R2); collaboration with other international organizations which with the IAC has a Memorandum of Understanding such as CITES, CIAT, and RAMSAR; a follow up report on the implementation of the pilot project on climate change and sea turtles in the IAC countries, and the implementation of an Online Reporting System for the IAC Annual Report.

Regarding the concern addressed in the previous meeting about a potential reduction of Green Turtles nesting in Galapagos, it was clarified that the case is not as alarming as believed, as Ecuador provided additional nesting data which will be updated to show the population current status. The fisheries working group agreed on developing a strategy to establish levels of sea turtle interaction with fisheries in the IAC region to provide quantitative data that allows for better estimates through partnerships with RFMOs.

The Scientific Committee will be working during the inter-sessions period to comply with the activities agreed in the meeting work plan to continue advising decision-makers in the IAC 16 member countries.

Group photo of the IAC 16th Scientific Committee Meeting

 October 2019 (go back)

Discussion on the IAC Convention with Environmental Law Students and the IAC Secretary PT

Within the framework of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) 16th Scientific Committee meeting, the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore took part in a discussion with Stetson University College of Law students of environmental Law in Gulfport, Florida. As an introduction, the Secretary PT presented the Convention objectives, structure and operation, and the items of the 16th Scientific Committee meeting that would take place at the university campus.

The Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, Professor Royal C. Gardner, and Ms. Erin Okuno, from the same institute, participated in the dialogue as well. The environmental law students from Stetson University had the opportunity to receive first-hand information on the operation of an international treaty for the conservation of endangered species, which is unique as it focuses on only one taxon, sea turtles.

Presentation of the Secretary PT to Stetson University students of environmental law on the IAC Convention. Discussion on the IAC Convention with Stetson University students of environmental law.

 October 2019 (go back)

The Dominican Republic, host of the Ninth Conference of Parties (COP9) of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles – IAC

The Dominican Republic hosted the IAC Ninth Conference of Parties (COP9) held in Santo Domingo on June 12-14, 2019. Ms. Ydalia Acevedo, Vice-minister of Coasts and Seas of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources welcomed the delegations from 12 IAC countries (Argentina, Brazil, the Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and the United States). Ms. Acevedo acknowledged and thanked Ms. Idelisa Bonelly de Calventi who is the pioneer in sea turtle conservation in the Dominican Republic. Ms. Acevedo also highlighted her country efforts in the conservation of the three species of sea turtles (leatherbacks, greens, and hawksbills) found in the country beaches and waters, the laws and regulations adopted by the government to ensure their protection, and the participation of several Universities, organizations, and volunteers working to reverse the threats that sea turtles face, and safeguard their survival.

The COP9 adopted a new Resolution for the conservation of the Northwest Atlantic Leatherback, in response to the decreasing number of nests and females that have been reported in the last years (CIT-COP9-2019-R2). A Resolution to Access, Use and Request data compiled by the IAC was adopted too (CIT-COP9-2019-R4), providing the guidelines for third parties interested in the data collected by the Convention. Amendments to the Resolution on Guidelines for Financing the Operation of the IAC were adopted as well, specifying how in-kind contributions should be reported by the Parties. In addition, the COP approved the proposal to implement an online reporting system for the IAC Annual Reports.

The COP Chair Antonio de Nichilo proposed a mechanism to measure the implementation of the COP recommendations, to be used by the COP, the Scientific, and Consultative Committees Chairs. The IAC Eastern Pacific Leatherback Task Force Coordinator, presented a model on the impacts of conservation actions in the long and mid-term for East Pacific Leatherbacks, showing that this decade is critical to avoid this species extinction. The delegate from Panama presented positive results and progress in the implementation of the Resolution on Exception for subsistence harvesting of Lepidochelys olivacea eggs in his country.

Mr. Rotney Piedra, Costa Rica Focal Point, was elected as the new Chair of the Conference of Parties, replacing Mr. Antonio de Nichilo who did an excellent job during the last four years.

The Conference finished with the remarks of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, Ms. Venecia Álvarez, who reminded the process for this country to accede the Convention in 2017, and that as hosts of its first COP, they were honored and pleased with the successful results from the meeting. In her closing remarks, The Vice ministry Ms. Acevedo thanked the participants and emphasized the willingness and commitment of the Dominican Republic to continue to comply with the IAC objectives for the regional benefit of sea turtles and their habitats.

Group Photo - IAC 9th Conference of Parties Chair of the Conference of Parties, Mr. Antonio de Nichilo; Secretary Pro Tempore, Ms. Veronica Caceres; the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Vice Minister of Coasts and Sea, Ms. Ydalia Acevedo.
The Dominican Republic Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Vice Minister of Coasts and Sea, Ms. Ydalia Acevedo. IAC COP President-elect (2019-2021), Mr. Rotney Piedra, delegate from Costa Rica

 February 2019 (go back)

Twelfth Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts

Delegations from eleven IAC countries (40 participants) met on February 13, 2019, for the 12th Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts (CCE12). The meeting was held via videoconference from the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore office at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. The delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Belize, Caribbean Netherlands, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, as well as representatives from the CCE Scientific, Industry and Non-Governmental Organizations Sectors discussed the recommendations and resolution proposals to present at the IAC Conference of the Parties (COP9) in June this year.

The delegates discussed the concern of the Convention on the current status of the Southeastern Pacific Green Turtle and the Northwest Atlantic Leatherback Turtle populations. For Green Turtles, it was decided to present recommendations on conservation actions to COP9 and carry out in-depth research on the causes of the nesting decline in Galapagos and Costa Rica. A Resolution with guidelines for the effective protection of the Northwest Atlantic Leatherbacks will be presented to COP9, considering that several countries within the range of these regional management unit are critical for their nesting beaches, but they are not IAC members (i.e. Canada, Trinidad &Tobago, Suriname and Guianas) and is essential to promote a collaboration with them.

The recommendations adopted by the Consultative Committee to present to COP included a proposal to amend the 2007 Resolution on Guidelines for Financing the Operation of the IAC, a draft Resolution on the Procedures to Access, Use and Request data compiled by the IAC, and the presentation of a model developed by the LaudOPO network on the population of East Pacific leatherbacks conservation projections. The Committee also agreed to present the proposal to implement an online reporting system for the IAC annual reports, which will improve the exchange of information within the Convention.

Group Photo IAC CCE12

 February 2019 (go back)

IAC Secretary Pro Tempore attends the International Sea Turtle Symposium 2019

Ms. Veronica Caceres, IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, participated at the 39th International Sea Turtle Symposium in Charleston, South Carolina (USA) on February 1-3. More than 1000 participants from 80 countries attended the symposium. This year’s theme was “Navigating the Future” involving the current and future challenges and inviting to envision the conservation challenges before they come across, and to become familiar with the new frontiers on sea turtle biology while paying tribute to nature by guiding the way towards a positive future for sea turtles and humanity. During the special sessions there were presentations on sea turtle genetics; using science to inform conservation policy; navigation, migration and natal homing, and the future of sea turtle conservation.

As every year, the International Symposium was an important venue to meet researchers from the region and members of the IAC Scientific and Consultative Committees attending this event. It allowed for sharing new information and progress on research that keeps the Convention updated, and provides an opportunity to nurture new collaborations and to strengthen those that already exist.

Posters - International Sea Turtle Symposium

 February 2019 (go back)

Sixth Meeting of the East Pacific Leatherback Network (LaudOPO)

The Sixth meeting of the East Pacific Leatherback Network –Laud OPO- was held on February 3th, 2019 within the framework of the International Sea Turtle Symposium at Charleston, South Carolina.

The LaudOPO network was formed to strengthen and coordinate the efforts to recover the East Pacific leatherback turtle population, one of the most endangered in the world. The meeting included presentations from members of the network working in Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Chile, the United States and Uruguay, who shared regional progress, analysis of nesting and bycatch data, and activities towards establishing regional priorities for research and conservation.

The Secretary Pro Tempore of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), Ms. Veronica Caceres, participated in the meeting as a member of the LaudOPO network which work is related to the IAC Resolution for the Conservation of the East Pacific Leatherback CIT-COP7-2015-R2. LaudOPO activities are linked

Group Photo Laudopo Workshop 2019 - © LaudOPO

 February 2019 (go back)

25th Meeting of Sea Turtle Specialists from Latin America - RETOMALA

Within the framework of the 39th International Sea Turtle Symposium, Sea Turtle Specialist from Latin America met in Charleston, South Carolina (USA) on February 4, 2019. Ms. Veronica Caceres, IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, attended the meeting that this year focused on the genus Lepidochelys and the species L. kempii and L. olivacea which have been listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered and vulnerable, respectively.

