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Cuban turtle hunt ends

Monday 28 January 2008

fishingThe Cuban government has been warmly praised for its decision to ban the hunting of marine turtles, ending a controversial yet established practice in the region. Conservation group WWF, which was instrumental in the outcome through its work with the Cuban Ministry of Fisheries and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), called the move a ‘lifeline’ for turtle species and the marine ecosystems in which they exist.

Prior to the decision, Cuban operated a fishery of up to 500 critically endangered hawksbill turtles per year.

“This far-sighted decision represents an outstanding outcome for Cuba, for the wider Caribbean, and for conservation,” said Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF International’s Species Programme. “Cuba is to be commented for the example it has set in intelligent decision-making informed by science and the long-term best interests of its people.”

The two fishing communities that are affected by the new regulation will be financially supported and will also receive technical assistance to find ‘sustainable economic alternatives’ as well as modernisation of their fishing fleets.

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