On 18th October 2022, the Marine Mammals Twinning hosted a workshop focusing on the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit and its respective adaptation to marine turtles at the occasion of the 7th Mediterranean Conference on Marine Turtles, Tetouan (Morocco), highlighting the toolkit as a key tool for MPA managers, and its value for managing marine turtles within the Mediterranean.
Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of marine turtles in the Mediterranean, and the global Ocean.
Marine turtles – even at diminished population levels – play important ecological and socio-economic roles in the Mediterranean, however, commercial fishing, marine bycatch, loss of nesting habitat and coastal development, the influx of ocean pollution and climate change all continue to have a devastating impact on populations, pushing species to extinction. The future of marine turtles will be determined by our current and future actions, thus the development and implementation of good management plans for the conservation of these species should be an urgent priority.
Building upon the successes of the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit, and in line with the Twinning objective “Adapt the toolbox to other migratory species such as turtles or other significant species in South-East Asia.”, the Marine Mammal Twinning hosted a workshop that convened over 100 marine turtle experts, MPA managers, and stakeholders, to facilitate, and build an initial framework for the adaptation of the toolkit for marine turtles.
Following a morning of presentations and talks emphasising the need for ecosystem-based management, and the consideration of other mobile species within conservation actions, the workshop kick-offed with an introductory presentation on the EU-funded Ocean Governance Project, the Marine Mammal Twinning, and the Marine Mammals Management Toolkit. The Twinning recognised the vulnerability of mobile species within the region, pairing impacts and management actions for marine mammals and marine turtles.
Following a review of the components of the Toolkit, with special attention given to the Self-Assessment Tool and the Factsheets, participants were separated into five groups. These groups jointly discussed, proposed, and presented key considerations for MPA managers, and the Twinning, with respect to the effective management of marine turtles under the five core thematics of the toolkit: Management Frameworks, Addressing Threats and Activities, Research and Knowledge, Outreach and Engagement and Effective Management.
A result of these discussions is the development of a baseline of knowledge to formulate the production of a new toolkit for marine turtles. The Twinning will subsequently maintain communication with participants, sharing the advancements of the toolkit’s development, and acting as a precursor for a proposed large-scale workshop to be convened for the building, review, and assessment of the toolkit in 2023.