The topics discussed included the Global initiative to include males in conservation strategies and the Law Enforcement Capacity Index for sea turtles of this genus in Latin America.

The themes regarding L. kempii involved research on genetics in Rancho Nuevo, and health assessment of sea turtles arriving at this beach, as well as issues such as oil spills and mortality by plastic bags and fishing nets.

The status of L. olivacea in IAC countries such as Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela was presented including new records in Uruguay and status in other countries such as Colombia. Several presentations focused on arribada beaches in Ostional Costa Rica, including their discovery, sea turtle behavior during this event, and data collection methods.

The meeting closed with the presentation on the status of Hawksbill traffic in Latin America, a topic of regional importance that this group follows up on every year.

Group Photo RETOMALA XXV - © RETOMALA

December 2018 (go back)

Sea Turtle Symposium – Ecuador 2018

Ecuador´s Sea Turtle Symposium was carried out on December 4-5, 2018 at Santa Elena Peninsula State University. The event was Organized by the Ministry of Environment and sponsored by the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles and Galapagos National Park Direction.

The event was attended by more than 300 participants representing four national universities, rangers from all marine protected areas in Ecuador, Non-Governmental Organizations, the Undersecretary of Fishing Resources and the Ministry of Environment.

There were 30 oral presentations and 11 posters presenting insights of research on topics such as monitoring and protection of nesting beaches, reproduction, and foraging areas; in water studies, impacts of interaction with fisheries, marine pollution and climate change, citizen participation in sea turtle conservation and the assessment of the Ecuador National Sea Turtle Conservation Plan. Some of the presentations included that of Ms. Johanna Moreira who spoke about the LaudOPO network and of representatives from Galapagos National Park showing progress on sea turtle monitoring techniques in the park.

Sponsored by the IAC, Dr. Joseph Flanagan a senior veterinarian from Houston Zoo and sea turtle expert participated as keynote speaker in the symposium and shared information on the causes of stranding and sea turtle rehabilitation. Also, there was a recognition to a scientist who pioneered sea turtle conservation in Ecuador awarding the IAC Scientific Committee delegate Mr. Eduardo Espinoza.

During the Symposium closing remarks the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, invited as keynote speaker quoted the words of the sea turtle conservation pioneer Dr. Archie Carr and closed the event saying “It is possible that a world in which sea turtles cannot survive may soon become a world in which humans struggle to survive. If, however, we learn from our mistakes and begin changing our behavior, there is still time to save sea turtles from extinction. In the process, we will be saving one of the earth’s most mysterious and time-honored creatures. We might just be saving ourselves too”

The wide participation in the event demonstrated great interest and commitment of researchers in the conservation and protection of sea turtles in Ecuador and other countries in the region which are part of important migratory routes to the Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles as well as to other sea turtle species protected by the IAC Convention. .

Posters during Ecuador´s Sea Turtle Symposium – December 4-5, 2018 Participants in Ecuador´s Sea Turtle Symposium IAC Secretary Pro Tempore - Ms. Veronica Caceres

December 2018 (go back)

Meeting of the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore with Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment Undersecretary of Marine and Coastal Management.

Within the framework of the Sea Turtle Symposium in Ecuador, on December 3rd, 2018, the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, Ms. Veronica Caceres, met Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment Undersecretary of Marine and Coastal Management the Biologist, Mr. Nelson Zambrano Lopez.

Discussions during the meeting referred to Ecuador´s sea turtle action plan, adopted in 2014 which included the development of the Sea Turtle Symposium – Ecuador 2018 carried out on December 4 and 5 at State University Santa Elena Peninsula. Aiming to collect information to enrich the National Plan implementation and identify knowledge gaps two discussion panels took place during the Symposium expecting to revise and adapt the document to the input from the attendees.

