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Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Prepared by: United Nations Environment Programme Caribbean Environment Programme Regional Coordinating Unit CEP Technical Report 4 9
Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNEP concerning the legal status of any country, territory or city or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessa rily reflect the views of the United Nations Environment Programme. 201 0 UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme 14 20 Port Royal Street Kingston, Jamaica This document may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form of educational or non proper services without special permission from the copyright holder, provided acknowledgement of the source is made. UNEP would appreciate receiving a copy of any publication that uses this document as a source. No use of this document may be made for resale or any other commercial purpose whatsoever without prior permission in writing from the United Nations Environment Programme. For bibliography purposes, this document may be cited as: F o restry Division (Government of the Rep ublic of Trinidad and Tobago) Save our Seaturtles Tobago, and Nature Seekers. 201 0 WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Trinidad & Tobago (Karen L. Eckert, Editor). CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme Kingston Jama ica xx + 1 3 2 pages.
Caribbean Environment Programme United Nations Environment Programme Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Forestry Division (Ministry of Housing and the Environment Government of Trinidad and Tob ago ), Save our Sea t urtles Tobago, and Nature Seekers Karen L Eckert Ph.D. Executive Director, WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan Series Editor CEP Technical Report No. 4 9
PREFACE Of the six species of sea turtle that inhabit t he Caribbean Sea all are classified as Critically Endan gered Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Specie s. In addition to centuries of regulated but largely unmonitored exploitation, sea turtles are accidentally captured and oft en drowned in active and abandoned fishing gear, resulting in death to uncounted tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands annually. Coral reef and seagrass degradation, oil spills, chemical waste, persistent plastic and other marine debris, high density coast al development, and an increase in ocean based tourism have damaged or elimi nated nesting beaches and feeding grounds. Population declines are complicated by the fact that causal factors are not always local. Sea turtles are migratory at all life stages meaning that what appears as a decline in a local population may be a direct consequence of the activities of people many hundreds of kilometers away Thus, while local conservation is crucial, action is also called for at the regional level. To adequ ately protect migratory sea turtles and achieve the objectives of the UNEP/CEP Regional Programme for Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife, The Strategy for the Development of the Caribbean Environment Programme (1990 1995) call ed specific management plans for econo nerable species of sea turtle. This is consistent with Article 10 of the Cartagena Convention (1983), which sta Protocol to the Cartagena Convention concern ing Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol) effects on such occurring sea turtles were included in Annex II in 1991 This CEP Technical Report is the 13 th in a series of Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans prepared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), a coalition of Caribbean sea turtle specialists, natural resource managers, and community based organizations. The objectives of the action plan series are to assist Caribbean governments in the discharge of their obligations under the SPAW Proto col, to promote a regional capability to implement scientifically sound sea turtle management and conserva tion programs, and to encourage a unified approach among range States. Each action plan summari s es the known distribution of sea turtles, discusses major causes of mortality, evaluates the effec tiveness of existing conservation laws, and prioriti zes implementing measures for stock recovery. Th is document wa s d eveloped and peer reviewed by national stakeholder led processes, with WIDECAST serving as scientific ad v is o r and upon completion was submitted to the UNEP/ CEP Regional Coordinating Unit (K ingston, Jamaica) and the SPAW Focal Point in Trinidad and Tobago for approval and permission to publish. WIDECAST was founded in 1981 by Monitor International, in response to a recommendation by the IUCN/CCA Meeting of Non Governmental Caribbean Organiza tions on Living Resources Conservation for Sustainable Development in the Wider Caribbean (Santo Domingo, 26 Caribbean Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan should be prepared ... consistent with the Action Plan for the Caribbean En C ountry Coordinators in more than 40 States and territories, and has served the C EP for more than a quarter century in support of a shared vision t o ting the marine environment of the wider Caribbean r egion for the benefit and enjoyment of present and ensure ordinated and comprehensive development without environmental Preamble Cartagena Convention ). Page i
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS G rat itude is extended to the followin g persons and groups who directly or indirectly contributed substantively to this Recovery Action Plan. Without their assistance and insight, the immense task of compiling this document could never have been completed. Special thanks are extended to Moll y Gaskin, Pointe Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, who served as a liaison between WIDECAST and the Republic during the 1980s and laid the groundwork for this document. Mr. Kenneth Fournillier followed Ms. Gaskin as WIDECAST Country Coordinator and his leadershi p as the Sea Turtle Focal Point within the Wildlife Section Forestry Division was instrumental both in helping to establish sea turtle field programs and in developing in a substantial way, this important document. W ith Mr. Fournilli er retirement f rom the Wildlife Section, Mr. Stephen Poon took the task of completing the Rec overy Action Plan with a national coalition of partners. Special appreciation is extended to Dr. Carol James, former Head of the Wildlife Section Forestry Divis ion and retired UNDP Senior Sustainable Development Advisor, for her vision and her diplomacy in establishing a variety of policies which have since borne fruit for the conservation of sea turtles at the grassroots, national and international levels. Ms. Nadra Nathai Gyan, is also acknowledged for her important contributions to the develop ment of this Recovery Action Plan her past and present leadership, and her passion for modern and sustainable resource management practices. T his unique document, created to serve as a blueprint for harmonised national research, conserva tion and management practices in Trinidad and Tobago, has guided, in its various development of modern sea turtle management practices for more than a decade. For this reason a great number of professionals, many of them now retired, must be acknowledged for their unswerving dedica ne w generation of resource managers who not only share the commitment of their predecessors but bring throughout the region, and the world. In Trinidad, ma ny individuals have given selflessly to the study and conservation of sea turtles. Indeed, much of what we know today rests on the pioneering work of Prof. P. Bacon, Mr. I. Lambie, Mr. D. Rooks, Mr. E. Laforest, Mr. N. Acham, Jim and Linda Geary, Geoff an d Kate Gibbs, Mr. D. Simons, Mr. D. Lee a Ping, Mr. Y. Guillaume, Mr. R. Mulligan (Blanchisseuse boatman) and other members of the Field Naturalists Club in the 1960s and 1970s. Studies undertaken by the Pointe Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, Institute of Mari ne Affairs, and prominent foreign scientists have also contributed meaningfully. In recent years, sea turtle conservation and monitoring in Trinidad has been conducted mainly by community based organisations. While dozens of members are actively involv ed, we would like to acknowledge, in particular, the following founding members: Mr. S Aguillera, Ms. S Lakhan, and Mr. C. Mitchell o f the Nature Seekers (Matura); Mr. K. Babwah, Mr. L. Bissoon, Mr. T. Boodoo, Mr. S. Ramdial and Mr. G. Sookoo of the Fish ing Pond Environmental and Community Group; Mr. G. Lincoln, Mr. L Peters and Mr. S Ruiz of what was originally called the Grande Riviere Environment Awareness Trust (GREAT); and Mr. R Roberts (PAWI Sports, Culture and Eco Club). These efforts could not have been successful without the support of many who hold key positions in Government, including the Hon. Pennelope Beckles, former Minister of Public Utilities and the En Page ii
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... vironment and Mrs. Jacqueline Ganteaume Farrell, Permanent Secretary, Mi nistry of Public Utilities and the Environment; Ms. A nn Marie Jobity, former Director, Fisheries Division; and Dr. Arthur Potts, former Director of Fisheries in Tobago. W ithin the Fisheries Division we would like to recognize support from Ms. Nerissa Nagas sar and Ms. Christine Chan A. Shing; Ms. Risha Alleyne E nvironmenta l Management Authority ; and Ms. Lori Lee Lum, Research Officer a nd Dr. J. Allan Goodridge, Legal Re search, at the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA). Finally, M r. Richard Laydoo, former C o ordinator, UNDP/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, has been very supportive of community based efforts over the years. Similarly, in Tobago there are many individuals who are dedicated to the survival of endangered sea turtles, a nd who have laboured against formidable odds to realise their conservation victories. We offer our sincere appreciation to the following persons who have assisted in this document: Ms. Wendy Herron, Founder SOS Tobago volunteers, collabor ators and staff; Ms. Pat Turpin, Environment TOBAGO; Mr. G. McFarlane, Director, Buccoo Reef Trust), Tobago House of Assembly (THA); Mr. Raye Sandy (Former Director, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) THA and his staff within the TH A, including Ms. Angela Ramsey, Mr. Jackie Johnson, Mr. Selwyn Davis and others; Mr. Errol Caesar (Former Director, Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries (DMRF) THA) and his staff and officers of the Fisheries Division (THA) including Mr. David Shim (former Manager, Buccoo Reef Marine Park); Mr. G. S. Beard, former Secretary for Tourism, Environment and Information (THA); and Mr. J. Ottermann (former Manager, Turtle Beach Hotel). Our acknowledgements would not be complete without an expression of th anks to those who paved the way for conservation success through many years of dedicated public service. These persons include: Mr. L. Myers and Dr. K. Rowley, former Ministers, and Mr. W. Rudder, former Permanent Secretary of the (then) Ministry of Agri culture, Land and Marine Resources; Mr. S. Dardaine, retired Director, Forestry Division; Wildlife Research Staff, including Mr. K. Amour, former Forester I, Forestry Division; Ms. S. Maharaj and Ms. V. Mahabir (Data Officers) and Ms. N. Leotaud and Mr. J. Smith (Interns), Wildlife Section Forestry Division; Mr. M. La Croix, former Director, Fisheries Division; Mr. M. Amos, former Fisheries Officer; Ms. S. Kuruvilla, Caribbean Fisheries Training Development Institute ( CFTDI) and Fisheries Officer; Ms. V. Me ndez Charles, former Director, Town and Country Planning; Mr. Hans Boos, former Curator, Empire Valley Zoo, Mr. Ian Lambie, former President/ CEO, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Ms. R. Cross, former Head, National Parks Section Forestry Division and her staff, North East and West Conservancies, retired Game Wardens Mr. D. Garcia and Mr. U. Whittier and their enforcement staff, and Mr. G. Hislop for his pioneering work in the Wildlife Section Forestry Section. The Editor would also like to personally acknowledg e those who reviewed and contributed substantiv ely to this final draft. They are, in alphabetical order: Ms. Risha Alleyne and Mr. Rondel L. Bailey (Environmental Management Authority), Mr. David Boodoo (Wildlife Section Forestry Division), Ms. Wendy Dow Piniak (WI DECAST), Dr. Scott A. Eckert (WIDECAST), Ms. Ann Marie Jobity (Fish eries Division), Totaram Khemraj (Nariva Environmental Trust), Ms. Lori Lee Lum (IMA), Dr. Suzanne Livingstone (Old Dominion University/ IUCN), Mr. David Mahabir (Wildlife Sectio n Forestry Division), Ms. Nerissa Nagassar (Fisheries Division), Ms. Nadra Nathai Gyan (Wildlife Section Forestry Division), Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Alessandra Vanzella Khouri (UNEP Caribbean Environment Pro gramme), Mr. Sookraj Persad (Fishing Po nd), Mr. Len Peters (Grand e Riviere Nature Tour Guide Page iii
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Association), Ms. Angela Ramsey (DNRE Tobago House of Assembly), Mr. Renwick Roberts (PAWI Sports, Culture and Eco Club) Ms. Shelley Sultanti Maharaj (Tow n and Country Planning Division, Mi nistry of Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring, and Gender Affairs) and Ms. Angel Taylor (Toco Foundation). And a special thanks to Lori Lee Lum and Wendy Dow Piniak for the most recent generation of maps and graphics! The sea turtle conservation community in Trinidad and Tobago is also deeply grateful to the following businesses and groups for providing important support (grant money, services, equipment) to grassroots sea turtle conservation initiatives over the last several years. These are, i nter alia BHP Billiton Trinidad and Tobago, bp Trinidad and Tobago (formerly Amoco Trinidad Oil Company Ltd.) Shell Car ibbean Chemicals Ltd., First Citizens Bank Ltd., Canadian High Commission, British High Commission, United Nations Development Programm e (Port of Spain), Columbus Zoo, The Travel Foundation, Wildlife Section Forestry Division (Government of Trinidad and Tobago), Aleong and Agostini Advertising Agency, Rotary Club (Port of Spain), Turtle Beach Hotel (Tobago), Gerard Ramsewak (PAX Guest Hou se), and Earthwatch Institute and their wonderful volunteers. Last but not least, the authors wish to thank the many friends and colleagues who comprise the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) without whom we would still be working alone and from whom we have learned so much We dedicate this Recovery Action Plan to those who have gone before us programme of beach monitoring and sea turtle conservation in 1965. In 1962, a young Customs Officer, Mr. Ian Lambie, was called upon to investigate the loss of some 8mm film. The film was never recovered, but the story it told ignited enough interest within the membership of the FNC that sea turtle conservation in Trinidad and Tobago was born. The film depicted the slaughter of a giant egg bearing turtle, a leather back sea turtle on Matura Beach At that time, the carcasses were floated out to sea to attract sharks that were then shot for sport. We have come a long way as a nation in 5 0 years with regard to our under standing of and respect for the role that sea turtles play in our ecology, economy, and culture. With our progress has come an enhanced capacity to manage our sea turtle resources wisely, and a recognition that there is still much to be done to ensure that our sea turtles will survive to inspire wonder in our children and their children for all time to come. Page iv
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface i Acknowledgment s ii Table of Contents v List of Acronyms viii List of Figures and Tables ix Abstract (English, Spanish, French) x I. INTRODUCTION 1 II. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF SEA TURTLES IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 5 2. 1 Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle 6 2.2 Chelonia mydas Green Sea Turtle 7 2.3 Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback Sea Turtle 9 2.4 Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill Sea Turtle 12 2.5 Lepidochelys kempii Kemp s Ridley Sea Turtle 14 2.6 Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley Sea Turtle 14 III. STRESSES ON SEA TURTLES IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 15 3.1 Destruction or Modification of Habitat 15 3.2 Disease or Predation 17 3.3 Over utilisation 19 3.4 Inadequate Regulatory Mechanisms 27 3.5 Other Natural or Man made Factors 28 IV. SOLUTIONS TO STRESSES ON SEA TURTLES IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 29 4.1 Manage and Protect Habitat 29 4.11 Identify essential habitat 30 4. 111 Survey foraging areas 30 4.112 Survey nesting habitat 32 4.12 Develop area specific management plans 35 4.121 Review existing legislation 36 4.122 Involve local coastal zone authorities 39 4.123 Develop regulato ry guidelines 39 4.124 Provide for enforcement of guidelines 42 4.125 Develop educational materials 42 4.13 Prevent or mitigate degradation of nesting beaches 43 4.131 Sand mining 43 Page v
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 4.132 Beachfront lightin g 44 4.133 Beach stabilisation structures 46 4.134 Beach cleaning equipment and vehicular use of beaches 47 4.135 Beach rebuilding projects 49 4.136 Other 49 4.14 Prevent or mitigate degradation of marine habitat 50 4.141 Dynamiting reefs 50 4.142 Chemical fishing 50 4.143 Industrial discharges 51 4.144 At sea dumping of garbage 51 4.145 Oil exploration, production, refining, transport 52 4.146 Agricultural runoff and sewage 54 4.147 Anchoring, dredging and land reclamation 55 4.2 Manage and Protect All Life Stages 56 4.21 Assess regulatory mechanisms 56 4.211 Review existing national laws and regulations 56 4.212 Evaluate the effect iveness of law enforcement 58 4.213 Propose new regulations where needed 60 4.214 Augment existing law enforcement efforts 63 4.215 Make fines commensurate with product value 63 4.22 Investigate alternative livelihoods for turtle fi shermen 63 4.23 Evaluate i ncidental catch and minimise sea turtle mortality 65 4.24 Supplement reduced populations using management techniques 68 4.241 Management techniques for turtles 69 4.242 Management techniques for eggs and hatc hlings 70 4.243 Sea turtle mariculture 72 4.25 Monitor stocks 73 4.251 Monitoring nesting populations 74 4.252 Monitoring hatchlings 75 4.253 Monitoring turtles at sea 77 4.26 Promote co management 77 4.27 Investigate non consumptive uses to generate revenue 81 4.271 Ecotourism and tour guiding 82 4.3 Encourage and Support International Cooperation 84 4.31 Global treaties 84 4.311 CITES 84 4.312 Convention on Biological Diversity 85 4.313 Marpol Treaty 85 4.314 U. N. Convention on the Law of the Sea 86 4.315 Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species 86 4.32 Regional treaties 86 4. 321 Cartagena Convention and SPAW Protocol 86 4.322 Inter A merican Convention 87 Page vi
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... 4.323 Western Hemisphere Convention 88 4.33 Subregional sea turtle management 88 4.4 Develop Public Education 89 4.41 Residents 89 4.42 Fishermen 90 4.43 Tourists 91 4.5 Increase Information Exchange 91 4.51 Exchange of information among local groups 91 4.52 Workshops on research and management 92 4.53 International Scientific and Technical Meetings 92 4.5 4 WIDECAST 93 4.5 5 IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group 94 4.5 6 Marine Turtle Newsletter 94 4.6 Implement a National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme 94 4.61 Rationale 94 4.62 Goals and objectives 95 4.63 Activities 96 4.64 Results and Outputs 99 V. LITERATURE CITED 100 APPENDI X I 12 8 APPENDIX II 12 9 APPENDIX III 131 Page vii
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 LIST OF ACRONYMS CANARI Caribbean Natural Resource s Institute CBO Community Based Organisation CCA Caribbean Conservation Association CCC Civilian Conservation Corps CEC Certificate of Environmental Clearance CEP UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme CFTDI Caribbean Fisheries Training Deve lopment Institute CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora DM R F THA Department of M arine Resources and Fisheries DNRE THA Department of Natural R esources and Environment DOS U.S. Department of State EIA Environmental Impact Assessment EMA Environmental Management Authority FAO U nited Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation FD Forestry Division FNC Club of Trinidad and Tobago GEF Global Environment Fund GREAT Grande Riviere Environmental Awareness Trust GRNTGA Grand e Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association IMA Institute of Marine Affairs IUCN World Conservation Union [formerly the International Union for the Conserva tion of Nature and Natural Resources] N GO Non Government Organisation NMFS U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service NSTDTT National Sea Turtle Database of Trinidad & Tobago SGP Small Grants Program SOS Save Our Sea Turtles, Tobago SPAW Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife STRAP Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan TED Turtle Excluder Device [ Trawler Efficiency Device ] THA Tobago House of Assembly TSPCA Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals UNDP United Nations Development Programme UNEP United Nations En vironment Programme USFWS United States Fish and Wildlife Service USVI United States Virgin Islands UWI U niversity of the West Indies WASA Water and Sewage Authority WATS Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium WIDECAST W ider Caribbean Sea Turtle Co nservation Network Page viii
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES FIGURE 1. Geographic l ocation of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea. FIGURE 2. An identification guide to sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago. FIGURE 3 a Nesting by three species of sea turtle in Tobago (for a key to the numbered nesting beaches, see Figure 3c). Nesting by olive ridley turtles is not confirmed in Tobago. FIGURE 3b. Nesting by three species of sea turtle in Tobago (for a key to the numbered nesting beaches, see Fig ure 3c). Nesting by olive ridley turtles is not known to occur in Tobago. FIGURE 3c. Key to the nesting beaches identified in Figure 3a (Tr inidad) and Figure 3b (Tobago). FIGURE 4. Leatherback inter nesting habitat use areas off Trinidad. FIGURE 5 P ost nesting movements by six leatherback turtles after nesting at Matura Beach, Trinidad and monitored by satellite telemetry. FIGURE 6 Relative densities of leatherback nesting tracks as determined from aerial surveys, 1982 1983. TABLE 1 Leatherbac k sea turtles tagged while nesting in Trinidad and Tobago, 1970 1980. TABLE 2 Turtle fishery statistics by depot in Trinidad and Tobago, 1969 1980. TABLE 3 Records of live leatherback turtles and carcasses on beaches in North and East Trinidad, 1983 1992. TABLE 4 Retail survey of hawksbill shell ( tortoiseshell ) items at Piarco Airport and at selected stores in Tobago in November 1995 Page ix
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 ABSTRACT Five species of sea turtle are found in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago R ecords of exp loita tion date to the early 17 th c entury and a legal fishery persists in the form of a five month open season established in 1975. T he full extent of the fishery is unknown but landing records indicated an a nnual at sea take well over 1,000 turtles in 1980, the last year for which data are available. Similarly, there are no data to indicate the numbers of turtles poached from nesting beaches, but surveys in the 1970s and 1980s estimated that 30% of turtles nesting at Matura Beach and 100% of turtles ne sting near villages on the north coast (Trinidad) were killed each year. Progress since that time has included declaration of some of Fishing Pond and Matura Beach in 1990 and Grande Riviere in 1997 as Prohi bited Areas under the Forests Act, reducing take at these beaches to nearly zero. Community based groups, most operating under co management agreements with Government, are credited with ending the slaughter. Today the Republic supports the largest leath erback nesting popula tion in the insular Caribbean. Contemporary challenges to sea turtle management and conservation include an unmonitored, open access fishery; continued poaching of turtles and eggs in remote areas; archaic sea turtle regulations t hat ignore the basic principles of sustainable use; physical development of nesting beaches; incidental capture and drowning of sea turtles in fisheries; incomplete population monitoring; inattentive law enforcement; unidentified and unprotected foraging grou nds and migratory corridors; and gaps in public awareness. To meet these challenges and strengthen the regulatory framework, th is Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan (STRAP) makes recommendations in keeping with the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action P lan (NBSAP), as well as national obligations under international treaties (e.g., SPAW Protocol) that promote conservation of threatened species and habitats, and emphasise s an integrated approach To manage and protect important habita t the STRAP recomme nds that: a national survey be undertaken to identify critical habitats; an inclusive national network of protected and managed areas be created to s afeguard critical habitats; the management framework for protected areas be strengthened to ensure that th ese areas fulfill their stated objectives; and coastal zone management (and monitoring) capacity be improved, including through environmental impact assessment, particularly in relation to tourism and other beachfront development. Further to the developme nt and implementation of area specific management plans, the STRAP recommends that : planning processes involve local coastal zone authorities, governing councils and community groups; regulations provide for enforcement and promote compliance; and public (resident, tourist) education and awareness be a priority W here formal protected area status is not feasible, regulatory guidelines and/or zoning ordinances should be enacted and enforced to restrict potentially harmful activities W hen such restriction s (e.g., setbacks, lighting) are imposed on beachfront construction, a registered architect, professional engineer, or other authority should be designated by Government to monitor compliance To prevent degradation of nesting beaches, the STRAP recomme nds that: beach sand mining be prohibited throughout the Republic; a national Lighting Ordinance be adopted and lighting restrictions be imposed (and enforced) as a condition for obtaining approval for coastal construction; national planning legislation a dopt a strong stance regarding setbacks for beachfront development and require mixed species vegetated buffer zones between built facilities and sandy beach es ; hard engineering options (e.g., Page x
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... seawalls) for beach protection be regarded only as a last resort; annual beach clean ups emphasise nation ally standardi s ed collection methods and analysis; routine cleaning and maintenance of nesting beaches and bordering waterways be conducted using manual labour (vs heavy machinery); motorised vehicles n ot be allowed to drive on sandy beaches (with the exception of authorised patrol or emergency vehicles); in cases where beach rebuilding is unavoidable, replacement sand be similar (e.g., grain size, organic content) to that which was eroded, thereby makin g every effort to maintain the suitability of the beach for the incubation of sea turtle eggs; and during the planning stages of large scale public gatherings on nesting beaches, local sea turtle experts be invited to advise organisers concerning the timin g and location of such gatherings and that permitting agencies pay heed to their advisements. To prevent degradation of marine habitat, the STRAP recommends that: prohibitions on the use of poisons and chemicals in fishing be strictly enforced; existing pollution laws be reviewed for com pleteness and enforceability, and strengthened as needed; industries be monitored to confirm that dis charges are duly registered with Government and properly identified as to content; watercourses and near shore zones be regularly monitored for the presence of harmful chemicals and noxious substances; laws relevant to the at sea dumping of garbage be fully enforced (and p ublic awareness of these laws be increased); petroleum exploration and extraction activities be accomp anied by independent EIAs and acceptable environmental controls; a comprehensive National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (including a funding mechanism) be adopted and implemented; training (including at the community level) be suffi cient to maintain readines s to r espond to oiled wildlife; Government give priority to a national watershed sampling and monitoring programme; sewage treatment facilities of sufficient capacity be developed, as a priority, in areas where tourism and urbanisation are compromising hum an and ecological health; a na tional system of moorings be developed; and thorough and independent environmental assessments be conducted, reviewed and approved prior to any dredging or coastal land reclamation. To manage and protect sea turtles during all life stages, the STRAP concludes that the 1975 Protection of Turtle and Turtle Eggs Regulations (Fisheries Act) do not adequately respond to the need to protect sea turtles, which are classified as Endangered by several international treaties to which Trinidad and Tobago is a Party, and have failed to achieve management that is consistent with the principles and practice of sustainable use. R ecommendations include : enacting a moratorium on the capture and sale of sea turtles, eggs and products until such time as there is sufficient information to show that a regulated harvest will not lead to population de clines; bringing laws and practices into harmony with the provisions of internation al treaties ratified by Government; empowering all law enforcement agents (including Fisheries Officers, Game Wardens and their deputies) with jurisdiction to enforce sea turtle protection regulations; expanding the Environmental Police Section within the EMA; and increasing monetary fines and other penalties for offence s The STRAP further recommends that if any exploitation is to continue, a comprehensive F rame S urvey should assess the extent and economic importance of sea turtle exploitation at the na tional level (including the nature and extent of illegal exploitation and trade) and restrictions on the fishery should reflect the biological parameters of sea turtles, promote population recovery and maintenance, and implement an enforceable, high compli ance monitoring program aimed at establishing trends and monitoring these over time (see section 4.213 for details). Finally, credible scenarios for enhancing alternative sources of income for turtle fishers should be developed and implemented; studies in to the offshore behaviour, distribution, and movements of sea turtles should be undertaken, especially to in Page x i
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 form policy on reducing bycatch; policies should restrict the use of fishing techniques that demonstrate high levels of bycatch and shou ld promote viable alternatives that both minimise bycatch and protect fisher livelihoods; workshops and other extension activities should continue as a priority; compliance should be regularly monitored (such as by vessel boardings) ; and fines, equipment c onfiscation, and other appropriate penalties should be consistent with the law. Gillnets should be banned in inter nesting areas. It is recommended that Government place priority on supporting and strengthening established programmes, as well as replicat ing these models to other nesting grounds, especially in Tobago and at sites important to hawksbill nesting; that collection and reburial of eggs (including to hatcheries), be undertaken only after there is documented evidence of a threat serious enough to warrant such action ; and that dogs found roaming the nesting beach be collected and impounded. Ca ptive rearing is not considered to be a viable conservation o r management option at this time. Recognising that it is neither practical nor necessary to mon itor all sandy beaches at all times, In dex Beaches should be designated and monitored for long term fluctuations in nesting numbers and hatch success R esearch should also be undertaken to describe the range and movements of sea turtles offshore, as well as long term fluctuations in population size. The STRAP recognises the value of co management in achieving conservation successes to date, and recommends that Government and com munity based organisations continue to pursue and formalise, in good faith, t hese important partnerships. In support of conservation and employment goals, and in the interest of a sustainable non consumptive use of the sea turtle resource, the STRAP recommends that Government promote well designed, village based sea turtle ecotour ism; that carrying capacity, as well as mandatory use of an accredited guide, be formalised as necessary in order to provide for the strongest protection of fragile areas; and that a comprehensive Sea Turtle Eco tourism Plan be developed based on a critica l evaluation of experience to date. With regard to special considerations for Turtle Watching at sea, stakeholders should solicit input from Caribbean whale watching enterprises concerning best practices. As sea turtles are migratory at all life stages, the STRAP recommends that Government negotiate bilateral agreements, as well as par that genetic research be conducted to define the genotype s comprising nesting and foraging populations, and how these relate to populations elsewhere in the region. To promote public awareness, a national programme should seek to educ ate citizen s on the legal and conservation status of endangered sea turtles; marine biology and conservation units should become a standard aspect of the national curriculum; Fisheries Extension personnel should inform fishers, as well as industry representatives and cooperatives, about the plight of sea turtles ( discourage violat ions, encourage reporting ) ; and notices should be placed in airport arrival and departure lounges, as well as in cruiseship ports and popular yacht arrival bays, to alert arriving tourists about relevant regulations. Eve ry advantage should be taken of exi sting venues to share information ; Government agencies should coordinate with one ano ther ; field personnel should priorities, emphasis should be placed on maintaining ties with range Stat es ; and e very opportunity should be taken for sea turtle workers to participate in international technical meetings A National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme should be implemented to lend impetus to train ing personnel, collecting long term data on ne sting and foraging assemblages, protecting critical habitat, encouraging participation by rural communities and the general public in sea turtle conservation actions, strengthening t he regulatory framework, and evaluating sustainable alternatives to consum pti ve use Page x ii
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... RESUMEN En la Repblica de Trinidad y Tobago se encuentran c inco especies de tortugas marinas. Los registros de explotacin datan de inicios del Siglo XVII y l a pesquer a legal persiste en forma de una temporada abierta de cinco me ses establecida en 1975. La verdadera magnitud de la pesquera se desconoc e pero los registros de descargas indicaban una captura anual en el mar de bastante ms de 1.000 tortugas e n 1980, el ltimo ao para el cual existen datos De manera similar, no existen datos que indiquen el nmero de tortugas tomadas ilegalmente en playas de anidacin, pero censos realizados en las d cadas de 1 970 y 1980 estima ron que el 30% de las tortugas que anidaban en Matura Beach y el 100% de las tortugas que anidaban cerca de aldeas en la costa norte (Trinidad) moran cada ao Los avances logrados desde entonces han incluido la declaracin de algunas de las reas de anidacin ms importantes del pas Fishing Pond y Matura Beach en 1990 y Grande Riviere en 1997 como r eas Prohibi das bajo la Ley de Bosques reduci endo las capturas en estas playas a casi cero Se da crdito a los g rupos comunitarios, mayormente operando bajo acuerdos de co gestin con el gobierno, por poner fin a esta matanza Hoy da, la Repblica resp alda la poblacin anidadora de tortugas lad ms grande del Caribe insular Los retos contemporneos para la conservacin y ordenacin de las tortugas marinas incluye n una pesquera no monitoreada, de acceso abierto; la continua caza ilegal de t ortugas y sus huevos en reas remotas; reglamentos arc aicos sobre tortugas marinas que ignoran los principios bsicos del uso sustentable ; el desarrollo fsico de playas de anidacin ; la captura incidental y el ahogamiento de tortugas marinas en las pesqueras ; el m onitoreo incomplet o de las poblaciones ; la distrada aplicacin de la ley ; corredores migratorios y reas de alimentacin sin identificar y sin proteger ; y deficiencias en la sensibilizacin pblica Para enfrentar estos retos y fortalecer el marco reglam entario, el presente Plan de Accin para la Recuperacin de Tortugas Marinas (STRAP, por sus siglas en ingls) plantea recomen daciones en l nea con el Plan de Accin y Estrategia de Biodiversidad Nacional (NBSAP), as como obligaciones nacionales bajo tra tados internacionales y regionales (tales como el Protocolo SPAW) para fomentar la conservacin de especies amenazadas y sus h bitats y resalta un enfoque integrado Para gestionar y proteger hbitats importantes, el STRAP recomienda: realizar un censo na cional para identificar hbitats crticos; crear una red nacional incluyente de reas protegidas y ordenadas para salvaguardar los hbitats cr ticos ; fortalecer el marco de gestin para reas protegidas para asegurar que estas cumplan con sus objetivos se alados ; y mejorar las capacidades en gestin (y monitoreo) de zonas costeras inclu yendo a travs de la evaluacin de impactos ambientales particular mente con relacin al turismo y otros desarrollos frente a las playas Adems de elabora r e implanta r pla nes de ordenacin especficos por rea, el STRAP recomienda que: los procesos de planificacin involucren a autoridades locales de las zonas costeras consejos de gobierno y grupos comunitarios ; los reglamentos dispongan la aplicacin de la ley y promuevan el cumplimiento ; y la educacin y sensibilizacin del pblico (resident es, t urist as ) sea una prioridad Donde no sea factible la condicin formal de rea protegida deber n promulgarse y aplicarse lineamientos reg lamentarios y/u ordenanzas de zonificaci n para restringir actividades potencialmente dainas Cuando se imponen restricciones (tales como lneas de propiedad retiradas iluminacin) para construir en playas, un arquitecto inscrito, ingeniero profesional u otra autoridad debe ra ser designado p or el gobierno para monitorear el cumplimiento. Page xiii
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Para evitar la degradacin de las playas de anidacin, el STRAP recomienda: prohibir la extraccin de are n a de playas en toda la Repblica; adoptar una Ordenanza de Iluminacin nacional e imp oner (y aplica r ) restricciones a la iluminacin como condicin para obtener la aprobacin para co n strucciones costeras; adop tar una posicin fuerte en las leyes nacionales de planificacin con respecto a lneas de propiedad retiradas para desarrollos en pl ayas y zonas de amorti guamiento vegetadas con una mez cla de especies entre las instalaciones construidas y las playas de arena; considerar opciones de ingeniera costera (por ejemplo malecones ) para proteger playas s lo como ltimo recurso ; limpiar anualme nte las playas para enfatizar mtodos de recoleccin y anlisis estandarizados a escala nacional ; conducir la limpieza rutinaria y de mantenimiento de playas de anidacin y cursos de agua colindantes utilizando trabajo manual (vs. maquinaria pesada); no pe rmitir el paso de vehculos motorizados por las playas arenosas (con la excepcin de vehculos autorizados de patrullaje o de emergencia); en casos donde sea inevitable la rec o nstruccin de playas, que la arena de reemplazo sea similar ( por ejemplo granulo metra contenido org nic o ) a aquella que se haba erosionado haciendo as todo esfuerzo posible por mantener la sustentabilidad de la playa para la incubacin de huevos de tortugas marinas ; y durante las etapas de planificacin de grandes aglomeraciones de pblico en playas de anidacin invitar a expertos locales en tortugas marinas a aconsejar a los organizadores sobre el momento y la ubicacin de dichas aglomeraciones y que las agencias de concesin de permisos p resten atencin a sus consejos Para ev itar la degradacin del hbitat marino, el STRAP recomienda aplica r estricta mente prohibiciones al uso de venenos y qumicos en la pesca; estudiar las leyes existentes sobre contaminacin para determinar su integralidad y aplicabilidad y su fortalecimient o segn sea necesario; monitore ar industrias para confirmar que sus descargas estn debidamente registradas ante el Gobierno y apropiadamente identificadas en cuando a su contenido; monitore r regular mente los cursos de agua y zonas del litoral para detect a r la presencia de qumicos dainos y sustancias peligrosas; aplica r a cabalidad las leyes pertinentes al desecho en el mar de basura ( y la mayor sensibilizacin pblica sobre estas leyes ); acompaar las actividades de exploracin y extraccin petrolera con EIA independientes y controles ambientales aceptable s ; adoptar e implantar un Plan de Contingencia Nacional completo para Derrames de Hidrocarburos (inclu yendo un mecanismo de financiamiento) ; brindar la suficiente capacitacin (inclu yendo a nivel comunit ario ) para permanecer preparados para responder a vida silvestre cubierta de petrleo ; que el gobierno d prioridad a un programa nacional de muestreo y monitoreo de cuencas hidrogrficas ; desarrollar instalaciones de tratamiento de aguas negras con sufici ente capacidad como prioridad en reas donde el turismo y la urbanizacin estn comprometiendo la salud humana y ecolgica ; desarrollar un sistema nacional de atracaderos ; y conducir, examinar y aprobar evaluaciones ambientales completas e in depend i ent es antes de cualquier dragado o reclamacin de tierras costeras Para ordenar y proteger a las t ortugas marinas durante todas sus etapas de vida, el STRAP concluye que los Reglamentos para la Proteccin de Tortugas y Huevos de Tortuga de 1975 (Ley de Pesca) no responde adecuada mente a la necesidad de proteger a las t ortugas marinas, que ha n sido c lasificadas como en peligro de e xtinci n por varios tratados internacionales a los cuales Trinidad y Tobago e s Part e y han fallado en lograr una ordenacin consiste nte con los principios y las prcticas del uso sustentable Las recomendaciones incluyen design ar a las t productos hasta t anto haya suficiente informacin para mostrar que la toma regulada no llevar a cadas en las poblaci ones; armonizar las leyes y pr cticas con las disposiciones de tratados internacionales ratificados por el gobierno ; dar poder a todos los agentes de aplic acin de la ley (inclu yendo Funcionarios de Pesqueras, Guardaparques y sus suplentes ) con jurisdiccin para aplicar los reglamentos sobre pro Page xiv
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... teccin de tortugas marinas ; ampliar la Seccin de la Polica Ambiental con la EMA; e incrementar las multas monetarias y otras sanciones por delitos El STRAP adems recomienda que si ha de continuar la exploracin, un Censo Marco integral debe ev a luar la magnitud y la imp o rtancia econmica de la explotacin de tortugas marinas a escala nacional (inclu yendo la naturaleza y magnitud del comercio y la explotaci n ilegal ) y las restricciones a la pesquera deberan reflejar los parmetros biolgicos de las tortugas marinas promo ver la recuperacin y el mantenimiento de las poblaciones y poner en prctica un programa de monitoreo aplicable y de alto cumplimiento dirigido a establecer tendencias y monitorearlas a lo largo del tiempo ( ver detalles en la seccin 4.213). Finalmente, se deben desarrollar y poner en marcha escenarios crebles para mejorar las fu entes alternas de ingresos para los pescadores de tortugas; se deben realizar estudios sobre el compor tamiento en altamar, la distribucin y el movimiento de las tortugas marinas, especialmente para informar toda poltica sobre reducci n de captura incide ntal ; las polticas deben restringir el uso de tcnicas pesqueras que demuestren altos niveles de captura incidental y deben fomentar alternativas viables que minimicen la captura incidental y a la vez protejan el sustento de los pescadores ; se deben conti nuar los talleres de trabajo y otras actividades de extensin como prioridad ; se debe monitorear con regularidad el cumplimiento ( por ejemplo a travs de abordaje de buques ); y las multas confiscacin de artes de pesca y otras sanciones apropiadas deben s er consistentes con la ley. Se deben prohibir las redes agalleras en reas de inter anidacin. Es recomenda ble que el gobierno asigne prioridad al apoyo y fortalecimiento de programas establecidos y que replique estos modelos en otras reas de anidacin de tortugas, especialmente en Tobago y en sitios importantes para la anidaci n de tortugas carey ; que la recoleccin y entierro nuevamente de huevos (inclu yendo en incubadoras ) se realice solo despus de contar con evidencia documentada sobre una amenaza l o suficientemente seria como para ameritar dicha accin ; y que los perros que sean encontrados deambulando por las playas de anidacin sean recogidos e incautados La cra en cautiverio no es considerada una opcin viable de conservacin u ordenacin en e ste momento. Al rec onocer que ni es prctico ni necesario monitorear todas las playas de arena en todo momento, se deber an designar y monitorear Playas de ndice por fluctuaciones a largo plazo en el nmero de nidos y en el xito de incubacin o eclosin Tambin deben emprenderse investigaciones para describir la distribucin y los movimientos de tortugas marinas en altamar, as como fluctuaciones de largo plazo en el tamao de la poblacin El STRAP reconoce el valor de la co ordenacin para lograr lo s xitos de conservacin hasta la fecha y recomienda que el gobierno y las organizaciones comunitarias continen buscando y formalizando, de buena fe, estas alianzas importantes. Para apoyar las metas de conservacin y empleo y para defender el uso no con suntivo sustentable del recurso, el STRAP recomienda que el gobierno promueva el ecoturismo de tortugas marinas, bien diseado, y basado en las aldeas; que la capacidad de acarreo y el uso obligatorio de un gua acreditado sean formalizados para poder brin dar la mayor proteccin a reas frgiles ; y que un Plan de Ecoturismo de Tortugas Marinas integral sea elaborado con base en una evaluacin crtica de la experiencia hasta la fecha Con respecto a consideraciones especiales para la Observacin de Tortugas en el mar, los interesados deber an solicitar los insumos de empresas caribeas de observacin de ballenas con respecto a mejores prcticas Como las tortugas marinas son migratorias en todo estado de vida, el STRAP recomienda que el gobierno negocie ac uerdos bilaterales y que participe en tratados internacionales que protejan a tortugas marinas y a la vez apoyen los intereses estrat gicos del pas y que se conduzcan investigaciones genticas para definir los genotipos que componen las poblaciones de ani dacin y alimentacin y cmo se relacionan estas a poblaciones en otras partes de la regin Page x v
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Para fome n tar la sensibilizacin pblica, un p r ograma nacional debera buscar educar a los ciudadanos acerca del estado legal y de conservacin de las to rtugas marinas en peligro de extincin; las unidades de conservacin y biologa marina debera n convertirse en el ement o normal del curr culo nacional; el personal de Extensin de Pesqueras debera informar a los pescadores, as como a las cooperativas y r epresentantes de la industria sobre la situacin de las tortugas marinas ( dis uadir violaciones, fomentar reportes ); y avisos deberan ser colocados en las salas de arribo y de partida en aeropuertos as como en puertos de cruceros y en bahas populares p ara el arribo de yates alertando a los turistas entrantes sobre los reglamentos pertinentes Debe aprovecharse todo sitio existente para compartir informacin; las agencias gubernamentales debera n coordinar entre s; el personal de campo debera ser reg ularmente actualizado con respecto a las prioridades de gestin e investigaci n del pas; debera darse nfasis a mantener vnculos con los Estados de distribucin ; y se debe aprovechar toda oportunidad para que quienes trabajen con tortugas marinas partic ipen en reuniones tcnicas inter nacionales Un Programa Nacional de Conservacin de Tortugas Marinas debera ser puesto en marcha para dar mayor mpetu a la capacitacin de personal, la toma de datos a largo plazo sobre ensambles de anidaci n y alimentac in la proteccin de hbitats cr ticos la mayor participacin de comunidades rurales y el pblico en general en acciones relacionadas a la conservacin de tortugas marinas el fortalecimiento del marco reglamentario y la evaluacin de alternativas susten tables al uso consuntivo Page xvi
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... RESUME Cinq espces de tortues marines se trouvent en Rpublique de Trinidad et Tobago. Les rapports sur l'exploitation remontent au dbut du 17me sicle, et une pcherie lgale perdure sous la fo rme d'une saison ouverte de cin q mois tablie en 1975. L'tendue totale de la pcherie est inconnue, mais les rapports de dbarquement indiquent des prises en mer annuelles au del de 1000 tortues en 1980, dernire anne pour laquelle des donnes sont disp onibles. De mme, il n'y a pas de donnes indiquant le nombre de tortues braconnes sur les plages deponte, mais des enqutes dans les annes 1970 et 1980 ont estim que 30% des tortues pondant Matura Beach et 100% des tortues pondant prs des villages s ur la cte Nord (Trinidad) taient tues chaque anne. Les progrs raliss depuis lors incluent le classement de certains des sites de pontes les plus importants du pays Fishing Pond et Matura Beach en 1990, et Grande Riviere en 1997 comme Aires inter dites dans le cadre de la loi sur les forts (Forests Act) ce qui a conduit une rduction des prises sur ces plages un niveau presque nul. Le crdit de la fin du massacre revient des groupes communautaires, oprant pour la plupart dans le cadre d'acc ords de co gestion avec le Gouvernement. Aujourd'hui, la Rpublique dtient la population de tortues luth en nidification la plus importante de la Carabe insulaire. Les dfis actuels pour la conservation et la gestion des tortues marines incluent une pc herie non recules ; des rglementations archaques sur les tortues marines qui ne tiennent pas compte des principes de base de la gestion durable ; le d veloppement physique des plages de ponte ; les captures accidentelles et les noyades de tortues dans les pcheries ; un suivi des populations incomplet ; une application dfaillant des rglementations ; la non identification et la non protection des zones d'alimentation et des corridors de migration ; et les lacunes en matire de sensibilisation du public. Pour traiter ces dfis et renforcer le cadre rglementaire, le prsent Plan d'action pour la restauration des tortues marines (Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan STRAP) met des recommandations en cohrence avec la Stratgie nationale et plan d'action pour la biodiversit et avec les obligations nationales manant des traits rgionaux ( comme p ar ex e mple le p rotocole SPAW) et internationaux visant promouv oir la conser vation des espces menaces et de leurs habitats, et met l'accent sur une approche intgre. Pour grer et protger les habitats importants, le STRAP recommande de : entreprendre un inventaire national pour identifier les habitats critiques ; crer un rseau national intgr des aires protges et grer pour sauvegarder les habitats critiques ; renforcer le cadre de gestion des aires protges pour garantir que ces aires remplissent les objectifs qui leur sont fixs ; et amliorer les capacit s de gestion (et de suivi) des zones ctires, notamment par l'valuation des impacts environnementaux particulirement en lien avec le tourisme et les autres dveloppement du front de mer. Suite au dveloppement et la mise en spcifiques chaque zone, le STRAP recommande : que les processus de planification impliquent les autorits locales des zones ctires, les conseils locaux et les groupes communautaires ; que l'application et la promotion du respect des rglementations so ient garanties ; et que l'ducation et la sensibilisation du public (rsidents, touristes) soient une priorit. L o un statut formel d'aire protge n'est pas possible, des lignes directrices rglementairement contraignantes et/ou des ordonnances de zona ge devraient tre prises et appliques afin de rduire les activits potentiellement nuisibles. Lorsque de telles restrictions (par exemple recul des constructions, clairage sont imposes la Page x vii
