More Than Just an Agreement

More Than Just an Agreement

Leatherback sea turtles could be lost to us in 20 years if we don't take aggressive steps for their survival.  lPhoto: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA

Pacific leatherbacks need our help more than ever. Despite being listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1970 their population is currently declining at 6% per year. If this trend continues we could lose these magnificent turtles in 20 years.

In order to provide more protection for the species, political and scientific leaders from Indonesia, California, and the United States are gathering in Monterey, CA to talk about conservation efforts. For three days in October, there will be presentations and discussions with the purpose of forming an agreement between multiple agencies.  During the Bi-National Pacific Leatherback Conservation Summit, these experts will converse about the possibility of establishing a sister sanctuary to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) in Indonesia.

In 2012, a Sister Sanctuary agreement between the MBNMS and the Egadi Islands Marine Protected Area in Sicily, Italy was established. Both protected areas share a Mediterranean climate, unlike the beaches in the Papuan Bird’s Head Seascape. The Pacific leatherbacks act as an ambassador, traveling between Indonesia and California many times throughout their life.

It is our hope that the outcomes of the summit will provide the Pacific leatherback sea turtle with more support to continue for another 100 million years.