This visit was also part of the strategy to increase knowledge and implement conservation actions of the critically endangered Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle. Ecuador´s delegate to the IAC Scientific Committee, Mr. Eduardo Espinoza, and Dr. Joseph Flanagan, a sea turtle expert, also joined the meeting.

Meeting with the Undersecretary of Marine and Coastal Management of Ecuador´s Ministry of Environment, Mr. Nelson Zambrano.

December 2018 (go back)

Workshop on Sea Turtle First Aid and Necropsy Techniques.

Within the framework of the Sea Turtle Symposium in Ecuador, carried out on December 4-5, 2018 at the State University Santa Elena Peninsula, Dr. Joseph Flanagan senior veterinarian from Houston Zoo and expert in sea turtle rehabilitation visited Ecuador sponsored by the IAC.

In addition to participating as a keynote speaker during the Symposium sharing information on rehabilitation and sea turtle stranding, on December 6, Dr. Flanagan led a workshop on sea turtle first aid and necropsy for the marine protected areas rangers and marine biology students from the USEP. Following the workshop, the attendees visited Machalilla National Park Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center.

This activity complies with the IAC objective for enhancing the capacities of the technicians and all those in charge of sea turtle conservation in the region, which translates into increased levels of protection and proper management.

Workshop on sea turtle necropsies and rehabilitation by Dr. Joseph Flanagan Dr. Joseph Flanagan - Sea Turtle expert in first aid, rehabilitation and necropsies (C) Alexandra Tamayo - MAE

December 2018 (go back)

Volunteers training in Crucita, Manabí (Ecuador).

Within the framework of the Sea Turtle Symposium in Ecuador, carried out on December 4-5, 2018 at the State University Santa Elena Peninsula, Dr. Joseph Flanagan senior veterinarian from Houston Zoo and expert in sea turtle rehabilitation visited Ecuador sponsored by the IAC.

After leading a workshop on sea turtle first aid and necropsies, Dr. Flanagan took part at the beginning of the volunteers training organized by the Ministry of Environment and Portoviejo´s GAD. This training was provided within the framework of the awareness and monitoring training regarding sea turtle occurrence in Crucita, a tourist beach in Manabí Province.

During the three days training, the Biologist and IAC Scientific Committee delegate Mr. Eduardo Espinoza was the main instructor on sea turtle monitoring for volunteers. This event is an example of the cooperation between governmental and sectional agencies in non-protected areas where sea turtle occur. This training will enhance monitoring of these highly migratory and threatened species frequently visiting Ecuadorian coasts and endangered in this coastal community. .

Training of volunteers on sea turtle monitoring in Crucita, Manabí (Ecuador) (C) Alexandra Tamayo - MAE IAC Scientific Committe delegate, Biologist Eduardo Espinoza volunteers instructor on sea turtle monitoring and conservation. (C) Alexandra Tamayo - MAE

September 2018 (go back)

The IAC Secretary PT met with El Salvador Environmental and Fisheries Authorities to encourage their participation in Sea turtle Convention.

With the objective of resuming the dialogue with El Salvador Governmental Agencies to encourage the ratification process to the Inter American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles that began in 2009, the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore, Ms. Veronica Caceres met with relevant government authorities and NGOs that play an important role in the conservation of sea turtles in El Salvador. The meetings took place in San Salvador on September 25 – 28, 2018.

The IAC Secretary PT met with Mr. Gustavo Portillo, Director of El Salvador Fisheries Authority the National Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (CENDEPESCA) accompanied by his technical team, and Ms. Silvia de Larios Director of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Department at CENDEPESCA’s office. The second meeting took place at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources office, with Dr. Angel Ibarra, Vice-minister of Environment and Natural Resources of El Salvador, and also in attendance were officers from the Direction of Biodiversity, CENDEPESCA, FUNZEL, and FIAES. During this visit, both Governmental agencies stated their support for El Salvador to become a member of the IAC. The Vice-minister of Environment stated that the next step for his office will be to send a communication to the Minster of Foreign Relations with their positive opinion about the IAC, and requesting their support to move forward.

Ms. Caceres also meet with local NGOs Pro-Costa Director Mike Liles and Ms. Zulma Ricoy de Mendoza from Funzel. Technical information on important nesting sites for the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill was discussed along with an update of 2011 results from efforts that Funzel carried out to support the IAC ratification with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.