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 construction du front de mer, un architecte enre gistr, un ingnieur professionnel ou une autre autorit devrait tre dsign par le gouvernement afin de surveiller leur respect. Afin de prvenir la dgradation des plages de ponte, le STRAP recommande : d'interdire la rcolte de sable sur les plages da ns toute la Rpublique ; d'adopter unordonnancence nationale sur l'clairage et d'imposer (et d'appliquer) des restrictions d'clairage, comme condition l'approbation des constructions ctires ; que la lgislation nationale sur la planification adopte u ne position forte sur le recul des constructions pour le dveloppement du front de mer et prvoie des zones tampons vgtalises avec un mlange d'espces entre les constructions et les plages de sable ; que les options de protection des plages par des ins recours ; que les oprations annuelles de nettoyage des places mettent l'accent sur des mthodes harmonises au niveau national pour la collecte et l'analyse de donnes ; que les oprations de routine de nettoyage et de maintenance des plages et des eaux environnantes soient conduites manuellement (plutt que mcaniquement) ; que les vhicules motoriss ne soient pas autoriss circuler sur les plages de sable ( l'exce ption des patrouilles autorises ou des vhicules d'intervention d'urgence) ; dans les cas o la restauration des plages est invitable, que le sable de remplacement soit similaire (par exemple taille des grains, contenu organique) celui qui a t rod, de manire faire tous les efforts possibles pour que la de rassemblements publics de grande ampleur sur les plages de ponte, des experts locaux en tortues marines soient invits pour conseiller les organisateurs sur la date et le lieu de ces rassemblements, et que les agences qui dlivrent les permis tiennent compte de leurs conseils. Pour prvenir la dgradation des habitats marins, le STRAP rec ommande : d'appliquer strictement l'interdiction de l'utilisation de poisons et de produits chimiques pour la pche ; de rviser les lois existantes sur la pollution pour vrifier leur compltude et la faisabilit de leur application, et de les renforcer e n tant que de besoin ; de surveiller les industries pour confirmer que les dcharges sont dment enregistres auprs des autorits et que leur contenu est identifi correctement ; de suivre rgulirement la prsence de produits chimiques et de substances n ocifs dans les cours d'eau et les zones proches des ctes ; d'appliquer intgralement les lois relatives au dversement de dchets en mer (et augmenter la sensibilisation du public ces lois) ; d'accompagner l'exploration ptrolire et les activits extra ctives par des tudes d'impact environnemental indpendantes et des contrles environnementaux corrects ; (incluant un mcanisme de financement) ; de former su ffisamment (y compris au niveau des communauts) pour maintenir une capacit prendre en charge les espces mazoutes ; que le gouvernement donne la priorit un programme national de suivi et d'chantillonnage des bassins versants ; de dvelopper des in frastructures de traitement des eaux uses de capacit suffisante, en priorit, dans les zones o le tourisme et l'urbanisation compromettent la sant humaine et cologique ; de dvelopper un systme national de mouillages ; et de conduire, analyser, et ap prouver des valuations d'impacts environnementaux avant tout dragage ou rclamation foncire ctire. Afin de grer et protger les tortues marines durant toutes les phases de leur cycle de vie, le STRAP conclut que les rglementations de 1975 pour la p Fisheries act) ne rpondent pas de manire adquate au besoin de protger les tortues marines, qui sont classes comme En daddangerar plusieurs traits internationaux auxquels Trinidad et Tobago est Partie, et qu'elles Page x viii
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... ont chou parvenir une gestion qui soit cohrente avec les principes et pratiques de l'utilisation la prise d'un moratoire sur la capture et la vente des tortues marines, dmontrer qu'une collecte rglemente ne conduira pas un dclin des population s ; l'harmonisation des lois et des pratiques avec les traits internationaux ratifis par le gouvernement ; le commissionnement de tous les agents chargs de l'application des lois (y compris les officiers du dpartement des pches, les garde chasses et l eurs adjoints) en matire d'application des rglementations sur les tortues marines ; l'extension de la section Police de l'environnement au sein de l'EMA ; et l'augmentation des amendes et des autres sanctions pour les infractions. Le STRAP recommande galement, si l'exploitation doit continuer, qu'un cadre de surveillance intgr value l'tendue et l'importance conomique de l'exploitation des tortues marines au niveau national (y compris la nature et l'tende de l'exploitation et du commerce illgaux) et que les restrictions en matire de pche refltent les paramtres biologiques des tortues marines, qu'elles promeuvent la restauration et le maintien des populations, et qu'un programme de suivi applicable, haut degr de conditionalit, soit mis uvre afin d'tablir des tendances et de les suivre au cours du temps (voir section 4.213 pour plus de dtails). Enfin, des scnarios crdibles d'amlioration des sources alternatives de revenus pour les pcheurs de tortues devraient tre dvelopps et mis en place ; des tudes sur le comportement des tortues marines au large, leur distribution et leurs mouvements devraient tre entreprises, en particulier pour renseigner les politiques sur la rduction des captures accidentelles ; les politiques devraient r estreindre l'utilisation de techniques de pche qui comportent un haut niveau de captures accessoires et devraient promouvoir des alternatives viables qui minimisent les prises accidentelles tout en protgeant les modes de vie des pcheurs ; des ateliers e t autres activits d'information devraient tre poursuivis en priorit ; le respect des rglementations devrait tre rgulirement surveill (par exemple par l'embarquement sur les navires) ; et les amendes, la confiscation de matriel, et les autres sanct ions appropries devraient tre cohrentes avec les rglementations. Les filets de fond devraient tre interdits dans les zones situes entre les plages de ponte. Il est recommand au gouvernement : de donner la priorit au soutien et au renforcement des programmes existants, ainsi qu' la reproduction de ces modles sur d'autres sites de ponte, en particulier Tobago et dans les sites importants pour la ponte des tortues imbriques ; de n'entreprendre la collecte et le r is dans des closeries) qu'une fois dmontre l'existence d'une menace suffisamment grave pour justifier de telles actions ; et de rcuprer et confisquer les chiens trouvs en train d'errer sur les plages de ponte. L'levage en captivit n'est pas consid r comme un option viable de conservation ou de gestion pour le moment. Sachant qu'il n'est ni faisable ni ncessaire de suivre toutes les plages tout le temps, des plages index devraient tre tablies et suivies pour dtecter les fluctuations long term e des nombres de ponte et du succs des closions. Des recherches devraient galement tre entreprises pour dcrire la rpartition et les mouvements de tortues marines au large ainsi que les fluctuations de long terme des effectifs. Le STRAP reconnat le r le de la co gestion dans les succs de conservation obtenus jusqu'ici, et recommande que le gouvernement les organisations communautaires continuent rechercher et formaliser, de bonne foi, ces partenariats importants. En soutien aux objectifs de conse rvation et d'emploi, et dans l'intrt d'une Page x ix
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 utilisation durable sans consommation des ressources issues des tortues marines, le STRAP recommande que le gouvernement promeuve un cotourisme li aux tortues marines bien dfini et bas dans les villages ; que la capacit de charge, de mme que l'emploi obligatoire d'un guide accrdit, soit formalis en tant que de besoin pour fournir la protection la plus forte possible aux zones fragiles ; et que Plan cotouristique intgr autour des tortues marines soit dvelopp partir d'une valuation critiques des expriences jusqu' aujourd'hui. En ce qui concerne les considrations spcifiques l'observation de tortues en mer, les acteurs devraient solliciter des lments en matire de meilleures pra tique auprs des entreprises d'observation des baleines dans la Carabe. Comme les tortues marines sont migratrices tous les stades de leur vie, le STRAP recommande que le gouvernement ngocie des accords bilatraux et participe aux traits internationau x qui la fois protgent les tortues marines et soutiennent les intrts stratgiques nationaux, et que des recherches soient menes pour dfinir les gnotypes des populations en nidification et en alimentation et leurs liens avec les populations ailleurs dans la rgion. Pour promouvoir la sensibilisation du public, un programme national devrait s'efforcer d'duquer les citoyens au statut lgal et de conservation des tortues marines en danger ; des modules sur la biologie marine et la conservation devra ient devenir partie intgrante du cursus national ; les agents du dpartement des pches devraient informer les pcheurs, ainsi que les reprsentants des industries et des coopratives, sur la situation critique des tortues marines (dcourager les infracti ons, encourager les rapports) ; et des panneaux devraient tre placs dans les zones de dpart et d'arrive des aroports, dans les ports de croisire et dans les baies frquentes par les plaisanciers, pour alerter les touristes sur les rglementations lo rs de leur arrive. Tous les canaux existants devraient tre mis profit autant que possible pour partager l'information ; les agences gouvernementales devraient se coordonner entre elles ; les agents de terrain devraient tre tenus rgulirement au coura nt des priorits nationales pour la recherche et la gestion ; l'accent devrait tre mis sur le maintien des relations avec les tats voisins ; et toute opportunit de participation des runions techniques internationales devrait tre saisie. Un programm impulsion la formation des personnels, la collecte de long terme de donnes sur les populations dans les zones de ponte et d'alimentation, la protection des habitats critiques, au soutien de la participation des communauts rurales et du grand public aux actions de conservation des tortues marines, au renforcement du cadre rglementaire, et l'valuation d'alternatives durable l'utilisation pour la con sommation. Page x x
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 1 I. INTRODUCTIO N The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located between 10 00' N and 11 21' N, at about 61 30' W (Figure 1). Trinidad, the larger of the two islands with a land area of approximately 4828 km 2 is situated 12 km east of Venezuela and is t he most southerly island of the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The climate is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 28.9 C during the day and 23.3 C at night. There are two distinct seasons, dry (January to May) and wet (June to December), thou gh the wet season is often interrupted by a short dry spell during September and October. The location of wetlands and a number of easterly draining rivers in Trinidad affect coastal water quality on the east coast, particularly during the wet season. Co astal waters, with the exception of the north coast and offshore east coast, are generally shallow, calm, rich in nutrients, and highly turbid. Tobago, with the Caribbean Sea along the leeward coast and the Atlantic Ocean to the windward side is characte rized by clear, nutrient deficient and fairly deep water in most places. The coastal zone of both islands varies from rocky and sandy beaches to mangroves and mud flats. Trinidad is the more complex in terms of coastline (Georges, 1983), while Tobago has mainly sandy beaches punctuated by rocky shorelines. Coral reefs are a feature of Tobago waters, with major reefs distributed off the northeastern and southwestern coasts. Five species of sea turtle are present. Since the early colonial era, sea turtl es have been observed nesting on sandy beaches and feeding in local waters; in particular, in seagrass and coral reef areas. Records of exploitation date to the early 17 th century. These records are sketchy and discontinuous, but they illustrate how indi genous and customary turtle fishing and utilisation were in this country. Each year the turtle nesting season represented an added source of income to a small and largely artisanal fishing industry; to some extent, this is still true. Historically and up to the present day, sea turtles have been hunted both at sea (using nets and harpoons) and on the nesting beaches. Fanciful legends have grown up around the fishery: for example, nesting is closely associated with the Turtle Star, the brightest star in the heavens (or, according to some, a reddish star hanging low on the horizon) ; leatherback sea turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea sea turtles when they are ill (hence the leather back is always covered with spots); turtle eggs and genitalia are potent aphrodisiacs; and so on Our rich cultural history of sea turtle folklore still awaits its proper documentation. The meat, organs and eggs of all species were, and to some extent still are, utilised. The tender meat of the herbivorous green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) has always been favoured. The shell of the hawks bill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) has long been used to fashion jewelry and household items, in more recent times it became a s ource of foreign exchange and t he animal was also hunted for its meat. The extent of the harvest has never been quantified. Published studies by UWI Professor P. R. Bacon, IMA Research Officer L. M. Lee Lum [Chu Cheong], and Forestry Division (Wildlife Section) biologists and foreign in vestigators, as well as a brief period (1969 1980) of landing data archived by the Fisheries Division and unpublished data collected by UWI Master s student Michelle Cazabon Mannette, comprise all available quantitative data; these are summarised in sectio n 3.3. Fisheries Division data indicate that Carenage, Trinidad, was the most important depot (landing site) for sea turtles. During the period of data collection, Carenage peaked in handling 11,563 lb in 1969 and maintained an annual yield of several th ousand pounds per year throughout the next decade (1969 1980) A legal fishery for marine turtles continues to operate in Trinidad and Tobago during a five month open season established in 1975. T he extent of the fishery is unknown, as there are no rec ords of marine turtle landings since 1980, the last year that the Fisheries Division collected these data At the time of their writing, James and Fournillier (1993) estimated t he legal take to be was well over 1 000 hard shelled turtles per year. While t here are no formal data on species or number s landed, size, repro
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 2 ductive condition, seasonal or geographic distribution, or economic value informed observers agree that available information represent s a conservative estimate o f take the primary impetu s for the take is turtle meat (which is both shared informally and sold) sales are made primarily through fishers and the primary consumers are rural residents ( Brutigam and Eckert, 2006). In 1975, the Fisheries Act of 1916 (Chapter 67:51 of the Law s of Trinidad and Tobago) was month closed season (1 March 30 September). About ten years earlier, some groups (e.g., FNC) pioneered research into the status and di stribution of sea turtles, and the extent to which they were exploited, and alerted the public to a general downward trend in sea turtle numbers. Investigations by foreign researchers (e.g., A. F. Carr, P. C. H. Pritchard) further emphasised the endangere d status of sea turtles, and the significance of remaining populations both regionally and internationally. In this way the impetus was imparted for the conservation of turtle populations and b y the early 1980s, a cooperative approach had been adopted by Fisheries and Forestry authorities. The Fisheries Division had primary responsibility for enforcing the closed season, but the Forestry Division was better equipped to respond with enforcement personnel and resources. The partnership produced tangible re sults, including the declaration of most important nesting grounds Fishing Pond and Matura in 1990 and Grande Riviere in 1997 as Prohibited Areas under the Forests Act (Chapter 66:01 Laws of Trinidad and Tobago). The years preced ing declaration of these nesting beaches as Prohibited Areas were dangerous years for sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago. Thousands of pounds of meat (mostly hawksbill and green turtles) were traded annually from beaches and fishing depots throughout the country, but it was the kill ing of the giant leatherback turtles that caused the most concern. The leatherback harvest was (and is) wholly illegal focusing on egg bearing females at grew in the 1970s so did pleas for conservation action. There was rising alarm that an unsustainable num ber of turtles, and especially gravid females, were being killed each year. Bacon (1973a) estimated that 30% of turtles nesting at Matura Beach and 100% of turtles ne sting near villages on the north coast were killed. Despite persistent efforts by local conserv ation groups and Forestry officials, it was not possible to provide complete surveillance of prominent nesting beaches along the remote east and north coasts. A decade passed and the killing continued. James (1983) could be observed along beaches of Trinidad as a result of illicit slaughter by poachers who are unable to cart away all of the meat, and the major port smaller scale. Formal law enforcement alone was insufficient to curb this trend. A more effective and innova t ive approach was needed. In the 1980s, the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Divis ion (hereafter, the This growing trend in wildlife manageme nt emphasises a partnership with rural communities, whereby communities are trained and sensitised to a locally occurring and threatened natural resource and, as a result, actively participate in resource protection. Workshops, seminars and field projects were organised at communities near major leatherback nesting beaches along the northeast coast of Trinidad. Empower ing these communities has resulted in the formation of groups that provide suitable services and facilities to a situation that previously lacked organisation and infrastructure. Today groups such as Nature Seekers, Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group, G rande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association (GRNTGA), Toco Foundation (TF), PAWI Sports, Culture and Eco Club (PAWI), N ariva Environme ntal Trust (NET) Blanchiseusse Environment and Art Trust, San Souci
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 3 Wildlife Tours, Manzanilla Wildlife and Environmental Project, and the Manatee Conservation Trust in Trinidad a re active and informed partners in natural resource conservation, providing beach surveillance, population monitoring essential biological data, interpre tation programmes (including tour guiding ser vices), threat mitigation, and habitat maintenance. Th ese pioneering efforts in co management must now serve as models for conserva tion through out the Republic. In particular, the situation in Tobago remains dire. The determined efforts of conser vation minded residents and NGOs ( e.g., SOS Tobago, Environment Tobago ) have been a leading force in curbing the illegal slaughter of nes ting sea turtles on the smaller island. Until recently these efforts were conducted largely in isolation, without the serious support of either the professional non government community or the regulatory offices of Government. Today there is sincere and growing activism on the part of citizens, hoteliers, and Government. This activism cannot reach its full potential, however, with out the realisation of a formal, mutually beneficial relationship between Government and community based groups Such a par tnership not only functions to the benefit of sea turtles, but provides a vital service to a Government legally bound but under equipped to protect the sea turtle resource. Egg bearing females continue to be killed on their nesting beaches in Tobago, pres enting a persistent challenge to re source managers and the killing also ha s negative consequences for the development of ecotourism which could provide much needed income to local communities, as has been demonstrated i n Trinidad. Although there are rel atively few individuals directly involved in turtle hunting, legally and illegally, in Tobago, the number of turtle meat and turtle egg consumers would appear to be significant. Cultural pride is attached to enjoying wild meat and poaching is always most severe in the weeks leading up to the major Harvest Festivals during the sea turtle nesting season. Therefore, d espite the lack of baseline or contemporary data on the status of current s tocks and what level of exploitation might be defined as sustainable, turtle meat and eggs continue to be exploited during open and closed seaso ns alike In addition to the continued take of turtles at sea during the closed season and illegal hunting on the nesting beaches, more than 3,000 egg bearing leatherbacks are estimated to have been caught in coastal gill ( fillette ) nets in 2000 (Lee Lum, 2003, 2006). In the past, m any have been clubbed and/or dismembered to minimise damage to a costly net. The a ccidental entanglement of turtles in nets set for fish is the most serious contemporary threat to leatherback s in Trinidad killing far more than all other sources of mortality combined. If a solution to the bycatch problem cannot be found, the turtles w ill sure ly be extinguished despite dedicated, ongoing conservation efforts on the nesting beaches In 2005, a national consultation hosted by the Ministry and WIDECAST brought together fishers, community conservation groups, natural resource management a of sea turtle bycatch in coastal gillnet fisheries [and devise] a series of potential solutions suitable for field R ecommendations from this meeting have already led t o promising field trials In a recent legislative review, P later (2010) recommended an off shore prohibited area where net fishing is seasonally banned off nesting beaches to protect egg bearing females Trinidad supports the largest know n leatherback nes ting population in the insular Caribbean, and perhaps the third largest in the world (Trong e t al., 2004). Notwithstanding, b y all accounts, published and otherwise, nesting populations (all species) declined in size over the course of the 20 th century. The precise status of remnant populations as we enter the 21 st century is unclear, but after nearly two decade s of focused conservation effort there is some evidence of slightly increasing numbers of seasonally present adult leatherbacks. Other species rem ain dangerously depleted.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 4 There is much to be done and t his Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Trinidad and Tobago emphasises an integrated approach. Recommendations for specific conservation action on a wide variety of fronts are provided, includin g strengthening conservation legislation expanding the system of actively managed and protected habitats improving coastal zone management policies promoting public aware ness, strengthening community involvement in conservation and management, requirin g stiffer penalties for infractions against environmental laws identifying critical habitat s at sea, and building capacity for population monitoring, including quantifying the distribution, abundance and trend of the annual nesting effort and quantifying residency and trends among foraging stocks The Recovery Action Plan endorses and sea turtle eggs throughout the year, and introduce public awarene ss and education programmes to OTT 1994). Moreover, expanded and more consistent surveys of nesting and foraging habitats are needed to verify important areas and to evaluate their intersection with fishing grounds and recreational areas (cf. Lee Lum 2006). This Recovery Action Plan is in keeping with the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and national obligations under other regional and global treaties t hat promote conservation of threatened spe cies and their habitats The document has been widely reviewed in country by Govern mental and non governmental stakeholders as well as by international experts. It projects a balanced, scientifically sound agenda for achieving important goals over the short and long term. We in Trinidad and Tobago are proud of our history and hopeful of our future. We realise that we cannot advance alone, we need our natural resources to support us. Our future must include popu lations of sea turtles, both to pass on to the next generation as part of our natural heritage and to assist at the present time in financially sustaining (e.g., through ecotourism and tour guiding) some of our rural communities We must also recognise and appreciate the ecological benefits that sea turtles provide, in clud ing their roles in maintaining the health of coral reefs and seagrasses (which are important habitats for commercial fishes) and the role of leatherbacks in controlling jellyfish populations. Under the NBSAP, the Environm ental Management Authority (EMA) i s a focal point for bio diversity planning and is committed to developing partnerships with stakeholders ( Government, commun ities NGOs ) with an aim to promoting co management of resources, information sharing and impleme n tation of initiatives, and preparation of plans and projects (EMA, 2001). We reco m mend that EMA, Recovery Action Plan as the basis for sea turtle ma nagement and conservation action nation wide, recog nising that e xisting sea turtle conservation programmes implemented by the Wildlife Section, Turtle Village Trust, Fisheries Division, IMA, DNRE and DMRF (THA), and several community based groups all need to be taken into account in coordinating this initiative. Should our sea turtles be exterminated, they will not return in our lifetimes ... or in the lifetimes of our grandchildren. Maybe they will never return. The Caribbean region is replete with examples of Governments and communities that have come too late to the realisation that sea turtles are not an infinite resource. They are finite in number and must be managed with care and intelligence. As we evaluate our successes and failures with reg ard to our sea turtle conservation and management initiatives, the eyes of the world are upon us. Trinidad and Tobago supports the largest nesting assemblage of endangered leath erback turtles in the insular Caribbean. What we do here is singularly import ant for the very survival of this prehistoric creature on Earth. Similarly, the green and hawksbill turtles killed in our waters (including juveniles drawn from distant range S tates) will never return to their natal beaches to nest; thus, we are actively u ndermining the conservation efforts of our Caribbean neighbors.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 5 has apparently not changed much from its ancient ancestors, is a unique part of our natural heri tage and inspires wonder, reverence and a feeling for beauty in all who witness the sight of nesting turtles. This magnificent phenomenon cannot be duplicated, and Trinidadians who care are very fortunate to witness this beautiful episode of one of Nature outdated customs, and shor t term profit. If we miss our chance to act positively, we may not be granted another. II. STATUS AND DISTRIBUTION OF SEA TURTLES Several dedicated investigators have contributed substantively to our knowledge of the status and distribution of sea tu rtles especially leatherbacks, in Trinidad and Tobago over a period of more than f ive decades. Research and investigative results have been published by colleagues both local and foreign ; s ince 1982, the Forestry Division (coordinated by its Wildlife Sec tion) and various community based organisations have taken the largely taken the form of community awareness, fundraising, advocacy, and countless bone wearying hours of mainly v oluntary beach patrol. The leatherback turtle ( Dermochelys coriacea ) is the dominant nesting species Nesting by hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) places a distant second and in order of abundance nesting by green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ), o live ridleys ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) and loggerheads ( Caretta caretta ) ranges from occasional to rare (Dow et al., 2007) The most frequented nesting beaches a re found on the east ern and north ern coasts of Trinidad, with the highest concentrations of l eatherbacks at Grande Riviere, Matura, and Fishing Pond; other important nesting beaches on the north coast (Madamas, Tacaribe) (Figure 3a) are less accessible and data collection is sporadic. Nesting by other species follows the same general pattern, wit h beaches on the northern and eastern coasts being the most frequented. Exceptions are isolated nesting locations at southeastern (Mayaro Bay) and southwestern (Cedros Granville Beach) sites for green and olive ridley turtles, respectively (Figure 3a) T he more popular nesting beaches in Tobago for leatherbacks are located on the southwest coast Rocky Point ( Mt. Irvine Back Bay ) Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay ) Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) although nesting is broadly distributed throughout the island (Figure 3b). Hawksbill and green turtle nesting is less common with the former being somewhat more abundant and especially on the northeast coast ( Hermitage, Cambleto n) (Figure 3b) Green and hawksbill turtles of all sizes are present in seagrass and hard bottom habitat, respect tively, off both islands. Both are hunted (mainly using nets) during a five month open season, and are killed clandestinely at other times of the year. Hunting pressure on the leatherback in Trini dad eased considerably with the advent of community based conservation efforts in the late 1980s to early 1990s. More recently, poaching in Tobago has declined significantly in the greater Black Rock area through the efforts of SOS Tobago Game Wardens an d the Honourary Game Wardens but it remains rampant in the northeast of the island.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 6 2.1 Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle nised by its large head, thick, somewhat tapered carapace (with typically five pair of non overlapping lateral carapace scutes, see Figure 2) and characteristically heavy encrustation of invertebrate epifauna (especially barnacles). The large head and strong jaws, for which the specie s was named, are necessary adaptations to a diet of mollusks and hard shelled crabs; tunicates, fishes, and plants are also eaten. Nesting females in Florida ( USA ) average 92 cm (36 inches) in shell length (straight line, nuchal notch to posterior tip) (r ange 81 110 cm; n=194) and 116 kg (255 lb) (range 71.7 180.7 kg; n=261) (Ehrhart and Yoder, 1978). Adults weigh up to 200 kg (440 lb) (Pritchard et al., 1983). Colour is red brown to brown; hatchlings are sometimes gray Loggerhead turtles are found as far north as Newfoundland (Squires, 1954) and northern Europe (Brongersma, 1972) and as far south as Argentina (Frazier, 1984), but they have a predominately temper ate nesting distribution. As summarized by NMFS and USFWS (2008), (i) o nly two locations (South Florida, USA; Masirah Island, Oman) have more than 10,000 females nesting each year ; (ii) t hose nesting aggregations with 1,000 to 9,999 females arriving e ach year are Georgia t hrough North Carolina (US A ), Quintana Roo and Yucatn (Mexico), Brazil, Cape Verde Islands, and Western Australia ; and (iii) s maller nesting aggregations with 100 to 999 nesting females annually occur in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and Dry Tortugas (US A ), Cay Sal Bank (The Bahamas), Tongaland (South Africa), Mozambique, Arabia n Sea Coast (Oman), Halaniyat Islands (Oman), Cyprus, Peloponnesus (Greece), Island of Zakynthos (Greece), Turkey, Queensland (Australia), and Japan According to the existing paradigm, hatchlings leave their natal beaches and are carried passively on the North Atlantic subtropical gyre in Sargassum seaweed rafts to areas of the eastern North Atlantic, including the Azores. After several years of pelagic (=open ocean) existence, juveniles, typically 50 65 cm (20 25 inches) in shell length, return or are r eturned by currents to the western North Atlantic to be come resident benthic (=bottom) feeders on the continental shelf (Bolten, 2003). Early s tudies of Florida loggerheads suggest that individuals reach sexual maturity at 12 30 years old, more likely at ages closer to 30 years than 12 (Frazer and Ehrhart, 1985). More recent estimates suggest that sexual maturity occurs at 32 35 years of age (NMFS and USFWS, 2008). i Gyan et al., 1987). The first documented nesting record is that of a female tagged at Las Cuevas on the north coast of Trinidad on 11 July 1970 (Bacon and Maliphant, 1971). Some investigators have suggested that the south coast may also support loggerh ead nesting (Bacon, 1973a), but adequate surveys have not been done. The most recent information on nesting was recorded on film at Grande Riviere on 16 July 1989 (Bro. Robert Fanovich F. P. M., in litt to the Wildlife Section). The north coast of Trinid ad, as well as Chachachacare Island in the Bocas appear to support foraging. Interviews with fishermen confirm that the species is still occasionally encountered off the north coast; records of capture between Blanchisseuse and Matelot villages date ba ck to 1990/91 (Wildlife Section, unpubl. data). Two loggerhead shells were discovered in 1987 at an inland river at D'Abadie in eastern Trinidad; indications were that fishermen had captured the turtles at sea and cooked the meat at the river camp (Nathai Gyan et al., 1987). On the whole, research efforts have not been intensive for this species and behavioural patterns are unclear With respect to Tobago, there are a couple of anecdotal reports of loggerheads sighted offshore and one recorded nesting on Great Courland Bay in the mid 1990s (H. Macmillan, pers obs. 1999).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 7 2.2 Chelonia mydas Green Sea Turtle recognised by a round, blunt beak with serrated cu tting edges, one pair of enlarged scales between the eyes, and four pairs of non overlapping lateral carapace scutes (Figure 2) Shell colour is light to dark brown, sometimes shaded with olive, with radiating wavy or mottled markings of darker colour or with large blotches of dark brown. Plastron (=belly plate) is whitish or light yellow (Carr, 1952). Adults can attain weights of 230 kg (500 lb) (Pritchard et al., 1983) and generally measure 95 120 cm (37 47 inches) in straight carapace length; a mean s ize of 100.2 cm (n=2107) is reported from the Caribbean nesting beach at Tortuguero, Costa Rica (Bjorndal and Carr, 1989). For details on current conservation status worldwide, see Seminoff (2002). Green turtle nesting in Trinidad and Tobago is conside red to be occasional (Carr et al., 1982; Bacon, 1981) and less common than that of the hawksbill (Pritchard, 1984). The species is reported to nest along the north and east coasts of Trinidad; specifically, at Manzanilla Bay (Bacon, 1981), Mayaro, Matura, Matelot, and Big Bay at Sans Souci (Bacon, 1973a), and Grande Riviere (fewer than 10 nests per y ear : S. Ruiz, pers. comm. 1995). Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) reported occasional nesting at Paria, Moruga and the islands off the northwestern coast. There are unconfirmed reports by villagers of nesting at Salybia and Sans Souci ( see Figure 3 a ). The NSTDTT database records indicate that 14 nesting green turtles were tagged on Matura Beach during the period 1999 2005. In 2008, the NSTDTT database shows five gr een turtle activities (not necessarily confirmed nestings) at Matura and none in 2009 ; n o other green turtle nesting was documented in 2008 or 2009 in Trinidad ( NSTDTT, unpubl. data). In Tobago Bacon (1981) reports nesting at Batteaux Bay and Grafton Est ate, generally known now as Grafton Beach or Stone Haven Bay. Since starting patrols in 2000, SOS Tobago has only recorded the occasional green during regular patrols on Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) Grafton Beach (Stone Haven Bay) and Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) ; however there is evidence of more regular nesting in the north especially at Goldsborough (W. Trim, pers. obs.) and (T. Clovis, H. Pepe Yeates pers. obs. 2004) and to a lesser extent in the southwest especially a t Arnos Vale (R. Daniel, pers. obs.), Pigeon Point and Kilgwyn Bay (R. Jacob, pers. comm.) (Figure 3b). No green turtle nesting was reported in Tobago in 2008 or 2009 (Lalsingh, 2008, 2009). Nesting is believed to occur between February and August (Baco n, 1973a; Wildlife Section, unpubl. data) and, at least at Matura Beach, continues into September and October (D. Sammy, pers. observ.). Clutch size and frequency are unknown, but at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, females deposit clutches averaging 112 eggs (sd= 24.2, range 3 219, n=2544) every two weeks (Bjorndal and Carr, 1989). Un disturbed eggs hatch after approximately two months of incubation, with incubation temperature deter mining the sex ratio of the hatchlings. As is the case with all sea turtle speci es, cooler regimes favour male offspring; warmer regimes, female offspring ( e.g., Morreale et al., 1982). In general, 2 6 clutches of eggs are laid per female every 2 3 years. This frequency is expected to characterise nesting in Trinidad and Tobago, as well. Juveniles of varying sizes forage in the waters of Trinidad and Tobago throughout the year, pri marily in areas of seagrass. Sightings indicate that the species is not confined to any particular area, rande Riviere, Toco, Matura, Mayaro, Soldado Rock and Chacachacare The Matelot and Toco areas are clearly important. Interviews with fishermen along the southern coast of Trinidad indicate that green turtles were occasionally captured by shrimp nets unt il the advent of mandatory turtle excluder devices (TEDs) (see section 4.23). In Tobago, green turtles are
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 8 caught extensively along the Altantic coast from Kilgwyn to Speyside, in Charlotteville and in the Buccoo Reef Marine Park, with all popular captur e sites corresponding to seagrass meadows. Juveniles, sub adults and adults have also been spotted at several popular dive sites around the island that correspond to coral reef habitat (Arnos Vale, Cove, Store Bay and offshore Kilgwyn) and juveniles are re gularly spotted at reef dive sites in Mt. Irvine Bay in particular where they were observed more frequently than hawksbills (M. Cazabon Mannette, in prep. ). Green turtles would not be expected to remain in local waters throughout their lives. The post hatchling stage, in particular, is known to be pelagic (=open sea). Hatchlings emerge from their nests, scurry to the sea, orient offshore in a swimming frenzy that persists over a period of days, and ultimately enter an offshore convergence or weed line Sargassum seaweed rafts sometimes shelter hatchling green turtles and also harbour a diverse, specialised fauna, including many kinds of little fishes, crustaceans, worms, mollusks, tunicates, and coelenterates; these may provide food for the young turt les (Carr, 1987a). The turtles remain epipelagic (=surface dwelling in the open sea) for an unknown period of time, perhaps 1 3 years, before returning to coastal waters and taking up residence in continental shelf habitats. Upon leaving the open sea ex istence that characterises their earliest years, green turtles become herbivores and remain so for the rest of their lives (Bjorndal, 1985). In the Caribbean Sea, green turtles feed primarily on the seagrass Thalassia testudinum (Bjorndal, 1982), commonly of seagrass meadow to forage each day (Ogden et al., 1980, 1983). These scars, or grazing plots, are maintained by regular cropping for several months or more, and the more digestible newer growth (higher in protein, lower in lignin) is preferred (Bjorndal, 1980). When the cropped grasses show signs of stress ( e.g., blade thinning, increased inter nodal distance), the eviden ce suggests that the turtle abandons the area and moves on to an ungrazed area to establish another grazing plot. Green turtles travel extensively during the first decades of their lives and in the years preceding reproductive maturity they may take up t emporary residence in many locations (Carr et al., 1978). They most likely travel thousands of kilometers in the Caribbean Sea before the urge to reproduce impels them to migrate to mating and nesting grounds, the latter presumed to be their natal (=birth) beach. Caribbean green turtles reach sexual maturity at an estimated 18 36 years of age (reviewed by Frazer and Ladner, 1986). After reproducing, there is some evidence that turtles return to resident foraging grounds. There fore, the movements of adult turtles are likely to be less extensive than those of juveniles, since adults move seasonally between relatively fixed feeding and breeding areas. The green turtle is one of two species (with the hawksbill) usually caught by turtle nets in Trini dad a nd Tobago during the five month open season (see section 4.211). Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) con offshore waters. There are no official landing statistics, but James and Fournillier (1993) estimate d that the fishery claim ed more than 1 000 turtles per year (see section 3.3). More green turtles are caught than hawksbills in Tobago (E. Caesar, pers. comm., 1995); in November 2000, 3 5 mature green turtles were being landed weekly at one south western site and the meat was sold openly in Bon Accord for TT $14 /lb (G. Alkins pers. obs erv. ) In 2009 the open season price for green turtle meat stood at TT $25 /lb increasing to TT $40 /lb in the closed season. There are also reports of whole turtles being sold for up to TT $900 during open season (R. Daniel, pers. obs.).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 9 The apparent focus on green turtle take may have resulted in declining numbers of th is species in fishery waters. Hailey and Cazabon Mannette (2011) reported survey results from interviews conducted in 2007 with 215 fishers in Tobago; of 22 fishers who reported fishing turtles, 10 reported that they catch mostly hawksbills and only five r eported that they catch mostly greens (seven fishers did not elaborate). 2.3 Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback Sea Turtle some time s used in Tobago to refer to leatherbacks (R. Sandy, pers. comm., 1995). Leatherbacks are the largest of the turtles. Females weighed on the nesting beach at Matura average 3 29 kg ( n=269, range 143 498.5 kg ) ( S cott A. Eckert, unpubl. data ). The largest leatherback on record is a male that dr o wned in a fishing net and stranded on the coast of Wales in 1988 the turtle weighed 916 kg (2015 lb) (Morgan, 1989). The species is eas ily distinguished from other sea turtles because it lacks a bony shell, having instead a slightly flexible skin covered carapace (Figure 2). The smooth, black skin is spotted with pale yellow or white. The tapered carapace is raised into seven prominent ridges. The average size of females nesting at Matura Beach, Trinidad, has remained relatively constant for nearly four decades: 158 cm (n= 20, range 125 185) between 1968 1970 (Bacon, 1971a); 157.6 cm (n=104, range 139.7 210.0) between 1981 1983 (Chu Che ong, 1990); 157.8 cm (n=131, range 142 171; Orosco sector only) in 1994 and 154.3 cm (n=2,267, range 115 188) in 2005 (NSTDTT unpubl. data ). Powerful front flippers extend nearly the length of the body. Leatherbacks are found in the tropics, as well a s in cold Canadian and European waters. Reliable at sea sightings confirm a range that extends from ~71N (Carriol and Vader 2002) to 47S (Eggleston 1971), meaning that this species has the most extensive range of any reptile. Adult females are seasonal visitors to Trinidad and Tobago, arriving as early as January and laying eggs mainly through August (April June peak ). In 1987, hatchlings were seen in February (Nathai Gyan et al., 1987) in Trinidad and in January 1996, hatchlings were seen on Great Cou rland Bay in Tobago (D. Rooks, pers. observ.), suggesting at least some egg laying in N ovember. F emales arrive from north temperate foraging and resi dence areas and return to these latitudes after egg laying is complete (Eckert and Eckert, 1988 ; James et al., 2005; Eckert, 2006 ). The paths taken by hatchlings leaving their natal beaches un known but young juveniles remain in tropical latitude s (Eckert 2002) Tw o juveniles were recently released in the Charlotteville area: one from a net in 2003 and one from a fishing boat in 2004 (P. Turpin, pers. observ.). A ge at maturity in Dermochelys was recently e stimated by Avens et al. (2009) to be 24.5 to 29 years. Based on limited tagging studies (Table 1) and other information available at the time, Nathai G yan et al. (1987) estimated that 500 900 turtles nested in Trinidad each year between 1984 and 1987 Today these numbers are widely viewed as significantly underestimating the population at that time. In 1999, Nature Seekers initiated a large scale leath erback tagging program me at the Matura Beach Prohibited Area with an aim to census the population by marking each nesting turtle with flipper and Pas sive Integrated Transpoder (PIT) microchip tags. T agging data combined with more recent early morn ing n esting surveys indicate that an estimated largest nesting beaches (Grande Riviere, Matura, Fishing Pond) in 2007 and 2008, respectively, and the population is stable or slightly increasing In addit north coast (e.g., Manzanilla, Big Bay, San Souci) where nesting has not occurred in recent memory Quantifying the precise status of the leatherback population has proved elusive, mainly due to an estimated 40% encounter rate (at patrolled beaches), inconsistent and/or unquantified beach patrol effort, and gaps in coverage (not all nesting beaches are patrolled).
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 10 In Tobago, the nesting colony is depleted and, despite the efforts of concerne d citizens, is under persistent threat fro m poachers. Bacon (1971) reported that the Tobago population numbered in the and Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) endorsed this estimate ; however, local unpublished reports from that time by Forestry Division per sonnel in the THA suggest that the numbers were actually much higher. Until recently there was little quantitative information, as no formal programme for data collection was implemented prior to 1993. I t is cle ar from the personal experience of concerned citizens who have been patrolling beaches near their homes for many years (often directly confronting poachers and vying for a turtle s life), that the population declined precipitously in the 1980s. As recently as 1987, multiple turtles could be seen on In 1994, a total of 64 leatherback nests were reported by NGOs, hoteliers, and government agencies in collaboration with the Forestry Division. In 1995, Forestry patrols observed 55 nest s representing perhaps fewer than 10 turtles S ince 2000, consistent patrols by SOS Tobago on Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) Grafton Beach ( S tone Haven Bay) and Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) have gradually reduced poaching at these sites t o 1 or 2 opportunistic incidents per season at most. These three beaches now host an average of 250 nests per season with approximately 70% laid on Grea t Courland Bay (SOS Tobago, unpubl. data). In 2005 with assistance from Nature Seekers and the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, SOS began flip per tagging on these three beaches and tagged 81 individual s between May and July of that year PIT tagging of lea therbacks started in 2008 with funding from Turtle Village Trust, and a total of 97 individ uals were recorded in that year SOS has also encountered leatherbacks previously tagged in G renada and in T rinidad illustrating the shared nature of the resource King Peters Back Bay (Cotton Bay) in Moriah appear s to host a comparable number of leatherbacks to Mt. Irvine Back Bay but it is only sporadically patrolle d due to its inaccessibility P oaching is rampant t here with more than 10 confirmed slaughters in 2005 and concerned villagers feel that the overall nesting population has declined significantly as a result (B. Taylor pers. comm.). Honourary G ame W ardens and dedicated residents also monitor beaches on the Atlantic coast where nesting is occasional and poaching is still a threat. The number of leatherback turtles arriving to nest fluc tuates from year to year. This is the case with all sea turtle species, and results from the fact that a varying proportion of the population at large is reproductivel y active in any particular year. Individual females nest on 2 5 + year schedules, and these schedules coincide with each other in complex ways that determine what proportion of the population is encountered on the nesting beach each year. These year to yea r fluctuations do not normally reflect changes in the size of the population; however, when a persistently downward (or upward) trend in the data becomes apparent over the course of a decade or more, these long term trends do reflect correspond ing changes for better or worse, in the population at large and should be taken seriously by managers and policy makers T he most important nesting sites in Trinidad are Matura Bay, Fishing Pond, and Grande Riviere and th ese beaches are considered especially sen sitive as easy accessibility makes them vulnerable to human disturbance. To promote protection, legal and other mechanisms have been implemented (see section 4.121). Other prominent nesting beaches on the north and east coasts of Trinidad include Paria B ay, Murphy Bay, Petite and Grande Tacarib, Madamas/Patience Bay, Cachipa, Manzanilla and Mayaro. Bacon (1971) reported nests at Valentines Bay, Las Cuevas, Blanchisseuse, Cumana Bay, Ortoire River Mouth, Maracas, Big Bay Toco, and Salibia, and sporadic ne sting is recorded at these beaches today. recently as 10 years ago nesting turtles were also frequently seen at Las Cuevas and even at Maracas
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 11 south coast, nesting has been recorded at Guayaguayare and Moruga. Other nesting areas include Big Bay at San Souci and, in 1994, nesting was reported at Palo Seco (see Figure 3a). In Tobago, low density nesting occurs on most beaches and has been repo rted from both the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts. The most important beaches (those with the most nesting females) are Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay) and Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) in the southwest and King Peter s Back Bay ( Cove) in the northeast. Other occ asional to frequent nesting sites include Sotre Bay, Grange Bay, Turtle O War Bay, Pirates Bay, Batteaux Bay (Speyside), Ro x borough Beach (Argyle), Goldsborough Beach, John Dial Beach (Hope) Fort Granby and Minister Bay (Bacolet ) (see Figure 3b). In past years, most records of nesting in Tobago have been associated with the illegal killing of egg bearing females on shore (s ection 3.3). Data collected at the well studied nesting ground a t Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) indicate that females deposit an average of 6 7 clutches of eggs at 9 10 day intervals during the nesting season and most return to nest every 2 3 years. Individuals rarely nest in consecutive years but sometimes return after intervals longer than three years. Clutch size is typically 60 100 yolked eggs, averaging 85 (Basford et al., 1990) in addition to a variable nu mber of small, yolkless eggs. Bacon (1970) reported that clutch size varied at Matura from 65 130 eggs, including the yolkless eggs. Godley et al. (1991) reported an average of 80 90 yolked eggs at Matura and Grande Riviere. The eggs incubate in the san d at a depth of 60 70 cm. Incubation lasts about two months and hatchlings usually emerge in the early evening. Daylight emergence has been observed. On at least two occasions in recent years, nesting has been observed around noo n : at Matura by Game Warden (North East patrol) Urban Whittier and at Fishing Pond by Community Patrol member Thakorie Boodoo. Daytime nesting seems slightly more common in Tobago with 2 5 daytime nesting events each season on Great Courland Bay ( SOS Tobago, unpubl. data ) With regard to the offshore behaviour of leatherbacks in Trinidad and Tobago satellite telemetry studies of post nesting females in Grande Riviere and Matura beaches shows that gravid females spend much of their time directly off as a particularly significant destination shore currents intersect at Galera and ) ( Fi gure 4 ). James et al. (2005) reported that an adult male leatherback satellite tracked from Nova Scotia, Canada navigated to Galera Point early in the nesting season in 2004 and again in 2005, suggesting that Galera Point may represent an area for mating as well as foraging. Upon departing Trinidad, post nesting adult females return to forag ing grounds in Canadian and west African waters (Eckert, 1997a; Eckert et al., 1998; Eckert and Lien, 1999; Eckert, 2006 ) (Figure 5) There has long been speculati on that the arrival of leatherbacks as well as their local movement s and distribution, corresponds with a seasonal influx of jellyfish. Bacon (1971) mentions observations of Physalia and Stomolophus in coastal water north coast report that the turtles are often found in proximity with jellyfish. Some feeding may occur during the reproductive season, but the extent to which foraging occurs in local waters has not been studied. Based on studies of offshore diving by adult females nesting on St. Croix, Eckert et al. (1989) proposed that the observed inter nesting dive behaviour reflected nocturnal feeding on vertically migrat ing zooplankton, chiefly siphonophore and salp colonies. Stomach conte nts of animals killed in other parts of the world indicate the diet is mostly cnidarians (jellyfish, siphonophores) and tunicates (salps, pyrosomas) (Brongersma, 1969; Den Hartog and Van Nierop, 1984; Davenport and Balazs, 1991).
