QUESTIONING THE WISDOM BEHIND SPENDING ON TURTLES……
Hasan Hanif &; Daniyal Motan
Pakistan has been blessed with a coastline that extends up to 1,050 km (650 mi). Of these 250 km fall in Sindh province and 800 km in Baluchistan. This gives one an idea of the scope of the effort needed to protect and conserve the Green Sea Turtle which nests along the length and breadth of this coastline. The problem is compounded by the fact that the Makran coast, in Baluchistan consists of steep mountains that rise to an elevation of up to 1,500 m and deserted, secluded beaches. The coast is secluded and communication links especially rail and road links do not exist. Effective conservation depends on access to the target area and as this is not the case in Pakistan massive expenditure will be needed just to make the nesting sites accessible. In addition offices and research stations will need to be set up in this inhospitable terrain causing a myriad of logistical problems.
Other methods of Turtle conservation too are costly and inefficient. Internationally over 60,000 turtles are caught by shrimp trawlers. Though national law requires the use of the Turtle Excluder Device, and is estimated to increase costs of commercial operations by up to 10%. In addition there is no framework to ensure that this device is ever installed and to do so would require expansion of the coastal guard which is already encumbered with the task of safeguarding Pakistan’s massive oceanic territory of 24,000 square kilometers. Once again it is not feasible to expand the coastal guard for the protection of turtles alone, especially considering the multitude of problems, mainly being national debt which requires spending cuts not increases.
Another inherent of Turtle conservation is that unfortunately results of existing conservation efforts are not impressive enough to justify a spending increase. Even efforts by the generally more credible WWF are encountering numerous issues. The fences of its...
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