WWF carries out assessment of turtle nesting sites
“The monitoring of our current sea turtle nesting beaches is very important because it enables us to then monitor the number of young turtle hatchlings from each site. This is an area the University of the South Pacific is taking a lead on,ascertaining the genetic code for Fiji-born sea turtles,” WWF Coastal Fisheries Projects Officer, Laitia Tamata Jnr.
“While carrying out these assessments we’ve noticed that most of the nesting beaches are under threat from coastal erosion. The area eroded ranged from 3 to 9 meters. “These incidents of coastal erosion are forcing turtles to change their nesting sites.
“We’ve been informed of an incident in Yadua, where one mother turtle (nester) has actually crawled up to lay her eggs in front of the village which was sheltered from wave impacts,” Tamata Jnr revealed.
“While some communities like Denimanu village on Yadua Island are leading sea turtle protection by complying with the moratorium, other areas are still harvesting them. Now coastal erosion is also threatening their nesting potential. If current trends continue, soon they will have no place to lay their eggs, and then we should not be surprised when we lose them.”
“Some of the nesting beaches assessed have proven that the sea turtles are not coming back to nest because they have either been harvested when trying to crawl up to nest or their eggs have been dug up and eaten or both. Based on general observations things are not looking good for turtle populations, but we’ll have to wait for the assessment report to confirm these observations.”