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 12 Fishermen describe activi ties which may represent mating off Galera Point (Trinidad) and the northeast coast of Tobago. James et al. (2005) document the movement of an adult male into Trinidadian waters from Canadian foraging grounds; the journey was repeated in both 2004 and 200 5. Significantly, the male arriv es prior to nesting (February). The two incidents of reported mating most familiar to the authors occurred off Bla in litt 5 July 1997). In both cases the pair consisted of a larger male mounted atop a female at the sea surface. showed signs of distress and panic ked when the boat got too close an d they were unable to flee or dive There are similar reports from fishermen in north east ern Tobago in most cases focusing on the deep waters surrounding St. Giles and Sisters Rocks (H. Pepe Yeates, pers. observ) and near t he natural gas rigs off the coa st of Castara (R. Daniel, pers. comm.). 2.4 Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill Sea Turtle young fisherman interviewed in Tobago referred to this turtle guished by a narrow, pointed beak with which it pries sponges and other soft bodied organisms from the reef. The carapace is often posteriorly serrated and the four pairs of lateral carapace scutes overlap, like s hingles on a roof (Figure 2). There are two pairs of prefrontal scales between the eyes. Adults rarely exceed 90 kg (198 lb) and a carapace length of about 90 cm (straight line, nuchal notch to posterior tip) (Pritchard et al., 1983; Witzell, 1983). Brigh t mottled colouration (brown, orange, gold) is common. For details on current conservation status worldwide, see Mortimer and Donnelly (200 7 ). This rare turtle is challenging to study. Hawksbills are migratory (as are all Caribbean sea turtles) and high density nesting is rare (Dow et al., 2007) Gravid females often nest on isolated beaches (including those flanked by exposed coral and rock) that are difficult to monitor on a consistent basis. D ata collected from a long term study of this species whil e nesting at Jumby Bay, Antigua, indicate that, over the course of the main nesting season (mid June to mid November), egg bearing females will suc cessfully nest an average of five times, s eparated by intervals of 13 18 days and that clutch size averages 157 eggs (Corliss et al., 1989; Richardson, 1993) The female often lays her eggs in the shelter of beach vegetation, such as sea grape ( Coccoloba uvifera ) which is common along the coasts of Trinidad and Tobago. Little evidence of the visit exists asid e from a n asymmetrical (=flippers alternating) crawl about 0.7 m wide leading to and from the ocean. Incubation periods average 60 to 75 days in the Western Atlantic (Witzell, 1983). As is true for other sea turtles, females predictably return to the sam e area to renest on intervals of 2 3 (or more) years, again based on data collected in Antigua (Fuller et al., 1992; Hoyle and Richardson, 1993). In Trinidad, nesting occurs mainly from July to November; a bit earlier in Tobago (April to Nov ember). Mos t nesting is reported from the offshore islands of Boca del Dragon (Bacon, 1973a; Pritchard, 1984). Females have been observed coming ashore on pebble beaches where there is no overlying sand and excavating nests under beach vegetation (Chu Cheong, 1990); e.g., crawls have been observed at pebble beaches at Chacachacare (Wildlife Section, unpubl. data 1991 1993). In addition, diffuse nesting occurs on the sandy beaches of the north and east coasts of Trinidad : Maracas, Blanchisseuse, Las Cuevas, Paria, T acarib, Madamas, Cachipa, Grande Riviere, Matura, Fishing Pond, and Manzanilla Balandra Beach in July 1972 a ). Ms. M. Gaskin (Pointe Pierre Wi ld Fowl Trust, pers. comm., 1994) report ed nesting at Matura, Balandra, Manzanilla, Mayaro, and Chacachacare and Monos islands, and foraging around the islands of Monos, Huevos and Chacachacare in the Bocas
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 13 Comprehensive tagging of nesting females bega n at Matura in 1999, and 84 nesting females were tagged between 1999 and 2005 (NSTDTT unpubl. data ) In 2008, there was one hawksbill nesting activ ity at Fishing Pond and seven at Matura; simliarly, in 2008 there was one hawksbill nesting activity at Fi shing Pond and three at Matura ( NSTDTT unpubl. data ) A maximum of six nests have been counted during a single year at Grande Riviere; most females are killed at this beach and the meat sells within the village for TT$2/lb (S. Ruiz, pers. comm., 1995). By 2005, local consumption was still occurring but there was no evidence of retail sal e (L. Peters, pers. comm.). Recent surveys (October 2009 February 2010) by t he Wildlife Section a t selected fishing depots and markets along the northeast coast revealed the following: a t Sangre Grande and Tunapuna markets, hawksbill meat was available every Saturday at a cost of TT$20/lb ; a t the Sal y b i a and Manzanilla Fishing Depots, a whole hawksbill was selling at TT$15/lb, and was also available weekly S hells, c lean ed and varnished, were sell ing for TT$100 $200 and ranged in size from 30 60 cm curved carapace length (Wildlife Section, unpubl. data). Foraging is regularly observed offshore the northern and eastern coastlines. During a north coast habitat survey in July 1993, Wildlife Section personnel documented 12 hawksbills foraging in the near shore waters of Paria Bay. In September 1994, another north coast survey documented two hawksbills foraging off Morne Poui. There are occasional sightings of foraging aro und Soldado rock off the south associated sponges in the Caribbean region. Sponges contributed 95.3% of the total dry mass of all food items in digestive tract samples from 61 animals from seven Caribbean countries (Meylan, 1988). In the absence of comprehensive dietary data for local populations, there is little recourse but to assume that the distribution of hawksbill foraging is more or less coincident with the distribution of coral reefs and other hard bottom habitat in Trinidad and Tobago, especially that supporting sponge growth. Fishermen confirm that juveniles of all size classes are captured in hard bottom habitat, such as the Manzanilla Bank, Trinidad, which is a favoured netting site during the open season. In Tobago, Carr et al. (1982) reported nesting b ut gave no details. There is evidence of nesting (i.e. tracks, hatchlings or poac hing) at almost all the small sandy/pebbly coves in Tobago on both the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts with regular activity being observed at Swallows Bay, Pigeon Point, Buccoo Bay, Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point), Grafton (Stone Haven Bay), Great Courland Bay s and Little Englishman Bay, Batteaux Bay, Barbados Bay, Little Rockley Bay, Petit Trou, Kilgwyn Sandy Point and Milford Bay (Figure 3b) Most contemporary surveys of hawksbill nes (Lalsingh, 2009). Lalsingh (2008) reports eight nests and two false crawls, combined, at Turtle Beach, Grafton Beach, and Back Bay in Tobago in 2008 increasing to 21 activities in 2009 (Lalsingh, 2009). The extent of potential foraging habitat is probably greater in Tobago than in Trinidad, but the distribution and abundance of foraging hawksbills is only beginn ing to be studied (in Tobago) with UWI Master s student Michelle Cazabon Mannette reporting their presence at dive sites around the island, including on reefs between Cove and Crown P oint on the south west of the island, along the north coast including Mt. Irvine, Arnos Vale, Plymouth, Castara, Sisters Rocks and Charlotteville, and throughout Speyside. The frequency of sightings varied across sites, with a maximum of 8.6 turtles per hour observed at Divers Dream (The Shallows) off Crown Point, while no more than two hawksbills per hour were observed at any of the other sites (m ean = 0.8/hr across all reef sites ) ( M Cazabon Mannette unpubl.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 14 data) Consistent at sea sightings records have not been kept, but the general consensus of residents inter viewed fo r this Recovery Action Plan was that hawksbills are fewer and smaller than in recent memory, and that they are frequently caught during the closed season, mostly by spear fishermen and nets set parallel to the shoreline in reef habitat. The unregulated ha rvest has taken its toll. At Arnos Vale and and late 1980s; today the re are only a few resident juveniles. Fourmi, Castara and Parlatuvier reveal consistent nesting and poaching activity. In 2007, SOS Tobago recorded a combined total of 55 nesting events during a n intensive patrol effort in June July on the beaches of Campbelton, ead Bay (Erasmus Cove) and was able to tag 21 individual females on Campbelton which was the most regularly monitored nesting site and the most active for hawksbill nesting of the four beaches (G. Alkins, H. Pepe Yeates : SOS, unpubl. data) 2.5 Lepidoche lys kempii Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Although this species has not been documented in Trinidad and Tobago (and is not expected to occur), we have included this brief description to aid in its identification should the opportunity arise. In surveys condu cted during the development of this Recovery Action Plan, a few interviewees identified the Kemp s ridley (from photographs) as being present in past years. However, it is likely that these were olive ridleys (see section 2.6), as kempii is largely confin ed to the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic Notwithstanding, all ridley specimens should be carefully photographed for identification by expert s. The species is similar in appearance to the olive ridley (Figure 2), being gray in colour when im mature and primarily olive green as an adult (Pritchard et al., 1983). The carapace is round, often as wide as it is long, and carapace scutes do not overlap one another (cf. hawksbill, section 2.4). At 27 41 kg (60 90 lb) (Ross et al., 1989) Kemp s ridley i s t he smallest sea turtle The species is carnivorous and eat s mostly crabs, but will also prey on other crustaceans, shellfish, jellyfish, sea urchins, starfish and fish. Nesting occurs mainly in Mexico, with secondary sites located in the US A (Dow et al., 2007) 2 .6 Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Olive ridleys are similar in appearance to Kemp's ridleys (section 2.5), having a nearly round carapace (width about 90% of the length) and an adult colour of olive green or brown dorsally and yellowish white ventrally. Each front flipper bears a single claw, the horny beak may be finely serrated, and carapace scutes do not overlap one another. The turtle rarely exceeds 45 kg (100 lb) (Pritchard et al., 1983). Olive ridleys nesting at Ei lanti, Suriname, range in size from 63 75 cm (25 29 inches) shell length and can be distinguished from the other sea turtles by a relatively high and often asymmetrical number of lateral carapace scutes, mostly six or seven on each side and sometimes eight or nine (Schulz, 1975) (Figure 2). Carapace scutes do not overlap one another (cf. hawksbill turtle, section 2.4). 1956, 1967; Wildlife Section inter views 1994, 1995). [ N ote : Confusingly, the leatherback is referred to Nesting in the western Atlantic is reported from Brazil to Venezuela. Olive ridleys nesting in Suriname have declined considerably in recent years, from about 3 ,000 nests per year in the late 1960s to fewer than 500 nests per year in the early 1990s (Reichart and Fretey, 1993). Incidental catch and drowning in shrimp trawls has been implicated in their demise. While the species remains depleted in Suriname, rec ent population increases are reported in French Guiana (Kelle et al., 2009).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 15 Though rare, this species is known to nest and feed in Trinidad and Tobago (the first reference to this was by Carr, 1956). Of the olive ridleys tagged while nesting in Suriname in the 1960s and early Trinidad and western Venezuela (Pritchard, 1984). Nesting records include individuals identified by Bacon (1981) at Matura, Manzanilla and in Pritchard, 1984). Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) report an olive ridley carcass at Fishing Pond in 1986; they assumed the turtle had come ashore to nest and become entangled in beach debris. There was a confirmed nesting at Grande Riviere in July 1995 (S. Ruiz, pers. observ.) Livingstone (2005) reported olive ridley nesting on Madamas Beach on the north coast of Trinidad in June 2003 ) (see Figure 3a) In Tobago, the shell of an adult olive ridley was found at Celery Bay with fresh cutlass marks; the flesh was gone and it could not be determined w hether the animal was killed nesting or at sea (A. Blade, pers. comm., 1995). A 34 year old fisherman interviewed in Tobago indicated to the authors that rid leys There was an unconfirmed n esting in Tobago at Studley Park in 2004 (A. Ramsey, THA, pers. comm.) and a stranding a t Little Rockley Bay in 2007 (T. Clovis, SOS, pers. observ.) III. STRESSES ON SEA TURTLES IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 3.1 Destruction or Modification of Habitat D e gradation of important habitat is an enduring probl e m Several challenges are noteworthy: beach sand mining; beach erosion (natural and man induced); pollution; and the consequences of increas ing rural and commercial beachfront development, including seawalls (e.g. from Manzanilla to Point artificial lighting (which disorients hatchlings and may dissuade or confuse nesting females), increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and litter. Beach sand m ining has been extensive at Matura Bay and Blanchisseuse in Trinidad. While in Bay, an d Goldsborough Beach in Tobago, the introduction of affordable, higher quality sand in the con struction sector has reduced the levels of beach sand mining in recent years. Nathai ic erosion of the turtle nesting area [as] illustrated by the presence of huge craters on the beach and numerous fallen coconut trees on th contributed to the g operations there in 1985, but in other cases entire be aches have been lost. For example, hawksbills no longer nest at Gordon Bay (Blanchisseuse), which has been reduced to a rocky shore by the persistent efforts of sand miners ast and northeast coasts, and at Mt. Irvine Back Bay and Great Courland Bay in Tobago. These beaches, many of which are very important as nesting grounds for the leatherback turtle, are characterised by high energy wave action which can result in heavy ne st loss. In 2008, extreme rough seas at the start of the nesting season (March) resulted in Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) and parts of Stone Haven Bay (Grafton) being completely underwater at high tide until well into May. At some sites (e.g., Fishing Pond, Matura, Grande
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 16 Riviere, Great Courland Bay), rivers emerging on nesting beaches annually burst their banks and incite considerable bouts of erosion during the nesting season (Godley et al., 1993; Lee Lum, 2005), precipating nest loss Ba con and Mal Matura in 1970. Similarly, an estimated 35% of nests were lost to erosion at Matura in 1994 (S. Lakhan, Nature Seekers, pers. comm.). On a related note, a gravid leatherback a shore at Matura Beach in 1994 died after it fell down an embankment created by heavy surf. In addition to threats posed by erosion, litter and debris often characterise high energy (as well as high use) beaches. C oastal and inland littering (some of wh ich is swept into rivers and ultimately reaches the sea ) is a problem throughout the Republic. The east and north coasts of Trinidad are particularly prone to ocean borne debris R ecreational activities and poor habits by both residents and tourists resu lt mote cleanliness at important nesting sites, annual beach clean ups have been undertaken in Trinidad since 1992 (see section 4.134) at the initiative of community based organisations and with the participation of clubs ( e.g., U niversity of the West Indies Biological Society ) government agencies ( e.g., Wildlife Section Forestry Division), corporate entities ( e.g., bhp B illiton ), and the interested publ ic. Government assisted labour/training schemes such as the Community Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program me (CEPEP) have also been helpful at providing mainten an ce on the beaches of Tobago and in Grande Riviere, but their habit of burning ga rbage and cutting coastal vegetation poses other dangers to incubating eggs and shoreline stability In Tobago, SOS Tobago has collaborated with Environment T obago youth groups, schools, visiting volunteers and the general public since 2003 to host regu lar beach clean ups, prior to the nesting season, in the greater Black Rock area ( Rocky Point/ Mt. Irvine Back Bay, Grafton/ Stone Haven Bay and Turtle/ Great Courland Bay) Under the THA, workers have also been employed to maintain the beaches on a daily ba sis. These efforts produce visible results and raise public consciousness not just about waste management but also about threats to nesting turtles. In Trinidad, th e most significant threat to date was a plan submitted to the Town and Country Planning Di vision in 1995 to develop several hotels and a golf course behind Matura Beach. T h e plan w as n ever implemented and, w ith the exception of Grande Riviere ( see section 4.132), the m ost important nesting beaches in Trinidad remain largely free of commercial development at this time In contrast, several Tobago beaches are densely developed for commercial tourism, including hotels, recreational centers, snack bars and restaurants. The result has been reduced sea turtle access to potential nesting sites due to built facilities, umbrellas, and other recreational equipment. One of the most significant challenges to conservation in Tobago is the apparent abandon with which coastal development proceeds. Plans for large hotels continue to emerge, despite the fa ct that existing hotels are rarely filled to capacity and smaller scale construction of things like beach facilities and sea walls continue with seem ingly little consideration for beachfront lighting and beach stabilisation. Many residents interviewed fo r this Recovery Action Plan complained that too many hoteliers and villa owners act with impunity, ignor ing limits set on the number of hotel rooms to be constructed, sewage standards, etc. Some prominent hotels have chronic sewage problems, releasing un treated or under treated effluent offshore of nesting beaches (see section 4.146). In terms of the marine habitat, there are isolated problems with anchor and other seabed damage in areas potentially important to sea turtles ems in near shore waters and with in the Buccooo Reef Marine Park are subject to damage from reef walking and breakage by snorkelers H owever, most of the reefs are in deeper water and the many popular SCUBA sites are therefore less
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 17 prone to direct huma n damage. U nregulated anchoring is a recognised problem in Tobago and a well maintained island wide syst em of regularly monitored markers and moorings is n eeded, expanding upon the reef demarcation buoys implemented by Buccoo Reef Trust (BRT) and the Depa rtment of Marine Resources and Fisheries ( with co funding from the Travel Foundation ) in Store Bay, Mt. Irvine and Charlotteville in 2004. Seagrass meadows must also be monitored and protected as valuable habitat. In Trinidad, rough seas offshore most n esting beaches are less conducive to marine recreation or industry, but to our knowledge there have been no injuries or other harm to sea turtles associat ed with these activities (see section 4.145). Recommendations on preventing or mitigating degradation to nesting beaches and foraging grounds are provided in sections 4.13 and 4.14, respecti vely. 3. 2 Disease or Predation The extent to which disease n egatively influences the survival prospects of sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago has not been quantified. Fishermen should be alert to fibropapilloma disease, a herpesvirus like infection characterised by tumors. The disease affects mainly green turtles and can cause blindness, starvation and death. Tumors appear as whitish or gray growths, similar to warts, which can be 10 cm or more in diameter. Internal tumors can be associated with the lungs, intestinal surface, and kidneys (Jacobson, 1990). The c ause of this potentially fatal disease is not known. In the southern regions of the Caribbean the disease has been reported in Barbados (Horrocks, 1992), Curaao (Sybesma, 1989), Panama (Jacobson, 1990), and Venezuela (Guada et al., 1991), among others. I n Trinidad there have been unconfirmed reports of green turtles afflicted with fibropapillomas in the area of Chaguaramas dating back nearly 30 years ( e.g. L. Lee Lum, IMA, pers. observ., 1983). In February 1991, a green turtle heavy with tumors was obs erved struggling in a weakened condition off the west coast (Goodwill Bay) of Gaspar Grande Island, northwestern Trinidad; the following day it was dead (G. Ramsewak, pers. comm., 1995). Similarly afflicted green turtles have been encountered in Paria Bay on the central north coast of Trinidad. Members of the community group GREAT observed three green turtles coming ashore to nest at Grande Riviere in 1993 with tumors resembling fibropapillomas (diagno sis was based o n information pro vided by the Wildlife Section) and, in 1995, a green turtle exhibiting tumors washed ashore at Matelot entangled in a net (L. Peters, pers. observ.). In 2008, J.E. Cooper, Professor of Veterinary Pathology, UWI, Mount Hope reported ( in litt ., 8 n turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) was sent by the Wildlife Section for post mortem examination at the School of Veterinary Medicine, UWI, Mount Hope. This turtle was found to have a disease called fibropapillomatosis and this is possibly the first documented repor t of this condition from to date no confirmed reports of this disease in Tobago, although SOS has ( Sores or abscesses, such as those sometimes reported on leatherbacks, should not be confuse d with fibropapilloma disease.) Health risk(s) to humans are poorly known, but it is logical to advise that diseased turtles never be eaten or offered for sale.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 18 Major predators on sea t urtle eggs and hatchlings include indigenous species of ants, crabs, birds and mammals, as well as exotic or feral species, such as dogs. Many people interviewed for this Recovery Action Plan consider feral dogs to be the most serious threat to in cubating eggs, even above poaching and coastal erosion. For a quarter century or more, dogs have been the primary predators on leatherback eggs laid at Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere beaches in Trinidad, and on Great Courland Bay and Stone Haven Bay in To bago The problem may be just as severe at other beaches, but data are unavailable. In the case of Tobago, the proximity of hotel kitchens and friendly tourists also attracts a s take them into their room at night and/or pay for them to be spayed or neutered and then released back to the beach. Periodic relocations carried out by the hotel and SOS Tobago p rovide no long term relief as new dogs quickly move in once the hierarchy has been disturbed. Members of the community group GREAT estimate that upwards of 40% of annual productivity (=eggs) was lost to dogs at Grande Riviere beach between 1991 and 1995. This is a problem of long standing. Two decades ago, Pritchard (1984) M, in litt to the Wildlife Section). The dogs are not wild, but belong to village communities adjacent to the beaches (see section 4.242 for recommendations). Ghost crabs ( Ocypode quadratus ) are common but not worrisome predators of eggs and hatch li ngs; no practical action can be taken to mitigate this natural loss. The black vulture (corbeaux, Coragyps atratus ) is common throughout Trinidad (but absent in Tobago) and has been observed to prey on emerging hatchlings; the same is true for sea gulls ( Larus sp.) and frigate birds ( Frigata magnificiens ) (Nathai Gyan et al., 1987). The common black hawk ( Buteogallus anthracinus ) is also observed, espec ially in the vicinity of Matura (Orosco area) and Fishing Pond beaches, and almost certainly preys up on emerging hatchlings. Godley et al. (1989, 1991) report opossums (manicou, Didelphis marsupialis ), digging into emerging nests at Matura Beach, Trinidad. Matte ( Tupinambis negropunctatus ) and iguanas ( Iguana iguana ) forage on the beaches at night, but it is not known whether they scavenge eggs. Mongooses ( Herpestes auropunctatus ) are a serious threat to sea turtles throughout the Wider Caribbean Region. Mongooses have been implicated in the destruction of more than half of all eggs laid at some hawksbi ll nesting beaches (e.g., in the U. S. Virgin Islands: Boulon, 1984). Mongooses in Trinidad (they are absent in Tobago ) appear to be mainly concentrated in inland agricultural areas, espec ially poultry farms. T hey are also occasionally seen on the beach es of the east and north coast of Trinidad (e.g., Salybia: K. Eckert, pers. oberv.) but t urtle egg predation has not been reported Mongooses are considered vermin and the Mongoose Act, Chapter 67:55 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, makes it an offenc e to import or possess any live mongoose; penalties include a fine of TT$ 1,000 A wide variety of fishes consume hatchlings at sea. As the turtles grow, their vulnerability to predation is reduced. Only the larger sharks and killer whales ( Orca orcinu s ) can successfully challenge a fully armoured turtle. Beach monitoring personnel occasionally see turtles with missing or partially miss ing flippers, a condition likely attributable to a shark encounter. L eatherback remains are reported from t he stomac hs of killer whales captured in St. Vincent (Caldwell and Caldwell, 1969). In addition, losses (especially of hawksbills) to tiger sharks ( Galeocerdo cuvieri ) are relatively common in the Eastern Carib bean (e.g., Joseph et al., 1984; Young, 1992; Fuller et al., 1992). Residents report that during the nesting not been documented and this type of natural loss should not constitute a management concern.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 19 3.3 Over utilisation Sea turtles have long played a role in the subsistence economy of fishing villages in Trinidad and Tobago, and they featured in the domestic and export markets of the colonial era as well. The earliest record is a commentary in 1637 by the Secretary of the Dutch West Indies Company (Ouseil, British and Venezuela Boundary Dispute, US Commission Vol. II Doc. No. 25) who reported nesting turtles on the Bocas Islands of Chacachacare and Huevos. In correspondence to the Governor of T rinidad, William Tucker referred to turtles coming ashore at Guayaguayare Bay (Public Records Office, 7 June 1804). Commercial exploitation was noted as early as 1729 when Captain Davies of the HMS Dolphin observed turtling in Tobago (Public Records Offic e, State Papers Colonial C.O. 28/21). Also during the eighteenth presented 12 April 1 749, Trustees of the British Museum). In 1785, 405 lb of tortoiseshell (= hawksbill sea turtle shell) was exported to Britain (Parliamentary Papers Vol. XXVI 1789). well known legend, popular among the fishing vi llages, that says : sky during nesting season and month. From March to April, Sirius the brightest star in the Heaven, is overhead at 7:00 pm, setting at 1:00 am. Other bright stars clearly visible in the turtle nesting months from March to July are Spica in Virgo, Arcturus in Bootes, Antares in Scorpio and Vega 1976). Turtles have traditionally been captured both in nets and on nesting beach es The flesh, fins, carapace (=shell), plastron, and eggs were (and are) all items of value. Even carcass scraps and entra ils were used, and hatchlings were used as bait in the local shark fishery. No part of the turtle was wasted. Turtle meat, especially of the green turtle, has always been favoured for consumption. The texture of the flesh is often compared with mutton, and it can be prepared in a variety of ways. With the advent of foreign tourism in the twentieth century, the versatility of turtle meat made it a favourite among restaur ateurs catering to a growing tourist market that favoured exotic dishes. In rural c ommunities, meat, plastron (stewed), and eggs are savoured even today. Some preference is observed toward certain internal organs; for example, the stomach and intestines. The turtles have long been associated with virility, and as a consequence the gen ital organs of male turtles are used to make drinks and powders which are considered to be aphrodisiacs. On 7 June 1987, it was reported in the Sunday Punch that a 24 ng man had a thriving business selling turtle penis, which had been dried, grated, and mixed into a drink with reputed aphrodisiac qualities. The product was marketed or punches, nesting season, particularly at Mt. Irvine Bay (T. Clovis, pers. observ.) now being exported to Trinidad (R. Daniel, pers. observ.). The misguided belief that sea turtle parts and products can enhance virility has also been the impetus for a considerable level of egg poaching in recent decades (Wildlife Section, unpublished reports) all of which has been conduc ted in contravention of legislation protecting turtle eggs at all times of the year (see section 4.211 for details) and Nathai Gyan Informed observers confirm that egg poaching remains a very serious threat on unprotected beaches throughout the country.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 20 Apart from c onsumptive uses, the income of artisanal fishermen has been supplemented over the years by the sale of turtle products. Stuffed juveniles, tortoiseshell jewelry and trinkets, and polished whole shells fetched good prices in both local and export markets throughout the 20th century. Tortoiseshell, treated properly, reveals a high gloss that makes it a prized material for jewelry and considerable portion of the shell of the hawksbills caught in Trinidad waters is purchased, currently for TT$15 20/lb, by Hashim Mohamed of Toco, who then sells it to Mr. Charles Fritz of St. Lucia who visits Trinidad (and other islands as far away as the Bahamas) approximately every three months, purchasi In a 1982 1983 survey of 15 fishing depots in Trinidad revealed that turtle carapace was selling for TT$5 18/lb at five of the depots; some were exported to Tobago and as f ar away as England (Chu Cheong, 1984). In the case of hawksbill turtles, young juveniles are favoured for their shells and for taxidermy; larger specimens are exploited for meat, as well as carapace scutes. What makes this aspect of utilisation attrac tive is its ability to earn foreign exchange (see also section 4.311). Fishermen are either paid by middlemen who later export the product, or by vendors who sell items to tourists at beaches, airports and retail outlets. During the 1970s, Tobago's Handi craft Section Gyan, 1984). Moreover, before the Government ratified th e Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1984, tortoiseshell was commercially exported from Trinidad and Tobago to Japan. Japanese Customs data indicate that Trinidad and Tobago supplied Japan with more than 1000 kg of hawksbill shell between 1983 1985 (Milliken and Tokunaga, 1987). Based on an average weight of tortoiseshell per animal imported into Japan from the Caribbean region (1.34 kg: Milliken and Tokunaga, 1987), Japanese import statistics indica te that a minimum of 746 hawksbills were killed to sustain this brief period of commercial export. To obtain raw tortoiseshell (the colourful hawksbill shell scutes from which trinkets are made), the shell h as traditionally been heated over an open fire a nd the scutes peeled away. By the early 1990s, scutes were selling for TT$60 75/lb; they were used locally as well as shipped to buyers in Tobago. Finished items were sold primarily to tourists and primarily in Tobago with an apparently much lower lever of commerce in T rinidad (e.g. in Port of Spain and by roadside vendors). Tortoiseshell jewelry is still occasionally found for sale in Tobago at beachside craft shops at Store Bay, Buccoo and English in particular (T. Clovis, pers. observ.). No data are available on the number of turtles killed for the shell trade. In 1995 a local artisan began selling tortoiseshell rings to Grande Riviere tourists, but the enter prise was discontinued after pressure was exerted by GREAT, a local conservatio n group The authors observed t wo pair s of earrings ( TT$30 each ) included in the inventory of a roadside vendor at Salybia Beach Trinidad, in May June 1996 ( notably during the closed season); the vendor indicated that they sold poorly and he would not bu y them again. From October 2008 to February 2009, the Wildlife Section conducted follow up surveys at fishing depots along the northeast coast and found hawksbill shells for sale a t the depot at Manzanilla Beach. The shells were cleaned and varnished; a sh ell 30 cm CCL was priced at TT$100 and another at 60 cm CCL was priced at TT$200. The survey also found jewelry fashioned from hawksbill shell for sale at Las Cuevas Beach, which is a popular tourist destination for local and foreign tourists alike. Th e hard shelled turtle fishery: H awksbill and green turtles are the most frequently exploited turtles both for meat and shell. Green turtles are herbivores and can grow to exceed 200 lb (440 kg),
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 21 qualities that make them ideal sources of protein, and they are generally considered the preferred eating turtle. Olive ridleys and loggerheads also contribute in a minor way to the annual harvest of turtle meat although they are not as popular or as prevalent as the green turtle In addition to a traditional a t sea fishery, green turtles, hawksbills, olive ridleys, and loggerheads are also killed on their nesting beaches. According to coastal residents interviewed for this Recovery Action Plan, nesting by these species, especially the hawksbill and green, is n oticeably reduced from historical levels. There are few data that document the take of hard shelled sea turtles, but all indications are that All turtles seen nesting on the north coast beaches [Trin idad] are killed by local villagers and a large number of immature ones are taken in back ; moreover, they are smaller and more easily re moved from the nesting beach. Even in Grande Riviere where there is a strong community conservation effort on a legally protected nesting beach, nest comm. 2008), this also occurs on Great Courland Bay in Tobago (T. Clovis, SOS, pers. comm. 2007, 2008). Small, rural beaches throughout the island are littered with shells of hawksbills and greens throughout the nesting season, such as at Dead Bay and L Yeates, SOS, 2007, wise ill fated hawksbills brought ashore in s eine s at Stone Haven Bay and Great Courland Bay. These turtles m ainly juveniles, are returned to the sea, Prior to 1975, the hard shell fishery was a legal year round activity and some of the earliest pub lished catch statistics can be found in Rebel (1974), who noted th volume of the trade is given by the weight of turtles sold in the Port of Spain market. In 1947 this amount was 6 catch weight declined precipitously. Fisheries statistics record 11,746 lb of turtle meat landed in 1969 in Trinidad (Table 2 ), a mere 19% of the 60,000 lb sold in the Port of Spain market alone in 1947. Whether this is evidence of an equally dramatic decline in local turtle populations or simply a reflection of inadequate fisheries statistical data, cannot be known. Fisheries Division records indicate that bet ween 1969 and 1980, the total weight of turtle meat sold at seven depots in Trinidad and three in Tobago was 58,598.50 kg (range 2567.8 7251.2 kg/yr) and 786.7 kg (range 18.1 249.4 kg/yr), respectively (Table 2 ). The annual average weight in Trinidad was 4,883.2 kg (valued at TT$111,471); in Tobago, 131.10 kg (valued at $1,294). Prices per pound [ 1 lb = about 0.45 kg] varied considerably, ranging from TT$0.30 (Orange Valley) to TT $1.52 (Carenage) in 1977, for example; the price generally rose as the years advanced. Carenage was the most consistent and highest yielding depot; Speyside was the most prominent depot in Tobago. The information necessary to convert the total weight of meat sold to the number of turtles landed is not available. With regard to these statistics is negligible. They represent only a small percentage of the turtle meat actually sold in the coun try as most of this does not pass t hrough any formal market. Furthermore, turtle meat is sold on many more beaches than those listed. The market values stated are [also] unrealistic as the marked differences in price indicate d uring 1970 turtle meat was sold at 60, 35 and 26 cents per p ound at three centres. The exploitation rate consists of scattered observations, verbal reports an d articles in the press and cannot
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 22 form a reliable basis for any resource management planning. However, three pieces of this information are enlightening. First; turtles caught by fishing boats at Cedros, or even as far south as Icacos, are taken frequen tly to markets in Port of Spain. The Trinidad Guardian reports (No. 17295, 25.1.73) that some sea turtles were abandoned to die on Cedros beach because the truck carrying them to market was over loaded. Finally, the author was allowed to examine some turt les held at the St. David Fishing Cooperative in April 1972. There were 15 turtles that had been caught during one week waiting to be slaughtered for the Sunday morning market. Ridleys, Greens, Loggerhead and Hawksbills were present and it was estimated that they would yield at least 1500 lb of meat. If this was sold for 60 cents per pound, and prices at Toco are frequently h igher, their value would be TT$ 900. These estimated weights and market values are probably too low, but give some indication of th e commercial value of this resource. merchants from Port of Spain for about [TT] $1.00 per pound for green and $1.50 per pound for hawksbill shell. In addition, the carapaces of juvenile hawksbills are sold to tourists for $30.00 or more, the smaller ones gaining the higher prices. ... The sale of meat and egg s of all species and of shell from the green and hawksbill supplement the income of many fishermen for short periods of the year. Most of the turtle fishing takes place, legally, between March and the end of May. At this time ordinary fishing may be negl ected with consequent loss of income from that source. Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Ridley turtles are caught at sea, especially off the north coast and the meat is sold locally, being very popular in the coastal villages. The leatherback is hardly e ver caught at sea, mainly because it is too large to handle in the water but also because its meat is less popular. In Trinidad and Tobago few, if any, people are entirely dependent on the turtle fishery for their subsistence, partly because of its season (Bacon, 1973a). time enterprise for the persons involved. About half the turtles (green, loggerhead, and leatherback) are caught with nets, abo ut one quarter with harpoons, and the rest by turtle turning or as incidental catches in (1984) conducted a survey from October 1982 to February 1983 of 1 5 fishing depots in Trinidad. She reported that fishermen from six of the 15 depots were still involved in turtle catching: Matelot, Toco, Grande Riviere, Mayaro, La Lune, and Carenage. The number of men gaining part time earnings from turtle fishing ran ged from 1 in Chu Cheong, 1995). Then (1982 1983), as now, the most common method of capture was a tangle net set in an area known to be frequented by turtles. Chu Cheong (1984) reported that nets as long as 30.5 m (mesh size 30 x 30 cm extending depth, or 2.4 m) were deployed across bays or near reefs and could be linke d together to increase the area covered. The braided nylon from which nets are made is undetect ed by the turtle until i t becomes ensnared, whereupon it often drowns. Nets were set in known feeding areas and checked morning and evening; most turtles were caught at night. Harpoons were also used at Grande Riviere, Toco and Carenage. In the 1982 1983 survey, weekly catches ranged from 4 10 turtles at each of the turtle catching depots. Green turtles were captured most often, followed by hawks bills. The d ata indicate that with few exceptions, green turtles were netted and hawksbills harpooned. During Chu Cheong s five month survey during the open season, data were collected from 42 turtles. The average weight of 10 green turtles caught at Toco was 41.5 kg, with a mean carapace length of 63.7 cm; the average weight of 11 green turtles caught at Matelot was 47.5 kg, with a mean carapace
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 23 length of 77.7 cm. In contrast, 19 hawksbills from Toco reportedly averaged 86.3 kg (range: 72.5 111.5 kg), with an aver age carapace length of 74.8 cm. [ Note : E ither hawksbills were consistently misiden tified, or the weights were exaggerated. Adult hawksbills very rarely exceed 90 kg (see section 2.4) and the fishery most likely consisted mainly of juveniles speared by h andheld harpoons.] One loggerhead from Toco measured 101.6 cm (carapace length) and weighed 117.9 kg. Also according to Chu Cheong (1984), wholesale prices for turtle meat ranged from TT$1 2/lb, while retail prices ranged between TT$3 5/lb at the fishing depots and climbed as high as TT$8 /lb at inland markets. Despite the conclusions of some investigators that the sea turtle fishery was dying out (e.g., Chu Cheong, 1994), James and Fournillier (1993) estimate d that the legal harvest remain ed well over 1 000 hard shelled turtles per year. In Kilgwyn Reef off the southwestern coast and catching 26 [green] turtles; he had trouble selling all the meat (W. Herron, pers. comm.). During th e open season it is a common sight to see turtles overturned in villager s backyards, in boat engine locker rooms, or on the shoulders of fishermen going to market. An open season market survey (Saturday, 11 November 1995) in Sangre Grande, Trinidad, reve aled only one sea turtle meat vendor; he offered hawksbill meat for TT$6/lb, slightly higher than is typical for fish. The vendor indicated that six turtles had been brought to him by a fishe, and that he had paid the fisher TT$ 4/lb. The turtles had bee n netted the week before at Manzanilla, they had been brought to market on Friday, and by 10:00 am Saturday morning the meat was virtually gone (K. Eckert, pers. observ.). The e discussion above). Green turtle meat is also traded in produce markets during the open season, although reportedly in lesser amounts than hawksbill meat. Both species are captured on the northeast coast of Trinidad by nets and the number of turtle fis based Nature Seeker s report that nets are commonly ca. 100 m from shore where turtles find good forage in rocky seabed habitat s (e .g., Manzanilla Bank, Salybia, Galera Point, Matelot). Casual observation of nearshore waters to the north of Matura Bay can result in the sightings of 10 12 turt Baptiste pers. comm.). In addition to the Sangre Grande market, the meat is offered for sale in Princess Town, Port of Spain, Arima (where the meat comes from Matelot), Carenage, and Chaguanas. Reports that fishermen active in Fishing Pond and Matura were using sea turtle hatchlings as bait were received by Wildlife Section personnel in 1991 and 1992; similar reports surfaced in Grande Riviere in 1993. Updating a survey she conducted in 1981 1983, documenting a total of 12 f ishermen landing turtles at six landing sites (out of 15 sites surveyed), Lee Lum (2003) surveyed 27 depots in 2001 2002 and reported turtle fishing in eight (four of these were also reported in the earlier study). The most recent information for Trinidad is that, during the 2004 open season, 250 green and hawksbill turtles (an estimated 70% of them green turtles) were caught, primarily at sea and the meat sold for TT$6/lb whole sale or TT$10/lb after processing (R. Roberts, pers. comm., 2005). The pric e was higher (TT$14 20) to secondary buyers in Toco, Tobago and other areas outside of Matelot. In Tobago in 2000, mature green turtles were sold openly on the roadside for TT$14 /lb (G. Alkins, pers. observ.) and increased to TT$ 1 2 30/l b in 2008 (M. Caza bon Mannette pers. observ ). R e ports of turtles landed and slaughtered at popular fish landing sites continue to be numerous during open season particularly in Scarborough, Speyside, Buccoo and Lambeau. Most of these turtles are caught in nets set int entionally o r by spear fishermen ; on more than one occasion, lifeguards have been implicated in spearfishing mortalities (T. Clovis, SOS, pers. observ. ). Turtles are also captured opportunisitically in
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 24 nets set for fish. J uvenile turtles are sometimes f ou nd at near shore reefs like Mt. Irvine with carapace wounds consistent with speargun encounters (M. Cazabon and T. Clovis, SOS, pers. observ. 2008) Nets are active year round and, i n 2003 SOS Tobago responded to a report of a leatherback entanglement in a turtle net off Canoe Bay W hile the leatherback was eventually freed a small juvenile green was also found dead in the ne t. In a 2007 survey of 215 fishermen in Tobago, 22 fishers confirmed that they targeted sea turtles and 14 considered turtles to be an important source of income. The 22 fisher s were interviewed at landing sites around the island including Pigeon Pt., Speyside, Parlatuvier, Castara, Studley Park, Little Rockly Bay, Hermitage, Delaford, Charlotteville, Scarborough, Buccoo and Bon Acco rd confi r ming that t urtle fishing is broadly distributed. Ten fishermen reported catch ing mostly hawksbills, and five mostly green turtle s; 12 fished for turtle year round, and six fish ed daily for turtles. The fishers did not report an annual turtle catc h but one who fished regularly during the five month open season reported catching 150 turtles per year. The smallest turtles reported captured ranged from 7 to 22 kg and the largest from 40 to 225 kg; the average weight reported ranged from 18 90 (m ean 3 7) kg Price per pound of meat varied from TT$12 30, most often $25 30. Twelv e of the 22 admitted to fish ing turtles year round (four more did not a nswer); nine of those fishing year round (and three others) demonstrated no knowledge of local regula tions ( Cazabon Mannette, unpubl. data; Hailey and Cazabon Mannette, 2011 ) In summary in the face of inadequate legislation and ineffective law enforcement, a n unmanaged take continues in and out of season for hard shelled sea turtles, especially hawksbill s and green turtles. Meat, shell and eggs are marketed formally and informally. Prices are comparable to, and often lower than, prices paid for fish. The number of sea turtles landed per year is unknown; Fisheries personnel ceased the necessary record kee ping in 1980. The total number of turtle fishermen is unknown, as is the extent to which sea turtles contribute to their livelihoods although some research has been conducted (e.g., Tri nidad: Lee Lum, 2003, 2006; Tobago: Hailey and Cazabon Mannette, 2011 ) All indications (albeit largely anecdotal) are that nesting has declined (both in terms of the number of beaches visited and the number of nests laid per year) and turtles caught at sea are, on average, smaller than they once were, a common indication of an over exploited resource. The leatherback fishery: In contrast to the at sea fishery for hard shelled turtles, most purposeful harvesting of leatherbacks occurs on land; the harvest consists solely of reproductively active females. The harvest is cl andestine, but relatively well documented. Bacon (1970) reported that at least 23 females n ghtered on the northern section alone, a figure (Bacon, 1970). Taking all the data into account, Bacon (1971, 1973a) estimated that in 1970, 30% of the f emales nesting at Matura Beach were killed and fully 100% of those nesting near villages along the north erosion, human predation is taking a heavy toll. This situation is aggravated by inadequate laws and law James and Fournillier (1993) estimated that prior to 1990, as many as 50 70 leatherbacks were arcasses could be observed along beaches of Trinidad as a result of illicit slaughter by poachers who are unable to cart away all of the meat and the major portion is left to rot. ... Disregard for the life of these creatures has been so great that some fi shermen do not consider it an immoral act to hack off a flipper for use as bait to catch sharks and leave the remainder of the carcass to rot
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 25 for law enforcement agencies. Referring to attempts by the Wildlife Section to control poaching at Fishing Pond by scheduling beach patrols by Game Wardens beginning in 1983, James (1987) reports, ( leatherback turtle meat is sold as beef roti [an Indian delicacy] -it is cooked with beef fat to disguise the taste and smell). Tyres on patrol jeeps have been slashed and cutlass threats have been made to unarmed By the end of 1984, 22 carcasses had been documented by patrollers at Matura (8), Fishing Pond (11) and Manzanilla (3) (Nathai Gyan, 1984). Three years later, the killing seemed only to have in creased; 16 carcasses were found at Fishing Pond before the 1987 nestin g season had even reached its and large numbers of carcasses were seen there . It is urgent that a high enforcement presence be maintained on this patrols between 4 Wardens, we encountered large bands of men on the beach. Although into xicated, and carrying cutlasses, they were friendly enough and open about their intention to kill turtles. All were gainfully employed . this was clearly not a subsistence activity for them. We had been advised not to challenge poachers in the absenc e of our Wardens, and withdrew. Following one of these incidents, next day we found a fresh turtle carcas s : the throat had been cut without severing the trachea; all the flippers had been removed; the plastron had been separated from the carapace to remo The situation did not improve until Matura and Fishing Pond beaches were declared Prohibited Areas in 1990 and comprehensive community based patrol programmes were initiated. By 1993, the killing of leatherbacks at Matura Beach had been re duced to zero. As the popularity of T urtle W atch pro gramme s increased, however, attention once devoted to all night patrol was diverted to controlling visitors. Gaps in the patrol schedule were quickly noticed by poachers, who slaughtered one turtle on the nesting beach in 1995, four i n 1996, and one in 1997 ( Nature Seekers, unpubl. data) A low level of illegal kil ling also continue d at Fishing Pond and as recently as 2010, four leatherbacks were poached there (T. Boodoo, pers. comm.). Similarly, 3 were killed annually by villagers at Grande Riviere a decade ago (S. Ruiz, pers. comm., 1995) but s ince 1996 the kill rate has b een zero (L. Peters, pers. comm.). Poaching of egg bearing leatherbacks continues at other important nesting b eaches without regular surveillance; for example, Manzanilla Beach (Wildlife Section, unpubl. data). In the case of Tobago, where there is no formal protection of important sea turtle nesting beaches, the killing of leatherbacks continue d well into the e ighties and nineties and continues today on the rural beaches where volunteer patrols are By 7 June 1984 (peak season), seven carcasses had alre ady been reported from Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay ) and five from Great Courland Bay (Nathai Gyan, 1984). Protection efforts were intermittent during the 1980s, and it was not until 1990 that community patrols were informally organised once again. Vol unteer patrollers documented five carcasses at King Peter s Back Bay in 1990 (W. Herron, pers. comm.). In 1995, patrols were undertaken by Forestry per sonnel who reported 55 nesting crawls and four carcasses (clearly an underestimate, since community pat rollers found seven carcasses at King Peter's Back Bay alone). Since not every crawl results in the laying of eggs (thus 55 crawls represents an unknown but fewer number of nests), and females average 6 7 nests per year, those 55 crawls might be attribute d to fewer than 10 turtles. With this in mind, mortality (minimum: 7 turtles) would appear to have approach ed 100% in 1995 at the hands of man.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 26 The situation did not improve in 1996, despite repeated requests by activists that police and For estry offi cials intervene. By mid June 1997, a staggering 16 leatherback carcasses had been identified on various beaches in Tobago: seven at Rocky Point ( Mt. Irvine Back Bay), four near Castara (Celery Bay), three at Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) and two at G rafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay) (W. Herron, pers. comm.). Again, repeated requests for formal intervention were ignored. At Mt. Irvine Back Bay, a relatively small and isolated nesting ground, 13 nests were probed and possibly poached. Much of the meat o btained during 1997 later appeared at community celebrations typical of the season, such as during the months of June and July. It is not unusual for several men to participate in the killing. A witness to the slaughter at Plymouth (Great Courland Bay), where one turtle was killed on 28 May and two mo re on 29 May Regular SOS organised beach patrols, starting in 2000, have significantly reduced the poaching on Mt. Irvine Back Bay, Stone Haven Bay and Great Courland Bay, w ith one unconfirmed kill in 2004, two in 2005, one in 2006, none in 2007 and one in 2008. An average of 200 leatherback nests was re corded per year on these beaches, collectively, between 2000 and 2005. The killing is now largely con fined to relatively remote beaches, but there are regular exceptions. SOS Tobago documented 6 12 car casses per year on King Peters Back Bay (Cotton Bay) from 2003 to 2005, and a carcass was found in front of the Parlatuvier School in 2004 (SOS Tobago, unpubl. data). Eggs are sometimes collected by poachers, but the most common predators are dogs. The turtle is the main poaching target; she is flipped and her throat slit. As the 1990s progressed achers attempted to avoid confrontation with community activists; these incidents may also have been indicative of younger, smaller and less experienced poaching groups. The meat sold for TT$7 10/lb, depending on availability in the 1990s and for TT$ 25 /l b in 200 9 in the open season and more in the closed season (M. Cazabon Manette, unpubl. data) In view of the extensive slaughter of leatherbacks over the years, it is interesting that some local legends discourage the eating of leatherback meat. Bacon a nd Maliphant (1971) quoted a local fisherman leatherback takes all its disease out of him. So that is why caldon is covered with spots and his meat is Concluding remarks: It is unfortunate that the passage of the 1958 Conservation of Wild Life Act, which some have interpreted as full y protectin g sea turtles, went largely unnoticed by both users and law enforcement agencies. It wa which provided for a seven month closed season on sea turtles, that the public be gan to take notice. With the advent of the well publicised closed season, a steady decrease in the harvest and an accompanying rise in price occurred. Formal d ata collection became awkward, since much of the harvest continued clandestinely and vendors an d fishermen alike became apprehensive about divulging information, even during the open season. Today the sea turtle fishery is an unmonitored industry. Unquantified le gal and illegal take by an unknown number of fishers, open access, and lack of popul ation monitoring are obvious hinderances to management and sustainble use Further more, incidental capture of sea turtles, especially leatherbacks, in coastal gillnets is now the nation s largest single source of mortality to the giant turtles and constit utes an immediate management crisis (Eckert and Eckert, 2005)
