Thursday, May 31, 2007
Turtle Conservation Public Forum
A new conservation effort is being spearheaded by a number of different agencies and concerned citizens, all with the same goal in mind. Save the Sea Turtles! In an effort to get everyone’s thoughts a public forum will be held at Aqua Resort on Friday June 1 at 5:30 PM.
Why do we need to protect the turtles? This was the exact question asked by Sylvan (Top dog at Fish & Wild Life) during one of the first meetings for this group. On the surface it may seem a ridiculous question since sea turtles are an endangered species (that means they could soon be gone forever)! If we don't do something to ensure their numbers recover we will only be able to look at video or photographs of these amazing animals. As I said on the surface it's a ridiculous question but the fact remains that saving Turtles means something different to everyone. For myself a dive with a turtle automatically becomes a good dive (usually a great dive). I love to watch these guys. Approached slowly they will let you get close b/c they know in a split second they can accelerate to speeds no diver can match! On the other hand many folks like to eat them. We live on an island in the Pacific; this should come as no surprise to anyone. I've never tried it but I know that at one time turtles provided an abundant and practical food source to islanders and that turtles have always played an important role in the culture of the island nations. In an ideal world our waters would be filled with these guys to the point that to some degree they could be harvested for sustenance and divers could be guaranteed to see not one but multiple turtles on any given dive. On an economic level the importance of the Turtle cannot be underestimated. If, as a tourist destination, we had a reputation for being turtle friendly while still promoting the related indigenous culture we would be a "one of a kind" destination and many more people would make plans to come here. Don't believe me check out the island of Sipidan - not Saipan. (I'll post a Sipidan vs Saipan story soon). Seven years ago you could plan a dive trip to Sipidan for less than $50 per day all meals, accommodation and diving included. Since the word got out that among other things you WILL see 10 to 20 turtles on any given dive packages have gone the way of every highly sought after location. $130/day just for the diving and the accommodation has followed with a similar rise in rates! It CAN be done and no matter why you think turtles should be saved as long as you think they should be saved come out to the Forum on Friday at Aqua Resort and lets join together to meet the Challenge. Until then enjoy a little thing I'm going to call "Cutting Room Floor" Today's clips are of course of a turtle!