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Sea turtle committee says more efforts needed to combat egg looting

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Members of the sea turtle committee say this year, they are reinforcing efforts in an attempt to combat sea turtle egg looting, something that is a common problem.

Lucelly Ramos Montejo, president of the State Committee of Sea Turtles, says that for the upcoming May sea turtle nesting season, municipal committees will be installed in the south of the state to coordinate surveillance and protection in the nesting areas that registered looting last year.

“In the southern part of the state in places like Bacalar and Mahahual, looting was detected and that is why we need the support of the committee to do operational work with Marina and Profepa. It is prohibited to take the eggs because they are in danger of extinction, so we are going to work on education and awareness campaigns,” she said.

In 2017, the municipalities of Benito Juárez, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and Solidaridad participated by adding their local committees to coordinate operational actions together with the hotels, associations and volunteers that perform the surveillance, protection and management of turtles.

Ramos Montejo expects more municipalities will join.

The State Committee already had its first session of the year in which the general guidelines were put into place. The participation of each of the municipal committees will be confirmed and the final data on the 2017 activity will be announced.

“The past was a strong season, every two years there is a greater influx of turtles which was the case in 2017. Last year in Quintana Roo there were 56,012 white turtle nests, 36,702 thousand of loggerhead and 905 of hawksbill,” she said.

The looting of turtle eggs has been an ongoing problem over the years, with people being arrested and sentenced to jail time for attempting to steal and sell the eggs.

She said the municipality of Solidaridad has already begun training in the hotels with whom they have collaboration agreements, so they comply with the official Mexican Standard which obligates beaches to provide ideal conditions for the turtles to lay their eggs.