Sea Turtle conservation in El Salvador is very meaningful for species such as the critically endangered East Pacific Hawksbill Turtle, becoming a Party of the IAC would enhance the efforts that are ongoing in the country and in the region.

Meeting with Mr. Gustavo Portillo director of CENDEPESCA and Ms. Silvia de Larios Director of Biodiversity and their staff at CENDEPESCA office. Meeting with the Vice-minister of Environment of El Salvador, Dr. Angel Ibarra and representatives from de Direction of Biodiversity, CENDEPESCA, FUNZEL, and FIAES.

September 2018 (go back)

Fifteenth Meeting of the IAC Scientific Committee in Tegucigalpa, Honduras – September 17-19, 2018

With the support of Honduras Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs, the Scientific Committee of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) carried out their 15th meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on September 17-19. Minister of Environment Mr. José Antonio Galdames, and the Vice-chancellor Mr. José Isaías Barahona from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the participants and emphasized on the importance of protecting migratory species such as sea turtles across borders.

There were 41 participants attending the meeting including the delegates from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Caribbean Netherlands, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and the United States, the Chair of the Consultative Committee, Mr. Paul Hoetjes, representatives of Honduras Natural Resources and Environment Secretariat and Sea Turtle National Committee, and accredited observers.

The discussion included the analysis of nesting data 2009-2018 in the IAC region, updates on the use of Sea Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in IAC countries, conservation status of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) in the Northwest Atlantic as well as in the Eastern Pacific, and strategies to work with Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and other international Organizations. From the discussion, the Scientific Committee will develop recommendations concerning the decline in nesting of leatherbacks in the Northwest Atlantic, and the Green Turtle in Galapagos. Argentina delegate Dr. Diego Albareda, was re-elected as Chair of the Scientific Committee, and Costa Rica delegate Mr. Didier Chacon was elected as Vice-Chair.

Recommendations from this meeting will contribute to forward the development of effective strategies for the conservation of sea turtles in the Americas, aligned with the compliance with the IAC objectives. Our gratitude to Honduras for their warm welcome and excellent performance as host of this important meeting.

Group Photo (C) MiAmbiente Honduras. Honduras Minister of Environment - Mr. José Antonio Galdames (c) MiAmbiente Honduras. Honduras Vice-chancellor from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Mr. José Isaías Barahona (C) MiAmbiente Honduras .

August 2018 (go back)

Inauguration of “El Chapetón” Hatchery in Santa Rosa, Guatemala – August 3rd, 2018

Aiming to promote the exchange of knowledge between the fishing community and sea turtle conservation projects in the area of El Chapetón. Guatemala´s Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulation Direction –DIPESCA in Spanish- opened the sea turtles hatchery “El Chapetón” in Santa Rosa County, Guatemala Pacific Coast last August 3rd.

Led by DIPESCA, the construction of the hatchery had financial support from the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), the Government of Taiwan, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It is expected that “El Chapeton” is a precedent to recover other hatcheries requiring improvement and that along with training for local communities on best practices to manage hatcheries this is an opportunity for the conservation of sea turtle eggs threatened by poaching.

(C) USFWS. (C) USFWS. (C) USFWS.

May 2018 (go back)

IAC Participation in the IATTC 8th Meeting of the Working Group and Bycatch and 9th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)

The IAC Secretary Pro Tempore Ms. - Verónica Cáceres and Dr. Bryan Wallace - IAC Leatherback Task Force Coordinator and member of the Consultative Committee attended the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) 8th Meeting of the Working Group on Bycatch and 9th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), on May 10-18 in La Jolla, California.

Dr. Bryan Wallace gave a presentation at the Bycatch Working Group titled “Opportunities for the Leatherback Conservation in the Eastern Pacific”. The following topics were highlighted:

-Core areas used by leatherbacks in inter-nesting habitats between October and March are well defined within 50 km of the index nesting beaches in Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. These areas are highly important and offer an opportunity for the conservation of the species.

- Well defined areas are known in migratory corridors and in coastal foraging areas (adults and subadults).

- A lot of information is known regarding bycatch of leatherback in fisheries (longline, purse seine, trawl, nets), but there are knowledge gaps that require better observer coverage and better reporting of the bycatch to target mitigation measures.