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 27 Government has long articulated the need to introduce a moratorium on sea turtle harvest (see section 4.213). As part of its commitment to retaining access to the U. S. shrimp market, the Go vernment legislation to prevent the harvesting of sea turtles and sea turtle eggs throughout the (G OTT 1994). A moratorium, coupled wi th an effective public awareness campaign focusing on the plight of the sea turtles, both locally and throughout the Caribbean r egion, is supported by this Recovery Action Plan and is in keeping with treaties negotiated and signed by Caribbean governments, including Trinidad and Tobago, that call for increased protection for endangered sea turtles throughout the region (see section 4.32). 3.4 Inadequate Regulatory Mechanisms Relevant legislation for the conservation of sea turtles is embodied in the C onservation of Wild Life Act (Chapter 67:01) and the more recent Fisheries Act (Chapter 67:51). The Conservation of Wild Life Act includes sea turtles under a general umbrella of protected species and thus prohibits all hunting, but the Fisheries Act view s sea turtles as a fisheries resource harvestable under certain circumstances during an annual open season. Overlapping and conflicting jurisdiction between regulatory agencies (and even, at certain times, between Ministries; cf. 1987 1991) with regards t o the administration of the Con servation of Wild Life Act and the Fisheries Act ha s contributed to long standing paralysis on the subject of amending the Fisheries Act to eliminate the open season for turtles. Conflicts, inconsistencies, and outdated management approaches ( e.g., minimum size limits) embodied in the regulatory framework are compounded by financial and human resource constraints within Government agencies mandated to manage sea turtles. This is clearly seen in the area of law en force me nt, and exacerbated by confusion over legal jurisdiction and issues such as which agency has the mobility to successfully enforce relevant legislation. The Wildlife Section took the lead in resolving the dilemma in 1983 by making sea turtle issues a prior ity; at that time there was virtually no law enforce ment effort being put forth, although a few non governmental organisations were actively (but intermit tently) monitoring populations. It was during this era that some of the more threatening encounte rs resulted between Research role in patrolling and intervention, the vulnerable communities felt their claim on the resource was under severe threat a nd retaliated by direct confrontation with Wildlife Section staff. Efforts of the Wildlife Section were directed to developing community awareness and establishing community management groups. Today community co management projects have matured and are s uccessful in supporting the Government in its obligation to manage sea turtles. Community groups assist with patrolling nesting beaches, collecting data, and deterring poaching (see section 4.26). Significant progress in both consolidating and modernisi ng the legal framework was achieved with the passage of the Environmental Management Act (No. 3 of 2000 ) which was enacted to provide for management of the environment within Trinidad and Tobago through the establishment and operation of an Environmental Management Authority (EMA), an Environmental Trust Fund and an Environmental Commission, to define the powers and duties thereof, and for related matters. The Act is holistic, de climate, surface water, ground water, sea, marine and coastal areas, sea bed, wetlands and natural resources within the jurisdiction of development.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 28 The power and responsibilities of the EMA are broad; with the necessary political will, the results could be momentous. The Act provides for assessment of environmental impacts, protection of natural resources, control of pollution and hazardous substanc es, appointment of inspectors and other enforce ment personnel, and the establishm ent, through user and licence fees, of an Environmental Trust Fund. As a result, the Act requires that any number of activities potentially harmful to sea turtles (e.g., coa stal construction, visitation and recreational activities, artificial beachfront lighting, nearshore dredging, an choring) follow prescribed conservation guidelines and the EMA requires EIAs before Certificates of Environmental Clearance are issued for dev elopments containing activites mentioned in the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (Designated Activities) Order. T he EMA also special considerations. The first series of Environmentally Sensitive Species (manatee, Trinidad piping guan, sabre wing hummingbird) was d esignated in 2005. The second series selected by the EMA included five species of sea turtle, but their designation was rejected in Cabinet, apparently due to pressure from members from Tobago concerned about closure of the turtle fishery (H ailey and Cazabon Mannette, in prep.) Such designation is important for sea turtles, which at present are subject to a regulated but unmanaged fishery that has long been out of sync with international standards regarding s ustainable use (see section 4.213) I t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that as a matter of priority, the EMA continue to advocate for sea turtle s to be in cluded as Environmentally Sensitive Species under the Act 3.5 Other Natural or Man made Factors As noted a turtle mortality. But e ntanglement in l ost or abandoned fishing gear (primarily nets) can also pose a risk. the Fisheries Division with support from FAO/UNDP (Integrated Coastal Fisheries Mana gement Project carded fishing nets are known to entangle many marine species. Some of these entanglements have been ity to see transparent fishing gear. Plastic is strong. Once a marine animal becomes entangled in a plastic strapping band, net or other plastic item there is very little the animal can do to break free. General harassment, often unintentional, was a serious problem on high density leatherback nest ing beaches until the advent of nightly conservation patrols by community based organisations at Matura and Fishing Pond. However, e ven nightly conservation patrols by Wildlife Section staff and commun ity based organisations at Grande Riviere were ineffective at curbing serious and chronic harassment until 1997 when Prohibited Area status was granted to the nesting beach there, thereby conferring a degree of order to the pattern of visitation (see also sec tion 4.121). Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) reported that nesting Riding turtles and other acut e harassment was not uncommon prior to 1990 when Matura Beach and Fishing Pond were declared Prohibited Areas, thereby requiring that nocturnal visitation be super vised by trained guides or authorised agents of the Government (see also Section 4.271). In Trin i dad, h ar rasment is still common on nesting beaches throughout the island that are neither protected nor monitored. I n 2008 national media reported that a nesting leatherback had been in Manzanilla by persistent villagers who took turns on her throughout the day.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 29 In Tobago, SOS patrols Turtle Beach (Great Courland Bay ) Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay) and Rocky Point ( Mt. Irvine Back Ba y ) public awareness efforts in the surrounding villages of Black Rock in particul ar have reduced incidence s of harrasment but it still occurs particularly in the form of people wanting to use flash photo graphy and ride the turtle s especially if they have children with them (J. Ayres, SOS, pers. obs erv 2008) Occasionally, in the past, hatchlings were retained by resort managers in Tobago in a well intentioned but misguided attempt to protect them from predators by delaying their release to the sea until they had increased in size. Fortunately this is no long er practised and whenever it is brought to light, WIDECAST Country Coordinators have successfully initiated a dialogue with the persons involved in order to bring about the release of the little turtles (which are not helped in any way by being kept from t heir natural cycle). A host of other comparatively minor factors potentially reduce reproductive success. Soil erosion is prevalent at the southern end of Matura, Fishing Pond and Manzanilla beaches; mud and silt are some times deposited in nesting are as. During the rainy season, the periodic advancement of mangrove and marsh frontiers can reduce the space available for nesting on adjoining beaches. Vehicles periodically drive on some important nesting beaches, such as Turtle ( Great Courland Bay ) and G rafton ( Stone Haven Bay) in Tobago, and Grande Riviere and Matura in Trinidad. No vehicles are allowed on Prohibited Area beaches during the turtle nesting season (Forests Act Legal Notice 28 of 1990) so drivers leave the site immediately upon being made aware that turtle eggs are incubating B ut such restrictions are unenforce able in Tobago (there being no Prohibited Area beaches in Tobago) so SOS Tobago continues to debate with drivers and has introduced strategically placed signage to try and curb th is practice. Potentially threatening near harm or mortality to sea turtles in Trinidad or Tobago. The potential effects of the offshore oil industry on sea turtles and /or their habitats have not been systematically studied. IV. SOLUTIONS TO STRESSES ON SEA TURTLES 4.1 Manage and Protect Habitat The first step in the effective management of turtle habitats is to identify which areas are truly important (section 4 .11). Once this has been accomplished, specific management plans can be designed and zoning or other regulations implemented (section 4.12). The protection of habitat important to the survival of sea turtles should occur within a larger coastal zone mana gement framework. Coral, seagrass beds and sandy beaches are important not only to the survival of sea turtles, but also to the sustainability of large sectors of the national economy, including subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries, coastal and marine tourism, etc. Brutigam and Eckert (2006) offer the following recommendations to enhance habitat protection and management in Trinidad and Tobago: (i) increase the number of protected nesting beaches; (ii) restrict/regulate tourism and other activities (e.g., sand mining, waste disposal) near nesting beaches during the egg laying season and improve enforcement of such measures; (iii) improve coastal zone management (and monitoring) capacity, including through environmental impact assessment, p articularly in relation to tourism and other beachfront development; ( i v) expand the system of protected areas; and (v) strengthen the management framework for protected areas to ensure that these areas fulfill their stated objectives. In the sections that follow, the identification of habitat important to turtles is discussed, as are recommendations and mechanisms for the long term preservation of these habitats.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 30 4.11 Identify essential habitat Nesting beaches are fairly well known and are located pr imarily on the north and east coasts of Trinidad (Figure 3a) and on the southwest and northeast coasts of Tobago (Figure 3b) due to the efforts of Dow et al. (2007) In 1990, two of the nation s most important leatherback nesting beaches (Matura and Fis hing Pond) were declared as Prohibited Areas under the authority of the Forests Act, and a similar declaration for Grande Riviere in 1997 (see s ection 4.121 ). It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that similar protec tion be afforded to the p ri mary nesting beaches in Tobago, under both the Forest Act and the Environmental Management Act, as well as to nesting beaches impor tant to other sea turtle species Both hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles are classified as Critically Endangered by t he World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species meaning that their reproductive age classes having been reduced, worldwide, by more than 80% in the most recent three generations (IUCN, 2004). Green sea turtle s are classified as E ndangere d by IUCN and by all accounts, their numbers are in significant decline in the Republic, especially in Tobago. Assembled data (Dow et al. 2007) identify Tobago beaches including G reat Courland Bay (leatherbacks), Stone Haven Bay (leather backs) Mt. Irvine Back Bay (leatherbacks hawksbills), King Peters Back Bay (King Peters Back Bay (leatherbacks Beach (leatherbacks, hawksbills green turtle s), Dead Bay Parlatuvier (leatherbacks, hawksbills greens) and Campbe lton Beach (hawksbills) and these are urgently in need of protection Identifying important additional hawksbill and green nesting grounds, in particular, should be a high national priority. In addition to nesting areas, important feeding grounds mus t be identified and adequately safe guarded. Sea turtles forage predominantly on seagrass and algae, as well as on invertebrates (e.g., sponges, crabs) associated with coral reef, hard bottom, and estuary habitats. In addition to feeding areas ( e.g., Pet it Trou Lagoon, Kilgwyn Bay Cove, Buccoo Bay and Kings Bay among others, in Tobago) there may be important refuge sites or migratory corridors in the waters of Trinidad and Tobago. The present thrust for coastal tourism and industrial development makes it all the more imperative that nearshore marine communities be surveyed with an aim to identify and appropriately manage fragile near shore ecosystems, many of which are important to the survival of the nation's sea turtl es. It is therefore, a recommend ation of this Recovery Action Plan that foraging grounds be identified and critical areas incorporated into any future national network of marine preserve s Particularly relevant in this regard is the Marine Areas (Preservation and Enhancement) Act of 197 0, as amended. 4.111 Survey foraging areas No quantitative surveys of marine habitat use by sea turtles ha ve been carried out. It is there fore, a recommen dation of this Recovery Action Plan that all available means be utilised to improve our unde rstanding of the status and distribution of sea turtle foraging grounds in Trinidad and Tobago and that marine reserves sufficient to protect critical areas be defined and gazetted To this end, s tandard sightings data forms should be developed, a databa se maintained by the Fisheries Division or other appropriate entity, a Sightings Data Coordinator be identified a network of volunteer data collectors and collaborators be assembled and a means of communication among collaborators established The netwo rk should include Coast Guard and other marine patrol officers, fishermen, cruisers/yachters, dive operators and Marine Park personnel. The support of collaborating agencies, such as Trinidad and Tobago National Security (which donated air time to a sea turtle survey sponsored by FAO in 1984), should be solicited. As sightings accumulate and an organised database takes shape, the distribution and seasonality of sea turtles will become increasingly clear.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 31 Healthy seagrass meadows, coral reefs, hard botto m habitats and estuaries should be considered potential foraging areas. Coral reefs and seagrass are preferred by the two species most commonly found s have been poorly mapped in Trinidad, but more detail ed information is available for Tobago (e.g., Laydoo, 1991 ; Hoetjes et al., 2002; Burke and Maidens, 2004 ). Coral reefs off Tobago are most well developed along the entire Carib bean coast and at Speyside and are primarily cha racterised as fringing reefs (Laydoo, 1991) Seagrass meadows are concentrated around the southwest sector of the island (e.g. Can oe Bay, Petit Trou) and the Buccoo Reef area but also at Kings Bay. In Trinidad there is a well developed fringing reef off the northeastern point at Salybia H ard bottom habitat (with sponge growth suitable to support hawksbills) extends eastward along the north coast from the islands in the northwest peninsula and then south along the east coast as far as Matura Beach and the Manzanilla Bank; important feeding areas are also found in the vicinity of Soldado Rock (southwest peninsula ). Seagrass rims the Gulf of Paria in the northwest peninsula, extending eastward to Point Cumana. Despite the fact that a national survey of sea turtle foraging areas has not yet been undertaken, sightings of foraging turtles have been (and continue to be) reported on an ad hoc basis. Loggerhead, green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles forage off the north coast and east coasts of Trinidad, and green and hawksbill turtles also forage off Soldado Rock on the southwest peninsula. Bacon (1981) reported that olive ridley, green and leatherback turtles were seen foraging in the Gulf of Paria. From 1982 to 1994, the Wildlife Section conducted ann ual boat and aerial surveys, surveyed all north coast beaches on foot at least once per year, and made occasional observations from high points (cliffs) above known foraging areas. There were no confirmed at sea sightings of olive ridley or loggerhead tur tles during these 12 years, only hawksbill and green turtles were recorded. Sea turtles have also been observed foraging by fishermen off Galera Point, northeast Trinidad, around the rock island off Sal ine Bay a nd island s of the northwest peninsula (L ori L ee Lum, IMA, pers. comm., 2002). In Tobago, green turtles are occasionally sighted at popular dive sites around the island, particu larly around Buccoo Reef and Charlotteville and sites (e.g., Arnos Vale, Store Bay, Flying Reef [Kilgwyn], Cove, south of Little Tobago in Speyside) associated with coral reefs. Juveniles are regularly spotted at dive sites in Mt. Irvine Bay, in particular (M. Cazabon Mannette, in prep.). Hawksbill turtles are much more common and their presence is documented at dive sites a ll around the island including on reefs between Cove and Crown P oint on the southwest coast along the north coast ( including Mt. Irvine, Arnos Vale, Plymouth, Castara, Sisters Rocks and Charlotteville ) and throughout Speyside The fre quency of sighting s varie s across sites, with a maximum of 8.57 turtles per hour observed at Diver s Dream (The Shallows) south of Crown Point, while no more than two hawksbills per hour were observed at any of the other sites ( M. Cazabon Mannette, in prep ) Early summar ies of the distribution of j uvenile hawksbills included popular snorkeling sites as well, and both species were recorded a t Man O War Bay, Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon (summarised in Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1989). Finally, m ost turtle nets are set in the vicinity of Buccoo Reef, Bon Accord Lagoon, Kilgwyn Reef (southwest coast, off Crown Point Airport), and Studley Park (north of Scarbourgh) suggesting that these areas are important, or at least predictable, foraging grounds For additional detail, see sections 2.2 and 2.4. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that all historical sightings documenta tion be assembled into a national database, geo referenced, and serve as a launch point for modern ising and continuing a national Sea T urtle Sightings Database Data use agreements are needed to ensure that data providers and data users abide by mutually agreed protocols related to information a ccess, data ownership, publication privileges, and so on
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 32 4.112 Survey nesting habitat I t is self evident that all aspects of effective management of nesting habitat depend on reliable knowledge of which beaches are central to the reproductive success of sea turtles in the Republic. With this in mind, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Government commit to a three year, comprehensive survey of nesting habitat, including allocating the necessary resources and dedicating such staff as may be required. It is a further recommendation that the Government re inforce its t ies, and extend its technical and logistical support, to a variety of community based organisa tions and other partners who are well positioned to conduct consistent habitat surveys and to provide the Government with data required for sound management deci manage based partners, (see discussion below) may also be able to provide survey personnel to remote coastal areas for the purpose of the national habitat survey. The goal of the three year, compr ehensive national survey should be to identify conclusively those beaches that support the most sea turtle nesting updating, as needed, existing maps (Dow et al. 2007) From this information, i t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that seven Index Beaches 1 ( 4 in Trinidad 3 in Tobago) be identified for long term monitoring and study (see section 4.25). During the survey, all potential nesting habitat (i.e., the nation s entire sandy coastline) should be foot patrolled at least week ly from 1 March to 3 0 November, which encompasses the peak nesting season for the five species of sea turtle known to nest in Trinidad and Tobago. Surveys should be conducted at a consistent time of day, preferably early in the morning. All new crawls should be t allied and then counting. Crawls should be identified to species (see Fig ures 2a, 2 b and section 4.251 for diagnosis). From information already in hand (see Figures 3a, 3b), it would appear th at at a minimum, lation monitoring in Trinidad. I n Tobago, low density nesting occurs on most beaches and has been re ported from both the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts with t he most nesting reported at Turtle B each ( Great Courland Bay ) Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay) and Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) in the south west and King Peters Back Bay ( in the northeast. Since 2000, SOS has monitor ed the three southwest b eaches as index sites for leatherbacks. The authors recognise that a national survey, which has never been done, will not be an easy task. A network of coastal partners, the organis ational skills of a National Coordinator and a cadre of dedicat ed volunteers will be essential for success. The effort must be made, however, and soon. Without some minimum level of comparative, baseline data, the Government cannot hope to fulfill its mandate to safe effect ive management plans for habitats critical to their survival. So that we might know where we have been, and thus be better prepared t o plan for next step s a brief history of past survey efforts follows. 1 Characteri s ing a nesting or foraging ground as an 'Index' site implies the consistent and long term application of sta n dardi s ed population monitoring protocols to ensure the data are suitable for trend analysis. Survey boundaries are established and ideally, adhered to from year to year, keeping in mind that the precise boundaries of leatherback nesting beaches, in particular, may shift over time. T he survey area should attempt to represent a range of threat and protection levels, a variety of turtle life stages, and a range of turtle population densities. The emphasis of this protocol is on establishing index methods for measurin g trends in relative abundance at fixed locations; therefore, the sampling strategies at each Index site should ideally be structured in a manner that allows inference to a larger area of interest.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 33 Trinidad: Habitat surveys have been periodically undertaken by resident and foreign scientists, as well as by local and national community and conservation groups, since the 1940s. S everal nesting areas along the northwest, north and east coasts and in the Gulf of Paria have been identified (see section Cheong (1990) who categorised Tri nidad beaches according to the number of nesting tracks seen during aerial surveys in June September 1982 and in March August 1983. The study reported six high density beaches with greater than 20 nesting tracks, four medium density beaches with betwe en 5 20 tracks, and seven low density beaches with fewer than five tracks (Figure 6 ). Others have been largely anecdotal, as when fishermen and residents have been interviewed to provide insight on historical and contemporary nesting trends, or when patro ls have not been consistent over long periods of time. In the early 1940s the FNC of Trinidad and Tobago became involved in occasional nighttime beach surveys, which later included applying identification tags to nesting females. Continuing efforts by the Club resulted in several publications during the 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Bacon, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971a, 1971b, 1973a, 1973b, 1973c, 1975, 1976, 1978; Bacon and Maliphant, 1971). In 1982, the Wildlife Section initiated patrols at major nesting beaches as part of a strategy to ensure that leatherback turtles were protected. During the 1983 nesting season (March August), the Wildlife Section was joined by the North East conservancy of the Forestry Division in patrolling Matura and Fishing Pond beaches; nests, as well as carcasses, were documented. Poaching was widespread, and poachers responded to the the efforts at Fishing Pond were especially difficult be cause poaching was entrenched at this remote site, and threats against the lives of the Game Wardens were commonplace (James, 1987). By 1984 the situation had come under some measure of control, and monitoring at Matura, Fish ing Pond and Manzanilla invo lved several groups (e.g., Wildlife Section, North East conservancy, FNC), as well as interested individuals (e.g., a watchman from Fishing Pond). Pritchard (1984) reported the results of a brief (three week) survey in 1984 of potential nesting beaches be tween Blanchisseuse and Manzanilla Bay, and as far south as Moruga Bay. The survey was undertaken at the request of UNDP/ FAO, and the final report also made recommendations concerning legislation and law enforcement, incidental catch, and sand mining. S urveillance sponsored by the Wildlife Section continued into the in Table 3 On 9 10 September 1994, as part of ongoing efforts by the Wildlife Section to monitor nesting activity, a foot surve y of the north coast (Blanchisseuse to Madamas) was undertaken by Wildlife Section personnel and officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. The aim was to evaluate the potential for a Beach Monitoring Project to be sponsored by the Civilian Conservatio n Corps (CCC). Foraging areas (e.g., hawksbills feeding at Morne Poui) and evidence of nesting was recorded. Weathered leatherback tracks were encountered on several beaches, including Murphy Bay, Petit and Grand Tacarib, and Madamas; hatched nests were excavated to confirm species and residual hatchlings were released to the sea. It was concluded that the assistance of CCC in monitoring this coastline could provide, for the first time, accurate data for this region; further, the three month CCC project cycle would yield data through out the peak breeding season (as opposed to once per annum, as had been the case with Wildlife Section patrols in the past). The Beach Monitoring Project with CCC did not materialize because CCC was disbanded. Due t o limite d resources, the Wildlife Section has maintained its annual foot survey of remote north coast nesting beaches the survey (typically once per year). Creative partner ships will, of necessity, form the basis of any
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 34 consistent data gathering along this roadless coast. It is noteworthy that the north coast not only supports leatherback nesting, but is likely to support some of the nation s best remaining hawksbill nestin g habitat. The highlight of survey efforts in the 1990s has been the dedicated work of community groups Fishing Pond) at least several times per week durin g peak nesting season (April July). These groups act as community partners in fulfilling Government's mandate to manage and protect its sea turtle popula tions. Data are tallied with regard to the number of turtles, crawls and confirmed nests, turtle s ize and diagnostic marking(s), nest location, sources of mortality (e.g., poaching, strandings, predator interac tions), etc. In return, these groups have organised themselves into tour guiding organisations that profit from permission granted by the Gove rnment to guide visitors into Prohibited Areas to view nesting. Tobago: Surveys and beach patrol initiatives planned by the Fisheries Division in the mid 1970s were aborted as a result of financial shortfalls and transportation problems. These and ot her setbacks -including physical threats and harassment from turtle poachers c ontributed to long delays in establishing estimates of annual nesting density. The senior author (KF) conducted interviews with natural resource agencies and hoteliers in th e 1980s. The first surveys of nesting beaches in Tobago were undertaken in 1982 by Club Crusoe, headed by Mr. S. Beard. By and large, it has been the persistent efforts of coastal residents, and more recent efforts by the Forestry Division, which have pr ovided information on the distribution and relative importance of sea turtle nesting habitat in Tobago. T he Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) of the Tobago House of Assembly has the responsibility for wildlife management activit ies including the conservation of marine turtles during their nesting period. Wildlife management activities generally include habitat management and the enforcement of wildlife conservation laws. In 1992 1993, Mr. Raye Sandy (then with A.C.F. Tobago ) beg an a turtle watch group supervised by S. Davis (Forester I). The Forestry Division Tobago became formally involved in 1994 in response to a recommendation by the Tobago House of Assembly ance to avert further killing of sea turtles in Tobago. In 1997, with the hope that beach coverage and data collection would be enhanced, and poaching reduced, data sheets were installed with the security guards at the Turtle Beach and Grafton h otels for r ecording nesting events, estimated size of turtle and egg count, and evidence of slaughter; training was also provided to security personnel in regards to tourist etiquette during turtle watching (Wendy Herron, in litt. 24 January 1998). SOS Tobago was b orn of the need to protect turtles from poachers, particularly on beaches within s and their coastal and marine habitat s through community based initiatives in rese arch, education and eco tourism. A volunteer beach patrol monitors turtle nesting activity nightly (March July) on Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) Grafton ( Stone Haven Bay) and Mt. Irvine Back Bay, which are the most active leather back nesting beaches is species SOS also assists residents with monitoring nesting and counteracting poaching on the northeastern end of Bay (E rasmus Cove) and King Peters Back Bay, conducting sporadic nest counts by day and occasionally camping overnight during nesting season. In 2007, SOS initiated a hawksbill tagging program me in Charlotteville which is now carried o ut by residents of that c ommunity as part of their monitoring effort. SOS Tobago also conduct s interactive lectures and field trips for village councils and schools produces educational displays at a variety of events and venues throughout the year hosts international universit y volunteers, facilitat es T urtle W atch
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 35 training for registered tour guides and hosts presentations for beachfront hotel staff, management and guests about appropriate conduct on turtle nesting beaches (see Clovis, 2005) The DNRE supports the initiative s of SOS and provides technical and tactical support for their turtle conservation activities. Officers of the DNRE also complement the SOS effort through the provision of law enforcing authority. Direct financial support for patrols has not yet been forthc oming from the THA ; however the advent of the National Monitoring Program me with Turtle Village Trust in 2008 has helped to ease that burden significantly. Based on information collected to date, the most important nesting beaches (for leatherback turtl es) in Tobago are Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) Mt. Irvine Back Bay (Rocky Point) and Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay, in that order. Judging from the distribution of carcasses, King Peters Back Bay (Cotton Bay) and other less accessible beaches such may also provide important nesting habitat to the beleaguered colony of leatherback turtles in Tobago. Increas ing reports from Minister Bay (Bacolet) suggest that it may also be an important site Nesting by logger head and olive ridleys is likely to be extremely rare. To measurably increase the effectiveness of relevant community groups with regard to long term data collection, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that they engage the ex pertise of WIDECAST and/ or other technical organisations in the development of five year plans specifying research and conservation objectives, fund raising targets, training needs, and organisational stability and sustainability; the design of procedures manuals for harmoni sed field techniques and data collection; and a mechanism for national training and evaluation. 4.12 Develop area specific management plans It is intuitive that in order to conserve the marine resources of Trinidad and Tobago, including sea turtles, the habitats upon which these species depend must be properly managed and protected. Having identified areas critical to the survival of sea turtles (see sections 4.111, 4.112), area specific management planning, taking into account recommendations put fo rth in this Recovery Action Plan and developed within the framework of existing planning legislation or resource/habitat management protocol, should be undertaken. As a priority, management plans should be developed for the Prohibited Areas associated wit (and adjoining waters) and most important foraging grounds. In Trinidad, a management plan for Grande Riviere, which faces more potential management challenges than either Matura or Fishing Pond, might serve a s the most comprehensive model. SOS Tobago has long advocated for Prohibited Area status for all three index beaches in the coast that are used by leatherbac k, hawksbill and green turtles. In response, the DNRE (THA) has recently announced an interest in declaring Great Courland Bay a Prohibited Area (A. Ramsey, THA, in litt ), surely an excellent first step toward managing critical habitat in Tobago. Prohib ited Area status would not only facilitate sea turtle conservation, but also promote more environmentally sound coastal tourism. Given the large number of users of this beach, a comprehensive management plan with full stakeholder involvement would need to be developed as part of the process of prohibition. This could be worked on concurrently with the Grande Riviere model as many of the issues are similar. Mt. Irvine Back Bay, the only completely undeveloped beach in southwestern T obago, provides importa nt nesting habitat for hawksbills and leatherbacks, while the adjacent land i s government held property that has long been considered for tourist development B y legislatively protecting the beach, its
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 36 creating a welcome respite for turtles, tourists and locals from the heavily developed coastline. A management plan for this bay including the nesting beach there, could serve as a model for management of the other as yet undeveloped beaches along the n ortheast coast. Area specific plans for Prohibited Areas should inter alia specify guidelines not explicit on the entrance permit; for example, lighting and drainage. Lighting guidelines are enforced by conservation groups (during beach patrols) and by tour guides, but they cannot be enforced. Similarly, storm drains and greywater outflows from the land behind the beach often directly affect nesting habitat, fouling sand and cutting directly into the beach during heavy rains encouraging erosion and nest loss Management plans should be peer reviewed and regularly updated, should provide for compli ance and reporting, and should be explicit in supporting best practices in everything from tour guiding to coastal setbacks. S pecific management recommendatio ns are offered in the sections that follow, including a summary of minimum standards and restrictions. Management plans are also needed for important foraging grounds and a Buccoo R eef ( http://www.buccooreeftrust.org/ ). 4.121 Review existing legislation In the paragraphs that follow, we briefly describe the status of existing planning legislation and illustrate how critical habitat may be protected under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Forests Act the Marine Areas (Preservation and Enhancement) Act and, more recently, the Environmental Management Act Once legislative authority has been brought to bear on t he protec tion of habitat, clearing the way for certain restrictions regarding its use, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that site specific management plan ning involve local coastal zone author ities (section 4.122), specify pertinent re strictions (section 4.123), provide for the enforcement of re strictions and other guidelines (section 4.124), and encourage public awareness (section 4.125). Town and Country Planning Act: h as as its main aim the orderly and progressive development of land and the preservation and improve ment of the amenity of land. The legislation provides for the preparation of development plans to indicate the use to which land is to be put and the contr ol of development of all land. Through such control permission must be granted for development, which includes engineering, building, mining operations, change in the use of land or buildings, and the subdivision of land before development is commenced. The National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) for Trinidad and Tobago, prepared under the authority of the Town and Country Planning Act (Chap. 35:01 of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago) and approved by Parliament, sets out the land use planning and physica l development framework for a 20 year period ending in 2 00 4 A review of the NPDP is due and is expected to commence in 20 1 1 (Shelley Sultanti Maharaj, Town and Country Planning Division Ministry of Planning, Economic and Social Restructur ing, and Gende r Affairs, in litt 23 November 2010). Matura is identified by the 1984 2004 NPDP as scientific interest to be It is a strong recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Matura/ Fishing Pond and Grand e Riviere beaches, which together support the largest known leatherback nesting colony in the insular Caribbean, be afforded the strongest measure of protection under existing and future planning legislation. It is a further recommendation that the full s trength of planning legislation be brought to bear on behalf of other important nesting beaches, including two of the
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 37 most important leatherback nesting grounds in Tobago : Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay ) and Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay). Restriction s on co a stal development and visitation (see section 4.123), which are necessary to provide for the long term breeding success of endangered sea turtles, should receive the uncompromised support of the Government at all levels. Forests Act: In Trinida d, two important beaches were declared Prohibited Areas in 1990 under Section 2 of the Forests Act (Chapter 66:01 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago). Legal Notice 28/90 eto are hereby declared prohibited areas every Riviere was similarly declared in 1997. Permits must be obtained from the Forestry Division in order to enter these areas Carrying capacit y is established at 200 persons at the 8.85 km Matura Beach (100 persons through the Orosco entrance, 100 through the Rincon entrance), 100 at the 10.46 km Fishing Pond Beach, and 100 at the 1.6km of beach at Grande Riviere. In each case, carrying capacit y is reduced by 50% during July and August, the period of peak hatchling emergence. These restrictions are unofficial however, and not consistently enforced Other restrictions also apply. Prohibited Area designation has been vitally important to Trinid gy, as Matura/Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere beaches support some of the highest density nesting by endangered leatherback turtles in the world. Prior to Prohibited Area designation at Grande Riviere, for example, 500 or more unrestrained visitors per night converged on this short (1.6 km) stretch of beach. way, and forced the patience of dedicated conservation guides to the breaking point. Visitors were often appalled at the experience, which reflected poorly on ecotourism in Trinidad. Conservation measures, includ ing rules that govern carry capacity, are m ade possible by the Forests Act. It is a recommendation of thi s Recovery Action Plan that Prohibited Area status be afforded to other critical habitats, especially in Tobago. Marine Areas (Preservation and Enhancement) Act: The multiple benefits of marine protected areas are under realised in Trinidad and Tobago; i t appears that their use as a tool for marine resource management and ecotourism is not well understood by the Government or the citizenry. The Laws of Trinidad and Tobago protect only one area, Buccoo Reef, under the Marine Areas (Preservation and En han cement) Act Chap. 37:02 (No. 1 of 1970, as amended in 1973). The reef is a no fishing zone, where fauna. Entry into this restricted area is pro hibited except with written permission by persons acting on the Minister's behalf. Permission may be subjected to conditions and anchoring sites may only be designated upon notification by the Ministe r. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Pla n that specific attention be focu s sed on developing criteria for a national system of marine protected areas to serve as the centerpiece of fisheries enhancement and marine resource conservation i n the 21 st century and that resources be allocated to adequ ate ly manage both new and existing ( Buccoo Reef Marine Park ) areas At a mini mum, harmful activities, including indiscriminate anchoring and other unnecessary physical damage to the seabed (especially degradation of coral reefs and seagrass), should be p rohibited. As important forag ing grounds are identified, they should be considered for marine protected area designation. The Environmental Management Act, 2000 : This Act does not repe a l any of the aforementioned laws and its objectives include: devel op and effectively implement written laws, policies and other programmes for and in relation to the conservation and wise use of the environment to provide adequately
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 38 for meeting the needs of present and future generations and enhancing the quality of life ; and enhance the legal regulatory and institutional framework for environmental management. The Environmentally Sensitive Areas and Species Rules of 2001 are of particular note. The Rules outline criteria in three schedules for designation of Envir onmentally Sensitive Species Schedule I provides justification for the designation under international conventions to which Trinidad and Tobago is signatory, including the SPAW Protocol, CBD, and CITES (see section 4.3). Schedule II outline s categories and objectives that must be met for designation, including maintenance of species abundance and diversity, sustainable economic and human development, uniqueness or significant taxonomic importance, indigenous species or those that spend part of their life cycle in Trinidad and Tobago. Animals and plants referred to in other laws are also included in criteria for designation. Under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Rules ( 2001 ) areas may be protected if they meet the following requirements, including: providin g habitat for Environmentally Sensitive Species, fulfilling international obligations (such as to the Ramsar Convention or the SPAW Protocol), contributing to the appreciation of wider ecological aspects and intrinsic values, enhancing the conser vation of biological diversity, facilitating research and education, or maintaining ecosystem functioning or cultural values. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that full use b e made of these provisions in the safeguarding of sea turtle h abitat that the EMA legislation be strengthened to create powers under the designation of Environmentally Sensitive Species and Environmentally Sensitive Areas to pro tect the environment in a comprehensive way and that at nesting beaches (or offshore ar eas) where formal protected area status is not feasible, regulatory guidelines and/ or zoning ordinances be enacted and enforced to restrict potentially harmful activities (cf. see section 4.123). Other: Trinidad and Tobago lacks a coastal lighting ordin sea turtle Such an ordinance could be developed under the aegis of the Town and Country Planning Act or the Environmental Management Act, the latter re quires environ mental impact assessments (EIA) before Certificates of Environmental Clearance are issued to developments above a certain size and could require that conditions be placed on lighting. A l ighting or dinance can be a useful conservation tool if fairly constru cted and consistently enforced. Witherington and Martin (2003) suggest a basic framework that includes descriptions of activities prohibited because of their disruption to sea turtle nesting, standards for new lighting, standards for mitigating existing l ighting, and proposals for enforcement and monitoring. Lake and Eckert (2009) adopt these ideas to the Caribbe an and make recommendations See also section 4.132. N oteworthy is a proposal t o replace the Forestry Division by a Forestry and Protected Area Man agement Authority to assume the roles currently played by other government agencies (e.g., Chaguaramas Development Authority; Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources) in volved in managing protected areas (PA) (GOTT, 201 0 ). As presently described, t he Forestry and Protecrted areas Management Authority will Develop and implement policies and programmes for the efficient management of ter restrial, coastal and marine PAs including recommendations for revising and upd ating the National Forest and Protected Areas Policies; Implement national laws and regulations on forests and P A s; Make recommendations for the rationali s ation of policies, laws regulations and adminis trative arrangements for the management of forests an d PA s in Trinidad and Tobago; Develop mechanism for the sharing of information and resources and the development and implementation of collaborative programmes;
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 39 Establish and implement appropriate management arrangements for each PA (including forested are as) that may include arrangements for management of private land, and man agement of state and/or private land by communities, civil society organizations, or the private sector; and Establish multi stakeholder management committees as required to coordina te and facili tate the management of particular terrestrial, coastal and marine P A s. These would represent all of the G overnment agencies responsibl e for management as well as other key stakeholders from civil society and the private sector. According to GOTT (2010) a n Executive Board (c omprise d of g overnment, community and non profit organi s ations, academic institutions, and private sector disciplines such as e nvironmental and w ild life management, ecology, land use planning, tourism, fisheries, forestr y, social and community develop ment, and law and business ) will be appointed to guide operations of the Authority. 4.122 Involve local coastal zone authorities It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the appropriate local authoriti es, governing councils and community groups be intimately involved when area specific management plans are developed. In Trinidad and Tobago there is no single coastal zone authority and use of the coastal zone is under the authority of at least three mi nistries with separate interests. The Ministry of Planning and Development (Town and Country Planning Division) oversees the development of beachfront property on both islands. The Ministry of Works, Settlement and Infrastructure (Drainage Division) (Div ision of Infrastru cture and Public Utilities, Works Department in Tobago) has authority concerning coastal protection structures. The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Works Department, in collabora tion with DNRE in Tobago) oversees the quarrying of beach sand. General p olic ies on the conservation of coastal habitat s ha ve b een formu lated through the development of the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan ( approved by Cabinet in 2001 ) which co nclude d a n integrated multi sectoral approach is needed for coastal and fisheries management, both within Trinidad and Tobago a EMA, 2001 ). 4.123 Develop reg ulatory guidelines When areas are defined as especially critical to remaining sea turtle stocks, regulatory guidelines should seek to establish a framework within which appropriate visitation or land use (commercial, recrea tional, residential) can occur. There are a number of straightforward, standard recommendations that should be taken into account and t hese are enumerated below. It is noteworthy that conservation guidelines already apply to two nesting beaches M atura Beach and Fishing Pond Beach w hich were declared Prohibited Areas in 1990 under the authori ty of the Forests Act and Grande Riviere w hich was similarly declared a Prohibited Area in 1997. Entry into the se areas between 1 March and 30 August (peak nesting season) requires a permit specifying purpose of visit, period and duration of visit, etc. Rules are enforced regarding fishing, camping, picnicking, etc. One time entry for an adult is TT$5 [ca. US$ 0.85]; $50 for multiple entry throughout the prohibited period (these fees are $2 and $20, respectively, for children under 12). Tour guiding fe es are charged separately (see section 4.271 ). Some believe that not all critical areas, especially on the well developed beaches of tourist oriented Tobago, can be declared Prohibited Areas, but the experiences of Grande ve shown that this is not the case.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 40 T he Environmental Management Act (No. 3 of 2000) has the potential to regulate any number of activities potentially harmful to sea turtles (e.g., coastal construction, visitation and recreational activities, beachfront lighting, nearshore dredging, anchoring) by mandating pre scribed conservation guidelines and the Environmental Management Authority r equires EIAs before Certificates of Environmental Clearance are issued to developments above a certain size. It is essen tial for the survival of depleted sea turtle populations that certain minimum and stan dard guidelines be adopted to safeguard nesting habitat. The most fundamental of these guidelines are summarised below and are discussed in further detail in sections 4 .13 and 4.14. Any regulations, in order to be effective, must be enforceable. 1) Sand mining: Mining of beach sand should not be permitted under any circumstances (section 4.131). The persistent removal of beach sand disrupts stabilising vegetation, ex acerbates erosion, and can eliminate nesting habitat. Mining pits invite injury to humans and livestock, and accumulate water to serve as breeding areas for mosquitoes and other unwanted insects. Mining sediments offshore should be carefully evaluated fo r potential effects on coastal beaches, since offshore material is essential for beach maintenance. Preferred extraction sites should be confined to approved areas for quarr y ing. 2) Artificial lighting: The condition that artificial lighting not be visi ble from nesting beaches should be established as inviolate. Infringe on this principle and a fundamental change (for the worse) in the ability of the beach to support nesting will have occurred, thereafter diminishing the effectiveness of all other conse ning stage s of development F or nesting beaches already characterised by residential or commercial beachfront development the task is more difficult but not insu rmountable For details, see section 4.132. 3) Beach stabilisation structures: Hard engineering options to beach protection, including impermeable breakwaters, jetties, groynes and seawalls positioned on the beach or in the nearshore zone, should be con sidered only as a last resort (section 4.133). Because sandy beaches are naturally dynamic, there are numerous examples throughout the Caribbean region of beaches lost, rather than secured, as a result of armouring. The physical characteristics of the co astline should be taken into account prior to coastal construction so that adequate setbacks, rather than expensive and often counter productive armouring, can be used to provide for the long term conservation of the beach resource. 4) Design setbacks: I f development of land adjoining a sandy beach is planned, setback limits should be defined that reflect the damage likely to be caused to the beach and backshore environment during a major storm, and that take into consideration beach and backshore charact eristics. Setbacks not only help to protect coastal properties from storm damage, but also reduce over crowding of the fore shore, lessen the likelihood that local residents will be excluded from the beach, and enhance the proba bility that artificial lig hting will not shine directly on the beach. Setbacks of 30 40 m and 80 120 m from the line of permanent vegetation are reasonable minimum guidelines for upland and lowland coastal development, respectively (section 4.133). Issues of land ownership and us e limitations should be exa mined with a view towards providing incentives to encourage owners to apply their land(s) to conserva tion purposes. 5) Access: With the exception of authorised patrol or emergency vehicles, the use of motorised vehicles shoul d be prohibited on beaches at all times. Parking lots and roadways (including any paved or unpaved areas where vehicles will operate) should be positioned so that headlights do not cast light onto the beach at night. Driving on the beach creates unsightl y ruts, exacerbates erosion, and lowers sea turtle
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 41 hatch success by compacting nests (section 4.134). Tire ruts also present a hazard to hatchlings crossing the beach. Where vehicles are needed to transport heavy fishing, commercial, recreational, resear ch or film equipment, a minimum number of access points should be provided; vehicles should park landward of the line of permanent vegetation. Pedestrian access to beaches for recreational, commercial or research or film purposes should be confined to spe cific locations and strictly regulated so as to minimise destruc tion of the beach or beach forest by trampling. 6) Waste disposal : The country wide management plan for waste disposal should be improved. No dumping should be permitted inshore or within the nearshore, beach, dune, or wetland environment of the shore zone. Such dumping as has already occurred should be subject to immediate clean up; clean up should be accomplished using hand tools (section 4.134). The fouling of beaches runs counter to the economic interests of both residents and commercial landowners. Beach litter can obstruct hatchlings on their journey to the sea, discarded glass and metal can injure turtles, and larger objects can prevent fe males from finding a nest site. All beac h users (fishing, commercial, recreational, research film) should be required to take with them any garbage or other waste brought to or generated at the beach. Trash cans and regular pickup should be provided at all beaches and commercial, research or f ilm users should ensure that adequate pickup is available for their waste (or p rovide for private removal ) 7) Vegetation cover and fires: A reasonable vegetation buffer should be preserved above mean high tide. Creeping and standing vegetation stabilise s the beach and offers protection against destructive erosion by wind and waves. The beach forest provides important nesting habitat for the hawksbill turtle and offers natural shielding for the beach from sources of artificial lighting (section 4.132). F ires, whether for recreation, dispos al of vegetative waste or charcoal production, should be prohibited on sandy beaches. Fires are a hazard to the surrounding dry forest, create unsightly scars, may scorch sea turtle eggs and hatchlings beneath the surfac e of the sand, and can disorient hatchlings Cooking fires should be restricted to designated grill facilities. 8) Marine pollution: The dumping of solid or chemical wastes and discharge of faecal matter into the sea should be prohibited under all circum stances. In addition to degrading the environment for resi dents and visitors alike, sea turtles often ingest tar, plastic, rope, and other substances (e.g., Mrosovsky, 1981; Balazs, 1985; Lutz and Alfaro Schulman, 1991), presumably mistaking these for fo od, and become weakened or die. It is commonplace for sea turtles to confuse plastic bags with jellyfish and eat them. Polluted effluent, including sewage and other organic wastes, from land based sources should be centrally treated before its discharge into the sea, or into watercourses which enter the sea and care should be taken in the positioning of outflow pipes or storm drains on to critical nesting beaches and into critical offshore habitat. See sections 4.143 to 4.146. 9) Dredging and anchoring : Sedimentation and anchoring are leading causes of destruction to seagrass meadows and coral reefs throughout the Wider Caribbean and s uch damage is clearly visible in Tobago and the yachting centres of northwestern Trinidad. Anchoring should be restric ted to designated sand bottom areas; vessels should tie in at approved moorings in coral reef areas. Alternatively, vessels should be required to remain offshore, beyond the zone of living coral and seagrass. Dredging activities should be planned to mini mise damage (e.g., smothering by sedimentation) to down current coral and seagrass. Severe disruption of the sea bed, especially in living seagrass and coral communities, can ruin foraging areas for sea turtles and nursery sites for commercial fishes, neg atively affect the natural dynam ics of the marine environment, and result in the loss of beach sand (section 4.147).
