The workshop, titled “Conservation of Sea Turtles within the Cultural Context of Oceania – Possibilities Beyond Protection” will run from July 19 to 21 at the USP Laucala Campus.
During the workshop, Tamaariki will make a presentation on the tourism-related stewardship of turtle resources based on the theme “TeAra – The Way Forward with the Turtles of Rarotonga”.
“We have been running tours (to observe turtles in the sea off Rarotonga) for well over a year and we have been seeing behavioral things with the turtles.
“We have been doing some of our own research on them which is mainly photographic research, but what we want to do is try and create some way for protection of the turtles,” she said.
“With our tours, we always tell the tourists what to do and what not to do.
The aim is to try and get more knowledge that we can then pass on to the tourists who can take the information with them and spread it around the world. It’s all about raising awareness.
“This workshop will allow me to learn more about turtles, about how they behave, about their habitat, their migration, and other things related to them.
I want to get more out of it (the workshop) then I can give, to be honest, because we have got so many questions.”
Tamaariki is calling on Cook Islanders with knowledge on turtles to share the information with her to help her with the presentation.
The workshop will be attended by marine biologists and other experts in the field of turtle conservation from around Oceania.
It will be convened by George H Balazs and Thierry M Work, co-chairmen for the Oceania Region of the IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group in cooperation with the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries, the University of the South Pacific and members and associate colleagues of the Oceania Region of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group.
The workshop title and focus are directly linked to the theme of the 38th International Sea Turtle Symposium, held in Kobe, Japan in February this year.
At the symposium a panel of international sea turtle experts took an important step forward in discussing issues surrounding the idea of moving beyond protection.
The panel members encouraged further dialogue on the need for flexible and diverse conservation and management strategies in accordance with sea turtle population status, management context, scientific knowledge, local and traditional knowledge, socioeconomic needs, and cultural considerations.
The organisers of next week’s event say the title and focus of the workshop will give them a great opportunity to exchange views, news, knowledge and conservation ideas that all too often have not been openly discussed at previous Pacific meetings about sea turtles.