FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
First International Meeting on the Conservation of Sea Turtles to be
organized in São Tomé and Príncipe.
São Tomé January 3rd, 2006 Pioneer initiative in Central Africa,
the first international meeting on the conservation of sea turtles
in São Tomé and Príncipe will gather numerous specialists to discuss
perspectives for research and conservation of these species.
São Tomé and Príncipe, country made of two islands isolated over the
equator line, 300 km off the coast of Gabon, presents an incredibly
rich biodiversity and holds the biggest diversity of sea turtle
species in the region, with five species occurring in its waters,
four of which nest from September to April each year. The santomean
NGO MARAPA, which operates the Sea Turtle Protection Program on the
archipelago, will be organizing the event, on January 30 and 31 of
2006, in the capital São Tomé.
Through the 20th century, the commercialisation of sea turtle
products, marine pollution and industrial fisheries have negatively
affected the sea turtle populations worldwide. All specialists have
agreed that sea turtles are threatened or endangered of extinction.
In São Tomé and Príncipe, sea turtles are still considered mere fish
and are still sold internally (meat and scales). Human pressure on
sea turtle populations have put these species on the list of the
most vulnerable in Gulf of Guinea, and all efforts are urgent to
improve their protection.
The objective of this international conference, in the beginning of
this new year, is to raise awareness from the civil society and
government entities to the importance of the protection of sea
turtles in the country, mainly through the creation of alternative
economic activities in coastal areas, such as ecotourism, and
strengthen the preservation of national natural marine resources. To
this effect, specialists of many different nationalities will
participate to the event in order to alert the national and
international community about the danger of the disappearance of
these species, and propose alternatives to minimize the threats.
For further information, please contact the NGO MARAPA in São Tomé:
Rogério N. Lopes Ferreira
ONG MARAPA Mar Ambiente e Pesca Artesanal
CP 292 S. Tomé São Tomé e Príncipe
Tel./Fax: (239) 22 27 92 / 91 66 81
# # #