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 42 10) Physical destruction of coral and seagrass: In the absence of the sheltering influence of offshore reefs, shorelines are often seve rely altered, resulting in economic and environmental losses. Neither coral reefs nor algal ridges should be dynamited or dragged with chains to provide boat access, eagrass areas (see above, and section 4.147). Divers should be thoroughly coached on diving etiquette so as to preclude trampling, collecting, or touching living coral. The practices of using chemicals or dynamite for the pur pose of stunning fish should be disallowed under all circumstances (this is already the case, see sections 4.141, 4.142). The destruction of coral reefs resulting from these practices can be irreversible. 4.124 Provide for enforcement of guidelines Institutional support for e nforcement cannot be over emphasised. In order to effect compliance with rules and regulations concerning the protection of habitat, law enforcement is crucial. It is a recom mendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the presence of authority (e.g., Fo rests Officers, Game Wardens, Estate Constables, Fisheries Officers, Coast Guard personnel) be visible at Prohibited Areas, Marine Parks, and other protected habita t. Com munity based Honorary Game Wardens should also be incorporated as enforcement p artners especially during the sea turtle nesting season. Officers should work collaboratively with community based organisations conducting routine monitoring and tour guiding. On important nesting beaches not yet designated as protected, more community member s should be empowered as Honorary Game Wardens to enforce conservation guidelines E nforcement officers, in any capacity, should be duly trained to perform their job adequately. With regard to conditions imposed on beachfront construction projects, such as setbacks and lighting restrictions, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a registered architect, professional engineer, or other authority designated by the Government conduct a site in spection, including a night survey with beachf ront lights turned on The purpose of this inspection would be to verify that beach illumination is minimised and is in accordance with regulations designed to protect nesting and hatching sea turtles. Regular site inspections should be undertaken to ensu re compliance. Training in the conduct of a lighting assessment, following internationally accepted best practices, can be provided by WIDECAST. 4.125 Develop educational materials It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that residents and visitors (and, when appropriate, developers and concessionaires) be made aware of regulations promulgated to safe guard habitat important to sea turtles. Educational materials should be readily available to the visiting public and should include clear descriptions of what types of activities are permitted and what types of activities are not permitted in the management area. Permanent signboards at nesting beach entrances are one way to educate visitors. A signboard may explain that access permits an d/or licensed guides are required, beach fires and littering are prohibited, pets must be leashed, and vehicles must be parked in designated areas. If the nesting beach area is closed to the public at night, this should be clearly indicated. A telephone number to report violations should be provided. Other options include the distribution of informative pamphlets, permanent signage in hotel rooms, and repeated information provided by the media. Signage, pamphlets and weekly hotel lectures have made a cons iderable impact in visitor behav iour on Turtle ( Great Courland Bay ) and Grafton ( Stone Haven Bay) beaches At the Matura and Fishing Pond Prohibited Areas, sig nage is placed at key locations along the
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 43 ensure that nesting turtles are not hindered or harassed) are placed at entry points to these nesting beaches, as well as at Grande Riviere. At Matura, brochures are distributed at the point of purchasi ng permits and also when tour guides are hired. At Fishing Pond, the potential exists for upgrading an available aban doned structure to develop a modest and very nice interpretive center at the entry to the Prohibited Area. These are all excellent examp les of public awareness effort s in the management and protection of habitat critical to the survival of the nation s sea turtles all of which should be further developed and recom mended for replication by the National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme (s ection 4.6) 4.13 Prevent or mitigate degradation of nesting beaches 4.131 Sand mining Permission to extract sand is given by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that every effort b e made to effectively prohibit the practice of beach sand mining throughout the Republic. The chronic removal of sand from nesting beaches accelerates erosion and degrades or destroys beach vegetation by extraction or saltwater inunda tion. In severe cas es, saline ponds are formed in unsightly pits left by mining operations, shoreline trees are lost to the sea, and entire beach habitats are eliminated. Transport trucks operating on the beach can also accelerate erosion, in addition to scarring the terrai n. The loss of sandy beaches not only reduces the reproductive success of sea turtles, but endangers beachfront investment (piers, hotels, houses) and has serious economic implications for the future of vital industries (e.g., fishing, coast based touri sm). For example, at Gordon Bay (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad) sand mining by villagers for home construction has reduced the beach to a rocky shore. Gordon Bay was once an important fishing port on the north coast, and also supported nesting by hawksbill turt les. Now neither the berthing of boats nor the nesting can occur. unquestionably an environmentally undesirable activity at Matura, contributing to beach er osion, de the beach, hosted by Dr. C. James with the Quarries Advisory Committee and members of the petroleum industry (who were seeking further mining concessions). The turtle's plight in its labour of love to secure a next generation had a significant impact on its viewers that night, and no licence has since been granted for mining at beach locations on the north or east coasts of Trinidad. S ince mining can also occur illegal ly in remote areas, grassroots awareness of the damage caused by beach sand mining is an important defence against clandestine action. For example a t Grande Riviere, a nother important nesting site peri odic attempts to carry sand from the beach by truckload are invariably countered by concerned v illagers ; recent attempts have not been made. Beach sand mining is also a serious problem on some beaches in Tobago and has been extensive at several sites, including Great Cou rland Bay where commercial operations between 1978 1983 resulted in the loss of a vertical meter of sand, exposing bedrock in some areas. The beach has never recovered. Other windward beaches have been similarly exploited. In addition to commercial oper ations, subsis tence take is widespread. Individuals extract sand by hand (shovel), filling gunnysacks, and loading 20 30 bags on a truck for use in domestic construction or repair. Cumulative damage is evident at Great Courland Bay, Stone Haven Bay and elsewhere raising concern that egg bearing females will be forced into marginal habitat when prime nesting areas become i naccessible due to exposed bedrock. According to booming con
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 44 attract The report concludes, mond Bays, and other beaches are under t hreat at To that we can now add Kilgwyn Besides degrading tourism assets, beach sand mining can also lead to serious coastal erosion problems, destruction of sensitive marine habitat and degradation of water quality along the shores. The IMA has worked with THA, tourism operators, the construction industry and others to find a workable In September 1995, the IMA sponsored a public forum in Tobago to present options and seek comment. A joint committee of the IMA and THA proposed that (i) as a general rule, no beaches in Tobago should be mined for aggregate, (ii) the THA review the ade quacy of existing beach control regulations, and strengthen its capacity to enforce the regulations, (iii) a beach monitoring program me be established, and (iv) an adequate source and means of supply of construction aggregate at commercial rates be identif ied and utilised as soon as possible (EMA, 1995). These recommendations are fully endorsed by this Recovery Action Plan. Today, the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities must seek the permission of the DNRE before removing sand from any area, ho wever, there is still limited enforcement and many people continue to remove beach sand for their own personal use 4.132 Beachfront lighting Sea turtles are profoundly influenced by light. Hatchlings, freshly emerged from the nest, depend largely on a visual response to natural seaward light to guide them to the ocean. Consequently, in zones of coastal development, sources of artificial light distract the little turtles so that they turn away from the sea and crawl landward. Having done so, they are eaten by crabs, birds and dogs, or die in the morning sun before reaching the sea. The same can be said for nesting females who are confused by or turn inland toward zones of bright lighting. Research demonstrates that low pressure sodium vapor (LPS) lumi naires, which emit light in the 590 nm range (yellow), do not attract hatchlings to the extent of full spectrum white light and thus LPS lighting should be considered by coastal developers whenever possi ble ( e.g., Witherington, 1990). A comprehen sive manual by Witherington and Martin (200 3 ) focuses on assessing and resolving light pollution problems on sea turtle nesting beaches. A d iscussion of lighting assessment techniques is also available in Knowles et al. (2009) and Lake and Eckert (2009). There are presently no official regulations with regard to the lighting of beachfront properties. As coastal development inevitably proceeds along the east and north coasts of Trinidad, where sea turtle nesting is concentrated, the condition that art ificial lighting not be visible from a nesting beach should be established as inviolate. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a national Light ing Ordinance be adopted and that lighting restrictions be imposed as a condition for obtain ing approval for coastal construction from Town and Country Planning. This requirement is widely im plemented in Florida (Witherington and Martin, 200 3 ), as well as being a requirement in Belize (Smith et al., 1992), St. Kitts and Nevis (Eckert and Honebr ink, 1992), and, more recently (since 2001) in Jamaica using the 1956 Beach Control Act (R. Bjorkland, in litt 24 May 2010). Guidance on formulating a lighting ordinance can be found in Lake and Eckert (2009). Lighting necessary for the illumination an d security of beachfront development should be posi tioned so the source is not visible from the beach and does not directly illuminate areas of the beach. Low pressure sodium vapor lights emit wavelengths (560 to turtles and they should be used whenever possible. Low intensity, ground level lighting should be encouraged.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 45 Nighttime and security lighting should be mounted not more than 5 m above the ground and should be positioned or shielded so it does not direc tly illuminate areas seaward of the line of permanent vegetation. No lighting, regardless of wavelength, should be placed between turtle nests and the sea. An absence of lighting is the best guarantee that hatchlings will safely find the ocean. Where t his is not an option, Witherington (1990) propose d: (1) shielding and lowering light sources (low intensity lighting at low elevations can be both attractive and adequate for most purposes; the glow can be shielded from the beach by ornamental flowering hedges or other barriers), (2) alternative light sources (e.g., LPS lighting is known to be less attractive to hatchlings than full spectrum white light), (3) time restrictions (lights extinguish ed during evening hours when hatching is most likely to occur; e.g., 1900 2300 hrs), (4) motion sensitive lighting (sensor activated lighting comes on only when a moving object, such as a person, approaches the light; this might be effective in low traffic areas), and/or (5) area restrictions (restrict beach lighting to areas of the beach where little or no nesting occurs; the effectiveness of this is diminished, however, since sources of light several kilometers away can disrupt hatchling orientation). N atural or artificial structures rising above the ground should be used to the maximum extent possible to prevent lighting from directly illuminating the beach/dune system and to buffer noise and con ceal human activity from the beach. Improving dune heigh t in areas of low dune profile, planting native or ornamental vegetation, or using hedges and/or privacy fences is encouraged. Barriers between 76 85 cm high are generally sufficient to block visual cues from artificial lights (Ehrenfeld, 1968; Mrosovsky, 1970). posts and positioned between the nest and a lighthouse resulted in the hatchlings orienting correctly to the sea. Balcony lights should be shielded fro m the beach, decorative lighting (especially spotlights or floodlights) within line of sight of the beach should be prohibited, and safety/security lights should be limited to the minimum number required to achieve their functional roles. It is fortunate that in Trinidad the majority of high density nesting beaches are in relatively unpopulated areas. Nevertheless, problems are apparent even when development occurs on a small scale. For example, lights associated with the Mt. Plaisir Estate Guest h ouse b uilt on the nesting beach at Grande Riviere (which supports the densest leatherback nesting in the Republic), once attracted both hatchling and adult leatherbacks. Bloodied walls once marked the point at which adults collided with the building. Estate ma nagement has taken steps to minimise the lighting hazard, including removing some light sources and turning others off after sunset. This has been highly effective, although hatchling disorienta tion still occurs on moonless nights. More recently, hatchli ngs are disoriented by the lights of newer hotel developments, including parking and security lights, and by a single brilliant light marking a fishing depot on the south end of the beach. In Tobago, where coastal tourism constitutes a significant part o f the economy, lighting is a wide spread threat to sea turtles. SOS patrollers often relocate disoriented hatchlings to a darker part of the beach, only to find them reappearing at the hotel again having merely swam parallel to shore toward the bright lig hts. Nesting females also s ometimes become disoriented when returning to t he sea and head inland towards hotel lighting instead. Surveillance and security staff on the grounds at night should be advised to watch for disoriented hatchlings, and to release them immediately and safely in dimly lit areas and to turn off troublesome lights whenever there are hatchlings and turtles on the beach. Some hotels promote the fact sea turtles nest at their doorsteps, and some (but not all) of these hotels have taken steps degree to which these efforts are maintained at private hotels is largely dependent on the management.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 46 It is important that tourists are made aware by hotel staff of the importance of sea turtle conser vation, and that they be asked to participate in conservation measures, such as maintaining a dark beach for a discussion of turtle watching). Weekly hotel lectures sensitis e guests regarding T urtle W atch etiquette and other issues; however, it can be difficult to organise training for staff. It is critical that hotel workers at properties on or adjacent to nesting sites be adequately trained in the basics of sea turtle conservation, and that contact information for local conservation groups be readily available. Turtle Beach Hotel set an with security staff and peri odically scheduling presentations at weekly D uty M anager meetings Such efforts must be sustained throughout the nesting season, and again, the level of commitment depends very much on management. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that direct communication be initiated It is a further re commen dation that Government provide conservation materials to beachfront hotels and secure a commitment from the Hotel Association that its members will participate actively in a national campaign to safeguard sea turtle nesting beaches. Be achfront hote ls and restaurants should be asked to report incidents of sea turtle nesting ; to remove, redirect or obscure (shade) any lights shining on the beach ; and to check the grounds e d hatchlings. Beachfront (and surrou nding) lighting is a problem easily addressed by current technologies, and mitigation is most effective when undertaken collaboratively by all coastal properties. To that end, a national meeting (cf. Eckert and Horrocks, 2002) should be organised in Trini dad and Tobago with the objective of reach ing consensus on a Sea Turtle Policy Statement to be implemented as part of the envir onmental management systems of coastal hotels, particularly those located at major nesting sites. A formal statement embedded i n hotel operating procedures is critical; otherwise, turnover within hotel manage ment can r esult in inconsistent lighting policies and unpredictable implementation of other conser vation measures For more detail on developing a Sea Turtle Policy Statemen t and a Check L ist for implementation, see Choi and Eckert (2009). 4.133 Beach stabilisation structures Most beaches are naturally dynamic. To protect commercial investments such as beachfront hotels, beach stabilisation typically involves the use of breakwaters, jetties, impermeable groynes and/or seawalls. These structures are expensive and rarely effective in the long term. Moreover, because they interfere with the natural longshore transport of sediment, the armouring of one beach segment can result current. In addition, the armouring of beaches can limit access to nesting turtles. Fortunately, structures of this type have not been built on (or offshore) known nesting beaches. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that hard engineering options to beach protection be regarded only as a last resort. The better solution to beach maintenance is an enforced construction setback adequate to reduce or eliminate the r isk of losing coastal buildings to routine erosion or violent storms (see Choi and Eckert, 2009) It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that national planning legislation adopt a strong stance regarding setbacks for beachfront development (p rivate and commercial) and require mixed species vegetated buffer zones between built facilities and sandy beach platforms. Setback limits should be defined that reflect the damage likely to be caused to the beach and backshore environment during a major storm, and that take into consideration beach and backshore characteristics.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 47 Setbacks should provide for vegetated buffer zones, including beach forest, lawns and other landscaping. Setbacks not only help to protect coastal properties from storm damage, b ut also reduce overcrowding of the fore shore, lessen the likelihood that local residents will be excluded from the beach, and enhance the probability that artificial lighting will not shine directly on the beach. Setbacks of 30 40 m and 80 120 m from the line of permanent vegetation are reasonable minimum guidelines for upland and lowland coastal development, respectively. 4.134 Beach cleaning equipment and vehicular use of beaches Beach debris can significantly reduce reproductive success by sea turtles. A n a ccumulation of debris can prevent an egg bearing female from finding a suitable nest site, and can trap emerging hatch lings. Nathai beaches and usu ally consists of any item from logs, branches, dried coconuts, plastics, fishing nets and a host of other incidental items either brought in by tides or washed from inland [sources] by rivers. During certain months of the year, as much as 70% of beach sur faces may be covered by debris, resulting in 1995 by the Fisheries Division with support from FAO/UNDP (Int egrated Coastal Fisheries Management household, in Trinidad and Tobago . The period 1979 to 1992 has seen a 3.7 to 7 percent increase in the weigh plastics reaching coastal areas and the environme nt in general since only 85 percent of generated waste Trinidad and Tobago about the consequences of irresponsible disposal of garbage both on land and in the remain current and have the full support of this Recovery Action Plan. Noteworthy is the fact that agencies, organizations and sponsors have been involved in litter surveys and beach clean ups in Trinidad for more than two decades. Results of an early survey of 15 beaches in the n orthwest p eninsula in 1984 by researc hers from IMA showed a total litter load in excess of 1 tonne for the beaches sampled. Highest concentrations were found on the L Anse Paoua and Turtle Bay. It was estimated that on five of the 15 beaches, prevailing water currents accoun ted for more than 40% of the litter load; however, material deposited by visitors constituted the greatest amount. Of the identifiable items, 42% consisted of metal soft drink cans, 4% glass bottles, and 30% plastic containers and disposable food utensils A decade later, in 1993, a follow up study (isla nd wide ) concluded that 44% of shoreline litter was plastic and 30% was glass, and that beachgoers and inland sources were among the causal factors. was organised by the Fisheries Division and up database ( www.oceanconservancy.org ). Volunteers collected 4.4 tonnes of litter from 9 km along six beach areas at William s Bay, Chagville Beach, Hart and Chacachacare; plastics accounted for 50% of the debris collected. The trend is clearly toward an increase in the importance of plastic materials as a major and persistent source of litter on our beaches and in the coastal marine environment. The public should be aware of these trends and their implications for
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 48 the environment It is a recommendation of this Recover y Action Plan that beach clean ups, such as that sponsored by Nature Seekers at Matura, be an annual event on turtle nesting beaches pr ior to the nestin g season, that collection methods and analysis be standardized nationwide, and that results be collated and emphasised in the national media. Hotels have been built on some of the main nesting beaches in Tobago. Hotel staff frequently hand rake these beaches, but pick up trucks and other vehicles are sometimes driven onto the beach to remove rubbish pile s. Because mechanised beach cleaning equipment can crush or puncture incubating eggs, effort should be made to provide alternatives to the grooming of sandy beaches. Furthermore, the swelling of seasonal rivers in the rainy season often leads to flooding of residential areas behind the beach and the subsequent dredging of a channel across the beach to the sea. This is always done with heavy equipment which drives along the beach to the site and then digs through the sand bank endangering nests enroute and at the site. For routine cleaning and maintenance of the beach and bordering water ways, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that manual labour be used and that sea turtle conservation groups in the area be consulted before bringing heavy equipment on to the beach so that high density nesting areas can be avoided. C ommunity based sea turtle conservation groups are willing to quickly mobilise their volunteer resources to assist in clearing larger debris piles in order to reduce or elimina te the need for motorized vehicles on the beach and to collaborate in draining overflowing rivers (T. Clovis, SOS Tobago, pers. comm.) Beach clean up and river drainage should not include the removal of vegetative cover (see Choi and Eckert, 2009) Su pralittoral trees and shrubbery provide hawksbills with nesting habitat and promote beach stabilisation. Even raking and removal of leaves and grasses above the high tide line can increase the probability of wind erosion, thus degrading both nesting habit at and vegetated buffer zones adjoining coastal development. The use of heavy equipment on the beach for the removal of large debris should be generally confined to non nesting months (November to February), and all potential obstacles or hazards ( e.g., l ogs) brought on by the rainy season should be cleared f rom the beach before nesting begins. Fire should never be used for disposing of vegetative waste. With regard to the operation of motor vehicles, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that, with the exception of authorised patrol or emergency vehicles, motorised vehicles not be allowed to drive on sandy beaches. Driving cars and trucks on the beach compacts the sand (crushing eggs), damages beach vegetation, and can cause or exacerbate erosion ; e rosion exposes eggs to wave action and reduces the amount of beach available for nesting ; and v ehicles can strike and kill hatchlings crawling to the sea, or frighten females away from nesting (Choi and Eckert, 2009). H atch lings huddled just b elow the surface of the sand (waiting to emerge later in the evening, when the sun sets and the beach surface cools) are particularly vulnerable to being crushed by passing vehicles. T ire ruts left in the sand can also trap hatchlings and prevent them fro m reaching the sea (Hosier et al., 1981). With the increasing popularity of vehicles with off road capabilities, beach driving is becoming more of an issue especially in Tobago. Prior to the declaration of Matura Beach, Trinidad, as a Prohi bited Are see vehicles driving on the beach while turtles were laying their eggs. As a result of community vigilan ce since 1990, beach driving no longer occurs Vehicles oc casionally still drive onto Grande Riviere nesting beach, but community groups there are quick to request that the vehicle turn back. In Tobago where b ited Area status, getting drivers off the beach can be more challenging and groups h ave taken to strategically placing signs and logs to act as detterents at main entry points illustrating th e value of community groups as sea turtle stewards and co managers (see section 4.26).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 49 4.135 Beach rebuilding projects The linkages between d evelopment and the persistence of sandy beaches are complex, and should be considered with care before construction proximal to sandy beaches is permitted. If dunes are leveled, vegetation removed and/or solid jetties or seawalls constructed, the likeliho od of committing the owners to repetitive and increasingly expensive rebuilding is heightened and sometimes guaranteed. Rebuilding is generally accomplished by bringing sand to the beach from inland sites or adjoining beach segments, or by hydraulically p umping sand onshore from an offshore site. Beach rebuilding projects may enhance some nesting areas, but, in general, the effects are negative (Crain et al., 1995) Heavy equipment and activity can deter nesting and crush eggs, and the new overburden can prevent hatchlings from success fully digging out of the nest. In addition, the type of sand placed on the beach is often unsuitable for nest construction and proper incubation of eggs. The decision to rebuild a natural beach is expensive and rarely effective in the long term. The forces precipitating the erosion are not and often cannot be allayed by the act of rebuilding, and thus in many cases the cycle inexorably begins anew. If rebuilding is unavoidable, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that replacement sand be similar (e.g., grain size, organic content) to that which was eroded, thereby making every effort to maintain the suitability of the beach for the incu ba tion of sea turtle eggs. Rebuilding should never be undertaken d uring nesting and hatching seasons when heavy equipment and activity can deter nesting and crush eggs, and the new overburden can prevent hatchlings from successfully digging out of the nest (see Choi and Eckert, 2009) It is worth noting that there is a n imbalance in the system somewhere when sand is lost from an otherwise predictable beach habitat and is not replaced by natural accretion processes. The underlying cause can be as direct as an up he down current beaches by interrupting the constant longshore transport of sand and sediments (see section 4.133). Or the impetus may be more subtle, as occurs with the removal of beach vegetation or when nearshore pollution retards the productivity of c alcareous (coralline) algae and other sand sources. 4.136 Other Recreational activities on nesting beaches are known to negatively affect sea turtle nesting in various ways, ranging from nuisance noise to the obstruction of nesting habitat by sunbed s, vendors, etc. Nathai Gyan et al. (1987) ncreased recreational activities at Manzanilla, Mayaro and Guayaguayare beaches have seriously affected nesting at these beaches, where significant number s of leatherback turtles continue to nest annually. Manzanilla and Mayaro may suffer a similar fate to north coast beaches, such as Maracas and Las Cuevas, where re a activities with the potential to kill developing embryos and significantly reduce the success of the annual breeding effort. It is therefore, a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that during the planni ng stages of large scale public gatherings on nesting beaches, local sea turtle experts be invited to advise organisers concerning the timing and location of such gatherings and that permitting agencies pay heed to their advisements Timing is critical w hen considering recreational activities at nesting beach es In 2005, a major US production company set up to film on Great Courland Bay for six weeks in the middle of nesting season, with the prior blessings of relevant authorities. SOS Tobago, having m on itored Great Courland Bay routinely since 2000 was consulted only after the film set was in place, compromising the safety of
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 50 incubating eggs A uthorities downplayed the media outcry and the production company continued its activities includ ing placing a number of stakes along the beach for an obstacle course race, threatening additional nests in the surrounding area. This kind of international production is a welcome boost to tourism in Tobago, but the timing unnecessarily threatened the eggs and you ng of these endangered species and set a bad precedent for the kinds of activities that can occur on a turtle nesting beach during the active became impossible to explain to residents and tourists that they should n ot drive a truck or light a b each bonfire with this enormous, heavily used infra structure allowed to persist i (G. Alkins, SOS Tobago pers. comm. 2006 ) 4.14 Prevent or mitigate deg radation of marine habitat According to the Reefs 2 of reefs around Trinidad and Tobago are threatened by human activities. The most pervasive threats are over land, which threatens over 85 % of reefs, includes poorly treated sewage, domestic grey water, agricultural runoff, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals. Marine based pollution was not identified in the analysis analysis identifies Buccoo Reef, declared a restricted area in 1973 under the plan formulated for Buccoo Reef Marine Park in 1995 has never been implemente d (see also Hoetjes, 2002). It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that specific threats to marine habitat, especially areas important to sea turtles, be identified and efforts taken to reduce these threats. 4.141 Dynamiting reefs The destruction of coral reefs by explosives not only destroys forage and refuge for sea turtles, but also permanently diminishes the capacity of the Republic s waters to support local fishing and tourism industries. The Fisheries Act of 1916 (Chapter 6 Any person who uses poison of any description or any explosive with intent to stupefy, poison, take or kill fish is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for t hree months It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that th e provision be strictly enforc ed and that fines and other penalties (such as confiscation of equipment) be stiffened when the revised national Fisheries legislation is enacted Reef blasting is not known to occur in Trinidad and Tobago (A. Jobity, Fisheries Division, pers comm., 2002). 4.142 Chemical fishing The destruction of coral reefs by chemicals not only destroys forage and refuge for sea turtles, but also permanently di minishes the capacity of the Republic s waters to support local fishing and tourism Any person who uses poison of any description or any explosive with in tent to stupefy, poison, take or kill fish is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for three It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that th e provision be strictly en forced, and that fine s and other penalties (such as confiscation of equipment) be stiffened when the revised national Fisheries legislation is enacted. Chemical fishing is not known to occur in Trini d ad and Tobago (A. Jobity, Fisheries Division, pers comm. 2002).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 51 4.143 I ndustrial discharges industries are discharged directly into watercourses and coastal areas untreated or without basic treat pollution include oil production and refining (section 4.145), quarry operations, food processing, chemical plants and rum distilleries. These wastes may contain toxic chemi cals, including organics and heavy metals, and can result in high water temperatu res. Toxic and hazard ous wastes consist of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury and synthetic organic chemicals, mostly used as raw materials in the manufacturing sector, and in agriculture, in the form of pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers (s ection 4.146). There are limited facilities in Trinidad and Tobago for the treatment of these wastes. Typically, industrial wastes are either stored on site or discharged into rivers and streams with only partial, if any, treatment. Runoff from polluted streams also affects the coastal and marine environment. More than 90% of labour force is employed on the west coast (Glasgow, 1983) where t he Gulf of Paria boasts two ports, various fishing depots, and boat and yacht marinas, all of which contribute to heavy boating traffic and associated wastes. Large industrial complexes (e.g., Point Lisas ) produce a variety of industrial waste s Legislation prohibiting pollution of coastal waters is embodied in the Harbours and Shipping Act of 1987, b ut enforcement is in effective. The Archipelagic Waters and protec tion and preservation of the marine environment, and the prevention, reduction and control of p ollution of that environment arising from ( i) land based sources including rivers, estuaries, pipelines and outfall structures; (ii) sea bed activities under the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago and artificial islands installations and structures unde Foraging areas in the Gulf of Paria are particularly vulnerable to industrial discharges, including those released to inland waterways that ultimately lead to the sea. The same is true of the much less developed east coast, where principal nesting beaches occur. Major watersheds drain to the Atlantic Ocean, heightening the danger that industrial discharges from inland sources might affect nesting and inter nesting (offshore) habita t. According to EMA (1995), the Caroni is one of the most severely affected rivers in Trinidad; others include the Couva, Guaracara and Cipero rivers, East Dry River, Diego Martin River, Morvant, Caura and Santa Cruz rivers It is a recommendation of t his Recovery Action Plan that (1) existing pollution laws be re viewed for completeness and enforceability, providing Government with recommendations for changes where needed; specifically, water pollution rules drawn up by the EMA should be relaid in Parl iament and, when passed, the necessary enforcement mechanisms be put in place; (2) industries be monitored to confirm that discharges are duly registered with Government and properly identified as to content; (3) watercourses and nearshore zones be regular ly monitored for the presence of harmful chemicals and noxious substances; and (4) fish and other marine life in suspected polluted areas be tested for the presence of toxins. 4.144 At sea dumping of garbage The dumping of garbage at sea is reco gnised as a growing problem throughout the world. Death to marine organisms as a result of ingestion or entanglement is widespread (e.g., Balazs, 1985; O'Hara et al., 1986; Laist, 1987; CEE, 1987). M rosovsky (1981) estimated that 44% of adult non breedin g leather backs had plastic in their stomachs apparently having mistak en it f or jellyfish. Debris continues to pose a
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 52 danger to turtles after it washes ashore Sea turtles and their eggs can easily be harmed by encounters with tar, glass, and abandoned netting on nesting beaches. In Trinidad and Tobago, as elsewhere, at sea dumping is difficult to monitor. Addressing the problem requires a concentrated effort at public education, coupled with stiff penalties for offenders (pertinent legislation is su mmarised in section 4.143). Solid waste discharged from inland waterways accounts for a large portion of marine pollution in Trinidad therefore concerted efforts in curtailing indiscriminate garbage disposed island wide are needed. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that relevant legislation be fully enforced, and that a public awareness campaign be launched under the aegis of Government, cooperatives, NGOs, and the media to alert fishermen, recreational boaters and cruise ships of the ne ed to properly dispose of garbage and unwanted fishing gear Announcements should be prepared for radio and newspaper. Regular beach clean ups, such as those sponsored and carried out by the Nature Seekers at Matura Bay, should be recognised and encourag ed, both locally and nationally ( see section 4.134 ) A lthough penalties for littering can be useful deterrents, the Litter Act is rarely enforced. Sim ilarly, e nforcement of statutes requiring the use of port reception facilities is needed to ensure com pliance by the many hundreds of vessels using the northwest peninsula every year G uidelines and regulations with respect to waste ships, yachts, and small er craft s have been developed on a regional basis under the aegis of the UNEP Convention for the Pro tection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, to which Trinidad and Tobago is a Party ( see section 4.321) These guidelines should be given the full consideration of national authorities, and enforced throughout the coun try. 4.145 Oil exploration, production, refining, transport An oil contaminated environment can be lethal to sea turtles and incubating eggs. Behavioural experiments indicate that sea turtles possess limited ability to avoid oil slicks, and physiol ogical experiments show that the respiration, skin, some aspects of blood chemistry and composition, and salt gland function of 15 18 month old loggerhead turtles are significantly affected by exposure to crude oil pre weathered for 48 hours (Vargo et al., 1986). Hawksbill turtles may be particularly vulnerable to oil pollution. Hawksbills (predominantly juveniles), were only 2.2% (34/1551) of the total sea turtle strand ings in Florida between 1980 1984, yet comprised 28.0% of petroleum related stranding s. Oil and tar fouling was both external and internal. Chemical analysis of internal organs provided clear evidence that crude oil from tanker discharge had been ingested (Vargo et al., 1986). Carr (1987b) later reported young hawksbills (to 20 cm) stra tar. In 1990, oil and asphalt, including mining and refining, made up 30% of the GDP of Trinidad and Tobago (Central Statistical Office, 1991). In 1994, the petroleum industry c ontributed nearly 50% of the government s foreign exchange earnings, and nearly 28% of government revenues (EMA, 1995 ). Today r elated industr ies and infrastructure continue to expand T here is no question but that ca ution is needed in the planning stages and beyond to ensure that marine resources, including sea turtles, are not harmed as pet roleum and/or natural gas is pumped from sea based wells off the east, south and west coasts of Trinidad and the northeast coast of Tobago to refineries and/or holding tanks along the west coast of both islands. EM A legislation (enacted in 2001) requires EIAs before Certificates of Environmental Clearance (CEC) are issued to developments above a certain size, and CEC rules are currently being applied to new exploration It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that exploration and extraction activ ities be accompanied by independent EIAs and acceptable environmental controls
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 53 Tar balls on east coast beaches have been documented since the late 18 th century (Kulger, 1936) and there is evidence to suggest that they result from naturally occurring seepage offshore (Amoco, undated). T here is also evidence of petroleum related pollution onshore from refineries, oil field tank farms, trunk pipelines, and the reta il sector ( e.g., EMA 1995) Tar fouling is a nuisance on major leatherback nesting beaches (e.g., Matura, Fishing Pond); tar balls are heaviest during the dry season, including the first three months of the egg laying period (March May). In May June 2005 oil fouled leatherbacks came ashore to nest at Matura and Grande Riviere (L. Peters, pers. observ.), and there is leatherbacks nesting at Mt. Irvine Ba ck Bay, Tobago, in May 2001 (T. Clovis, SOS Tobago, pers. observ.). Oil deposits resembling melted tar have also been documented at hawksbill nesting beaches (e.g., Chacachacare) (K. Fournillier, pers. observ ). Notable is the proactive stance taken by BHP Billiton International which has taken the initiative to develop a human resources base on the northeast coast of Trinidad that includes training of 30 person s with in each community in oil spi l l response techniques and leaders who will mobilize these individuals in case of an oil spill. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that such training be main tained, and that community groups also be trained (and equipped) to respond to oiled wildlife Legislation to prohibit oil pollution is embodied in the 1980 Oil Pollution of Territorial Waters Act, Chapter 37:03 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago. Section 3 of the Act makes it an offence to dis charge or allow oil to escape from any vessel into the territorial waters of Trinidad and Tobag o. With few exceptions, such as when the discharge is due to collision, the owner or Master of any vessel from which oil is discharged, or allowed to escape into any waters to which the Act applies, is liable upon summary conviction to a fine of ten thous and dollars and to imprisonment for 12 months. The Harbour Master is empowered to appoint a discharge site for ballast water. The Petroleum Act, Chapter 62:01 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, includes additional relevant provisions, including licensing the transport, discharg ing and landing of petroleum and petroleum products by aircraft, vessels, other vehicles and pipelines; imposing conditions to be observed by licensees, and preventing pollution of land, water or air. Notwithstanding, i t is gener ally agreed that the legislative framework in Trinidad and Tobago is insufficient to safeguard the Republic from the devastation of a catastrophic spill. The Oil Pollution of Territorial Waters Act speaks only to the deliberate discharge of oil by a vesse l, not taking into considera 1987). Other legisl ation, including the Continental Shelf Act (Act No. 43 of 1969) and the Petroleum Regulations of 1970 (made pursuant to Part III of the Petroleum Act, Section 29(1)(j)), are also inade quate. The Continental Shelf Act addresses incidents of oil dischage f rom a pipeline (or otherwise than from a ship) as a result of any operations for the exploration of the seabed and subsoil or the exploitation of their natural resources. P enalties are meagre and, in general, an adequate defence is realised by as serting effects of a spill or other discharge event, a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan was adopted in 1977, but never fully enacted. During this period, a bilateral agreement with Venezuela was also negotiated. In prepared by the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Safety, Environmental and Fire Services Department and Exploration and Production Division). Soon thereafter, the National Oil Spill Contingen
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 54 cy Plan Committee, an int er agency committee with industry representation, undertook to revise the national plan (after examining various international agreements for guidance on how to improve and strengthen it). The draft has undergone internal and international peer review but a ccording to sources within the Ministry of Energy, finalising the Plan is stalled pending agreement on the financial aspects of implementation; specifically, a sustainable source of funds must be identified to sustain a National Oil Spill Contingency Fu nd (O. Adams, pers. comm., 2002). In view of the high level of petroleum activity, both in Trinidad and Tobago and in neigh bor ing Venezuela, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a comprehensive Na tional Oil Spill Contingency Plan ( including a funding mechanism) be adopted and implemented at the earliest opportunity. The present draft is a significant improvement over its predecessor, but it remains a framework document (e.g., no regulations, no penalties). The adopted Plan should ensure that, in the event of a disaster of modern era proportions, Trinidad can meet its obligations both to its citizens and to its neighbours. The Plan should also make provision for a National Oil Spill Contingency Fund sufficient to meet the demands o f a catastrophic spill. National legislation should be strengthened to confront all the complexities of modern technology and international law regarding oil exploration, pro duction, refining and transport, and should provide for costs other than for cle an up (e.g., damage to prop erty, damage to natural resources, loss of profits or earnings, restoration). Without the necessary internal legislation, Trinidad and Tobago could suffer considerable damage due to oil pollution without having any proper recou rse to obtain the necessary compensation or redress for such damage (Goodridge, 1987). Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory to the Cartagena Convention (section 4.32) and its Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Re gion. Article 3 of the Protocol states: a. The contracting Parties shall, within their capabilities, cooperate in taking all necessary measures, both preventive and remedial, for the protection of the marine and coastal environment of the Wider Caribbean particularly the coastal areas of the islands of the region, from oil spill incidents. b. The contracting Parties shall, within their capabilities, establish and maintain, or ensure the establishment and maintenance of, the means of responding to oil sp ill incidents and shall endeavor to reduce the risk thereof. Such means shall include the enactment, as necessary, of relevant legislation, the preparation of contingency plans, the identification and development of the capability to respond to an oil spi ll incident and the designation of an authority responsible for the implementation of this protocol. 4.146 Agricultural runoff and sewage Agricultural chemicals are widely used in Trinidad and Tobago, but there is no monitoring of their ultimate fate, either in the environment or in agricultural products. Most surely enter the sea at some point. The twin challenges are to regulate the use of agrochemicals in established industries in order to minimise negative impacts, and also to make careful choice s about future agricultural investments. There is the additional problem on both islands of high levels of organic waste indiscriminately released into watersheds (which discharge to the sea) from agricultural husbandry, such as chicken farming and pigger by dumping into rivers. ... Moreover, most abattoirs, except for those at Port of Spain and Arima, are not connected to any sewerage system where such wastes can
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 55 sewage into the marine environment is another major source of pollution. In Trinidad and Tobago, there are two major sewage treatment plants and several smaller systems that discharge their effluents either directly or indirectly into inshore coastal waters. Most of the other inland package treatment plants, many poorly constructed pit latrines, and many farms discharge much of their wastes i nto rivers that eventually flow into the sea. Chronic pollution from industrial sources and domestic sewage discharges has resulted tourism industry con tributes to the problem. Specifically, there are frequent sewage treatment shortfalls at some Tobago hotels and a growing potential for nearshore pollution resulting from the unregulated release of yacht generated sewage (see Section 4.144.) The Water a nd Sewerage Act (Chapter 54:40 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago) empowers the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to enact regulations to prevent water pollution, including both surface and ground (subterranean) waters. Section 62 of the Act makes WASA r esponsible for main taining and developing the existing sewerage system, and for administrating same. The Public Health Ordinance (Chapter 12:4 Section 70(1)j of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago) also contains provisions to protect watercourses from pollut ion. There are no data to indicate the direct effects of agrochemicals and sewage on sea turtles utilising the beaches and waters of Trinidad and Tobago, but the cumulative effect of these poisons and high BOD (biological oxygen demand) wastes on the mari ne environment weakens the capacity of coral reefs and other affected benthic systems to support life, including endangered sea turtles and commercial fishes and invertebrates (e.g., lobster). It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Gov ernment give priority to a na tional sampling and monitoring programme in the country's major watersheds, especially, for the purposes of this Recovery Action Plan, those discharging at or near major nesting or foraging grounds The sampling programme sho uld be consistent and comprehensive, the data centrally compiled, and the information available to the public. It is a further recommendation that designated Index Sites be monitored consistently to serve as general indicators for the larger ecosystem. F or example, a monitoring programme for the Buccoo Reef Marine Park provide s management information with regard to pollutants along the southern Caribbean coast of Tobago and could serve as a model for other areas. At present, samples (e.g., chlorine, E c oli ) are periodically collected in and out of the sewage lines at Tobago hotels by WASA and Public Health authorities. I n Stone Haven and Great Courland b ay s in Tobago, agricultural and gr e ywater runoff is released directly to the beach es through roads ide drains, and from nearby farms hotels and restaurants The effluent saturates the sand at the point of entry attracting flies, dogs and other creatures that could jeopardize sea turtle nests Moreover, the smell renders the site unbearable for beach patrollers and T urtle W atch tours. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that sewage treatment facilities of sufficient capacity be developed, as a priority, in areas where tourism and urbanisation is com promising the human and ecological health of coastal areas. 4.147 Anchoring, dredging and land reclamation In Tobago, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, extensive damage has been caused to reefs by anchors and chains from moored yachts. This is particularly evident inter alia in Charlott evile and Mt. Irvine Th e systematic demolition of coral by heavy anchors severely degrades potentially important sea turtle foraging and resting habitats. Healthy coral reef and seagrass ecosystems are central to the survival of endangered sea turtles, particularly hawksbill (section 2.4) and green turtles (section 2.2), as well as to the
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 56 sustainability of marine based tourism. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that regulations be adopted under the authority of relevant legislation, a public awareness campaign be undertaken, and a national system of moorings be developed Priority attention should be given to Tobago where yachts and other pleasure boats may anchor anywhere w ithout restriction. Moorings should be developed within a l arger context of yacht support, including facilities for sewage and waste disposal onshore. As a start, a pilot program me for reef demar cation buoys was successfully implemented in 2004 20 05 by Buccoo Reef Trust and the Department of Marine Resources and Fisheries, with co funding from the Travel Foundation (UK), in areas of excep tionally high anchorage, including Store Bay, Mt. Irvine, and Charlotteville. Dredging and land reclamation activities affecting the coastline and nearshore waters can severely degrade sea turtle foraging and refuge areas. These activities should be conducted in such a way as to minimise damage to be nthic communities resulting from turbidity. Turbidity (suspended sediment) de grades and smothers, sometimes fatally, surrounding coral reefs and seagrass beds. Since dredging and land reclamation have serious environmental implications, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a thorough and independent environmental assessment be conducted reviewed, and approved be fore dredging or reclamation is initiated. In addition, a CEC is required for such activities as they are captured under activities 12 and 13 of the C ertificate of Environmental C learance (Designated Activities) Order. Land reclamation and dredging a ctivities at present are largely confined to the Gulf of Paria, so that nesting activities are not likely to be affected, but the threat of sedimentation to foraging areas should not be discounted. Also worth noting is that sma ll scale river operations on the east coast may negatively affect sea turtle nesting areas. For example, dredging in the estuary of the Mission Ri ver (Toco) uncover ed a full term leatherback nest several years ago ; the hatchlings were released to the sea (D. Walcott, pers. observ.) River dredging and upstream development can also have significant effects on river flow and sediment loads, both of which can ultimately affect nesting habitat. 4.2 Manage and Protect All Life Stages The Government of Trinidad and Tobago claims jur isdiction over an exclusive economic zone shall ensure, through proper conservation and management, that the living resources in the exclusive economic zone are not endangered by over has not yet been achieved for the sea turtle resource. T o achieve this goal, the national regulatory framework needs to be revised and improved. In the sections that follow, existing legislation is reviewed and changes are suggested where necessary. 4 .21 Assess regulatory mechanisms 4.211 Review existing local laws and regulations of the Fisheries Act of 1916 (Chapter 67:51 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago). The Regulations -(a) kill, harpoon, catch or otherwise take possession of any female turtle which is in the sea within any reef or within one thousand yards from the high water mark of the
