Agency takes initiative to protect sea turtles

National

MORE than 500 turtles have been tagged and released into Papua New Guinea waters over the last five years, an official says.
Jop Opu, a local marine expert working with Japanese International Cooperation Agency, told The National during World Ocean Day celebrations in Port Moresby last week that tagging turtles was an initiative to protect and conserve turtle species that were under extreme pressure of becoming extinct.
“Marine lives are under immense threat from destruction due to human carelessness and it should be everyone’s responsibility to ensure sustainable management of the marine resources,” Opu said.
“One of the initiatives to protect and conserve to ensure the sustainable management of marine resources in the Pacific region is tagging of turtles.
“Some are under extreme threat of becoming extinct so when we tag them, they are protected under international conservation laws and they cannot be caught or killed.
“So they become like a source where they continue to live and reproduce so that is one of the regional conservation programmes we have been implementing in PNG and over the last five years, we have tagged more than 500 turtles and threw them back into the seas.”
Opu said many turtles were tagged over the past years but records were not kept properly.
“We were able to record that over the last five years and that’s about 500-plus that we have tagged.”
Jim Collings, country manager for Puma Energy, said his company was one of the major corporate sponsors of World Oceans Day.
“If one individual can take the responsibility to stop using plastic bags, I think in a year, we would save around 10 million tonnes of plastic bags from being disposed into the environment and the seas and doing harm to the marine life,” he said.

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