S. Hoyt Peckham, Raquel Briseño, Kama Dean, Naoki Kamezaki, Irene Kinan, Mizuno Kojiro, Johath Laudino-Santillán, Yoshimasa Matsuzawa, Leland Oldenburg, Ignacio Romero-Aguilar, Georgita Ruiz, Israel Richie-Sánchez, Miguel Valenzuela and Wallace J. Nichols. 2008. Connecting cultures to save a transpacific ambassador, the loggerhead turtle. In: Rees, A.F., M. Frick, A. Panagopoulou and K. Williams., compilers. Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-569, 262 p.
Endangered loggerhead turtles nest in Japan and mature in the waters of Hawaii and Mexico and thus require international, collaborative conservation measures. Reversing the decline of loggerhead turtles is a priority clearly articulated in US, Japanese and Mexican environmental policy, as well as by local, national and international NGOs and intergovernmental agencies. Unfortunately, efforts to protect loggerheads have been hampered by poor pan-Pacific coordination among agencies, organizations, scientists, and fishers. Because fisheries bycatch is the greatest known threat to loggerheads, it is clear that conservation action must be coordinated in all three countries. Fisheries conservation initiatives in Mexico and Hawaii and nesting beach protection in Japan have resulted in reduced turtle mortality, but loggerhead turtle bycatch remains problematic in some fisheries. Preliminary social research indicates that fishers can be motivated to take conservation action by their appreciation for turtles’ transpacific migrations and consequential vulnerability. We have assembled a pan-Pacific team from the U.S., Japan, and Mexico to share their knowledge towards understanding the cultural, social, and economic conditions that threaten loggerhead turtles in each country and for developing joint solutions to this shared problem. Through international exchange and capacity building, we are empowering fisher leaders and policy makers from Mexico, the US, and Japan to convey the transpacific migration and vulnerability of loggerhead turtles to other fishers and their families in bycatch hotspot communities. A delegation of Mexican, Japanese and US fishers, conservationists and scientists traveled to Japan, Mexico, and the US (this Symposium) to: 1) gain a pan-Pacific conservation perspective by experiencing trans-Pacific traveling loggerhead turtles in Japan; 2) share local bycatch concerns and develop solutions with international counterparts at the annual meeting of the Sea Turtle Association of Japan and at the annual meeting of the Grupo Tortuguero; 3) inspire and empower fishers to reduce bycatch by sharing the exchanges through community enrichment programs and a short documentary film; and 4) to share new knowledge of loggerheads to develop a tri-national conservation strategy to recover the North Pacific population.
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