A call for all Turtle geeks, gurus, experts or Aficionados . . . Samoa beckons you.
The SWAP Foundation is seeking support from anyone interested in helping a local Turtle tourism business to “lift its game”.
Our programme invites volunteers to Samoa, helping them with accommodation, transport and logistics in return for assistance in whatever way people would like to help. Our call today is for people interested in Sea Turtles, who can help teach, train support and mentor local Samoan business people in the care, life-cycle, and other general information about turtles.
If you know everything about turtles, or just love them and know more about turtles than Joe Public, and you would like some time in Paradise – drop us a note and we’d love to see you here.
Please email [[mailto firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com]]
Wednesday 18th August, 2010 (WSTime)
It is with great regret that we have today advised the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism of what appears to be a commercial Sea Turtle poaching operation occuring in and around the Manono and Mulifanua lagoon areas of Samoa. We have provided photographic evidence of the operations and are aware of more highly damning photos and videos taken between January and August 2010, the last video evidence from Yesterday 17th August, 2010 in Aggie Grey’s Lagoon.
We have sought their immediate intervention to stop the slaughter that we suspect has been occurring in the last year, photographic evidence having been sighted from January 28th, 2010 and onwards. We suspect a black market has developed and anecdotal evidence has been received of depletion of turtle numbers in the order or 80-90% in some of these areas.
We assess the current situation to be a major ecological crisis in this area and could become potentially devastating to a country ravaged by two Cyclones in 1990 and 1991, and a Tsunami in September of 2010.
Put simply, the SWAP Foundation believes that this is the LAST thing Samoa needs with a few people profiting at the expense of Sea Turtles and potentially damaging the reputation of a country in desperate need of tourism. We have today placed a plea with both the Minister of Tourism and the Prime Minister to act swiftly and ensure that authorities enforce the Marine Wildlife Protection Regulations 2009, specifically Part III, Clause 8, that makes the fishing of Sea Turtles illegal and punishable by substantial fines.
We will advise the progress of Samoan authorities in stopping the current hunting and report their progress in dealing with the hunters involved as information comes to hand. For the record, it is the SWAP Foundation’s mission to assist tourist businesses in Samoa, and we disapprove of commercial Sea Turtle hunting for several reasons:
- It is against the law
- It is a major tourism-adverse activity
- It is not a sustainable practice
Saturday 21th August, 2010 (WSTime)
The Minister of Tourism and Deputy Prime Minister (Misa Telefoni) has responded to our information and concerns in the above matter as follows:
PROTECTION OF SEA TURTLES
I would like to bring to your urgent attention this letter of concern from Mr Dennis A. Smith of the SWAP Foundation.
This issue needs urgent investigation and affirmative positive action.
Faafetai and God bless.
Letter received from the DPM.
We are delighted that the Minister of Tourism has responded so quickly to what is clearly a major developing story with Interternational interest. We sincerely hope that other departments respond equally quickly to stem the poaching and save Samoa from further international embarrassment (let alone saving the turtles!).
Our original letter of concern provided to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, and the Prime Minister is available here: Turtle Hunting in Samoa.
Again we state that it is our desire to build Samoan tourism but we choose to be brutally honest about what is happening around us. We seek tourism built on a genuine experience not tourism built on a lie or created by a deception. In that context we ask that conservationists or activists who wish to raise the awareness of turtle hunting in Samoa do so with the understanding that there are only a few people who are ruining things for the majority in Samoa and that there are many people here who are distraut at the actions of these few.
We trust that the authorities here will do exactly as the DPM requests and take “affirmative positive action”.
Again, we’ll keep you informed.