Based on the technical information presented by the IAC and other experts, the IATTC Working Group on Bycatch drafted preliminary recommendations for the protection of the leatherback including:

a) Time-area management measures in areas adjacent to leatherback inter-nesting habitats for a reasonable period and distance from nesting beaches during the nesting season that will provide adequate protection, per scientific evidence. This may involve temporary moratoria on fishing and an exploration of options for fishers affected by closures.

b) Modifying longline fishing methods to mitigate bycatch in pelagic areas, where it is difficult to determine periods and areas where leatherback turtles aggregate, such as requiring the use of circle hooks, deeper setting, or finfish bait as alternative requirements for fishers who cannot implement other mitigation measures.

Additionally, there was a recommendation on increasing observer coverage in longline fisheries, standardizing forms to report bycatch and organizing a regional workshop on sea turtle bycatch and mitigation methods in order to determine the level of interactions with and relative mortality due to different fishing gears (including comparisons to factors other than fisheries), analyze existing scientific information on mitigation (including inter alia, depth, soak time, hook type, bait type etc) for the most endangered sea turtle species that are likely to interact with IATTC fisheries, while considering spatial and seasonal factors and the potential effects with other species (including target species), and continue to participate and promote research to improve techniques to further reduce sea turtle bycatch in all gear types used in the EPO.

At this meeting the IAC worked together with the delegate of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP) Dr. Igor Debski, in order to present recommendations such as the need to increase the observer coverage in the long line fisheries to gather much needed information on turtle, sea bird and shark bycatch to have more robust information to better understand the magnitude of the impact.

We would like to emphasize that the IAC technical participation in this meeting was in response to a recommendation from the 7th meeting of the IATTC Working Group on Bycatch which reads “Encourage the IATTC to collaborate with the IAC Scientific Committee to identify bycatch hotspots in leatherback inter-nesting areas”. Accordingly, the IAC provided the information requested with Dr. Wallace presentation.

IAC Presentation on leatherbacks can be found here: http://www.iattc.org/Meetings/Meetings2018/BYC-08-FADs-03/PDFs/PRES/BYC-08-PRES_Opportunities-for-leatherback.pdf

Documents and presentations from the Bycatch WG can be found here: http://www.iattc.org/Meetings/Meetings2018/SAC-09/9thMeetingScientificAdvisoryCommitteeENG.htm

The preliminary recommendations above were presented at the 9th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC9). The SAC9 report is in review it will be available at IACCT website.

IAC group participating in the IATTC meetings. Dr. Bryan Wallace presentation
during the Meeting of the IATTC Working
Group on Bycatch.


May 2018 (go back)

Costa Rica now has a National Strategy for the Conservation and Protection of Sea Turtles

On early May 2018, Costa Rica announced that the document with the National Strategy for the Conservation and Protection of Sea Turtles is now available. The development process of the strategy began in 2015 as a response to the need for an instrument guiding sea turtles matters by articulating strategic actions and efforts in the country, including actors from the academy, non-governmental organizations and governmental institutions.” Workshops with experts, convening the actors previously mentioned, provided the information to build the strategy.

The general objective of the strategy is a comprehensive management of Costa Rica actions with an active participation of the different actors regarding conservation, protection, management, and recovery of populations of sea turtles and their critical habitats. The strategy includes six specific areas: 1) protection, control and institutional management of sea turtles conservation status, 2) nesting sites and marine habitats, 3) sea turtles research and monitoring, 4) climate change, mitigation measures and adaptation, 5) information, environmental education and awareness towards conservation, and 6) participation of the civil society.

After the strategy is adopted, next steps will include the creation of the National Program for the Conservation of Sea Turtles in Costa Rica. The Program will be in charge of monitoring and manage the implementation of the strategy, as well as ensure compliance with the resolutions of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC).



April 2018 (go back)

IAC Presentation During the Final Workshop for the Development of the National Plan for Conservation of Sea Turtles in Peru

The final workshop to finish the development of the National Plan for Conservation of Sea Turtles in Peru (PNC in Spanish) was carried out on April 6th, 2018 with the participation of the public and private sectors. The process lead by the National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR in Spanish) from the Ministry of Environment and Irrigation, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Production has the support of the National Service of the State Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP in Spanish), WWF Peru and the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC). The development of the PNC was also possible with the support of Peru´s Sea Institute (IMARPE in Spanish), and the NGOs Pro Delphinus, Acorema, Ecoceanica and Planet Ocean.