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 57 foreshore where there is no reef; (b) take or remove or cause to be removed any turtle eggs after they have been laid and buried by a female turtle or after they have been buried by any person; (c) purchase, sell, offer or expose for sale or cause to be sold or offered or expos ed for sale or be in possession of any turtle eggs. 3. No person shall, between 1st March and 30th September, kill, harpoon, catch or otherwise take possession of or purchase, sell, offer or expose for sale or cause to be sold or offered or exposed for sal e and to imprisonment for six months. In practice, the rules of the open season are difficult to enforce. The provision that females not be ensnare d by nets set within 1000 yards from the high water mark or in any reef requires vigorous at sea enforcement efforts to ensure compliance. Furthermore, while the sex of an adult male is confirmed by the presence of a tail extending 20 cm ( 8 inches ) or mor e beyond the shell, one cannot assume that a turtle is a female simply because the tail is not elongated. Such a turtle may be a sexually immature male. Most turtles are harvested as juveniles and are taken from reef or other nearshore hard bottom habita t where, according to law, only males can legally be landed. T o determine the sex of a juvenile, the turtle must be killed to examine the reproductive organs an obvious flaw in the legislation There is a well documented history of correspondence amon g relevant Government offices artic ulating concern over inadequacies in the legislative framework that protects sea turtles, and urging that capture, poss ession and sale of the whole or any part thereof of a sea turtle (see Appendix II ). Based on documented evidence of the continued slaughter of sea turtles, both legal and illegal (see section 3.3), throughout Trinidad and Tobago, and a documented history of consensus among relevant agencies that existing Turtle and Turtle Eggs Regulations are inadequate to achieve sustainable use of the sea turtle resource, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Regulations be amended to embrace a nat ional moratorium until such time as data exist to support a coherent, science based evaluation of a sustainable and governable level of exploitation that will not result in further population declines ( for more detail, see also section 4.213 ) An additio nal benefit of a moratorium w ould be to eliminate any residual illegal trafficking in sea turtle products, and tortoiseshell trinkets in particular. Hawksbill turtles killed during the open season provide the raw material for jewelry and other ornaments f While there hese items continue to be marketed informally to to urists (see section 4.311) Such sale is i n contravention of CITES provisions ( since tourists sub sequently leave the country ) and, when sold during the closed season, is a violation of national law. The Conservation of Wild Life Act (Act 16 of 1958, am ended by 14 of 1963), Chapter 67:01 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, is a potentially powerful tool in offering sea turtles, their nests and young protection against wounding and killing, as well as acts of harassment at sea or on nesting beach es The Act provides, among other things, for Game Sanctuaries, a Wild Life Conservation Committee, e Second or Third Schedules to the Act. As sea turtles are not so mentioned, they were for many years considered by the Wildlife Section Forestry Division to be protected de facto under this law and could not be hunted without a licence from the Chief Gam e Warden. This approach was successfully challenged in Court in 2004, based on the lack of specificity with regard to sea turtles and the issue of jurisdiction, and the open season (under the Fisheries Act) reportedly upheld.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 58 Regulations passed in 1994 require shrimp vessels to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in their nets. The Fisheries (Conservation of Marine Turtles) Regulations, enacted under the authority of the mercial trawlers that 1994 and such devic enacted in response to a U. S. law requiring that countries seeking to export shrimp into the U. S. take steps to ensure that shared stocks of endangered sea turtles are no t adversely affected by shrimp trawling (see section 4.23 and Appendix I for details). Noteworthy is the fact that i nstitutional arrangements for the management of f orestry and w ildlife resources are currently being addressed, and in this regard it has be en proposed that the Forestry Division be replaced by a Forestry and Protected Area Management Authority The Authority w ill also assume the role s played by other government agencies (e.g., Chaguaramas Development Authority; Fisheries Division, Ministry o f Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources) involved in the management of p rotected a reas (GOTT 2010 ; see also section 4.12 ). 4.212 Evaluate the effectiveness of law enforcement uty of the Fisheries Officer and any person authorised in writin g by him so to do, subject to any general or special directions given by ter 67:01; Sec tion 23.(1)) authorises Game Wardens as enforcement officials. Largely because of ambiguity in existing legislation (see section 4.211), and limited numbers of Game Wardens (fewer than 20 for both islands), law enforcement has a weak profile. Other causa l factors include insufficient mater ial (vehicles, fuel) and human (staff time) resources within regulatory agencies and the well known challenges incumbent in enforcing rules and regulations in small communities where men are called upon to confront or a rrest brothers and cousins. Finally, the widespread perception that the enforcement of wildlife law is not meaningful or even necessary h inders enforcement activity, and can even serve to shame those who would be its advocates. It is a recommendati on of this Recovery Action Plan that a ll law enforcement agent s in clud ing Fisheries Officers, Game Wardens Constables and others, be empowered with jurisdiction to enforce sea turtle protection regulations promulgated under the authority of the Fisherie s Act, the Conservation of Wild Life Act, and/or the Forests Act. To achieve this goal, the Government must allocate the necessary resources to regulatory agencies to fulfill their law enforcement duties. Finally, the Government should take every opportu nity to sensitise the range of its enforcement officers (and the pub lic) to the importance of compliance with environmental regulations. To date there have been few arrests for violations of sea turtle conservation legislation and, until 1995, no jail ti me had been served. Attempts by the Forestry Division to precept all Game Wardens and F orest O fficers involved in enforcement with powers to enforce all environmental laws of Trinidad and Tobago has met with success and to date there are over 40 such O f ficers; moreover, by the end of 2005, 180 Honourary Game War dens, their mandate rooted in the Wild Life Act, were available to participate in nesting beach surveil lance. The term of office of the Honorary Game Wardens ended in 2008, and since then there have been no reappointments. A concerted effort should be made at the highest levels of Government, including the Magistrate offices, to visibly inspire and reward the active enforcement of wildlife law to the benefit of the national interest.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 59 In May 19 85, six persons, including a driver, were charged with possession of five bags of turtle of the case by attorneys (James, 1987). In 1989, the Wildlife Se ction was alerted by the Coast Guard (in collaboration with the IMA) that an adult hawksbill turtle which had had its foreflippers amputated was being used to attract fishes at La Tinta, Chacachacare. The offenders were apprehended and one defen dant was fined TT$2 000 under provisions of the Conservation of Wild Life Act (Chap. 67:01). In 1992, five persons were arrested and three were charged, again under provisions of the Conservation of Wild Life Act, in Sangre Grande for transporting turtle meat from Fishing Pond; each was fined TT$1 000. Local community members were instrumental in the apprehension of the offenders. In 1993, Police Officers observed stealing eggs from Matura Beach were, as a result of active lobbying by the Wildlife Section and Mat ura community, subsequently investigated and transferred to another area. In November 1995, a poacher was apprehended in the act of removing an egg bearing female from her nesting site in Matura. Members of the Nature Seekers wrestled with the offender and took possession of the badly injured animal, transporting the animal directly to the Matura Police Station. A complaint was filed, the suspect was apprehended, and, due largely to fines imposed by unrelated drug charges that the suspect was unable to pay, he was incarcerated. In 2005, six community poachers were caught stealing eggs on Rincon bay Matura. Through discussion with the Forestry Division and the Matura police, Nature Seekers received permission to provide t he men with a community service r equire ment which mandated their participation in nesting beach patrols giving them a chance to learn the importance of conserving the specie s The Matura community and local authorities were commended for their quick response to this act of violence. I n July, 1998 a poacher at Manzanilla was apprehended and fined TT$2 000 under the Fisheries Act for being in possession of approximately 300 kg of leatherback turtle meat in the closed season. In 2004, two fishermen were charged for possession of green t urtles but the matter was dismissed because it was ruled that the charge should have been laid under the Fisheries Act for hunting in the closed season. In 2005, six persons were apprehended and severely reprimanded for entering the Matura Beach Prohi bite d Area without a permit (which carries a fine under the Forest s Act of TT$20,000) and also for poaching eggs. In response, t he Sergeant from the local Police Station mandated that every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the season (from 21 May onward), t he men had to join Nature Seekers on the beach and participate in weighing nesting females; all the men complied. In 2008, one person was apprehended and charged by Forest Officer David Boodoo for slaughtering a leatherback turtle on Manzanilla beach; the matter was concluded in March 2010 when the defendant was discharged by the Magistrate based on submissions made by his Attorney. The last sea turtle related case on record for Tobago dates back to 2001 when 3 men were charged TT$1 000 each for posses sion of turtle eggs under the Fisheries Act. Their arrest on Minister Bay (Bacolet) came as a result of a stake out by DNRE staff acting on a report made by SOS and villagers of a poaching incident on the beach. The turtle had just been bludgeoned to death when some people walking their dogs scared off the original poacher. The three men had nothing to do with the actual kill but on hearing of the incident, stopped off at the isolated beach on their way to work to get what they could from the relatively fre sh and completely intact carcass at which point they were apprehended. There have been no further arrests since then, largely due to the fact that the perpretators must be caught in the act or with meat on their person. Most poachers run off when confronte d and most meat is gone by the time a house search is initiated, in which case a verbal warning is all that is legally possible.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 60 It was well known by all persons, throughout the Republic, who were interviewed during the development of this Recovery Actio n Plan that turtles are routinely harvested with impunity both on the nesting beach (where they are protected year round) and at sea during the seven month closed season. Until arrest and incarceration are the assur ed result of illegal behaviour, it will continue unabated. The situation is particularly unpalatable in Tobago where illegal meats, including meat from egg bearing leatherbacks, hawksbills and greens killed whilst nesting, are unabashedly served at Harvest Festivals and Fishermans Fetes dur ing the closed season ( see section 3.3). 4.213 Propose new regulations where needed In accordance with the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO, 1995) which sible manner so as to ensure sea turtle management i n present and future gene rations in the context of food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable develop Management measures should therefore, seek to prevent over fishing, rehabilitate depleted popu lations, incorporate the best scientific evidence assign priority to research and data collection (including at international scales) and promote environmentally safe fishing gear and practices in order to protect both the target resource and the ecosystems upon which it depends. Among the fundamental components of any regime aimed at management of wild populations programme systematic, sustained, and rigorous collection and review of data either on the specific s of exploitation or of wild populations so as to discern trends that can inform management; mechanisms to identify, monitor and address other threats to the species being exploited, so that these threats can be factored with exploitation to assess what le vel of overall mortality the species might sustain; and a high level of compliance (sometimes achievable only through vigorous enforcement) with the restrictions put in place to ensure that management goals are achieved. It is clear that th e 1975 Protecti on of Turtle and Turtle Eggs Regulations (see section 4.211) do not adequately respond to the need to protect sea turtles, which are classified as Endangered by several international treaties to which Trinidad and Toba go is a Party (see section 4.3), and f ail to achieve management that is consistent with the principles and practice of sustainable use. It must therefore, be a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that sea turtle regulations promulgated in 1975 under the authority of the Fisheries Act be amended to reflect the spirit and letter of the earlier Conservation of Wild Life Act and that a moratorium be implemented on the capture and sale of all sea turtles (including their eggs and products) the moratorium need not be permanent, but logi c di c tates that it remain in forc e until such time as there is sufficient information to show that a regulated fishery will not lead to further population decline Legislating a moratorium on the take of sea turtles is not a new recommendation. For near ly a quarter century (starting with a May 1987 memo, FW:4/9/3, from the Head of the Wildlife Section Forestry Division to the Ag. Conservator of Forests), Government officers of various Ministries have been urging regulatory reform on behalf of sea turtle s (see Appendix I I ). To solicit contemporary public input on this subject, t he Fisheries Division recently convened t wo Stakeholder Consultations to discuss sea turtle conservation and harmonization of the legislation. The first Consultation was held on 13 January 2005 at the Toco Regional Complex in collaboration with the IMA and Forestry Division Wild
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 61 life Section and invited s takeholders from N orth Ea st Trinidad. Th e Consultatio n no ted and agreed to the following points ( Nerissa Nagassar, Fisheries D ivision in litt 17 November 2010) : Fisherfolk attending the meeting were opposed to a ban on the capture of sea turtle s although the majority had no problem with a moratorium on the c apture of leatherback turtles; There was general con s ensus that f ishe rfolk needed help (assistance with bait/gear, skills train ing, alternative income options) in supporting their families during periods of low catches ; Th ere was support for the provision of f inancial assistance or subsid ies granted to assist fisher folk i n the transition to new gear types and/ or more readily available bait ; and A lternative employment o p tion s should be developed for fisher folk willing to leave the industry A second C onsultation was held at the Botanic Station in Tobago on 20 January 20 05 a nd again involved the F isheries Division in collaboration with other government agencies ( D MRF, THA, EMA, IMA). S takeholders from Tobago were invited to discuss the issues, and t here was heated debate with stakeholders expressing divergent views on the i dea of a ban on sea turtle capture. Many fisherfolk indi cated that their livelihood depended on the sale of sea turtle s and opposed a ban while others indicated that size limits and quotas should be adopted n o agr e ement could be reached on a way forwa rd With this in put in mind, th e authors suggest following the recommendations of Brutigam and Eckert (2006) who c haracterized sea turtle exploitation a s essentially unregulated (e.g., there has been no monitoring of the legal fishery to record its la ndings and other parameters or to assess trends in these and their implications for management) in Trinidad and Tobago, and concluded that both existing legis lation and enforcement of that legislation were inadequate to ensure the survival of the resource They urged that immediate action be taken, and that if a full moratorium was not immediately practicable, intermediate steps short of a m oratorium, could be taken that would represent an improvement over the current situation These steps are as follo ws: First, u ndertake a comprehensive frame survey t o assess the extent and economic importance of sea turtle exploitation at the national level (see also section 4.22) Th e survey should aim to quantify and characterize exploitation and use, including th e landing of turtles at sea and hunting on nesting beaches; the numbers and types of fishers (and gears) involved, including the extent to which sea turtle landings result from incidental or opportunistic take in other fishing operations or from a targeted fishery; ex change, processing, and marketing patterns of turtles and turtle products; and the importance to liveli hoods of the products and income derived from sea turtle exploitation. T his investigation should also aim to establish the nature and exte nt of illegal exploitation and trade of sea turtles eggs and products and the extent to which they may negatively impact sea turtle populations and compromise management and conservation measures. Second, i f any legal exploitation is to continue, restr ictions should reflect biological parameters (e.g., delayed maturity and depleted status ) and aim, at a minimum, to prevent further population declines. Any exploitation regimen promoting population recovery and maintenance should be established and condu cted according to sound management prin ci ples and practice, which should include the following: 1) Bringing exploitation in line with biological principles, including: o complete protection of nesting females, their eggs and young at all times; o complete pro tection of all species during the primary nesting season, 1 February to 3 0 November;
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 62 o complete protection of l eatherback turtles 2 which occur in the country only as repro ductively active a dult s including e gg bearing female s ; o maximum size limits 3 based o n length (which is easier to undertake in the field) rather than weight, so as to safeguard large juveniles and adults; o a conservative numerical limit on the numbers of animals that may be exploited on an an nual basis, with such a limit necessarily based on a quantitatively robust harvest model such as a model designed to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and implement ed through a licensed quota ; o a requirement that such capture limits be based, if not on a stock assessment, on accurate data derived from national processes and research activities, and that, as far as practic able, these data should be collected in such a way as to be compatible with the goal of assessing stocks throughout their full geographic ranges. 2) Managing the legal fishery t hrough an enforceable, high compliance monitoring program me aimed at establishing trends and monitoring these over time. A national program to monitor sea turtle exploitation should document comprehensively and systematically, and in a manner allow ing su ch records to be analysed and compared over time, the following: o number of fishers taking marine turtles and by what means; o number, size and species distribution of the marine turtles landed; o localities where turtles were taken; o catch per unit effort (CPUE ) ; and o disposition of turtles landed, including value of the animal or products if sold or tr ad ed. In further support of reliable monitoring of the fishery, it should be required by law that owner ship identification tags be installed on approved gear ; th at turtles be landed alive and intact, prohibiting, for example, the use of spear guns and extended net sets that can result in drowning and providing for reliable recording and verification of turtle landings; and that the licensing process (open only to bona fide sea turtle fishers, as determined by the frame survey described above) include as a criterion full parti cipation in the monitoring programme (Brutigam and Eckert, 2006) Plater (2010) recommended that a Prohibited Area be designated offshore m ajor nesting beaches wherein gillnet fishing would be banned. 2 To the casual reader who might wonder how the locally ab undant leatherback sea turtle should be classified as at a global scale (see p.30) and in need of protection in Trinidad and Tobago it is important to remember that until recently, the Pacific coast of Mexico supported an estimated one half of all nesting females (Pritchard, 1982) but mortality to adult females as fisheries bycatch (Eckert and Sarti, 1997) caused that population to decline a t a rate of more than 20% per year during most of the 1990s before collaps ing entirely (Sar ti et al., 1996). The loss of this once large colon y is an unsettling lesson for our country, g Documented population declines in To bago and the apparent extermination of some of our smaller nesting colonies lends further impetus to the call for full protection. There is no cultural or management necessity for harvesting the egg bearing females of this species. 3 To meet this criterion and extend -(a) disturb, remove from the fishery waters, expose for sale, sell, purchase, or at any time have in his possession any turtle eggs; (b) interfere with any turtle nest, or turtle that is nesting; (c) remove from the fishery waters, expose for sale, sell, purchase, or at any time have in his possession any over sized turtle; (d) fish for, remove from the fish ery waters, or at any time have in his possession, expose for sale, sell, or purchase any turtle between 1 st February and 30 th means a curved carapace length of more than 30 cm for Olive Ridley Turtles ( Lepidochelys olivacea ), 40 cm for Hawksbill Turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ), and 60 cm for Green ( Chelonia mydas ) and Loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) turtles. Offenders are liable on summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months. Plater (2010) made similar recommendations to Government based on a comprehensive legislative review.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 63 4.214 Augment existing law enforcement efforts Recognising that environmental law is becoming increasingly important and increasingly technical in Trinidad and Tobago, as is the case thro ughout the Caribbean region, it is a recom mendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Environmental Police Section created under the EMA be expanded. A minimum of 20 more officers in Trinidad and 5 more in Tobago should be hired to oversee compliance with environmental legislation. Existing officers have been trained in environ mental law and enforcement procedures and are responsible for regulations concerning mainly pollution. However, more emphasis is necessary for training on regulations concerni ng mining and minerals, protected species, fisheries and marine resources, boater safety, game and hunting, coastal zone permits and compliance, etc. A Workshop should be convened jointly by the Ministry of Public Utlilites and the Environment Police aut horities, Customs and Immigration, and the Coast Guard to better inform all officers of conservation regulations and the urgent need to consistently enforce domestic and international laws pro tec ting turtles, lobsters, conchs, etc. A Manual of existing e nvironmental legislation has been developed by the EMA and this should be made available for public distribution. Clear and public support from senior Government officials (including the judiciary) is a pre requisite for effective law enforcement. The r ole of the Environmental Commission is crucial for the effective enforcement of all environmental laws and this would foster a greater sense of confidence among arresting officers that offenders would be prosecuted. The media and NGOs also have an impor tant role to play in encouraging a national consensus that conservation laws are important. Public partic ipation in law enforcement is crucial. Violations should be reported. Complaints should be aired by the national media when reports of violations ar e ignored. Divers and fishermen are in unique positions to monitor offshore damage to habitat, report illegal catches, and exert peer pressure to prevent violations. The owners of residential and commercial beachfront property should be enlisted to repor t turtles caught or eggs collected out of season, and to monitor nesting beaches for poaching and other disturbances. 4.215 Make fines commensurate with product value Limited numbers of arrests have been made for the violation of conservation laws ; fines and other penalties are characteristically low. A precedent is needed for stiffer penalties. Persons convicted of vio lating provisions of the Fisheries Act (Chapter 67:51), including sea turtle protection regulations, are liable on summary convi ction to a fine of TT$2 000 [ca. US$340] and to imprisonment for six months. Persons convicted of violating provisions of the Conservation of Wild Life Act (Chapter 67:01), are liable to a fine of TT$1 000 and imprisonment of three months (see section 4.2 11 of this Recovery Action Plan). In keeping with a clear consensus conveyed by regulatory agency staff and enforcement officials, it is a recommendation of this Recove r y Action Plan that penalties be stiffened to include higher monetary fines and the con fiscation of any equipment used in the offence. Logically, penalty fines should be considerably higher than the income generated from sale of turtle product s and should be sufficiently high to act as a stern deterrent to potential offenders. This has bee n a standing recommen dation to the Government for more than two decades (see Bacon, 1973a). 4.22 Investigate alternative livelihoods for turtle fishermen An effective management plan cannot be put forth on behalf of a commercially exploited species without a study of the economic value of the product to the resource users (the turtle fishermen), the
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 64 purveyors, and the consumers. Before alternatives to the turtle fishery can be evaluated, it is necessary to know how many fishermen, beach hunters and artisans are involved, and what proportion of their liveli hood is at stake. Some east coast residents interviewed for this Recovery Action Plan described the s, Chu Cheong (1984) concluded that only 12 fishermen were involved and described the fishery as declining. The truth is, the number of men involved is unknown, as is the size of the catch (which easily exceeds several hundred turtles per year) and its to tal market value. There is consensus that no one depends on sea turtles for their primary livelihood, although the income derived may be seasonally important. on killing turtles would have is dif ficult to estimate in the absence of reliable fisheries statistics stating total catch and the profits realised by the fishermen. ... The sale of meat, eggs and shell supplement the incomes of many fishermen for short periods of the year, but at such times ordinary fishing may be Nearly 4 0 years later, the same could be said. In order to collect baseline data, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Fisheries Division lead a Sea Turtle Fishery Frame Survey To the extent possible, bearing in mind that formal records have not been kept, the following should be determined: (1) number of men seasonally active in the turtle fishery, (2) number of turtles caught per year, (3) species and si ze classes caught, (4) capture methods and gear in possession, (5) gear used and frequency of use, (6) cost of gear, (7) capture/landing sites, (8) catch per unit effort, (9) market price for turtle meat and products, (10) income and proportion of total in come derived from turtles. Incidental catch is an important source of stress and mortality and should be quantified, as well (section 4.111 and 4.23). A Sea Turtle Fishery Frame Survey will provide an opportunity for Fisheries extension personnel to t alk with fishermen about the endangered status of sea turtles, emphasise the importance of a region wide moratorium on these migratory species, and solicit comments and other input. If possible, historical trends in catch per unit effort should be evaluat ed (do hunters have to travel further today than they did 20 years ago to obtain turtles, or set their nets or wait on a nesting beach for longer periods of time?). The following points should be communicated to fishermen : Sea turtles are long lived; mos t do not reach sexual maturity before 20 35 + years of age. Mortality is high in young juvenile stages, but low (under natural conditions) for the adult stage. Adult females average approximately five clutches of eggs per year and nest every 2 5 years; unde r natural conditions females live a long time and lay thousands of eggs in order to maintain stable populations. Large turtles have historically been targeted because they provide the most meat (Fisheries law usually protects small turtles), and egg bearin g females are taken in disproportionate numbers because they are easily obtained from the nesting beach. Harvesting large turtles, especially egg bearing females, contributes strongly to population col lapse this has been observed at rookeries throughout the world and is easily shown mathe matically. Nesting populations have been reduced or exterminated throughout the Caribbean Sea, including in Trinidad and Tobago, because adults are not surviving long enough to produce the next genera tion. The widespr ead take of eggs worsens the problem. The rising or falling trends of nesting (adults on land) and feeding (primarily juveniles at sea) populations are not necessarily related, since the adults and juveniles are often drawn from separate stocks of origin.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 65 Juveniles travel widely during the many years prior to maturity. During this time they will feed in the waters of many nations, staying at each location for varying periods of time. Upon reaching adult hood they will return (sometimes traveling thousands of kilometers) to their birth beach to lay eggs. Thus local juveniles are not residents, but rather they represent a shared regional resource to be jointly managed (at a regional level) with care and foresight. Adult females return to Trinidad and Tobago at regular intervals to lay their eggs and then leave at the end of the nesting season to return to preferred feeding areas in other countries. T urtles play an important role in the ecological balance of the oceans, including in food chains ( e.g., leather backs eat poisonous jellyfish; hawksbills help maintain species diversity in reefs). All nations must work together if this shared resource is to survive. With Frame Survey data in hand, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that credible s cenarios for enhancing alternative sources of income be developed and implemented. Continuing the status quo is not an option. A moratorium on sea turtle hunting must be realised for the survival of this resource, and must remain in force until such time as there is sufficient information to show that a regulated harvest will not result in population decline (see section 4.213). Neither is it an option not to consider the effect(s) of such a regulatory move on stakeholders. If, for example, net fishing is to be disallowed in the inter nesting habitat, then provision for bait fishing, line fishing, and/or other acceptable alternatives must be ensured (see also section 4.23). 4.23 Evaluate incidental catch and minimise sea turtle mortality Sea turt les must surface to breathe. If they are forcibly submerged in a net, they will eventually drown. The incidental capture of sea turtles in active and abandoned fishing gear throughout the world is a serious threat to their survival (e.g., NRC, 1990; Lewi son et al., 2004 ) In Trinidad, the incidental capture of leatherback turtles in fillette or gill, nets during the period of March to July each year is the largest single source of mortality to this species in the country, killing more turtles than all o ther factors combined (Eckert and Eckert, 2005). In the paragraphs that follow, incidental capture in gill nets, as well as in shrimp trawls, is discussed in more detail. Recommendations are offered. Gill nets: Chu Cheong (1984) reported to the Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium (held in Costa Rica in 1984) that leatherbacks were captured incidentally in gill nets. Subsequently, Bro. Robert in nets [ in litt to the Wildlife Section, July 1989). At Grande Riviere, a single net may stretch from one side of the bay to the other; one end remains attached to the boat. Smaller gill nets are s ometimes set seven at a time. Interviews with fishermen between Carenage and Blanchisseuse (north coast, Trinidad) during April and May 1992, revealed that as many as 10 adult leatherbacks were being captured per 200 ft (61.5m) of net in gillnetting effor ts between Paria Bay and Madamas Bay (Wildlife Section, unpubl. data). Prior to 2005, when a national consultation resulted in action recommendations (Eckert and Eckert, 2005), all available data suggested that incidental catch was on the rise. Wildlife Section personnel received more reports of incidental capture in 1994 1995 than ever before, with fishermen from Grande Riviere and Matelot reporting as many as nine leatherbacks per haul. Nine decomposing leatherbacks washed ashore dead at Matura Bay be ach from April July 1995, more than in any previous year. These mostly had flippers amputated. Dr. S. Eckert deployed three satellite transmitters on leatherbacks nesting at Matura Beach in 1995. Within a week, one had been entangled in a gill net off G alera Point. The fisherman made every attempt to free the turtle, which was obviously a research
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 66 animal, and it survived. Often, however, the turtles are dismembered in order to safely retrieve the net. If the probability of capture in the inter nesting range is anywhere close to 1 in 3, the extinction of the leatherback turtle in Trinidad and Tobago is virtually assured. In an attempt to redress this serious problem, the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP) in Trinidad p rovided a grant to GREAT in 1995 to initiate a project with fishermen in Matelot, adjacent to Grande Riviere on the north coast of Trinidad, in which the fishermen were encouraged to cut their nets to release ensnared sea turtles, particularly leatherbacks In return for cutting their nets to free the turtles, CBOs provided the fishermen with portions of new net material to replace cut sections of their nets. Between February and August 1995, 139 leatherbacks were caught and released by seven fishermen pa rticipating in this programme. In an unspecified number of cases, the turtles were dead when the net was hauled or they were so thoroughly entangled that they had to be killed. In March 1996, fisherman K. Moore reported to the Nature Seekers that 10 lea died (S. Lakhan, pers. comm., 1995). Two net caught leatherback turtles washed ashore at Matura during the 1996 nesting sea son (S. Aguillera, pers. comm.) Five Matura leatherbacks were equipped with VHF radio transmitters early in the 1996 nesting season; in all cases, the signals disappeared abruptly in offshore waters within a few weeks. Equipment failure is unlikely, sinc e the turtles would have returned (after a 10 day inter nesting interval) with the expired transmitters. While death due to entanglement may not have been the fate suffered by all, it is certainly one possibility (Eckert, 1997b). In interviews conduct ed for this Recovery Action Plan, personnel at the Balandra Bay fishing comm. to M. Thiele, June 1997). Fishermen operating out of the Salybia Fishing Dep ot reported that three leatherbacks were caught in their nets each day (pers. comm. to M. Amos, June 1997), for a total of 450 turtles during peak nesting season (March to July). During interviews conducted in 1998, fishermen from Manzanilla (3 boats) rep orted catching one leatherback per day (5 days each week) from January to April, with an estimated 50% mortality. In Mayaro, where 50 boats operate (25 based in Mayaro, 25 out of other ports), each boat reportedly caught five leatherbacks between January and April; mortality was reported to exceed 95% due to an illegal black market sale of leatherback meat. Eckert and Lien (1999) offered management recommendations based on these and other interviews, and summarized current literature. A follow up study c onducted by IMA confirmed the general conclusions of Eckert and Lien (1999), but estimated that more than 3,000 leatherbacks had been captured incidental to gillnet fishing in the coastal waters of Trinidad in 2000 and that more than half likely died as a result of such an encounter (Lee Lum, 2003). Compensation for damaged nets is not an acceptable long term solution for the fisher (who must contend with the dangerous activity of releasing a flailing 250 450 kg turtle and most likely lose his catch in the process) or for the turtle, which is highly stressed during the encounter. The real answer must lie in mechanisms that encourage the fishermen to fish elsewhere (i.e., time and/or area closures), or to fish with gear that is shown to retain target species while minimising bycatch. For any solution to be effective, it must be tested by and embraced by fisher communities. Fisher led trials to date have shown promising results in reducing bycatch (Gearhart and Eckert, 2007) and are ongoing. It is a recomme n da tion of this Recovery Action Plan that Government develop and adopt policies that restrict the use of fishing techniques that demonstrate high levels of bycatch, and promote viable alternatives that both minimise bycatch and protect fisher livelihoods ( e.g., that retain or increase target catches).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 67 Other sea turtle species besides the leatherback are also caught accidentally in fishing gear. One shark fisherman operating in Manzanilla Bay (which marks the southern boundary of the Fishing Pond Prohibi shelled turtles were found in a gill net in Matura Bay; one drowned and one green and two hawksbills) were released. The extent of the problem is unquantified, but every fisherman interviewed for this Recovery Action Plan was aware of the incidental drowning of sea turtles in gill nets, and many reported that sev eral turtles were routinely captured at one time. Many of them die before the nets are hauled. Foreign fishermen are al s o involved and, a rs often come close to north coast nesting beaches, such as Grande Riviere, during the nesting season. They arrive in the evening and stay a couple of days before moving on. In 1995, Grande Riviere residents witnessed one such vessel stationed about 300 m from shore, with its occupants butchering two sea turtles (S. Ruiz, pers. comm., 1995). The most recent sighting of trawlers in the area was in 2008 (L. Peters, pers. comm., 2010). Shrimp trawls : The capture of sea turtles by trawlers plying the waters of Trinidad and Tobago has been documented for more than two decade s 0 s were subse quently ensnared by trawls will never be known, the well documented collapse of the olive ridley nesting colony in Suriname (once the largest in the Western Atlantic) is attributed to unsustainable levels of adult mortality incidental to trawling by the nations o f northeastern South America ( Reichart, 1989, 1993; Reichart and Fretey, 1993). products from shrimp . [unless] (a) the government of the harvesting nation has provided documentary evidence of the adoption of a regulatory program me governing the incidental taking of sea turtles in the course of such harvesting that is comparable to that of the United States, (b) the average rate of that incidental taking by the vessels of the harvesting nation is comparable to the average rate of incidental taking of sea turtles by United States vessels in the course of such harvesting, or (c) the particular fishing en vironment of the harvesting nation does not pose a threat of the incidental taking of sea turtles in the T rinidad and Tobago, being an exporter of shrimp to the U.S., was directly affected by this legislation. In an attempt to meet the requirements of the new law, the Government promulgated Regulations specifying where demersal trawling could take place (The Fisheries [Control of Demersal (Bottom) Trawling Activities] Regulations, 1994) and requiring shrimp ves sels to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs). The Fisheries (Conservation of Marine Turtles) Regula tions, enacted in 1994 under the authority of the Fisheries Act (Chapter 67:51 of the Laws of Trinidad and e registered in the Republic or that are permitted to fish fitted with a turtle excluder device by April 30, 1994 and such device shall be of the type a nd specifica person using a commercial shrimp trawler accidentally captures live marine turtles during fishing opera tio ns, the person shall immediately return such turtles to the sea. (2) Where such a person accidentally captures live marine turtles that appear to be in a comatose state, the person shall resuscitate or cause them to be resuscitated in accordance with proc instruct owners of commercial shrimp trawlers to participate in all national and international marine turtle
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 68 conservation practices specified by the Minister, and to permit the Fisheries Officer (or othe r authorised 000 [ca. US$340] and im prison m ent for six months. Trinidad l icenses between 25 33 Class III and IV trawlers to operate in na tional waters; these trawler classes are required under present legislation to use TEDs (Fisheries Division, oducts. Prior to promulgation of the 1994 Regulations, shrimp bound for the U.S. were embargoed in 1992 when the U.S. ruled that data were insufficient to confirm that sea turtles would not be caught in local shrimp trawls. To regain the export market, G overnment had to demonstrate that 30% of the trawl ing fleet was consistently and properly equipped with TEDs (which allow sea turtles but not shrimp t o escape the trawl ) To assi st in meeting this mandate, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Re sources sent a representative to the U.S. for training in April 1993. Despite these efforts, the fleet was not adequately prepared to meet the 1 May 1993 deadline, and shrimp were once again banned from export to the U.S. market. The situation was so on rectified however, and certification was granted 13 May 1993. To assist the Fisheries Division in enforcing TED regulations, eight Wildlife Section officers and 20 Coast Guard officers were authorised, pursuant to Section 5 of the Fisheries Act (Cha p. 67:51) to (Control of Dermersal [Bottom] Trawling Activities) Regulations, 1994; and (iii) Fisheries (Conservation of Marine Turtle) Regulations, 1994. The programme advanced fitfully, and shrimp were embargoed again from 1 May to 2 August 1995. TED compliance dwindled with the lifting of the b an; in response, the Fisheries Division scheduled community level workshops with trawlers for the purpose of answering technical questions, providing gear information, de monstrating TED use, and emphasising the importance of keeping the U.S. market open to Trinidad exports. This extension effort temporarily resulted in higher, but not perfect levels of compliance with the 1994 Regulations as evidenced by a renewed embargo from M ay 1999 to May 2001 at which point the country regained its certification unt il losing it again in December 2004 Due to ongoing compli ance issues, the embargo continues to the present day (John Mitchell, NOAA, in litt. 8 December 2010) It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that workshops and other extension activ ities continue as a priority, that compliance be regularly monitored (such as by vessel board ings), and that fines, equipment confiscation, and other appropriate penalties consistent with the law be levied. As part of its commitment to retain ing access t o the U. S. shrimp market, the Government (G OTT 1994) a move fully endorsed by this Recovery Action Plan. 4.24 Supplement reduced populations using management techniques Management intervention should always be targeted at a specific threat and p riority should be placed on data collection t hat serves a specific management objective. Different threats demand different responses; for example, one remedy will not address both the incidental capture of adults offshore (which demands fundamental changes in gear use and perhaps a redistribution o f fishing effort) and the loss of eggs onshore. Moreover, different responses are called for depending on whether the eggs are lost to dogs or to seasonal erosion. The IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (section 4.54) has published a field manual of sea turtle management techniques (Eckert et al., 1999).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 69 4.241 Management techniques for turtles The illegal slaughter of egg bearing females on the nesting beach is a significant management challenge in Tobago, as well as at remote beaches in Trinida d In addition, mortality of juveniles and adults through d irect harvest (section 3.3) and incidental capture in non selective fishing gear (section 4.23) occurs throughout the Republic. To minimise the killing of egg bearing females on their nesting b eaches, habitat surveillance by CBOs or other locally based programming ( e.g., Honorary Game Wardens) can be more effective than formal law enforcement, especially since the latter is chronically incapacitated by under staffing and a lack of transportation Surveillance should be nocturnal, since nesting occurs at night, and focus, at least initially, on as many beaches as are practical and embrace the most important nesting sites on each island (see section 4.25 for a discussion of Index Beaches) S urvei llance personnel should be adequately equip ped to accomplish the task of deterrence : they should carry VHF radios, be trained in law enforcement protocol, and be visibly and consistently supported by formal law enforcement authorities. The commun ity su rveillance project should be well publicised and inaugurated with a sense of community spirit a press conference, posters, flyers, and visible Ministerial support. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Government place priority on sup porting and strengthening established programmes, which can all use improvement, as well as expanding these models to other nesting grounds, especially in Tobago and at sites important to hawksbill nesting If patrol and protection efforts are to be coup led with the tagging of nesting females, training and advice should be sought from experienced CBOs already proficient in these skills With training and commitment, a long term tagging programme can provide valuable management information about the repro ductive output of females, nest site fidelity (including exchange between nesting grounds), and even details of post nesting migration. Tagging is typically accomplished using a standard metal or plastic flipper tag and/or a small internal tag (Passive In tegrated Transponder, or PIT tag) which requires field scientific justification; tagging is expensive and requires trained personnel, as well as a long term commit ment to the effort ( see Eckert and Beggs, 2006 for details ) Nothing that is not already known can be learned from intermittent tagging. Moreover, tagging databases are complex and time consuming to maintain; computer literacy is essential for data archiving and retrieval. with a tag sca r (a mark left by a flipper tag that h as fallen off). These odd scars, often perfectly round and well healed, have roused the curiosity of students of leatherback nesting ecology around the world for many years. They are recorded on turtles in population s that have never been tagged, as well as on turtles still carrying their tags in populations for which precise tagging histories have been kept. While small, open holes do on occasion represent tag loss, it is more common that a tag scar consist of a sha llow, well against the fore flipper and shining the light through the flesh. This candling procedure reveals an internal keyhole shaped scar whi ch looks to be completely healed from all external appearances. Management techniques to increase the survival of egg bearing females need not be confined to the nesting beach. The Wildlife Section with support from Amoco Trinidad, now bpTT, BHP Petrol eum and other sources, has sponsored offshore telemetry research on leatherback turtles nesting at Matura. Preliminary data (1995 1996) suggest an inter nesting range with a radius of at least 50 km from the
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 70 nesting beach, and post nesting destinations in the north central Atlantic and west Africa (Eckert, 1997a,b ; Eckert, 2006 ). Continuing studies of this sort can illuminate crucially important management questions, especially those concerning the intersection of sea turtle distribution with subsistence and commercial fishing efforts. Given the serious threat facing local sea turtle populations by incidental catch in fishing gear (section 4.23), it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that studies into the offshore behaviour, distribution, an d movements of sea turtles continue. Bycatch solutions should be based on the results of trials that involve fishers in defining acceptable alternatives. 4.242 Management techniques for eggs and hatchlings It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that manipulative management tech niques, such as the collection and reburial of eggs, be undertaken only after there is documented evidence of a threat serious enough to warrant such action The advice of WIDECAST or another technical authorit y should be sought during the planning stages. Proposals submitted to the Government should be peer reviewed by experts both inside and outside the Republic. The following paragraphs have been designed to assist managers in deciding whether the collec tion and reburial of eggs threatened by predators or erosion is desirable and, if so, how to proceed. Eggs should always be collected as they are laid. Excavating nests after 12 hours or more have passed heightens the risk of dislodging the tiny embryo f rom the inner lining of the eggshell and killing it. In emergencies, such as when eggs are exposed by a storm surge or human activity, an attempt to salvage the mid term clutch is prudent, despite the likelihood of a steep decline in hatch success. Eggs should always be handled with great care and reburied on a natural beach, preferably the one where the female made the original nest. The new nest should be dug to the same depth as the original nest so that the temperature of incubation is not altered. Hatchlings should always be allowed to emerge from the nest naturally and traverse the beach unaided as soon as they emerge. Hatcheries should be constructed only as a last resort. Eggs should not be incubated in Styrofoam boxes or other artificial media which may bias the natural sex ratio of hatchlings. Hatchlings should never be retained as pets. In situ relocation: The collection and reburial of eggs should never be undertaken lightly. Even when eggs are carefully collected at deposition, a decl ine in average hatch success for moved nests is expected. Nevertheless, in some cases this type of manipulation can substantially improve overall repro ductive output by reducing large annual losses to beach erosion. So called in situ relocation is prefe rred to an enclosed hatchery (see below). A programme of all night patrol is requisite for this technique, since eggs laid in high risk zones should be gathered as they drop into the nest cavity. Eggs should be placed immediately in a clean bag, bucket o r basket. Alternatively, a plastic bag can be positioned in the hole to receive the eggs. The bag or other container must be strong enough to reliably carry 12 kg. If a bag is placed in the hole, the opening should be clasped shut (to exclude falling sa nd) and the bag swiftly dug out from behind as soon as egg laying is complete. Efforts should be made to minimise the amount of sand gathered with the eggs. Scoring of the eggshell during handling and transport can reduce hatch success. Be careful. Egg s are fragile. When all the eggs have been collected and nest depth recorded, the eggs should be transported without delay to the relocation site (if transport occurs by vehicle, the egg bag/bucket should be secured and cushioned). Reburial should occur within 1 2 hours to minimise movement induced injury to embryos, and the negative effects of changes in the temperature and moisture content of the eggs. To simplify project logistics, minimise transport trauma, and promote the perpetuation of the popula tion at its chosen nesting beach, every effort should be made to translocate eggs elsewhere on the same nesting
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 71 beach. T he new nest site should be well above the high tide line and should approximate the type of habi tat chosen by the female; care should be taken not to locate the nest too near other nests. The eggs should be re placed carefully, not dropped. The nest should be covered by replacing the damp subsurface sand removed from the hole (do not place hot surface sand on the eggs) and gently but fir mly tamping it in place in layers of 8 12 cm. Sifting d ry sand over the site conceals t he new nest s location. Hatchery relocation: In contrast to in situ relocation, enclosed hatcheries are relatively ineffective when the threat is erosion or poaching. Since hatcheries concentrate all the eggs in one place, the risk of loss to erosion or poaching may actually increase. In the case of poaching, nocturnal beach surveillance (see section 4.241) and public awareness efforts are more effective than hatcher ies. To discourage poaching, patrollers should disguise nesting crawls by smoothing them over with a broom, palm frond or rake. Enclosed hatcheries are also relatively ineffective against feral or unkept animals, such as pigs or dogs, which can dramatica lly reduce the reproductive success of a sea turtle population. Under these circumstances, the first priority should be to restrain or impound the offending animals. Enclosed hatcheries should be considered only as a last resort, and only if a suitable s ite can be found. Hatcheries are expensive to construct and maintain, they are likely to alter natural hatchling sex ratios, and average hatch success generally decline s If after all other alternatives have been considered and discarded in favour of a n enclosed hatch ery, a flat site on the upper beach platform should be selected that mimics natural nest habitat (e.g., open beach for leatherbacks and green turtles, largely shaded for hawksbills). The site should be well drained. A high water table (s uch as close to an estuary) or a low lying site susceptible to storm flooding will drown developing embryos. The enclosure should be solid and able to withstand strong winds and storms. Nests should be buried one metre apart from one another; thus, an enc losure 7 m x 12 m will accommo date 50 nests and allow room for hatchery personnel to move around. Animal fencing (5 cm x 10 cm mesh) should be secured at regular intervals by 10 cm x 10 cm posts. A perimeter wire (electrified with a battery powered char ger) will discourage dogs from lunging against the enclosure; fencing should be dug 0.5 m into the sand to prevent dogs from digging under the fence. The fencing should be at least 1.5 m wide so that after it is buried 0.5 m (or more) in the sand, it is a convenient height for beach patrollers to step over to bury eggs inside the enclosure. If theft by poachers is a threat, fencing must be adequate to exclude trespassers and a guard posted day and night. The hatchery must be maintained so that wind blow n sand does not accumulate over incubating nests. Deepening the overburden alters incubation temperature and can make it impossible for the hatchlings to emerge. The site of the hatchery should be changed every year. If this is not done, hatch success w ill diminish due to destabilisation of the beach from repeated hole digging, and an accumulation of bacteria and pathogens from decomposing nest contents (live hatchlings enter the sea, but egg shells, rotten eggs and dead hatchlings remain in the nest). Hatchlings must be released immediately upon emergence. Their scurrying about will frenzy predators, and if they are left until morning they will die in the heat of the sun. About two weeks prior to expected emergence (i.e., at about 40 days of incubatio n), it is convenient to place a small mesh wire corral atop each nest to contain emerging hatchlings so they are not crawling all about. Alternatively, the hatchery might be constructed of large mesh (12 15 cm) wire so that hatchlings can crawl through th e enclosure and on to the beach. It is worth repeating that constructing a hatchery is not an effective management technique for reducing egg losses to dogs. Hatcheries concentrate eggs in one place, offering an easy meal to any dog able to jump over or dig under the fence. Since dogs constitute such a serious threat to egg and hatchling
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 72 a matter of urgency that a remedy be identified. The problem and potential solutions should be discussed openly with local authorities and constituents before a decision is made. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that dogs found roaming the nesting beach be collected and impounded, and the owner s charged a fee for their release (including the license fine, when applicable) If the dog is unclaimed, standard procedures should be followed, such as remanding the dog to an animal shelter. In 1997, the TSPCA removed stray dogs from Great Courland Ba y, Tobago, because they were persistent in disturbing turtle nests Removal has continued on an annual basis, but has not successfully eliminated the problem. The Dogs Act (Chap. 67:54) provides for the impoundment of dogs found unattended in public area s, presumably including public beaches. Moreover, it is a violation of the Act to keep an unlicensed dog; offenders are subject to a fine of TT$40. Regu lations might be considered under Section 18 of the Act that speak directly to the threat of predator y dogs. With regard to removing hatchlings from the beach that have emerged during the heat of the day, and retaining them for evening release, see section 4.252 for guidelines. 4.243 Sea turtle mariculture Rearing experiments were conducted at IM A in 1981 and 1982. In 1981, five leatherback hatch lings were brought to IMA from Matura Beach. They were fed a variety of foods, including jellyfish, a chicken egg and squid mixture, and, to a lesser extent, chicken liver. The hatchlings adapted poorl y to The following year, an attempt was made to re ar three more hatchlings; all developed the fungus within three weeks, two were released after 53 days and the third died at 56 days of age. In 1981, three olive ridleys were raised at IMA facilities. They fed well on fish and shrimp, showing an 80% weig ht increase in the first four weeks. They were aggressive toward one another, especially during feeding, and this behaviour resulted in lesions that could not be successfully treated; the last one died at 202 days of age. The hawksbills showed the best s urvival rate. Two groups of 10 hatchlings each were observed; one from the first group lived 225 days and two from the second group were released after 454 days in captivity. Based on difficulties encountered in the rearing experiments, the study conclud It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that mariculture (farming, ranching, head starting) not be considered as a co nservation or management option at this time. Mariculture ves no known conservation purpose. Tank rearing can result in poor physiological and muscular development, and captive juveniles are prevented from participating in the complex life cycle that involves an open sea stage lasting from one to several years a fter leaving the nesting beach. T he release of diseased, captive reared turtles may have serious health consequences for wild populations. Long term head starting projects in Florida with green turtles, in Texas with Kemp s ridleys, and in Palau (Central Pacific) with hawksbills were terminated because there was no evidence that the programmes were benefiting wild populations (Huff, 1989; Sato and Madriasau, 1991; Williams, 1993; Byles, 1993). On the subject of ranching (which involves an annual harvest of eggs from the wild) and especially if the intent is to export meat or products, technical guidelines and criteria are available from the CITES Secretariat. The 1994 Conference of the Parties to CITES approved a rigorous set of guide
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 73 lines interpreting the CITES regulations for ranched specimens (Conf. Res. 3.15) as they pertain to sea proposal shall take the lead in the development and effective implementation of a regional management needed, t rade control mechanisms, ranch operation procedures, a statement describing conservation bene fits, and regular reporting are specified (Ross, 1995). It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Government participate actively in the critique of mariculture proposals that may be sub mitted to the CITES Secretariat for the consideration of range S tates. Conservation concludes that until definitive answer s to questions concerning the impact of commercial turtle culture on prices of turtle products, on the creation of new markets, on the capture of turtles from wild populations, and on the trade in products derived from wild caught sea turtles are forthcomi ng, the following cautions are necessary: (a) commercial mariculture must be in conformity with all applicable conservation regulations and laws, whether local, national, regional or international, (b) care should be taken that special legal provisions and exemptions for farmed [or ranched] products are not misused by importers and exporters, (c) any effort by commercial mariculture interests to develop markets for new turtle products or to create demand for turtle products where it did not previously exist is insupportable, and (d) the establishment of new commercial mariculture operations must be discouraged until it is certain that such operations will not cause, directly or indirectly, a further decline in turtle populations. 4.25 Monitor stocks A government office, conservation organisation or community partner on each island should be designated to function as a repository for statistical data. The repository office should have a demonstrat ed institutional capacity to manage complex, multi annu al statistical databases, and should have the staff expertise to enter, summarise, and archive field data. The development of n ational d atabase software by Nature Seekers with initial fund ing by the UNDP GEF SGP in 1999 now archives all tagged turtles i n Trinidad and Tobago and records nesting activity of leatherback turtles. In 2004 the database software was significantly expanded and upgraded in partnership with WIDECAST. The database is currently administered by the Wildlife Section and community b ased co management partners Data U se A gree ments are needed to ensure that data providers and data users abide by mutually agreed protocols related to information access, data ownership, publication privileges, and so on Since it is neither practical n or necessary to monitor all sandy beaches at all times, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Index Beaches be monitored for long term fluctuations in numbers that will reveal the success or failure of conservation efforts. An islan d wid e survey (see section 4.112 ) shoul d be conducted to identify with confidence which areas are most used by turtles. At least four beaches in Trinidad and three in Tobago (selected on the basis of having the most nesting activity) should be designated as In dex Beaches and carefully protected from activity that will compromise the suitability of the habitat to support sea turtle nesting. These beaches should be monitored for nesting and hatch success during the full breeding and hatching season for all sea t urtle species present (most likely leatherbacks, at least 1 March 3 1 August ; and hawksbills, 1 April 30 November). Field workers should receive preparatory instruction prior to their survey efforts (see section 4.55). Data col lected from these nesti ng beaches will enable the Wildlife Section to evaluate the success of conservation and recovery measures implemented on behalf of sea turtles.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 74 In Trinidad, the Matura/Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere Prohibited Areas should be designated as Index Beach es for leatherbacks. The remaining two Index Beaches should include at least one impor tant breeding site for hawksbills. In Tobago, Turtle Beach ( Great Courland Bay) and Grafton Beach ( Stone Haven Bay) are the preferred candidates for Index Beach design ation in the southwest, and King sites have been designated in Tobago for the benefit of sea turtles. Nesting by green turtles, olive ridleys and loggerh eads occurs at such low density that intensive monitoring of nesting populations is not possible. Research to provide statistical estimates of stocks should be encouraged at Index Beaches and a long term stock assessment programme to identify trends over a period of decades should be developed. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that population monitoring should continue for at least one sea turtle generation; that is, about 35 years [Note: Generation length is based on the age to matur ity plus one half the reproductive longevity (Pianka, 1974). For sea turtles (excepting Lepidochelys ), maturity is generally reached at 25 35 years and ting beach to lay eggs) rarely exceeds 20 years. Based on this information, one sea turtle generation can be estimated at 3 5 years. ] The following subsections articulate standard monitoring methodology. 4.251 Monitoring nesting populations Five s pecies of sea turtle nest in Trinidad and Tobago (section II). Monitoring nesting popula tions and the deposition of eggs provides useful information on the distribution and timing of the breeding effort, species involved, location of the most important n esting beaches, and nest fate (e.g., successful hatch or eggs lost to predators, poaching or erosion). Any successful management programme must be based on accurate estimates of the number of reproductively active females, as well as annual productivity ( the number of nests laid) and mortality (losses due to erosion, predators and poachers). Monitoring nests can provide baseline data from which to evaluate the success of nest and habitat protection efforts. Incon sistent monitoring programmes are insuffi cient to provide policy makers with coherent data. T he number of crawls is not equal to the number of nests, nor is the number of nests equal to the number of turtles. If a c ensus is undertaken in the early morning hours (as opposed to during the night w hen the turtles can be observed directly), it is rarely possible to determine whether or not eggs were laid. Not all crawls result in a successful nest. Sometimes the female encounters an obstacle (e.g., erosion bluff, fallen tree, beach lagoon). Someti mes she is disturbed or frightened away by human activity, dogs, excessive noise or lighting. She may try to dig a nest, but if she encounters impenetrable roots, buried debris water, or sand which is too dry to properly excavate a nest cavity, then she will return to the sea. Finally, she may be injured and unable to complete the nest. Thus, while a crawl and signs of nesting may be evident on the beach, an observer cannot be sure that eggs were laid unless (1) egg laying was actually witnessed or (2) the eggs have been exhumed by poachers or predators. For this reason, most databases which result from morning nest counts o r from night patrols where not every nesting female is see n a tempts, combined) and not (a ) Since, in general, the number of crawls counted has formed the basis for comparison among beaches and between years, it is essential to determine the rati o between successful and unsuccessful nesting emergences; that is, the proportion of crawls which resulted in egg laying. Crawls which do not result in egg It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the ratio of nests to false crawls be calculated for all Index Beaches (see section 4.25). T he
