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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

12 March 2005

Australia praised for turtle conservation


Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today welcomed the praise Australia has received for marine turtle conservation and management in the Indian Ocean and South-east Asian region.

"Australia has been recognised as a regional leader in protecting its six species of marine turtles, which are all listed as threatened under Australian legislation," Senator Campbell said.

The Secretariat of the Indian Ocean and South-east Asia Turtle MoU, headed by Mr Douglas Hykle, praised Australia's efforts to implement the MoU's Conservation and Management Plan. He noted that Australia's in-depth reporting of activities undertaken to date was exemplary, and set a good standard for other Signatory States to follow.

"The work we have done includes setting up the first national turtle recovery group to advise on conservation priorities, initiatives to reduce turtle bycatch in fishing operations, long-term population monitoring studies, and a $3.8 million Natural Heritage Trust project to develop community-driven approaches to sustainable management of marine turtles across northern Australia," Senator Campbell said.

"These are among the actions outlined in Australia's National Report on implementing the Indian Ocean and South-east Asia Turtle Memorandum of Understanding in the region.

"The National Report details on-ground conservation and management actions to protect marine turtles which migrate between Australia and other countries in the region, and what other countries could do to ensure that turtle conservation is of a high standard.

"As turtles are highly migratory, our ability to protect them depends on other countries taking similar measures."

Australian governments, academic institutions and conservation organisations contributed to the report.

"The Australian Government is looking forward to presenting the report and helping to set turtle conservation priorities at the 3rd Meeting of Signatory States in Bangkok at the end of March," Senator Campbell said.

"We will also encourage other countries in the region to join the MoU and to implement similar conservation actions. This will ensure regional conservation efforts are enhanced and turtles will have a better chance of recovery."

The user friendly Australian National Report is available from http://www.ioseaturtles.org/print_report/mainselection.php

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia