ENDANGERED TURTLES RELEASED IN FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 20, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Two turtles were freed into Suva Harbor by the Fisheries Department as part of the government's efforts to conserve turtles in Fiji.

Senior research officer Aisake Batibasaga said turtles are an endangered species in Fiji.

A three-year ban on catching them imposed in 1997 ends at the end of the year.

Mr. Batibasaga said the government is considering another ban.

He said the government is looking at a management plan for sustainable stock conservation.

The department is doing research to determine the population level of the two main sea turtle species common in Fiji.

These are the Hawksbill turtle and the Green turtle.

The department said humans have played a major role in the overwhelming of the sea turtles' ability to maintain their numbers.

This has come through the intentional and accidental capture in fisheries, destruction of foraging, nesting and resting habitats, and the pollution of the oceans.

Today, while a few populations of marine turtles are unaffected, most are declining and some have become extinct, the department said.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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