A total of 47 representatives from the different sectors provided their final input to be included in the PNC. Aiming to enrich the information, Peru´s delegate to the IAC Scientific Committee, Mr. Javier Quiñones, presented the commitments of the country before the Convention, focusing on the implementation of the strategic actions for the conservation of the critically endangered leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The actions within the framework of the Resolution for Conservation of the Leatherback CIT-COP7-2015-R2 applicable in Peru include reduction of bycatch, identification of areas of high interaction with fisheries, define and protect important areas for the leatherback survival, and eliminate consumption and illegal use.

The vision, objectives, and activities of the PNC were approved during the workshop. Once the results are consolidated, SERFOR will proceed to submit the document for the consideration of the Ministries aforementioned. Finally, all the organizations and institutions representative participating in the workshop reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the implementation of the PNC, once it is approved. The development of this document is a breakthrough step in the consolidation of sea turtle conservation in the IAC region, as well as forwarding the compliance with the objectives of the Convention.

Presentation on the IAC duing the 3rd workshop for the development of the Peru´s PNC Sea Turtles Javier Quiñones, Peru delegate to the IAC Scientific Committe Work group of the third worksho for the deveopment of Peru´s PNC Sea Turtles


March 2018 (go back)

IAC Presentation in Washington D.C. on the Conservation Status of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback

On March 20th, the coordinator of the IAC Leatherback EP Task Force, Mr. Bryan Wallace (Left), carried out the presentation “Laud OPO and the Conservation of the Critically Endangered Eastern Pacific Leatherback” in the U.S. State Department headquarters in Washington D.C. The presentation focused on the conservation status of the EP leatherback, within the framework of compliance with the IAC Resolution for the preservation of this species. According to its category of threat, the species could become extinct within the next 10 years.

The presentation included an overview of the Laud OPO network –where we come from, where we are, where we are headed-. Participants included U.S. State Department officials, representatives from NGOs, and diplomats from the Latin-American embassies of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Nicaragua. The meeting was organized by Mr. Joe Fette, US delegate to the IAC, and Ms. Veronica Caceres, IAC Secretary PT. An interesting conversation evolved, where the diplomats expressed their interest and willingness to support circulating the information regarding the current status of the leatherback EP and contributing to the fulfillment of the IAC Resolution. Seeking opportunities to further the leatherback conservation in their countries, follow up will be given with these representatives. In this sense, the IAC Secretary Pro Tempore has already met with Costa Rica embassy delegate in Washington, to exchange ideas and identify concrete actions.

On March 22nd, Mr. Wallace conducted this same presentation in the United States Fisheries and Wildlife Service –USFWS- headquarters, in Virginia. Most of the participants are part of the USFWS International Conservation Division, including those managing the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund –MTCF-. This presentation was coordinated by the US Delegate to the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts, Mr. Earl Possardt.

Dr. Bryan Wallace – Coordinator of the IAC Leatherback Task Force Presentation in the U.S. Department of
State with the participation of delegates
from different Latin-American embassies in Washington D.C.


March 2018 (go back)

Record participation in the IAC 11th Consultative Committee of Experts Meeting (CCE11)

The Eleventh Meeting of the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts (CCE11) was held last March 21st. The meeting was carried out from the IAC Secretariat Pro Tempore office at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, using the Videoconference software Vidyo. This technology allowed a record participation of 43 representatives from 14 of the 16 countries of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC), including the delegates representing NGOs, Scientific, and Industry sectors.

During the meeting, the CCE11 updated its work plan (2018-2019). The CCE11 agreed on the modifications to the IAC Annual Report to follow up on the implementation of Resolution CIT-COP7-2015-R3 Conservation of Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta), and Resolution CIT-COP3-2006-R2 Reduction of the Adverse Impacts of Fisheries). A mechanism between the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts and the IAC Scientific Committee was defined to increase engagement with the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). The Consultative Committee also adopted the Proposal for a pilot study to record environmental parameters on nesting beaches under Resolution CIT-COP4-2009-R5 Adaptation of Sea Turtle Habitats to Climate Change. An invitation to participate in the pilot will be sent to the IAC Parties through the IAC Secretariat Pro Tempore. During the intersession period, the CCE will be working on a proposal to update Resolution CIT-COPE1-2007-R2 Guidelines for Financing the Operation of the IAC.

