Sea turtles are vital in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans. They help sustain productive coral reefs and seagrass beds on which many commercially valuable species depend. However, in some fishing areas, fishermen frequently capture sea turtles and bring them home to their children to keep as pets or in rare cases sell them.
The Fishing and Living team has developed a Sea Turtle Awareness Program where the team takes time to visit schools in fishing communities from which we source our tuna. The team lectures and educates the children on the value of sea turtles in our ocean and why it is important not to keep them as pets and, that by law, they may never be bought or sold or killed for any reason.
After the lesson, the Fishing and Living team encourages everyone to release any pet sea turtles they may have at home. Assistance is given by collecting all of the pet sea turtles in the fishing community and taking them out to the reef in a fishing vessel to release them back into the waters where they belong.
In summary, the program not only helps release turtles kept in captivity, it discourages parents or children keeping them as pets in the first place. All this is strengthened by the long-term basis of the program, which is educating the next generation of fishermen on the importance of having sea turtles in the ecosystems where they belong!