Turtle guidelines – Consultation phase

We are developing guidelines for interacting with turtles in Vanuatu and a code of conduct for tourism operators. The initial drafts have been written  and we are now in the consultation phase. A workshop was held in April where the drafts were presented and discussed. The workshop was attended by government officers, NGOs tourism operators and students. Comments and suggestions have been incorporated into the drafts and we are now seeking any further comments. The draft guidelines and code of conduct can be found at these links.

Please send your comments and suggestions via email to vesss@conservation@gmail.com by the 28th June.

Why do we need guidelines and a code of conduct?

Turtles can be seen nearly everywhere along the coasts of Vanuatu’s islands and green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles come to Vanautu beaches to lay they eggs. Turtle encounters are therefore common in Vanuatu, however marine turtles globally are threatened with extinction. Whilst seeng turtles brings pleasure to people, these interactions have the potential to cause turtles harm. Other human activities close to turtles or in their habitat can also be damaging. For this reason we are developing these guidelines for interacting with turtles in Vanuatu to give people the tools to view turtles in a responsible way and to ensure they minimise the impact on our turtles. Tourists enjoy viewing turtles and tourism operators include turtles in their tourism product. Tourism can be beneficial for turtles if they inspire behavioural change to reduce threats to turtles, such as marine plastic pollution but tourism can also be damaging or exploitative. We are therefore also developing a code of conduct for tourism operators to ensure turtle tourism is sustainable and of benefit to the turtle population here in Vanuatu.

The powerpoint presentation delivered during the workshop to explain how we came to the recommendation in the guidelines can be found here

Project Funding

This project is funding under the Pacific BioScapes Programme. The Pacific BioScapes Programme is a European Union (EU) funded action, managed and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The Programme contributes to the sustainable development of Pacific Small Island Developing States through the implementation of 30 focused activities taking place across a diversity of ecosystems in 11 countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) that will address critical issues concerning coastal and marine biodiversity, and ecosystem-based responses to climate change adaptation. For more information, please visit: www.sprep.org/bioscapes