The new IAC EP Leatherback Task Force coordinator, Mr. Bryan Wallace, presented a summary of activities, and the joint efforts with the Laud OPO network, which the IAC is a part. Updates on the Laud OPO network activities were presented, as well as next year work plan. This plan will focus on strengthening and aligning Laud OPO efforts with those of the IAC, promoting compliance with the Resolution on the Conservation of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle. The Task Force continues working actively and it also expects to increase its participation in RFMOs meetings. Other members of the task force were also present during the meeting, including Laura Sarti, Rotney Piedra, and Javier Quiñones.

The exchange of experience among the IAC Parties was also highlighted by Mexico and Peru, as it is fulfilling the Convention purpose of building capacities and exchange information among Member Countries. Costa Rica reported progress on the development of their Strategy for the Conservation of Sea Turtles, which they expect will be available on April 3rd of this year. The increased attendance and the active participation of the representatives showed the commitment of the Parties to comply with the objectives of the Convention. This is a very valuable and an important contribution towards the protection and conservation of sea turtles in the Americas.

The United States and Caribbean Netherlands (CCE Chair) Delegates to the IAC Consultative Committee of Experts Video-conference CCE11from the IAC Secretariat Pro Tempore office at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters.


February 2018 (go back)

IAC Countries Presentations during the 24th Meeting of Latin America Experts on Sea Turtles – RETOMALA 2018

On February 18, 2018, the 24th Meeting of Latin America Experts on Sea Turtles – RETOMALA, was held within the framework of the 38th International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in Kobe, Japan. This year´s theme was the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) feeding grounds and nesting beaches in Latin America, including status, threats, and conservation.

Researchers from signatory countries of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) such as Brazil, Curacao, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay presented the current status of investigations on hawksbill in their countries. Curacao presented the progress of the project on monitoring and nesting that began in 2014 with the support of the IAC.

RETOMALA is the oldest meeting of the International Sea Turtle Society and is a flagship of the Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation where the Latin-American community has an exclusive space to present results and progress of their research.

Group Photo, 24th RETOMALA Presentations of Venezuela (left.) y Panamá (Right.)
during RETOMALA 2018 Kobe, Japón.


February 2018 (go back)

Participation of the IAC in the 38th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation in Kobe, Japan

Represented by the Secretary Pro Tempore Ms. Verónica Cáceres, the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles participated in the International Sea Turtle Society 38th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation held in Kobe, Japan between February 18 and 23rd, 2018.

The theme of the Kobe Symposium was “Beyond Protection of the Sea Turtle”. It focused on keep sigh of the missions and goals of those working on sea turtles conservation considering that as researchers and conservationists, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of work and that it is important to take the efforts beyond protection to continue recovering sea turtle populations.

Representatives from IAC countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Curacao, Ecuador, Panama, Uruguay, The United States and Venezuela presented their projects progress and results. Ms. Neca Marcovaldi, a delegate from Brazil, presented the achievements of Tamar´s project over the last 30 years by changing social behavior towards sea turtle conservation, providing livelihood alternatives to the communities. These efforts granted Ms. Marcovaldi the ISTS Lifetime Achievement Award 2018. The United States delegates, Alexis Gutierrez and Jeffrey Seminoff, focused in the conservation of the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and presented the results of the ongoing successful cooperation between Japan, Mexico, and the United States.

Other presentations focused on the progress of the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) conservation during the 24th Meeting of Latin America Experts on Sea Turtles – RETOMALA, which is the oldest meeting of the International Sea Turtle Society where the Latin-American community has an exclusive space to present results and progress of their research, with the active participation of the IAC.

Brazil delegate, Ms. Neca Marcovaldi, sharing Projeto TAMAR´s achievements the last 30 years in a panel of experts. USA delegate, Ms. Alexis Guierrez, presentin the results of the colaboration between Mexico, USA and Japan for the protection of the loggerhead turtle.


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