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 75 calculation is straightforward -if direct observation reveals that out of 100 crawls, 80 nests are laid, then the nest:false crawl ratio is 80:20, or 4:1. Thi s information allows a manager to estimate the number of nests laid on a beach for which only the number of crawls is known. At most sites, all night patrol is not a practical option; but with some idea of how many crawls include nest cavities, crawl tall ies from day time surveys can be converted to estimates of nest density. [ N ote : The nest:false crawl ratio depends on the physical character of the beach and differs among beaches (as well as between species); nevertheless, this methodology provides the b est estimate of the number of nests laid in areas where all night patrol is impossible.] Once the nest:false crawl ratio has been determined for a beach (or estimated based on informa tion gathered elsewhere in the country) and the number of nests laid ( per species per year) is known, a knowledge of the average number of clutches laid per female (which varies slightly amongst species and can be gleaned from well studied populations elsewhere in the region) can be used to estimate the number of breeding fe males at that site. As a general rule, leatherbacks average 6 7 nests per nesting season, hawksbills 5 nests, and green turtles 4 5 nests. Thus, using our hypothetical 4:1 nest:false crawl ratio, we can estimate that 500 leatherback crawls represents 400 nests which, when you remember that each turtle lays 6 7 nests, represents 57 67 adult females. Similarly, 20 hawksbill tracks on a beach may represent only 16 actual nests, which in turn represent only three adult females. To obtain a precise count of the number of females nesting per year on a particular beach, as well as their return intervals both within and between seasons, all night patrol must be undertaken by trained personnel and the tagging of nesting females initiated (see section 4.241). Identifying the crawl to species is easy in many cases, since sea turtles leave either a symmetrical or an asymmetrical track in the sand. In the first case, the pattern is made by the simultaneous movement of her flippers. In the second case, the patter n alternates like a zipper, a result of the turtle moving her front and rear flippers in an alternating rhythm. Leatherbacks leave a deep, symmetrical crawl about 2 m in width. Green turtles also leave a symmetrical crawl, but it is only about 1 m in wid th; the nest site is often characterised by a deep, solitary pit 1 m or more in depth and breadth. Hawksbills and loggerheads have asymmetrical crawls, about 0.7 m and about 1.2 m in width, respectively. The hawksbill crawl is often faint because the ani mal averages a mere 54 kg (Caribbean Nicaragua: Nietschmann, 1972 in Witzell, 1983). Loggerheads are typically twice as massive, averaging about 116 kg in Florida (Ehrhart and Yoder, 1978 in Dodd, 1988). In addition, hawksbills will often make their nests within the shelter of Coccoloba or other beach vegetation. There is some evidence that olive ridleys nest on the west coast of Trinidad. It would be nearly impossible to discern the nesting crawl of a hawksbill from that of a ridley. 4.252 Monitor ing hatchlings Any successful management programme must be based upon credible estimates of reproductive success. Thus, while nest counts are vital (section 4.251), follow up at the hatchling stage is also important. Estimates of mortality, including l osses due to erosion or high seas, domestic or feral animals ( e.g., dogs), natural predators ( e.g., crabs, birds) and poachers should be obtained. Other threats should also be reported. These might include entrapment in debris or tyre ruts, entanglement in beach vines, disorientation by artificial lighting, and/or harassment by onlookers. Some information can be collected on an opportunistic basis, such as disorientation, predation, or the spilling of eggs from a bluff created during a storm. On beaches established in which visitation is excluded. In this way, the effect(s), if any, of beach traffic on average hatch success can be fairly evaluated.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 76 It is a recommendation of t his Recovery Action Plan that a sample of nests be marked for detailed study. It is best if the exact nest site is not marked. The distance from the nest site to two proximal objects, such as trees or other landmarks (or numbered stakes placed for this p urpose), should be recorded so that the site can be precisely located by triangulation at hatching two months later. If possible, 5 cm x 5 cm stakes should be established every 20 m along the tree line; in other words, out of reach of tides and tourists ( this need only be done in a study plot 800 1000 m in length, in an area of high nest concentration). The stakes should be driven securely into the beach using a sledgehammer, and each stake should be sequentially numbered and marked with a tab of reflecti ve tape. Each nest should be measured to the two nearest stakes with a Fiberglas 50 m measuring reel. The coordinates should be recorded on the nesting record sheet. This system will enable patrollers to triangulate nests, as well as monitor erosion by regularly measuring from selected stakes to the mean high tide line. Photographs taken in three directions while standing over the nest are also a useful reference. Hatchlings can be expected after 55 75 days of incubation. Hatchling emergence at th e beach surface usually occurs at dusk. Predators, disorientation, and/or entanglement at the time of emergence should be noted. If the emergence is missed, the hatch can be confirmed by the presence of dozens of little tracks leading from the nest site to the sea. After 2 3 days, the nest can be excavated and the number of hatchlings roughly estimated from the remains of broken eggshells. In addition, unhatched (whole) eggs can be counted to determine the proportion of eggs that did not produce hatchli ngs. These eggs can be opened for an analysis of embryo stage death. If a particular problem recurs, such as nest flooding, then a conservation programme to move eggs at the time of egg laying to higher ground might be considered (section 4.242). In thi s case, it is crucial that nest dimensions (depth and width) reflect the original nest so that incubation temperature and hatchling sex ratios are not distorted. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that an evaluation of hatch success be un dertaken by trained personnel at Index Beaches This is especially important where tour guiding is ongoing, since persistent traffic on the beach may compact the sand and reduce hatch success. Guidelines are available ( P helan and Eckert, 2006) f o r the re scu e and release of hatchlings I f hatchlings are rescued, such as after being disoriented by lighting, they should be released immediately. If rescued during the heat of the day they should be kept until late afternoon or evening in a lightly covered p lastic cooler or bucket Place a few inches of damp beach sand in the cooler. If the sand is too dry, the young turtles may desiccate (dry out); if too wet, energy will be wasted in swimming, and weak hatchlings may be unable to hold their heads above th e water to breathe. C over the cooler or box and place it in the shade until late afternoon or nightfall. Supervise the container to avoid the unwanted attention of predators (e.g. dogs) and onlookers. A t the time of release, keep potential predators away from the hatchlings as they cross the beach. Select an unlit stretch of beach (preferably the beach where the eggs were laid) to release the hatchlings; if the beach is well lit, ask the landowner/ hotelier to turn off the lights briefly as the hatchling s make their way to the sea. To encourage natural sea finding, use minimum light and prohibit flash photography during hatchling releases. N the hatching process be as undisturbed as possible, so as not to interrupt the natural progression of the hatchling from the nest, across the beach, through the coastal zone, and into the open sea where it will spend the first several years of life. Exception : Sometim es hatchlings successfully leave the nest, enter the sea, and wash ashore weeks later ( e.g., young animal may have to be ferried out to an oceanic convergence where fishermen would normally encou nter that life stage.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 77 4.253 Monitoring turtles at sea Juvenile turtles are not likely to be resident for more than a few months or years. Sea turtles are late meaning that they tak e up res idence in one foraging area, then mov e on to another, then another, etc. These years are characterised by extensive movement that can encompass the jurisdictional waters of many nations. We are entrusted with the survival of these turtles, wh ich will someday return to distant nesting beaches, while they are in our waters. Similarly, turtles which will ultimately recruit into breeding populations that nest in Trinidad and Tobago are spending their growing years in distant waters, under the car e (hopefully) of other Caribbean governments. Monitoring the numbers of juveniles on local foraging grounds can be a very useful exercise. In addition to changing patterns of abundance, shifts in average size and spatial distribution can indicate unsusta inable exploitation, or habitat loss/ degradation. The monitoring of juvenile and adult turtles at sea requires special preparation and can be con siderably more difficult (and more expensive) than counting nests or evaluating hatchling mortality. In ord er to monitor foraging juveniles, systematic surveys of specific foraging grounds must be undertaken. If such survey work is undertaken in conjunction with a tagging programme, it is possible to evaluate both the foraging periodicities of individuals and their movements (should a tagged turtle turn up at some point distant from where it was tagged, for instance). There are a variety of capture recapture, transect, and other statistical methods available for at sea monitoring. Methodology is described in Eckert et al. ( 1999) and more recently reviewed by Bolten and Bjorndal ( 2000 ). In addition to monitoring population trends in juvenile populations on foraging grounds, moni toring the movements of egg bearing females in i nternesting zone s can yield imp ortant management data At present it appears that the highest source of mortality to leatherback turtles is incidental catch in gill nets (section 4.23). Determining the temporal and spatial overlap between the inter nesting range (leatherbacks are only present during the egg laying stage) and fishing effort will empower the Govern ment to make informed decisions relative to reducing this mortality. 4.26 Promote co management It is a strong recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Gov ernment and relevant community based organisations continue to pursue and formalize, in good faith, the often Co management brings together, on equal terms, stakeholders and agendas which can be vastly diffe rent from one another. It takes time and patience to learn to work together, and successful case histories are not yet commonplace. This option cannot be neglected, however, because a successful partnership yields enormous benefit to g overnment s (which m ay have the will, but neither the staff nor the resources to fulfill its legislative mandate to safeguard the nation's ecological integrity), to communities (which are yearning for quality local employment and a larger measure of control over issues that d irectly affect them), and to imperiled natural resources (which Trinidad is proud of the fact that co management on behalf of sea turtles has already demon stra ted in a practical way that rural communities can be entrusted with a large measure of responsibility for the conservation of their natural resources. As a result, threats to natural resources (in this case, harassment and killing of sea turtles) have b een virtually halted and these same resources have been utilised for socioeconomic and other benefits in a sustainable manner. The following paragraphs briefly describe the process by which co management was undertaken between the Forestry Division (throu gh its
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 78 Wildlife Section) and the community of Matura on the e ast coast of Trinidad. The process is not yet complete, as room for growth still exists ; h owever much has been accomplish ed, including a professional and mutually beneficial working relationshi p between the Wildlife Section and the communities, safer beaches for turtles to nest, organizational and leadership develop ment among c ommunity organizations and strong community based and supported conservation programmes. G overnment and community partn ers are proud of the inspiring progress which has been realised in a formal sense, since 1990, and sea turtles have profited immeasurably from th e collaboration. Management for bean Natural Resource Institute), summarised the basic components of a successful co management rela tionship. These are reprinted in Appendix I II. These prin ciples are wholly endorsed by this Recovery Action Plan. Always keeping in mind the basic principles of co management, and its obligations on both sides, the Government and its community partners should make it a priority to fully evaluate the successes a nd shortcomings of the unprecedented collaboration on behalf of leatherback turtles nesting at Matura/ Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere beaches, seek to improve the process, and move forward in duplicating the effort at other major nesting beaches and with other threatened species throughout the Republic. Matura case history: James and Fournillier (1993) describe the first formal co management activity in Trinidad and Tobago. The illegal slaughter of leatherback turtles at their nesting beaches ha d plag ued enforcement authorities for decades (section 3.3). The persistent harvest, which was estimated at of an increasing trend toward wasting much of the carcass. Wildlife Section observations of carcasses found on Matura and Fishing Pond in the years (1983 1989) preceding declaration of these beaches as Prohibited Areas, indicated that most turtles were slaughtered for one flipper (25 40 kg meat); occasi onal ly two flippers were removed. This criminal activity outraged Government and community activists alike, but the remote location of many of the nation s most important nesting beaches presented a formidable challenge to traditional law enforcement. Adding to these problems, the management of turtles in Trinidad and Tobago had fallen victim to a jurisdictional maze. No single agency was responsible for all aspects of sea turtle conservation, and no clear management responsibilities for any agency wer e defined for turtles whilst nesting on land. Basic management objectives were not developed until 1982 when the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division (Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources) recognised the problem and initiated a formal p rogramme for managing nesting beach habitat. After attempting various strategies (including six years of night patrols) with very limited success, it became clear that new approaches had to be examined. There had been some successes, such as in the areas of public awareness and a fuller understanding of the scope of the problem, but no significant scientific or conservation advances could be claimed. Such was the situation in 1989 when a new phase of sea turtle management was inaugurated. A variety of solutions were examined at that time. Increasing the frequency of beach patrols by enforcement personnel was deemed impossible without significant expansion of human and financial resources. Existing personnel were already functioning at unsustainable le vels of output. There was also some doubt as to whether increasing patrols would be effective in the face of uncontrolled public access to all nesting beaches. Other recommendations, such as creating sanctuaries and introducing stiffer fines and penaltie s, all hinged on increasing enforcement personnel and effort without identifying strategies or mechanisms for increasing recurrent expenditure and other inputs needed for success. Allocation of funds for wildlife conservation was a low priority, and only in very recent years have even limited funds been
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 79 allocated. The Wildlife Section realised that the underlying problem with past efforts, as well as the op under lying approach which needed revision, and not just in a small way. In 1989, the Wildlife Section embarked on what many would characterise as a radical approach. nservation with the rural communities of Matura and Fishing Pond in a true partnership fashion. In truth, none of the players knew where this idea would lead. The process took on a life of its own and evolved gradually, forming and conforming to the need s of individual elements within the partnership, until the needs of both the communities and Government were met in a manner acceptable to both sides. The outcome appeared to be a solution that embraced all of the objectives for the conservation of endang ered species and commun ity development and socioeconomic gain. It embodied the fundamental concept that management of natural resources must be for people and p eople who had been considered part of the problem must now be made to feel that they were (o r could be) part of the solution. In a first effort to foster a partnership, meetings with village leaders were undertaken. Informal dialogue with the President of the Matura Village Council and the Principal of the Matura Government School proved very spect to village opinions and perceptions before formally approaching the larger community. Second, the problem in a manner which suggested that the problem was truly a local community problem, and that the The interaction a ssisted the Wi ldlife Section in fine tuning its information for the formal approach. Invitations to the formal meeting were conveyed through the executive of the Village Council and through students attending the Govern ment Primary School. Attendance at the first me eting was overwhelming and exceeded the capacity of the schoolroom. Village elders, youths, primary school children, wealthy landowners and former residents of the community all listened attentively from every vantage point available. Discussions were no t confined to their community for a long time. It is very important for g overnment s and NGOs involved in the co man agement of natural resources to b e willing to listen to community concerns above and beyond the princi pal issues of the partnership. This serves to foster trust and a belief that the overall well being of the community is important. While tangential issues and problems may not be addre ssed with the same vigor and intensity of action reserved for the central problem, advice can be given or referrals made. The first tenet upon which a successful partnership is built is the non compartmentalisation of community issues. In a community, al l issues are important. As non village partners in this exercise, the Wildlife Section had to make every effort to understand the culture, aspirations, needs and fears of its village partners. Legislative support for the process was limited. The Wildli fe Section considered a variety of legal options to enhance protection to nesting turtles, and concluded that the only mechanism which could provide legislative support to a suite of short term management actions was a provision under the Forests Act allow ing designation of Prohibited Areas and imposing a fine of TT$1 000 [ca. US$160] for entering such an a rea without permission from the Forestry Division. To offset this, one agreement reached during negotiations with the village was that all bona fide res idents of both communities would automatically receive free permits to allow unrestricted entry to nesting beaches. The Wildlife Section considered this necessary in order for villagers to continue enjoying social interactions normally undert aken on the b each, as long as such activities were not likely to impact negatively on sea turtles during the nesting period.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 80 In working with the communities, the Wildlife Section proposed that awareness, education, and the training of villagers were important first ste ps in enlisting community support for turtle conservation. Village elders agreed that training the youth of the community was desirable and gave their blessings to the Forestry Division to embark upon a training programme which the Wildlife Section undert ook to design especially for these two rural communities. The programme was comprised of a mix of lectures with written and graphic handouts on basic biology and ecology, and field trips to forested, riverine and coastal marine habitats. Eleven persons c the Director of Forestry, Schools Supervisor for Northeastern Counties, Principals of both village sch ools, the Wildlife Section Project Co ordinator, village elders, and community peers. It was an event of singular pride for the communities and is still remembered fondly several years later. One outstanding success that was an unexpected byproduct of th e training was that one youth who was unable to read at the start of the programme, became literate. As a result of this training programme the community became active managers of the sea turtle resource, taking part in beach patrols, research surveys, be ach clean ups, and public education. Spurred by the Wildlife Section, an ecotourism initiative emerged and attempts at improving the infrastructure for visiting tours began in 1991 ( see section 4.271). Community pride, fostered as a result of increased e nvironmental awareness about the special phenomenon taking place in their community, and pride in the achievement of having graduated from an intensive conservation training programme, spurred the gradu ates on to work together for the good of their villag es. In 1990 standing outcome of the collaborative process between Government and the rural communities; in thi s way, an organisational mechanism for continuing the co management initiative was born, as well as a venue for community centered socio economic development. The successful initiative at Matura was later used as a model for co management agreements betw een the Wildlife Section and community groups at Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere who oversee conservation and monitoring programmes at these nesting grounds. The initiative at Grande Riviere was initially hindered by a chronic lack of attention on the par t of relevant Government agencies to repeated requests by the Wildlife Section (see also 4.121) that the nesting beach, one of the most important leatherback nesting beaches in the Western Hemisphere, be granted Prohibited Area status under the Forests Act (section 4.121). Thankfully, Prohibited Area status was formally granted in 1997. The successful initiative at Matura has also provided an opportunity for local businesses, including Aleong and Agostini, Shell Chemicals and Services (Eastern Caribbean) Ltd., Amoco Trinidad Oil Company Ltd. (now bpTT), National Petroleum, the Port of Spain Rotary Club, BHP Petroleum (Americas Division), the Canadian High Commission, First Citizens Bank Ltd., UNDP (GEF/SGP) (see Sections 4.3, 4.33) and others to support s ea turtle conservation directly. These offices have contributed meaningfully (grant monies, in kind services) to the conservation activities of these groups since 1992, thus broadening the base of support for conservation within the country. The co mana gement effort has not been without its problems. During the early period of collab oration, village politics threatened the future of the project. Moreover, the Government has at times been wholly incapable of meeting its obligations to the partnership d ue to internal shortages of personnel, fuel, transport, etc. An unexpected obstacle was with so open invitation to all environmental NGOs with an interest in sea turtle conservation to share their expe ri ences and participate in the co management process, few NGOs chose to participate and some openly criticised the initiative. Except for helpful commentary by the Pointe Pierre Wildfowl Trust on printed
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 81 materials, and a positive response to offers of free permits for volunteer patrols by the UWI Biological Society and the Wildfowl Trust, no other group offered any measure of support for the initiative. Instead, members of the Wildlife Section were branded as novices who were not likely to succeed in f ield conser On the other hand, the Forestry Division was convinced that many established groups were un aware of the magnitude of the problem. The Forestry Division remained convinced that a direct partner ship between Government and the affected communities was the only viable option to long term conser vation of the sea turtle resource. The vision proved true. Today the community based programmes have matured into multi fa ceted enterprises that include public relations, tour guiding, fund raising, habitat maintenance (e.g., beach clean ups), population monitoring, and biological research. There has been a high level of personal commitment, including the donation of persona l time and financial and material resources, within community partners. Overall, the regular collection of scientific information and the effectiveness of the sea turtle protection component of the programme ha ve far surpassed the expectations of the F ore stry Division. Without community assistance, the Wildlife Section would not have been able to protect the sea turtles or their habitat at Matura Beach, and certainly it would not have been able to collect data on a daily basis without an impossible alloca tion of human and financial resources. The proud achievement of newly educated youth and the strength the Matura community feels from being empowered to address its own problems are significant and tangible benefits to co manage ment. Many young village rs, some as young as nine years of age, offered to patrol the nesting beaches and apprentice under their peers in Nature Seekers. Lessons learnt from the partnership with Government were soon the long term success of co management in Trinidad and Tobago. Today, through its partnership with the regional WIDECAST network Nature Seekers offers training to communities elsewhere in the Caribbean (e.g., Sammy and Baptiste, 2008). 4.27 Investigate non consumptive uses to generate revenue The potential value of non consumptive use has long been recogni s ed ( summarized by T rong and Drews 2004) A quarter century ago, Pritchard (1984) realised that d and Tobago, the greatest value of the leatherback lies in its benefit as a scientific and educational resource. The value of the experience gained by both Trinidadians and by visitors when they have the opportunity of observing the nesting of a 1 000 po und turtle is greater than any value that could be derived from direct utilisation The potential for sustainable income from well designed ecotourism is significant and Trinidad and Tobago has invested heavily in several community groups which to date have ma d e invaluable contri bution s both to local conservation and resource management, and to the larger issue of whether or not the non consumptive use of endangered wildlife can contribute meaningfully t o the income of rural residents. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a professional critique of the economic contributions of sea turtle ecotourism in the country be undertaken, including lessons learned and recommendations for next s teps. Indirect benefits should be factored in, including related advances in community literacy, governance, and so on. There has been some discussion of expanding beach based ecotourism offerings to sea turtle watching at sea, and certainly the experi ence of nesting beach guides should be brought to bear in this regard. Tour guiding in the internesting habitat has potential to employ some fisher s but there are
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 82 obstacles and challenges to consider, such as transport to remote areas, an undeveloped cli ent base, en forcement of guidelines, and harassment of turtles, including egg bearing females (see section 4.271 for recommendations). 4.271 Ecotourism and tour guiding based tourism, and community tourism is rising world wide Where there were once a few well known destinations (e.g., Asa Wright Nature Center, Pointe Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, Buccoo Reef Marine Park, Caroni Swamp), there are now a variety of rural initiatives that offer the visitor a respite from t raditional, mass marketed tourism. The Toco Foundation s Eco Tour ist Project, for example, offers trips to a number of approved sites including waterfalls and natural rock formations and tours include opportunities to purchase local crafts and food. Es tablished T urtle Watches at Grande Riviere, Matura and Fishing Pond nesting beaches draw thousands of visitors annually. A two fold effect is realised f rom this type of tourism: sustainable income for rural communities and, in the case of sea turtle eco tourism, an end to hostilities toward sea turtles as a result of both increased awareness and a steady presence on the nesting beach of tour guides and visitors. James and Fournillier (1993) suggested the following three objectives for sustainable sea turtle ecotourism: (i) to promote ecotourism as a tool for conservation of ecosystems and species, using the spectacular ecological behaviour of nesting leatherback turtles as the principal focus of this activity, (ii) to provide training for self employme nt of young people in local communities as nature tour guides and other entrepreneurial activities, and (iii) to enhance the development of other sectors of the community by fostering the establishment of backward and forward linkages between ecotourism an d local agriculture, cuisine, culture, accommodation and other services. These objectives are fully endorsed by this Recovery Action Plan. Moreover, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that continued devel opment of well designed, village based ecotourism be supported at all levels of Government, from Parliament to the Regional Corporations. Sea turtle ecotourism is firmly established in Trinidad and to a lesser extent in Tobago. In 1990, efforts on the part of Government to curb the slaughter of leatherback turtles on the east coast resulted in the development of a co management partnership with villagers ( see section 4.26). As a gesture of commitment, Matura and Fishing Pond beaches were declared Prohibited Areas (under the authority of the Forests Act) during the annual March August nesting and hatching season. A permit system was subsequently introduced at a cost of TT$ 5 [ca. US$ 0 8 3 ] per entry. In an attempt to ensure that protecting the sea turtles a nd supporting the co management concept was not just an administrative objective which lacked practicality, Dr. C. James, former Head of the Wildlife Section, initiated a dialogue with local villages that ultimately led to pilot ecotourism projects in the Matura and Fishing Pond communities. In 1990, after several meetings with the Matura Village Council and the Fishing Pond Parent s Teachers Association, 13 persons ranging from 16 42 years old were nominated for a tour guide training programme. The train ing programme was conducted by the Wildlife Section with resource personnel from the National Parks Section Forestry Division and the former Tourism Development Authority (now Tourism Development Corporation). [ Note : In 1991, a similar training course was provided to 16 trainees from Grande Riviere/Matelot (12), Matura (3) and Manzanilla (1); and subsequent to these initial training courses, the Wildlife Section has continued to provide its services upon request. Nature Seekers has also taken up this aspec t and conducted training courses, often in partnership with WIDE CAST to national and international colleagues .] Upon receipt of their certificates in 1990, the Matura graduates went on to
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 83 form a tour guiding group called Nature Seekers. Members of Nature Seekers are partially supported by the s Government in that they are paid part time (the balance of the full time work is largely volunteer) for patrolling the Prohibited Area and for collecting biological and management data on the leatherback turtles nes ting there. T hey also provide tour s at the beach for which visitors pay a modest fee. In an attempt to standardize procedures on the nesting beaches, SOS Tobago offers tour guide training to THA registered tour guides already involved in providing tur tle watch tours. However, the beaches are not prohibited (i.e. access is not restricted) so SOS has no control over the number of visi tors on the beach each night and there is no established carrying capacity or tourist:guide ratio Tour range from U S $ 20 40 per person, including transport to and from beach and s ome tour guides have at least 4 10 clients per week during peak nesting season represent ing a significant economic activity for local guides Based on experience during the first two years 200 persons per night was implemented for the 8.85 km Matura Beach (100 at Orosco and 100 at Rincon Bay) and 200 persons for the 10.45 km Fishing Pond Beach; the limit is reduced by 50% during peak hatchi ng (July August). T he carrying capacity is enforced by internal decree within the Wildlife Section. Permits are sold at five government offices and information on regulations and conditions including contact information for the tour guiding organization, is passed on to visitors. It is mandatory that visitors to the Prohibited Areas must be accompanied by a trained tour guide (i.e., a person graduating from a formal training course offered periodically by the Wildlife Section). This stipulation has prov ed effective and has the support of the Matura Fishing Pond, and Grande Riviere communit ies It is a recommenda tion of this Recovery Action Plan that the carrying capacity, as well as the mandatory use of an ac credited guide, be formalised as necessary in order to provide for the strongest protection of these fragile areas. Training within the communities is ongoing. Si n ce 1993, WIDECAST has been a valuable source of technical information training and guidance, both for the community based conservat ion groups and for the Wildlife Section. Today the co management initiative s are well known internationally and revenue generated from the tour guiding business provides a part ti me salary to the community groups involved ; this is the only source of empl oyment in many ca ses. A further advance has been the creation of the T urtle Village Trust erships between turtle conservation groups and nearby coastal communities to protect these endangered species, whilst providing sustainable livelihoods for resident communities through the creation of superior quality products and services for patro ns/cust It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a comprehensive Sea Turtle Eco tourism Plan be developed based on a critical evaluation of experience to date. Community groups, tour guides, Government, Turtle V illage Trust, WIDECAST, and other stakeholders and experts should participate in the development of such a Plan which should establish criteria for concessionaires (groups with permission to profit from turtle watching in Prohibited Areas) and guides (inc luding training, law enforcement response, etc. Based on mutually agreed criteria, a Memorandum of Understanding or similar agreement should be co sign ed by Government and community groups sponsoring tour guiding, specifying the responsibilities each has to the other and granting sole concessionaire privileges to village based tour groups that meet the minimum guidelines and criteria requisite for such a privilege.
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 84 Taking tourists out in motorised vessels to observe sea turtles at sea logically involves interaction s with (i) adult female leatherback during the egg laying season (peak: April July), or (ii) juvenile and adult hard shelled sea turtles resident on foraging grounds. There are special considerations that must be given to this type of activity, as the potential for harassment is high. I t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan ives be guided by the following conditions: 1. Guides should be trained and licensed as concessionaires, including standard training in safety, tour guiding etiquette, and sea turtle biology. There should be a mechanism for apprenticeship and tenure for guides, as well as a periodic review of performance. 2. Guides should be enabled to draw an established fee for their guiding services. 3. Standard materials should be provided by guides to their clientele describing turtle watch ing etiquette (e.g., watc h distance [swimmer, vessel] active/idle motoring, photography a no tolerance policy on pursuing a turtle ) and the biology of sea turtles. 4. easily enforceable (e refugia. By establishing control zones from the start, the groundwork is laid for studies to evalu ate the effect(s) of visitation on sea turtle behaviour. 5. An integrated programme of training, fees, watching etiquette, educational materials and refugia should be developed before any permits are granted by the government authority for turtle guiding a t sea. 6. Permits should be renewable on an annual basis, with firm criteria established for perfor mance evaluation including routine onboard inspection s by permitting agencies or their designees The internesting phase of sea turtle reproduction is a uniquely vulnerable phase and leatherbacks in Trinidad may also be r ecovering from multiple fillette (gill) net captures. The combined stresses of incidental capture and close approach(es) may compromise reproductive output and divert turtles from their nesting sites, thereby reducing the effectiveness of ongoing conservation and management efforts on the nesting beaches. Any at sea venture would benefit from consultation with experienced Caribbean whale watching gro ups ( http://www.caribwhale.org/ ). 4.3 Encourage and Support International Cooperation Sea turtles are migratory and no single nation can adequately protect them without the coopera tion of other States. The Government is encouraged to partici pate in and to support international sea turtle conservation initiatives, including global treaties, regional and bilateral agreements, and symposia With regard to international treaties to which Trinidad and Tobago is a Party, the Government is encourag ed to take every advantage of these treaties to obtain technical and financial support for implementation action, and to us e the commitment implied by ratification to strengthen conservation priorities at home. 4.31 Global treaties 4.311 CITES T he 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was established to protect certain endangered species from over exploitation by means of a sys
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 85 tem of import/export permits. The Convention regulates internatio nal commerce in animals and plants ( dead or alive ) and any recognizable parts or derivatives thereof. Appendix I lists endangered species (including all species of sea turtle), trade in which is tightly controlled; Appendix II lists species that may becom e endangered unless trade is regulated; Appendix III lists species that any Party wishes to regulate and requires international cooperation to control trade; Appendix IV contains model permits. Permits are required for species listed in Appendices I and II stating that export/import will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. CITES does not regulate or control any aspect of the domestic harvest and usage of species, including sea turtles; such regulations must be promulgated by the Government Despite the fact that Trinidad and Tobago ratified CITES in 1984, tortoiseshell was, until quite recently, openly sold in many tourist oriented retail markets including both national airports (Piarco and Crown Point ) and is still available for sale, t hough in much lower volume, at some popular tourist beaches in Trinidad (e.g., Manzanilla, Las Cuevas) and in Tobago (section 3.3 ; Table 4 ). No credible argument can be made that these items are not being sold primarily for export since tourists ultimatel y leave the Republic and return to their nations of residence, where they may face stiff fines and other penalties for possession of illegal wildlife products (section 4.21 1). Because national fisheries law allows the sale of turtle shell items during the open season (October February), but CITES prevents these items and law enforcement authorities should make every effort to confiscate an y remaining inventory. Consideration should be given to us ing the con fiscated items in an educational display at ports of entry, reminding tourists that tortoiseshell looks best on the back of a sea turtle. 4.312 Convention on Biological Diversity The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into f orce in 1993. Its objective is the conservation, as well as the equitable and sustainable use, o f biological diversity for present and future generations. It binds nations to develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and susta inable use of biological diversity; to identify and monitor the status of components of biological diversity; to develop and manage protected areas and other areas of importance for biodiversity; and inte grate in situ and ex situ methods of conservation. It also deals with sustainable use, incentives, research and training, public education and awareness, impact assessment and mitigation, access to genetic resources, technology transfer, information exchange, technical and scientific cooperation, and biot ech nology. Importantly, it sets up a funding mechanism, the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to encourage developed nations to assist developing nations with their plans, programmes and projects. Trinidad and Tobago ratified the Convention in 1996. In a ccordance with Article 6 of the Con vention on Biological Diversity, a national planning project for the conservation and sustainable use of The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) resulted from this exercise and was approved by Cabinet in 2001. A number of its recommendations have been undertaken through the coordination of the EMA and with the consultation of stakeholders. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the terms of this Conven tion receive the support of the Government at all levels. 4.313 Marpol Treaty The 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as the Marpol Treaty, is an important treaty for the conserva preserve the marine environment by achieving the complete elimination of international pollution by oil
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 86 ( oil, chemicals in bulk, packaged chemicals, liquid sewage, garbage ) p rovid ing detailed technical specifications regarding the way in which a ship must be built and equipped to prevent ma rine pollution in the case of an accident, and also norms and technical requirements to minimi ze operational discharges. Government acceded to Annexes I through IV in June of 2000. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that this Convention receive the sup port of the Government at all levels. 4.314 U. N. Convention on the Law of the Sea The objective of this United Nations convention is to set up a new legal regime for the seas and oceans. Its environmental provisions aim to establish rules concerning environmental standards and enforcement of provisions dealing with po llution of the marine environment. It also includes provision for an Annex of highly migratory species, and thus there is the possibility that sea turtles could receive some protection under this Convention. Trinidad and Tobago ratified the Convention in April of 1986. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the terms of th is C onvention receive the support of the Government at all levels. 4.315 Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species The Convention on the Conservati on of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, commonly referred to as the Convention on Migratory Species or the Bonn Convention, came into force in 1983. T wo appendices list migratory species that would benefit from concerted conservation measures. Endanger ed species, listed in Appendix I, are accorded full protection. Range States of Appendix I species are to endeavor to conserve their habitat, to counteract factors impeding their migration, and to control other factors that might endanger them. Moreover, Range States are obliged to prohibit the taking of these and deliberate killing. Appendix II lists migratory species that have a conservation status that requires, or would benefit from, international cooperative agreements which provide for species and habitat conservation measures, research and monitoring, training and information exchange. Where appropriate, a species may be listed in both appendi ces, as is the case with Caribbean sea turtles Trinidad and Tobago has not yet acceded to this Convention and i t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Government consider the benefits of accession and move to support this important treaty. 4.32 Regional treaties 4.321 Cartagena Convention and SPAW Protocol An important treaty with regard to the protection of Caribbean sea turtles and their habitats is the rotection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region ( Cartagena Convention ) The Convention is coupled with an Action Plan, known as the Action Plan for the Caribbean Environment Programme (APCEP). The First Intergovernmental Meeting on APCEP was convened by UNEP in cooperation with the Economic Commission for Latin America in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 6 8 April 1981. R epresentatives
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 87 f rom 22 Governments in the region adopted APCEP at this meeting and established the Caribbean Tru st Fund to support common costs and activities associated with the implementation of the Action Plan. In March 1983, a Conference of Plenipotentiaries met in Cartagena, Colombia to negotiate the Cartagena Convention and ultimately adopted both the Conven tion and a Protocol Concerning Co opera tion in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region. The Convention describes the responsibili lution from ships, land based sources, seabed activities, and airborne sources as well as the at sea dumping of waste ). Article 10 is of special interest in that it addresses the responsibilities of Contracting ropriate measures to protect and preserve rare or fragile Trinidad and Tobago ratified the Convention in January 1986. In January 1990, a Protoco l Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) to the Cartagena Convention was adopted by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries, providing a mechanism where by species of wild fauna and flora could be protected on a regional scale. The landmark Pr otocol grants explicit protection to species listed in three categories, or annexes. Annex I includes species of flora exempt from all forms of destruction or disturbance. Annex II ensures total protection and recovery to listed species of fauna, with min or exceptions. Specifically, Annex II listing prohibits (a) the taking, possession or killing (including, to the extent possible, the incidental taking, possession or killing) or commercial trade in such species, their eggs, parts or products, and (b) to the extent possible, the disturbance of such species, particularly during periods of breeding, incubation, aestivation or migration, to a regulated harvest. On 11 June 1991, Plenipotentiaries met in Kingston, Jamaica, to formally adopt the Annexes. The Conference voted unanimously to include all six species of sea turtle inhabiting the Wider Caribbean (i.e., Caretta caretta Chelon ia mydas Eretmochelys imbricata Dermochelys coriacea Lepidochelys kempii and L olivacea in Annex II (Eckert, 1991; UNEP, 1991). The unanimous vote on this issue is a clear statement on the part of Caribbean governments that the protection of regional ly depleted species, including sea turtles, is a priority. Trinidad and Tobago played an important role in the adoption of the new SPAW Protocol and ratified it in 1999. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the terms of th is importan t Convention receive the full support of the Government. 4.322 Inter American Convention The 2001 Inter American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, seeks opulations and of the habitats on which they depend, based on the best available scientific evidence, taking into account the environmental, coastal ha bitat in the Americas, as well as maritime areas for which the Parties exercise sovereignty under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (i.e. up to 200 miles from shore), thereby covering a significant portion of the ranges of sea turtles in the Western Hemisphere. The treaty requires Parties to protect and conserve sea turtle populations and their habitats; reduce the incidental capture, injury and mortality of sea turtles associated with commercial fisheries; prohibit the intentional take of, and dome stic and international trade in, sea turtles, their eggs, parts and products; and foster international cooperation in the research and management of sea turtles. Additionally, the
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 88 Convention specifically obligates Parties to require the use of Turtle Exclu der Devices (TEDs) by comer ci al shrimp trawling fleets. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Government c onsider the benefits of a cce ssion to the Inter American Convention, and move to support this important treaty 4.323 We stern Hemisphere Convention The Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere, often referred to as the Western Hemisphere Convention, was opened for signature at the Pan American Union on 12 October 1940 and entered into force on 1 May 1942. Currently there are 22 Parties, including Trinidad and Tobago and 12 other Wider Caribbean nations. The Convention s stated objective is to preserve all species and genera of native American fauna and flora from extinction, an d also preserve areas of wild and human value. Provisions include the establishment of national parks and reserves (article 2), strict wilderness areas to remain inviolate (article 4), protection of species listed in the annexes which are declared to be o species of sea turtle are listed The language of this Convention is far reaching, encompassing all the basic elemen ts necessary to undertake the conservation and sustainable use of natural resource s. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that the Government seeks informa tion on the status of this treaty and its obligations as a Party, with specific reg ard to protecting the sea turtles which nest on our beaches and feed in our waters. 4.33 Sub regional sea turtle management It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that Government negotiate bilateral agreements, as practicable, as well as participate in international treaties t hat both protect sea turtles (see sections 4.31, 4.32) It is intuitive that any action taken to protect sea turtles must be shared among nations that hold these species in common. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, foraging populations are shared with neighbouring nations in the south ern Caribbean Sea, as well as South America. It is clear that hard won local victories in the management and sustainable use of local st ocks will come to naught as sea turtles continue to be killed in other parts of their Caribbean and wider Atlantic range. Just as other range S tates depend on Trinidad and Tobago to safeguard the breeding grounds of five locally occurring species, so, too does Trinidad and Tobago Tag returns document ing international movements date to more than 30 years ago in that case, adult olive ridleys between Suriname an d Trinidad ( Pritchard, 1973, 1976) and more recent satellite tracking studies demonstrate that adult female leatherbacks depart from national waters after the breeding season and return to foraging grounds in the north Atlantic and western Africa (Ecker t, 1997a 2006 ) (see section 2.3 and Figure 5 ). In addition to documenting international tag returns, i t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that genetic research be conducted to define the genotypes comprising nesting and for aging populat ions and how these relate to populations elsewhere in the region. B ased o n these rela tionship s, the Government should coordinate with range States on conservation and management actions
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 89 4.4 Develop Public Education To promote an awareness among ci tizens and visitors of the biology and endangered status of sea turtles, as well as the legislation protecting them, it is a strong recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that a national sea turtle education programme be designed and implemented The programme should inspire residents to get involved, as well as guide those who have already shown initiative. People are drawn to sea turtles, and there is a need to embrace and channel this interest with information that is both accurate and useful Th e national education programme should be designed in partnership with experts and should be coordinated as part of the National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme (see section 4.6). If the programme is successful, residents with a desire to become personall y involved in the plight of the Republic s sea turtles will not find it difficult to obtain the information they need to make their campaigns a success. Care should be taken to reach beyond an urban audience to rural fisherfolk, beachfront hoteliers, and coastal landowners. Special attention should be given to public awareness efforts in March; i.e., the start of both the nesting season and the annual closed season. 4.41 Residents Despite the best efforts of natural resource agencies and CBOs at majo r nesting beaches laws de signed to protect sea turtles are widely ignored. There is general consensus that turtles are caught during the open season, that eggs are poached with impunity, and that egg bearing females are killed on the nesting beaches ( al though the killing of egg bearing females has decreased dramatically over the course of the last decade ) a ll of these activities are illegal. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that efforts to educate the national citizenry on matters r egarding the legal and conservation status of endangered sea turtles be a top priority Whenever possible, sea turtle displays should be incorporated into existing educational program mes; such as World Environment Day celebrations, TIC (Government oper ated television), the Toco designed for school children), etc. Wildlife laws should be more widely known and residents should be encouraged to report violations. Consumers should be warned not to purchase sea turtle meat or products out of season and encouraged to consider the linkages between sea turtle survival and beach litter, indiscriminate an choring, beachfront lighting, etc. This information should be communicated in a variety of media and venues, including newspapers, conservation periodicals, and public seminars. Children should be included in the educational campaign. Further, as there is growing interest in having environmental education programmes in the p ublic schools in Trinidad and Tobago, curricula focused on the marine environment, sustainable fisheries, and endangered species should be actively en couraged by the Ministry (Harold and Eckert, 2005, is an excellent example) Nature Seekers is develop i ng a community focused environmental education programme and is also designing an outreach initia tive aimed at the Matura Primary and High Schools ; in addition, IMA teaches a 10 week course in primary schools on marine conservation that includes sea turt les. Accurate, colorful in formation should be incor porated directly into summer camp programmes (cf. Marin 2010) year round Saturday library program me s for young audiences, national wildlife contests, etc. A ll levels of society, including children, w ould benefit from an organised campaign that included locally produced jingles, audiovisual documentaries and a competitive national quiz. A short documen tary produced by Media Methods was recently aired on national television and served to heighten int erest in turtle conservation. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Pl an t hat the development of
