Vietnam has carried out many programs and action plans to conserve sea turtles. Con Dao National Park in southern Ba Ria - Vung Tau province is the first place in the country to successfully implement a sea turtle conservation program.

A female sea turtle returns to the beach to lay eggs.

Vietnam has a long coastline stretching over 3,260 kilometres and thousands of islands, which are home to many species of sea turtles such as green turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea). These species are currently protected at the highest level in accordance with Vietnamese and international laws. Many localities have formed marine protected areas with activities to rescue sea turtles, protect spawning grounds and turtle eggs with Con Dao being a typical example.

Nguyen Khac Pho, Director of the Con Dao National Park Management Board (NPMB), said that since 1994 it has implemented a sea turtle conservation program that focuses on researching ecological characteristics of the sea turtles, protecting nesting habitats and egg nests and building hatcheries. Specific action programs include wearing tags, satellite locators, and moving egg nests to a safe place as well as creating a safe hatching station, inspecting and releasing baby turtles to the sea.

The management board has also issued regulations on the conservation of habitats and spawning grounds of sea turtles associated with ecological activities of the Con Dao National Park, aiming at providing better protection for mother turtles, newly hatched turtles and eggs.

According to Pho, the Con Dao National Park is the first place in Vietnam to successfully carry out a sea turtle conservation program. The number of sea turtles laying eggs in Con Dao accounts for about 90 percent of the number of sea turtles in Vietnam. In 2021, sea turtles were found to nest on Con Dao island from January to November with the peak season lasting from June to October.

About 1,956 egg nests were recorded on 13 beaches in the Con Dao National Park and an estimated 647 mother turtles went to the nesting grounds as of November 20, 2021.

The protection of the sea turtles is an outstanding success of the park, contributing to the conservation of endangered marine species worldwide.

In 2022, the management board will implement a plan to manage and conserve the sea turtles, creating favourable conditions for mother turtles to lay eggs. It will coordinate with Con Dao Resort Ltd. Co. in realizing a project on preserving sea turtle spawning grounds at Dat Doc in the 2021-2025 period. The board will also collaborate with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Vietnam in organizing a volunteer program on sea turtles conservation in 2022.

With the success of sea turtle conservation activities, Con Dao has been recognized as an official member of the Indian Ocean-Southeast Asia (IOSEA), becoming the 11th member of the marine turtle conservation network.

Source: VNA