Recently, Cape Verdean politicians expressed their concern about the protection of the local sea turtles in an article of the local news website SAPO NOTÍCIAS. We are very pleased that this issue in Cape Verde finally is increasingly present in the public debate, and we hope very much that the protection of sea turtles will in future be more respected both a the level of national politics as well as in the enforcement of existing laws.
You can read the original article (in Portuguese) using this link:
Here is the English translation of the article:
Members of the Cape Verdean parliament are concerned about local sea turtle conservation
The members of the Cape Verdean parliamentary commission of Economy, Environment and Regional Planning today have expressed concern about the deterioration of the protection of turtles, the brand image of Cape Verde increasingly threatened.
Turtles are a national symbol that had already been better protected,” said the chairman of the parliamentary commission, the deputy of the Movement for Democracy (MpD) Luís Carlos Silva.
The deputy spoke today during a breakfast with journalists to present the commission’s activity plan for this parliamentary year, focusing, among other things, on turtle problems, informal settlements on the islands of Santiago, Boavista, and Sal, and recent seismic activity on the Island of Brava.
Luís Carlos Silva explained that the commission has held meetings with the protection network of the turtles in Cape Verde (TAOLA), which is very concerned about the generalized “feeling of impunity” for turtle hunting on Cape Verdean beaches.
“The beaches are monitored by NGOs and volunteers who are unable to act if it comes to law enforcement,” said the deputy.
He added that the commission is studying the phenomenon together with the organizations of protection of the turtles and that it will propose the necessary legislative changes.
Cape Verde has approved legislation criminalizing the capture, killing and commercialization of sea turtles in 2015, but a study conducted in 2016 concluded that the measures taken are insufficient to stop the capture and illegal consumption of meat and turtle products.
The study, promoted by the Turtle Foundation in collaboration with Cape Verde’s National Fisheries Development Institute, warned of the need to review conservation measures and to work directly with hunters and consumers.
In the same sense, Luís Carlos Silva understands that it is necessary to “attack the economy” created around the hunting of turtles and promote “a change of thought”, sensitizing the economic benefits of preserving the species.
According to the latest data released by the Cape Verdean press, in four months of nesting season in 2016 (June to September), 200 turtles were killed only on Sal Island.
In addition to hunting, turtles are also threatened by the destruction of nesting beaches in many beaches in Cape Verde, caused by illegal sand quarrying.
Accordingly, the Vice-President of the Commission, the deputy of the Cape Verdean Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) José Maria Veiga said that any “strategy of protection of turtles will also have to take into account the extent of the conservation on the beaches”.
The commission therefore intends to promote a workshop on coastal planning and planning that addresses these extents in April.
MEPs also expressed concern about the continued construction of “Barracas” on the Islands of Sal and Boavista, clandestine clusters without sanitation that, according to MpD deputy Lúcia Passos, “may threaten tourism” on the two islands.
In May, the committee will promote a forum on informal settlements, centered around the city of Praia, but with participants from other islands, to understand the phenomenon and identify measures to “reverse logic” that lead people to not finish building their houses.
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