WWF South Pacific represented at International Meet

© Merewalesi Laveti
WWF SPPO @ Canon
© Merewalesi Laveti
The 31st Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation saw sea turtle conservation stakeholders converge to discuss common challenges and better ways to conserve these ancient mariners and other species of special concern.

The Symposium was held on the West Coast, in San Diego, California, which was attended by researchers, conservation practitioners, educators and the general public. WWF South Pacific’s Marine Species Officer, Merewalesi Laveti was one of the attendees at this symposium aiming to learn and develop ways in which partners could identify common platforms where in-country projects can work together and share lessons learnt.

In addition to this, the symposium provided participants the opportunity to learn more about the funding opportunities available for sea turtle conservation and how best to access funds, such as the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund.

“Aside from the larger symposium, there was a specific 'Pacific Sea Turtle Network' meeting with the primary purpose to enhance connectivity and coordination amongst sea turtles scientists, managers and advocates from across the Pacific basin to significantly promote information exchange, networking and collaborations,” Laveti said.

At this side event, the WWF SPPO took the opportunity to showcase the successful 'Community based sea turtle network for monitoring' project as a tool to improve community engagement, ownership of resources and revitalise customary practises in the conservation of sea turtles in the Pacific.

In partnership with the Secretariat of the Regional Environment Programme, the project highlighted the collaboration between country projects such as Vanuatu and Fiji - two countries that are part of the Coral Triangle Network Initiative

Laveti added that the Pacific Sea Turtle Network meeting was an opportunity to encourage a fellow Pacific Island territory to explore the adoption of the community based sea turtle monitoring concept being implemented in Fiji and Vanuatu.

Attendance and participation at this meeting was made possible through funding from the WWF UK fund.