Kenya’s marine biodiversity conservation efforts received a welcome boost when the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Hon. Peninah Malonza, launched the Sea Turtle Conservation Protocol at Mombasa Marine Park in Coast Conservation Area, Thursday, 15th December, 2022.
Hon. Malonza stated that Sea turtles are keystone species and contribute to the thriving of the coastal ecosystem - as such, efforts to conserve and protect them impact other ecosystems positively. The CS added that this historic launch is in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources as part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The CS explained that Sea turtle conservation is not a new phenomenon at the Coast, averring that the primary purpose of engineering this protocol was to standardize existing Sea turtle conservation efforts and data collection methods, for the benefit of marine biodiversity.
Hon Malonza stressed on the significance of the Protocols. They will help to monitor population trends across the Kenyan coastal line, and meet the statutory obligation of reporting on the status of Sea turtles as nationally listed endangered species and as an international migratory species under the framework of the Indian Ocean and South East Asia Memorandum of Understanding on Conservation of Marine Turtles (IOSEA Marine Turtles MoU) and the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Animals (CMS), to which Kenya is signatory to. The CS called for close collaboration especially with the County Governments in the Coastal region in mapping Sea turtle nesting areas.
KWS Acting Director General Dr. Erustus Kanga, EGH, said inadequate information on sea turtle nesting areas is a major setback on their conservation as it affects decision making by institutions tasked with their conservation hence lauded the launch of the Sea turtle conservation protocol. Dr. Kanga thanked participants who participated in the extensive beach clean-up exercise which preceded the launch where 349kg of assorted garbage was collected. Dr. Kanga said that surrounding sea turtle community groups were integral in developing these protocols, as most turtles’ nest in areas outside Marine Protected Areas, making community support crucial. In addition, the involvement of these groups ensured that the protocols were user-friendly to people with different expertise, experiences and skill sets in relation to sea turtles.
For conservation to succeed, collaboration is a vital ingredient. The Service wishes to recognize and appreciate all our partners for their unwavering support and sacrificing resources to ensure that there are tangible guidelines to conserve the Sea turtle.