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 90 a comprehensive educational programme, such as that initiated (with support from RARE) for the white tailed sabre winged hummingbird, Campylopterus e nsipennis be initiated for turtles, and that marine biology and conservation units become a standard aspect of the national curriculum Partnerships with t he business comm unity are important to successful outreach. Such partner ships can provide f inanc ial assistance, in kind services, support for materials distribution media cover age, and general endorsements and sponsorship Several corporate sponsors already enjoy credit for their support of sea turtle conservation and public awareness initiatives throughout the Republic. For example, CARE project awarded a grant to Nature Seekers in 2000 to assist in construc tin g an office ; Guardian Life Trust donated an overhead projector to support its educational activities ; and BHP Billiton sponsored the distribution of professional curriculum materials designed by WIDECAST to every secondary school in the country. In addition to supporting research, conservation and education directly, potential sponsors should consider a conserva tion message when they lend their support to events and products that reach a wide audience. 4.42 Fishermen It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that every effort be made on the part of Fisheries Extension personnel to inform fisher s as well as industry representatives and coopera tives, about the plight of sea turtles, to discourage violations and to encourage reporting. Fisher men should also be invited to participate in surveys and to provide relevant information (i.e., turtle s ightings) to the appropriate office ; equally important, they should be encouraged to participate in com munity based conservation programmes and have access to data A recent (2005 2006) series of T own Meetings held in key coastal communities and focus ed on achieving a more progressive management framework for sea turtles, was successful in imparting basic information about sea turtle biology and status, as well as opening a dialogue with fishers on strengthening the legal framework, reducing bycatch, enco uraging more accurate reporting, and visualising a transition to a zero annual quota. Follow up meetings focused on the basic biology of sea turtles (e.g. why late maturing, long lived species must be managed differently from reef fisheries) provide d addi tional opportunit ies for informed dialogue and reflect ed the seriousness with which the Government approaches issues of sustainable use. Fisheries Division and THA e ffort s to communicate directly with fisher s on the subject of sea turtle regulations ar e important and should be encouraged As early as March 1994, the Director of tions, Market Authorities, Wholesale and Retail Fish Vendors, Police Offic ers, and other interest groups. Specific to the TEDs issue (see section 4.23), the Fisheries Division has in the past, collaborated with the U. S. Emb assy to host training workshops for fish er s, trawl owners, w ildlife enforcement staff and the Coast Guard. Training exercises were also conducted on enforcement related exercises with Police Ser vice resource personnel. Training promoted and sponsored b y the Government should be ongoing The positive and sustained participation of the artisanal fishing community, especially pertaining to coastal gill nets, has demonstrated the willingness of fishers to participate in conservation research and advocat e for livelihood options aimed at eliminating sea turtle bycatch (Eckert and Eckert 2005; Gearhart and Eckert 2007). Other types of research ( e.g., biotelemetry, behavioral studies) can also involve fishers directly, and these also have positive educati onal value.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 91 4.43 Tourists T he s ale of shells and tortoiseshell items made from hawksbill turtles ( sections 3.3, 4.31 ; Table 4 ), while greatly reduced from past levels, i s still aimed at tourists. It is important that v isitors b e made aware of laws regulating commerce in the parts and products of protected species. It is therefore, a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that notices be placed in the arrival and departure lounges of Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and Crown Point Int ernational Airport in Tobago as well as in cruiseship ports and popular yacht arrival bays, to alert arriving tourists about regulations concerning possession and transport of protected wildlife species ( includ ing all species of sea turtles) and that law which identifies the vendor as not selling sea turtle products. Tourist oriented magazines and other relevant periodicals should carry regular features on wildlife law, which c an be presented in a way that both informs and entertains the visitor. Trained guides (e.g., operating at Caroni Swamp, Asa Wright Nature Center, Buccoo Reef Marine Park, Matura Beach/ Fishing Pond Prohibited Areas, Grande Riviere) come into regular conta ct with tourists and should make it a priority to educate tourists about wildlife laws. In addition to alerting tourists to the threat posed to sea turtle populations by the shell and shell product trade, visitors should be made aware of the detrimental effects on important sea turtle habitat that arise from activities generally associated with coast and marine based tourism (e.g., irresponsible/ inexperienced divers, indiscriminate anchoring, beach and nearshore litter, joy riding on sandy beaches, no ise and lights on nesting beaches, harassment of sea turtles, etc.). Such damage may be reduced if tourists were more aware of the implications of their actions. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that every effort be made to solicit t he support of the tourism industry in properly educating tourists. Beachfront hotels should set an example by modifying lighting so as not to disorient nesting and hatching turtles, keeping nesting beaches clear of lounge chairs and other obstacles, and en forcing rules of turtle watching etiquette on hotel beaches. Attractive and educational sea turtle brochures should be available in hotel rooms, d ive shops and other relevant locales. Members of the WIDECAST network in Tobago give weekly audio visual pr nesting season ; this type of outreach is encouraged It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that in cases where hotel security staff are ac tively involved in the enforcement of rules of conduct on turtle nesting beaches, they be granted the appropriate authority to ensure that national wildlife laws and policies are not violated. Security staff should be considered when the Wildlife Section is selecting persons to participate in the Honourary Game Warden programme under the Conservation of Wild Life Act. At present it is difficult for hotel staff to discipline unruly tourists gathering to observe nesting turtles. The seriousness of this sit uation should not be underestimated, and every effort should be made to empower hotel staff in tact fully controlling paying guests. Because the predictable arrival of egg laying females on hotel beaches viz harassment is both imperative and strategic. Relevant recommendations are provided in Choi and Eckert (2009). 4.5 Increase Information Exchange 4.5 1 Exchange of information among local groups
CEP Technical Report No. 4 9 Page 92 The preparation and publication o f th is Recovery Action Plan including its earlier drafts, has significantly advance d the exchange of information about the sea turtles of Trinidad and Tobago as it has give n all groups a common basis of knowledge and a common set of management and conser vation recommendations from which to base their field activities their outreach, and their individual and collec tive advocacy Notwithstanding the significance of this document in advancing our knowledge of sea turtle conservation and management needs, t here is a clear consensus that a mechanism for greater exchange of information is needed. UNDP (Port of Spain) developed a TRINBAGOTURTLES listserve in February 2001 to facilitate such exchanges but, with the retirement of its convener the listserve fad ed Na tural resource agencies on both islands, as well as a number of NGOs and CBOs are specifically involved with sea turtles on a regular basis and a readily accessible electronic communication mechanism would be very useful. Recognising that a lack of regular information exchange among Government agencies, conserva tion practitioners, resource users and coastal land owners is an impediment to effective management and conservation action, it is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that : (i) every advantage be taken to share information and (ii) Government agencies coordinate with each other to maximise the expertise and resources that can be b rought to bear on conservation challenges and implemen tation actions. Information venues include th e national print and audiovisual media, community news letters, national and local radio, cultural celebrations, civic group meetings, community level meetings, interagency meetings listserves, and scientific conferences. 4.5 2 Workshops on research a nd management I t is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that all field personnel be regularly up dated concerning skills Training should include basic biology and ecology of sea turtles, species identification (based on observation of a live turtle, a hatchling, an egg, or a crawl on the beach), beach etiquette, beach patrol methodology, record keeping and database management and technical skills as needed (e.g., t agging, moving eggs, aerial surveys). R efresher courses should be convened annually by the Government Turtle Village, or other relevant authorit ies to ensure that field personnel and community co management partners are up to date in areas of law enforce ment, management techniques and reporting tour guiding, and other programme skills. In addition, t he Fisheries Division and THA should convene such workshops as are necessary to provide the fishing community with current information and management skill s ; e.g., sea turtle resuscitation, use of conservation gear technologies (e.g., TEDs), sea turtle handling, reporting Regular exchanges should be organised between beach patrollers and data collectors to ensure continuity of methodology and reporting. R esearchers, both local and foreign, should be required to actively involve local community members and relevant Government personnel in any field research permitted by the Government; sufficient training of local partners should be provided by the research er. To promote networking and harmonised data collection among range States, WIDECAST can often arrange opportunities for peer exchanges with field projects els ewhere in the Wider Caribbean. 4. 53 International Scientific and Technical Meetings The importance of participating in regional and international forums focusing on sea turtle issues cannot be overemphasized. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago participated in the first (Chu Cheong, 1984) and second (Nathai Gyan, 1987) Western Atlantic Turtl e Symposia (WATS) Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 93 Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management held in Santo Domingo, rt and Abreu Grobois, 2001). Trinidad and Tobago also participated in the First CITES Wider Caribbean Hawksbill Dialogue Meeting in Mexico in 2001, as well as the second such meeting in the Cayman Island s in May 2002 ( www.cites.org/eng/prog/HBT/intro.shtml ). Local biologists often attend the international Sea Turtle Symposium ( www.seaturtlesociety.org/ ) an d annual meeting ( www.widecast.org/What/AnnualMeeting.html ) ; continued participation in th ese profess sional forums is encouraged. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that emphasis be placed on maintaining r egional ties with range State colleagues, and that every opportunity be taken for sea turtle workers to participate in international technical meetings 4.5 4 WIDECAST The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST http://www.widecast.org ) is a regi o nal network of experts affiliated with the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme and comprised of Country Coordinators resident in more than 40 Caribbean nations and territories, including Trinidad an d Tobago. Our national WIDECAST c oordinators are Mr. Stephen Poon ( Wildlife Section Forestry Division, email@example.com ), Mr. D ennis Sammy ( Nature Seekers denni spsammy@ gmail.com ), Ms. Tanya Clovis (SOS Tobago, firstname.lastname@example.org ), and Ms Angela Ramsey ( DNRE/THA email@example.com). Former WIDECAST Country Coordinator Kenneth Fournillier (then with the Wild life Section Forestry Division ) expertly guided several earlier drafts of this document. It is a recommendation of this Recovery Action Plan that sea turtle researchers, community based project participants, policy makers, educators and others stay conn turtle science through this unique network, which has contributed so much to our country for so ma n y years. Among t he primary project outputs of this network are Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans (STRAP ) developed under the aegis of the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, for each of more than 40 government regions, including Trinidad and Tobago, in the Wider Caribbean. Each STRAP is tailored specifically to local circumstances and provides the following information: The local status and distribution of nesting and feeding sea turtles. The major causes of mortality to sea turtles. The effectiveness of existing national and international laws protecting sea turtles. The present and historical role of sea turtles in local culture and economy. Local, national, and multi lateral implementing measures for scientifically sound sea turtle conservation. The short term objectives of WIDECAST are to provide Wider Caribbean governments with updated information on the status of sea turtl es in the region, to provide specific recommendations for the management and recovery of endangered, threatened, and vulnerable sea turtle stocks, and to assist Wider Caribbean governments in the discharge of their obligations under the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) in the Wider Caribbean Region (see section 4.32). The longer term objectives are to promote a regional capability to implement scientifically sound sea turtle conserva tion programmes by developing and suppo rting a technical understanding of sea turtle biology and management among local individuals and organizations. These objectives are accomplished by: Implementing WIDECAST through resident Country Coordinators Utilising local network participants to col lect information and draft, with the assistance of re gional sea turtle experts, locally appropriate sea turtle management recommendations
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 94 Providing or assisting in the development of education and outreach materials Sponsoring or supporting local or subre gional workshops on sea turtle biology and management Assisting g overnment s and NGOs with the implementation of science based management and conservation programmes for turtles Beyond supporting the local and national efforts of governments and NGOs WIDE CAST works to integrate these efforts into a collective regional response to a common problem, the disappearance of sea turtles. WIDECAST is partially supported by the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, as well as by a wide variety of government and no n government agencies and groups. Non government organi sations, government personnel, divers, fishermen, teachers, restaurant owners, hoteliers, and other concerned citizens have been actively involved in WIDECAST for more than two decades. 4.55 IU CN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group The Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG) of the World Conservation Union s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) was founded in 1966 in response to a growing recognition of the endangered status of marine turtles The Group, as part of its mission, develops, supports, and implements pro gram me s on sea turtle biology, management (e.g., Eckert et al., 1999) conservation and policy For further information, contact Dr. F. Alberto Abreu G., Latin America/Caribbean Vice Chair, IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group at Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mx ico in Mazatlan, Sinaloa (firstname.lastname@example.org). 4.5 6 Marine Turtle Newsletter The Marine Turtle Newsletter (MTN) is distributed to readers in more than 100 countries and is an excellent way to stay informed about sea turtle biology and conservat ion around the world. The MTN is presently received by Fisheries Officers on both islands, the Wildlife Section Forestry Division, Institute of Marine Affairs, University of the West Indies (Zoology), Caribbean Epidemiology Center, Eastern Caribbean Insti tute of Agriculture and Forestry, U. S. Embassy (Economic and Commercial Affairs), and a large number of NGOs and interested individuals. The newsletter is published quarterly in English and Spanish and is available electronically at http:// www.seaturtle.org/mtn 4.6 Implement a National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme 4.61 Rationale F ive of the six species of sea turtle found in the Caribbean Sea are encountered in Trinidad and Tobago T wo speci es ( the logg erhead and the olive ridley; see section II) are very rare and all but the leatherback appear to have sustained noticeable declines which is confined to the northern latitudes of the region, ar e variously classified as E ndangered or V ulnerable t hroughout their global ranges ( www.iucn redlist.org ) and are protected by various treaties (see section 4.32). Domestically, however, an unmonitored, open acc ess sea turtle fishery operational during an annual open season ha s been a part of life in Tr inidad and Tobago for more than three centuries. The purpose of this Recovery Action Plan has been to compile what is known about these ancient creatures in ou r country, and to chart a course forward. It s ummarises the distribution and abundance of sea turtles, documents contemporary survival (and habitat) threats, evaluates existing management stra
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 95 tegies (including community based conservation initiatives), a nd provides resource and habitat manage ment recommendations. Based on this information, the goals and objectives of a national Sea Turtle Conservation Programme are herein articulated. T he Sea Turtle Conservation Programme is envisioned as lending impe tus to training personnel, collecting baseline data on nesting and foraging assemblages by inter alia investing in long term population monitoring programmes, establishing mechanisms to safeguard critical nesting and feeding habitats, encouraging the par ticipation of rural communities and the general public in sea turtle conserva tion acti o ns, strengthening and modernizing the regulatory framework, and evaluating sustainable alter natives to consumptive practices. In addition to the sea turtles, expected beneficiaries include the tourism, fisheries, and resource management sectors, as well as all nationals. 4.62 Goals and objectives The goal of the National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme is to promote informed and inclu sive decision making, proa ctive management and sustainable use and modern scientific investigation in order to prevent the extirpation and realize the sustained recovery of sea turtle populations in Trinidad and Tobago. With this in mind, a Priority Setting Workshop was convened by the Wildlife Section Forestry Division on 30 April 2010 Participants 4 defined and then by means of a standard pair ranking exercis e 5 r anked ten core programme objectives Th e tally clearly articulated five objectives which are largely action orient ed () followed by five o bjectives which are m ore institutional and regulatory in nature : o Safeguard important habitat (e.g. nesting foraging) including development of a rea specific man agement plan s that address specific threats (e.g. lighting, debris and pollution poaching ) o Reduce and eliminate bycatch and other unintended mortality t o sea turtles o Ensure sufficient funding for sea turtle management and conservation o Collect data sufficient for the management and sustained recovery of sea turtle populations (e.g. critical habitat, population trends, threats) o Create, implement (fund) a structured, holistic national education programme that communicates stakeholder benefits (e.g. cultural, monetary, ecosystem services) resulting from strong conse r vation policies Promote progressive, sustainable CZM policies (e.g. oil/gas, coastal hotels, cruiseships), includ ing monitoring and compliance to t he benefit of biodiversity Formali s e and actuate c o management agreements with communities Moderni s e t he regulatory framework: harmonize legislation, close the open season, emphasize enforcement (land, sea), i ncrease fines for offenses Create a n ational coordination mechanism (e.g. interagency task force for sea turtle policy) Create strong civil commit ment to advocac y/activism for policy change 4 Stephen Poon, Chair ; Atherley Harry and Avisha Mohan (Wildlife Section Forestry Division), Nerissa Lucky (Fisheries Div is ion), Dennis Sammy (Nature Seekers), Lori Lee Lum (Institute of Marine Affairs), Michelle Cazabon Mannette (Turtle Village Trust), Len Peters (Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association), and Dr. Karen Eckert (WIDECAST) ; co lleagues from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and from Tobago were invited but could not attend. 5 A ro und robin tournament technique by which every item in the list is compared to every other item according to a single criter ion ( in this ca se, s from a simple tally of the number of wins
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 96 4.63 Activities Through several rounds of national level peer review, t he following activities have been proposed to meet the stated goals and objectives. Of necessity, these statements are general in thei r nature. As there are many agencies and organisations already involved in sea turtle conservation in Trinidad and Tobago, and each can contribute in meaningf ul ways to multiple activities, we leave it to the collective capacity of the National Sea Turtle Task Force (under the aegis of EMA) to work closely with all relevant sectors to ensure that all priorities are met, and that the activities of all participating groups are integrated toward the common goal. Institutional Capacity 1. Assemble and empo wer a National Sea Turtle Task Force t o oversee and coordinate sea turtle research and conservation activities, and to give strength and voice to advocacy. The Task Force should be large enough to fairly represent key interests, but small enough to promot e efficiency. The relevant agencies of Government ( inter alia EMA, Fisheries, Forestry, Parks and Wildlife, Town and Country Planning Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tobago House of Assembly ) should be represented. Also represented should be IMA, community groups engaged in co management with Government, national NGOs with current involvement in sea turtle conservation, U niversity of the West Indies, the hotel/tourism sector, and a WIDECAST representative. 2. Designate a Lead Agency for the National Sea Tu rtle Conservation Programme, giving equal attention to sea turtles and their habitats in Tobago. Appoint/hire a National Sea Turtle Co ordinator. Manage a national listserve to maximize communication among stakeholders. 3. Endorse and s upport the establ ished National Sea Turtle Database and efforts by the Data Mana ger to oversee the development of standard, national data record sheets for at sea sightings and beach patrols. (Data collected by specific projects may vary, but all projects should collect compatible baseline information.) The development of negotiated data use agreements should be viewed as a priority. 4. Strengthen the Government s ability to conserve the nation s sea turtles by nurturing additional co management initiatives with rural c ommunity partners (see section 4.26 and Appendix I I I). 5. Strengthen community co ies to conduct scientifically sound field work by assis ting these groups with financial planning and fund raising, governance and organisational struc ture, research priorities and field technique, and data collection and reporting. 6. Encourage and facilitate the participation of employees and volunteers in localised, national and regional training programmes, research projects (including exchange initiativ es with projects in neighboring countries), and scientific meetings and symposia. 7. Organise workshops targeting fishermen (including spear fishermen), relevant communities, and coastal landowners, including hoteliers, to inform them of the current state of knowledge of sea turtle biology and conservation, to introduce the Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan, and to request their expertise, assistance, and support on behalf of sea turtle conservation measures.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 97 8. Conduct on site demonstrations for planners, Research and Management 9. Conduct an assessment of the ecological and economic values of sea turtles to the country. Seek to preserve t hese through the development (and implementation) of holistic management plans that tak e into account the specific recommendations of this Recovery Action Plan and encourag e active participation on the part of resource users. 10. Implement a long term po pulation monitoring programme on at least six Index Beaches (see section 4.25), four i n Trinidad and two i n Tobago. Determine species composition, distribution and timing of the annual nesting season, nest density and hatch success at these sites. 11. Ma ndate control zones (such as has been done at Matura Beach ) on high visitation beaches to exclude foot traffic, thereby providing an essential comparison between ecotourism and natural sites and allowing for an evaluation of the effects of ecotourism on se a turtle nesting and hatch success. 12. Continue support to the turtle tagging programme on Index Beaches to increase understanding of inter nesting frequencies, rates of exchange among nesting beaches, and remigration intervals ensuring that data is arc hived in t he National Sea Turtle Database (see Section 4.33). Encourage fishermen who have captured turtles incidentally to their fishing activities to submit tags (taken from dead turtles) to the database Manager. 13. Identify foraging grounds and d eter mine the distribution abundance and trend of turtles at sea over five consecutive years using inter alia sightings data collected from marine patrol officers, fishermen, and dive operators as well as information collected through research 14. Expand ca pture tag release recapture studies at important foraging sites to gain insight into residency patterns, offshore movement, growth and age at maturity and u se modern biotelemetry tools to increase understanding of local and international movements, includ ing the intersection of turtle habitat(s) with localised and international fisheries. 15. Using genetic research, determine stock origin for all major nesting and foraging assemblages in Trinidad and Tobago. Collaborate with experts in sampling and inter pretation; publish results. 16. Design and distribute a Field Techniques Manual to complement this Recovery Action Plan which describes in detail how to conduct beach surveys, complete sightings data forms, tag turtles, protect nests, report violators, s ubmit annual reports, and other related activities. Regulations and Revenue 17. Implement a moratorium on the take of sea turtles until such time as data are available to define a sustainable fishery S trengthen the regulatory framework including coast al zone planning and protected areas legislation, based on recommendations put forward in this Recovery Action Plan.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 98 18. Monitor the capture and sale of turtle products, emphasising regular survey and monitoring of landing sites, as well as formal and in formal marketing outlets. Based on these data, quantify the legal and illegal annual exploitation of sea turtles. 19. Engage stakeholders (fishermen, artisans, vendors) in discussions of viable alternatives to the sea turtle harvest. Evaluate sustainabl e, non consumptive means to generate revenue from sea turtles, including ecotourism and tour guiding. Support those means that appear promising. 20. After a publicised grace period, confiscate any remaining commercial inventory of sea turtle products (ma inly tortoiseshell items marketed to tourists). Feature these items in educational displays at major ports of entry reminding visitors not to purchase sea turtle products. 21. Establish and enforce standard regulations for construction and development a t nesting beaches. See sections 4.13 and 4.14 for details (see section 4.123 for a summary). 22. Establish and enforce standard regulations for nighttime visitation to nesting beaches and tour guiding at sea, utilizing lessons learnt from more than a dec ade of experience at Matura, Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere 23. Establish a national system of marine protected areas, and a national system of moorings to protect coral reef and seagrass habitat. 24. Increase the effectiveness of law enforcement by inc reasing the numbers of trained personnel, cultivating media attention, and promoting greater community involvement. Investigate the feasibility and desirability of employing fishermen as community based Deputies to enforce Fish eries regulations. (Such a programme might be modeled after the Forestry Division s Hono u rary Game Warden programme.) 25. Ensure that fines and other penalties are adequate to serve as effective deterrents. Public Awareness and Participation 26. Enhance public awareness of the n eed for sea turtle conservation by designing and distributing educational materials for adults and children, as well as relevant sectors including f isherfolk, tourists, coastal landowners and developers. 27. Initiate a national public awareness campaign making use of posters, brochures, media events, school and library programming (including a national quiz competition), narrated slide shows, video productions, etc. The campaign will be targeted at specific sectors of society, including fishermen, rural audiences, divers and yachters, coastal planners and developers, and visitors; as well as to the general public. 28. Assist hotel staff with training and educational materials to encourage their own and visitor participation in sea turtle monitoring and c onservation activities. 29. Lend market visibility to restaurants and retail outlets that do not sell sea turtle products. One promote such products.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 99 30. Tr ain teachers in the use of sea turtle focused classroom materials, and encourage and support the participation of educators in local research and conservation, as well as in international sea turtle conferences and workshops. 4.64 Results and Outputs As a result of the implementation of a National Sea Turtle Conservation Programme, the goal of making, proactive management, and modern scientific more precis e data on the numbers of turtles nesting, number of hatchlings released, and the numbers of turtles killed; the distribution of important nesting and foraging sites ; and an inventory of priority threats and potential solutions, decision making and manage m ent will become more focused and effective. With a national Sea Turtle Management Committee in place, the implementation of the Turtle Village co ncept, an inclusive National Sea Turtle Database, and a national list s erve, the benefits of increasing trainin g and knowledge will be made available nation wide. In addition, as employees and volunteers active in the Programme receive ongoing training in sea turtle conservation and management, the nation s ability to wisely conserve remaining stocks within the con text of a modernised legal framework will increase. Efforts at public awareness will e nhan ce resident and visitor understanding o f and participation in sea turtle conservation in Trinidad and Tobago. As a result, the country will enjoy rising pop ulations of sea turtles available to fulfill their full potential as ecological and economic resources.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 100 V. LITERATURE CITED Amoco. Undated. The Mayaro Beach Tarballs: Manmade or Natural? Amoco Trinidad Oil Company, Port of Spain. 17 pp. Avens, L ., J. C. Taylor, L. R. Goshe, T. T. Jones and M. Hastings. 2009. Use of skeletochronological analysis to estimate age of leatherback sea turtles Dermochelys coriacea in the western north Atlantic. Endangered Species Research 8:165 177. Bacon, P. R. 1967. Leatherback turtle. J. Trinidad Field Natur. Club 1967:2 3. Bacon, P. R 1969. The leatherback turtle project. J. Trinidad Field Natur. Club 1969:8 9. Bacon, P. R. 1970. Studies on the Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea (L.), in Trinidad, West Indi es. Biol. Conserv. 2(3):213 217. Bacon, P. R. 1971a. Sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago, p.79 83. In : Proc eedings of the Second Working Meeting of the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group. IUCN Publ. New Series Suppl. Paper 31. Bacon, P. R. 1971b. Tagless turtles. J. Intl. Turtle and Tortoise Society 5(3):26 27. Bacon, P. R. 1973a. The Status and Management of Sea Turtles of Trinidad and Tobago. Report to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Unpubl. 40 pp. Bacon, P. R. 1973b. Appraisal of th e stocks and management of sea turtles in the Caribbean and adjacent regions. Report to CICAR, Cartagena, Colombia. July 1973. Bacon, P. R. 1973c. The orientation circle in the beach ascent crawl of the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea in Trinida d. Herpetologica 29(4):343 348. Bacon, P. R. 1975. Review of research, exploitation and management of the stocks of sea turtles in the Caribbean Region. FAO Fish. Circular No. 334:1 19. Unpubl. Bacon, P. R. 1976. Follow the turtle star. Trinidad Natur. 1 (3):12 16. Bacon, P. R. 1978. Caldong. Macmillan Education Ltd., London. 73 pp. Bacon, P. 1981. The status of sea turtle stocks management in the Western Central Atlantic. WECAF Study No. 7. Interregion. Fish. Develop. Manage. Prog., Panama. 58 pp. Baco n, P. R. and G. K. Maliphant. 1971. Further studies on sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago with a guide to the common species and their hatchlings. J ourmal of the Trinidad Field Natur Club 1971:2 17. Balazs, G. H. 1985. Impact of ocean debris on mar ine turtles: entanglement and ingestion, p. 387 429. In : Proc. Workshop on the Fate and Impact of Marine Debris (R. S. Shomura and H. O. Yoshida, Editors). NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS SWFC 54. U. S. Dept. Commerce. Honolulu.
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CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 110 NMFS and USFWS (National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). 2008. Re covery Plan for the North west Atlantic Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle ( Caretta caretta ), Second Revision. National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Dept. Commerce. Silver Spring, Maryland. 321 pp. NRC. 1990. Decline of the sea turtles: causes and prevention National Resea rch Council. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. Ogden, J. C., S. Tighe, and S. Miller. 1980. Grazing of seagrasses by large herbivores in the Caribbean. Am erican Zoologist 20:949 (abstract). Ogden, J. S., L. Robinson, K. Whitlock H. Daganhardt and R. Cebula. 1983. Diel foraging patterns in juvenile green turtles ( Chelonia mydas L.) in St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands. J ournal of Exp erimental Mar ine Biol ogy and Ecol ogy 66:199 205. O'Hara, K., N Atkins and S. Iudicello. 1986. Marine Wildlife Entangl ement in North America. Center for Environmental Education, Washington D.C. 219 pp. Phelan, S and K L. Eckert. 2006. Marine Turtle Trauma Response Procedures: A Field Guide. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Technical Report No 4. Beaufort, North Carolina. 71 pp. Pianka, E. R. 1974. Evolutionary Ecology. New York. Harper and Row. 356 pp. Plater, B. 2010. Draft Marine Turtle Conservation Regulations. Prepared by WildEquity Institute for the Government of the Republic of Trin i d ad and Tobago. Port of Spain Trinidad 8 pp. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1971. The leatherback or leathery turtle, Dermochelys coriacea IUCN Monograph 1:1 39. Gland, Switzerland. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1973. International migrations of South American sea turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermo chelyidae). Anim al Behav iour 21 :18 27. P ritchard, P. C. H. 1976. Post nesting movements of marine turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae) tagged in the Guianas. Copeia 1976:749 754. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1982. Nesting of the leather back turtle, Dermochelys coriacea in Pacific Mxico, with a new estimate of the world population status. Copeia 1982:741 747. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1984. Marine Turtles in Trinidad and Tobago. FAO Consultancy Report, Evaluation and Development of Marine Tu rtles in Trinidad and Tobago. 35 pp. U npubl. Pritchard, P., P. Bacon, F. Berry, A. Carr, J. Fletemeyer, R. Gallagher, S. Hopkins, R. Lankford, R. Mrquez M., L. Ogren, W. Pringle, Jr., H. Reichart and R. Witham. 1983. Manual of Sea Turtle Re search and C onservation Techniques, Second Edition (K. A. Bjorndal and G. H. Balazs, Editors). Center for Environmental Education, Washington D C. 126 pp.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 111 Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea Turtles and the Turtle Industry of the West Indies, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico (Re vised Edition). Univ ersity of Miami Press, Coral Gables, Florida. 250 pp. Reichart, H. A. 1989. Status report on the olive ridley sea turtle, p.175 188. In : Proceedings of the Second Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 12 16 October 1987, Mayagez, Puerto Rico. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS SEFC 226. U. S. Dept. Commerce Miami Reichart, H. A. 1993. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Western Atlantic Olive Ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea (Eschscholtz, 1829) in the Western Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS SEFSC 336. U. S. Dept. Commerce Miami 78 pp. Reichart, H. A. and Fretey, J. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Suriname (K. L. Eckert, Editor). CEP Technical Report No. 24. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. 65 pp. Richardson J. I. 1993. Reproductive biology of hawksbills nesting in Antigua. Marine Turtle Newsletter 63:6 7. Ross, J. P. 1995. CITES approves marine turtle ranching guidelines. Marine Turtle Newsletter 69:1 2. Ross, J. P., S. Beavers, D. Mundell and M. Airth Ki ndree. 1989. The Status of Kemp s Ridley. A Report to the Center for Marine Conservation from the Caribbean Conservation Corp oration. Washington D.C. 51 pp. Ryder, C., J. I. Richardson, L. A. Corliss and R. Bell. 1989. Habitat preferences and beach manag ement for nesting hawksbills, Jumby Bay, Antigua, West Indies, pp.263 266. In : S. A. Eckert, K. L. Eckert, and T. H. Richardson (Compilers), Proc. 9 th Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Conservation and Biol ogy. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS SEFC 232. U. S. Department of Commerce Miami Sammy, D and S L Baptiste. 2008. Community Tourism Handbook: A Resource Guide for Community Groups Participating in Sea Turtle Ecotourism in the Commonwealth of Dominica (K L. Eckert, Editor). Prepared by Nature Seekers and WIDEC AST, in partnership with the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO), with funding from US A ID. Roseau, D ominica. 41 pp. Sarti M., L., S. A. Eckert, N. Garcia T. and A. R. Barragan. 1996. Decline of the world s largest netsing assemblage o f leatherback turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 74:2 5. Sato, F. and B. B. Madriasau. 1991. Preliminary report on natural reproduction of hawksbill sea turtles in Palau. Marine Turtle Newsletter 55:12 14. Schulz, J. P. 1975 Sea Turtles Nesting in Surina me. Zool. Verh. (Leiden) No. 143. Seminoff, J. (Assessor). 2002. IUCN Red List Status Assessment for the Green Turtle ( Chelonia mydas ). IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Washington, D.C. 92 pp. Smith, G., K. L. Eckert and J. Gibson. 1992. WIDECAS T Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Belize (K. L. Eckert, Editor). CEP Tech Rept. 18. UNEP Caribbean Environ Programme, Kingston, Jamaica.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 112 Squires, H. J. 1954. Records of marine turtles in the Newfoundland area. Copeia 1954:68. Sybesma, J. 1989 Sick sea turtle. Curaao Underwater Park Progress Report April June 1989. CARMABI, Netherlands Antilles. TEWG (Turtle Expert Working Group). 2007. An Assessment of the Leatherback Turtle Population in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Tec h Memo NMFS SEFSC 555. Miami. Trong, S. and C. Drews. 2004. Money Talks: Economic Aspects of Marine Turtle Use and Conservation. WWF International. Gland, Switzerland. 62 pp. Trong, S., D. Chacn C., and B. Dick. 2004. Possible decline in leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea nesting along the coast of Caribbean Central America. Oryx 38:395 403. Turtle Villa Destination Globally March 2006. 80 pp. UNEP. 1989. Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment. UNEP/GC.15/Inf.2. Nairobi Kenya 250 p p. UNEP. 1991. Final Act. Conference of Plenipotentiaries for the Adoption of the Annexes to the Protocol Concerni ng Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. Vargo, S., P. Lutz, D. Odell, E. Van Vleet and G. Bossart. 1986. Effects of oil on marine turtles. Final Report, Vol. 2 Techn ical Report. Prepared for Minerals Management Service, U. S. Dept. Interior. OCS Study MMS 86 0070. WIDECAST. 1992. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtles: Identification Key. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network and UNEP Caribbean Environment Programm, K ingston, Jamaica Williams, P. 1993. NMFS to concentrate on measuring survivorship, fecundity of head started Kemp's ridleys in the wild. Marine Turtle Newsletter 63:3 4. Witherington, B. 1990. Photopollution on sea turtle nesting beaches: problems and n ext best solutions, p.43 45. In : Proc. 10th Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation (T. H. Richardson, J. I. Richardson, and M. Donnelly, Compilers). NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS SEFC 278. Miami. Witherington, B. E. and R. E. Martin. 2003 Underst anding, Assessing, and Resolving Light Pollution Problems on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches. Florida Marine Research Institute Technical Report TR 2. Revised edition. Tallahassee, Florida. 73 pp. Witzell, W. N. 1983. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Hawksb ill Sea Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766). FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 137. Rome, Italy. 78 pp. Young, R. 1992. Tiger shark consumes young sea turtle. Marine Turtle Newsletter 59:14.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 113 Figure 1 Geographic l ocation o f the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean Sea.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 114 F igure 2. A n identification guide to sea ridley ( Lepidochelys kempii ) which is not known to occur in the Republic. Source: WIDECAST (1992).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 115 Figure 3 a Nesting by four species of sea turtle in Trinidad (for a key to the numbered nesting beaches, see Figure 3c). Source: Dow et al. (2007) onlin e at http://seamap.env.duke.e du/widecast/
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 116 Figure 3 b Nesting by three species of sea turtle in Tobago (for a key to the numbered nesting beaches, see Figure 3c). Nesting by olive ridley turtles is not confirmed in Tobago. Source: Dow et al. (2007)
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 117 Figure 3c. Key t o the n esting beaches identified in Figure 3a (Trinidad) and Figure 3b (Tobago). Source: Dow et al. (2007) online at http://seamap.env.duke.edu/widecast/
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 118 Fi gure 4. Leatherback inter nesting habitat use areas delineated by Kernel Home Range estimation for 9 adult females in Trinidad. Point locations are coded by where the turtles nested, either Grande Riviere on north coast, Matura Beach on east coast, or bo th. Primary inter nesting usage areas extended from nest ing beaches toward Galera Point, an important residence area. Source: Eckert (2006).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 119 Figure 5 Post nesting movements by six leatherback turtles after n esting at Matura Beach, Trinidad and monitored by satellite telemetry High use or foraging areas delineated using 50% utilization distribution ( UD ) of Kernel Home Range estimation. Three high use, high latitude and one low latitude area were described. Source: Eckert (2006).
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 120 Figure 6 Relative density of leatherback nesting track as determined from aerial surveys between June and September 1982, and between March and August 1983. Source: Chu Cheong (1995).
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 121 T able 1 Sea turtles tag ged while nesting in Trinidad and Tobago, 1970 1980 (no tagging in 1974). Tag upublished data Year Species Tagged Beach Comments 1970 Leatherback 16 Matura 6 renested , 1 killed  Olive ridley 1 Matura Loggerhead 1 Las Cuevas 1971 Leatherback 18 Matura 2 renested 1972 Leatherback 22 Matura 4 renested, 2 killed 9 Las Cuevas 1 renested 1973 Leatherback 15 Matura 4 renested, 2 killed 1975 Leatherback 70 Matura 22 renested 2 Las Cuevas 64 Gr. Tacarib 18 renested, 1 killed Hawksbill 1 Matura 1976 Leatherback 3 Matura 1 renested 1 L as Cuevas 15 Gr. Tacarib 1977 Leatherback 53 Matura 3 renested, 1 killed 4 Gr. Tacarib 1 Great Courland Bay, Tobago 1978 Leatherback 11 Matura 1 renested 5 Gr. Tacarib 1979 Leatherback 8 Matura 4 Gr. Tacarib 1980 Leatherb ack 5 Matura 5 Gr. Tacarib ___________  In all cases, renesting refers to subsequent sightings during the year in which the turtle was tagged;  In all cases, this refers only to tagged turtles known to have been killed, not the total number of c arcasses.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 122 Table 2 Turtle fishery statistics by depot, 1969 1980; total kg (lb in parentheses) of turtle meat handled by the depot is listed. Source: Chu Cheong (1995); data courtesy of the Fisheries Division. [ Note : Bacon (1973a), referring to the 1 969 value as fishery statistics is negligible. They represent only a small percentage of the turtle meat actually sold in the country as most of this does not pass through any form al market. Furthermore, turtle meat is imum estimates in the absence of more complete information. See section 3.3 for a complete discussion. ] Dep ot 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 Trinidad Matelot -10.4 -995.1 -72.5 (23) (2194) (160) Mayaro --893.1 1109.0 154.6 349.6 (1969) (2445) ( 341) ( 771) Orange Valley -----Icacos 83.0 -----(183) Gran Chemin --1421.1 341.1 4 26.8 3 470.4 (3133) (752) (941) (7651) San Fernando -22.6 19.9 204.5 90.7 (50) (44) (451) (200) Carenage 5244.9 3942.2 4293.3 4061.0 3011.4 1340.8 (11563) (8691) (9465) (8953) (6639 ) (2956) Tobago Castara 185.9 13.6 249.4 -(410) (30) ( 550) Man O War 31.7 ----(70) Speyside --131.5 18.1 -138.3 (290) (40) (305) TOTAL (kg): 5327.9 4193.0 6772.5 6729.1 3842.3 5462.6
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 123 Table 2 continued Dep ot 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 Trinidad Matelot -659.9 108.8 112.0 --(1455) (240) (247) Mayaro 167.8 -----(370) Orange Valley --47.1 ---(104) Icacos ------Gran Chemin 2391.3 ----(5272) San Fernando 220.9 -----(487) Carenage 3321.2 3443.2 2411.7 3068.1 --(7322) (7591) (5317) (6764) Tobago Castara ------Man O War ------Speyside 18.1 -----(40) TOTAL (kg): 6119.4 4103.2 2567.8 3180.1 3836.0 7251.2
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 124 Table 3 Records of live leatherback turtles and carcasses on beaches in North and East Trinidad, 1983 he problem of slaughters was much higher than these figures revealed, as there were reports that carcasse s were also being dragged out to sea to eliminate tell Total live turtles / carcasses Beach 198 3 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 Matura 5/0 69/8 166/11 57/0 99/1 101/3 20/0 52/3 112/2 640/0 (13) (33) (34) (18) (20) (14) (4) (22) (31) (37) Fishing Pond 2/8 21/11 69/30 29/7 16/24 24/14 -/ --/8 -/2 -/5 (2) (7) (24) (13) (8) ( 3) Manzanilla -/ -1/3 -/ -5/0 15/0 12/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -(2) (5) (3) (3) Gr.Riviere -/ --/ -4/5 32/1 23/2 -/ --/ -1/ -16/ --/ -(3) (2) (4) (1) (8) San Souci -/ --/ --/ -10/2 4/0 -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -(1) (2) Madamas -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -8/2 -/ -3/2 (2) (1) Guayaguayare -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -22/ --/ --/ -(5) Blanchisseuse -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/1 / -Paria Bay -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -8/ -9/ -(1) (1) Tacarib -/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ -4/2 7/1 (1) (1)
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 125 Table 4 Retail survey of the Piarco Airport (Trinidad) and selected shops in Tobago for items made made by local artists who used locally caught sea turtles. Source: Wendy Herron, WIDECAST Tobago. Location Item Price ($ TT) Comments Piarco Airport (Trinidad) earrings (40 pr) 30 40 pins (25) 10 25 bracelets (14) 22 40 spoons (8) 15 30 keyring (2) 40 hair clip (2) 40 bookmark (1) 40 buckle (1) 30 Scarborough (Tobago): Jack In The Box initial s 10 more than 50 items, combined (gift shop) rings 15 prominently displayed in three glass cases spoons 26 hair clips 30 only tourists buy the items bracelets 45 items are popular and sell well Souvenir 20 35 only tourists buy the items Gift Shop items are fashioned locally with items do not sell very well items are not prominently displayed Cotton House none in y ears" Cruise Ship Complex (Tobago) not recorded fewer than 10 items only tourists buy the items items do not sell very well
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 126 Table 4 continued Location Item Price ($TT) Comments Southwestern coast (Tobago ) Crown Point initial s range: Hotel hair clips 20 45 more than 50 items, combined bracelets pins shell is purchased both in Tobago and in Trinidad from Coco Reef none Tobago's newest luxury hotel, Hotel opened in 1995 two boutiques, no turtle times Conrado Beach none Hotel Ho ok, Line earrings not fewer than 10 items and Sinker pendants recorded mostly sell to tourists (gift shop) less likely to buy and seem more educated about endan gered species [ presumabl y compared to American and not to buy it, but buy it any cheap and we have a legal Mount Irvine initials 30 fewer than 20 items Bay Hotel pendants 120 Grafton Hotel fewer than 20 items, sells poorly ock a
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 127 Table 4 continued Location Item Price ($TT) Comments Turtle Beach none Hotel for sale, but none made from turtle shell; stock included coconut shell turtles ( pen dants, earrings) and ceramic turtles; items sell very well Store Bay none about 10 small stands (local vendors) near/on the beach heavily visited tourist area generally well stocked with tor toiseshell item s
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 128 APPENDIX I U.S. Public Law 101 162 was passed by Congress in November 1989 and reads, in part: Sec. 609. (a) The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, shall, with respect to those species of sea turtles the conservat ion of which is the subject of regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Commerce on June 29, 1987 -(1) initiate negotiations as soon as possible for the development of bilateral or multilateral agreements with other nations for the protection and con servation of such species of sea turtles; (2) initiate negotiations as soon as possible with all foreign governments which are engaged in, or which have persons or companies engaged in, commercial fishing operations which, as determined by the Secretary o f Commerce, may affect adversely such species of sea turtles, for the purpose of entering into bilateral and multilateral treaties with such countries to protect such species of sea turtles; (3) encourage such other agreements to promote the purposes of t his section with other nations for the protection of specific ocean and land regions which are of special significance to the health and stability of such species of sea turtles; (4) initiate the amendment of any existing international treaty for the prot ection and conservation of suc h species of sea turtles to which the United States is a party in order to make such treaty consistent with the purposes and policies of this section; and (5) provide to the Congress by not later than one year after the date of enactment of this section -(A) a list of each nation which conducts commercial shrimp fishing operations within the geographic range of distribution of such sea turtles; (B) a list of each nation which conducts commercial shrimp fishing operations whic h may affect adversely such species of sea turtles; and (C) a full report on -(i) the results of his efforts under this section; and (ii) the status of measures taken by each nation listed pursuant to paragraph (A) or (B) to protect and conserve such sea turtles. (b)(1) IN GENERAL. -The importation of shrimp or products from shrimp which have been harvested with commercial fishing technology which may affect adversely such species of sea turtles shall be prohibited not later than May 1, 1991, except as provided in paragraph (2). (2) CERTIFICATION PROCEDURE. -The ban on importation of shrimp or products from shrimp pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not apply if the President shall determine and certify to the Congress not later than May 1, 1991, and annually thereafter that -(A) the government of the harvesting nation has provided documentary evidence of the adoption of a regulatory program governing the incidental taking of such sea turtles in the course of such harvesting that is comparable to that of the United States; and (B) the average rate of that incidental taking by the vessels of the harvesting nation is comparable to the average rate of incidental taking of sea turtles by United States vessels in the course of such harvesting; or (C) the p articular fishing environment of the harvesting nation does not pose a threat of the incidental taking of such sea turtles in the course of such harvesting.
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 129 APPENDIX II Legislating a moratorium on the take of sea turtles is not a new recommendation. For more than two decades (starting with a May 1987 memo, FW:4/9/3, from the Head of the Wildlife Section Forestry Division to the Ag. Conservator of Forests), Government officers of various Ministries have been urging regulatory reform on behalf of sea t urtles. The history of this correspondence is documented by the former Head of the Wildlife Section in a memo (FW:4/14/7) dated 10 October 1991 to the then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and National Service (u.f.s. Director of Forestry) The Wildlife Section has regularly updated its government colleagues on sea turtle conservation actions undertaken by Section staff and community groups since 1982, and has repeatedly urged that the provisions of the Fisheries regulations that provide f or the harvesting of sea turtles be repealed. In a comprehensive report submitted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to the Secretariat of the Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium (WATS II), convened in Puerto Rico in 1987, paragraph 3.1 endment of the Fisheries Act, Chapter 67:51 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago to (memo FW:4/13/9). Two years later (29 March 1990), a joint meeting of Fisheries and Wildlife staff formally discussed management problems associated with the incidental capture of sea turtles and the annual open Fisheries O fficer: (1) no open season for marine turtles, (2) ban on capturing marine turtles, (3) amendments be made to have the sale of turtle meat illegal. The penalties be increased so as to deter Forestry sent a letter to the Director of summari agencies express concern and assist with whichever areas fall within their portfolio . it would mean additional years of existence for marine turtles not o nly in Trinidad but internationally. It is our belief that, if certain amendments are made in the Fisheries Act, this would positively contribute towards re s you correctly pointed out, protection of the marine turtles can be accommodated under the Fisheries Act, 1916 Amendments of Regulations Fisheries Act Ch. 67:51, 119/1975 Protection of Turtles and Turtle Eggs Regulations made (memo FW: 4/16/13). The following text -(a) kill, harpoon or capture any marine turtle, (b) take or remove or cause to be removed any turtle eggs after they have been laid and buried by a female turtle or after they have been buried by any person; (c) purcha se, sell, offer or expose for sale or cause to be sold or offered or exposed for sale or be in possession of any turtle eggs. 3. No person shall take possession, sell, offer or expose for sale or cause to be sold or offered or exposed for sale any turtle m effect to the use of approved specification of fish nets in order to minimise incidental catch of marine result of incidental catch should be reported
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 1 30 and Tobago Regulatory Program on Sea T regulations are in place which limit the exploitation of sea turtles to a particular sea son of the year and to a particular distance from the shore. (The Fisheries Ordinance Chap. 25:409, Protection of Turtles and Turtle Eggs Regulations, 1975). Further additional amendments to this legislation are currently being drafted to include a total ban on harvesting. The amendments under consideration are as follows: Regulation 2(a): No person shall kill, harpoon or capture any Marine Turtle. Regulation 3: No person shall take possession, sell, offer or expose for sale or cause to be sold or offer ed or exposed for sale any Turtles brought ashore as a result of incidental catch should be reported to the Forestry Division, Wildlife Section within a pe tion and release of live turtles caught in nets. In the case of drowned turtles, these animals should be No act ion was taken, and later that year (October 1991), following an incident exposed on national television in which endangered sea turtles were being offered for sale by a fish vendor in Matelot, the Ministry of Environment and National Service drafted a Pres s Release expressing regret over National Service administers the Conservation of Wild Life Act Chapter 67:01 and the Ministry of Food Production administers which would fully protect sea turtles had been drafted and accepted by both the Director of Forestry and rative that these changes are made urgently to afford total protection of marine turtles. This would serve not only to conserve an important component of our natural biodiversity under domestic legislation but would also serve to fulfill our international legal obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW) which
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 131 APPENDIX III P rinciples of Co Management Management for 1. Equity between partners in determining the balance of power at a ny given time. 2. Shared responsibility. 3. Accountability for the products of the agreement. 4. Transparency in the process of collaboration. 5. Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. 6. Mutual respect. 7. Mutual understanding of goals a nd expectations. 8. Shared vision. 9. Active participation of all partners. 10. Clear channels of communication. 11. Gender sensitivity. 12. Engendering of pride and confidence, leading to empowerment. 13. Legitimacy of the partners. 14. Positive us e of conflict to achieve objectives. 15. Sensitivity to the needs of the disadvantaged. 16. Enhancement/conservation of the resource. 17. Capacity building for all partners. 18. Continuous evaluation.
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 132 Framework for Co Management Developed by the pa Management for 1. Title (including names of partners and date of agreement) 2. Preamble i. Background/context ii. Philosophy o f agreement (based on principles of co management as understood by both parties) iii. Objectives and expected outcomes of the agreement 3. Definition of the scope of the agreement (what are we managing/protecting?) i. Geographic (boundaries) ii. Legal iii. Temporal (time frame) iv. Biological (resources involved) v. Physical 4. Description of the partners in the agreement 5. Objectives to the collaborative activity 6. Definition of roles and allocation of responsibilities of partners 7. Procedur es for: i. Technical management ii. Administration iii. Decision making iv. Conflict management 8. Provisions for compensation of partners (who gets paid, for what, how much, from where, by whom, and when) 9. Provisions for review, evaluation, and mo dification 10. Legalities, conditionalities, and procedures for termination 11. Duration of agreement
Trinidad & Tobago Sea Turtles ... Pa ge 133 NOTES:
CEP Technical Report No 4 9 Page 134 NOTES:
United Nations E nvironment Programme Caribbean Environment Programme Regional Coordinating Unit UNEP CAR/RCU Phone: (876) 922 9267 14 20 Port Royal Street Fax: (876) 922 9292 Kingston, Jamaica ____________________ _______________________________________ www.cep.unep.org www.car spaw rac.org ___________________________________________________________