Home Conservation Visunauru village champions leatherback turtle conservation efforts

Visunauru village champions leatherback turtle conservation efforts

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In a significant display of commitment to safeguarding the endangered leatherback turtle, Visunauru villagers and members of surrounding communities in East Guadalcanal have erected a conservation-themed signboard in their village.

The official unveiling of the signboard took place last week in the presence of villagers and representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. Speaking at the event, Janet Marive, the Women’s representative, underscored the urgency of conservation efforts, emphasizing the declining population of leatherback turtles. Marive expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for their support in protecting this vital species.

“With your support, we recognize the importance of conserving leatherback turtles,” she stated.

The initiative to protect these turtles was sparked when two children from the village chose to preserve a turtle rather than consume its meat—a delicacy enjoyed by the people of Visunauru and neighboring communities until recently. Additionally, a noticeable decline in leatherback turtles nesting on their beach prompted the community to take proactive steps towards conservation.

Janet Marive highlighted the collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, saying, “Over time, we observed a decline in the number of leatherback turtles on our beach. We decided to conserve them before they disappear, and with the Ministry of Fisheries, we have strengthened our commitment to protect our leatherback turtles.”

Joy Raru, representing the youth, echoed the historical practice of conservation among their ancestors and emphasized the objective of safeguarding leatherback turtles for present and future generations. She outlined the potential benefits of conservation for the communities, particularly the youth.

Addressing the gathering, Readly Opa, the Community Committee Chairman, Mr. Malachi Tefetia, Guadalcanal Provincial Fisheries officer, and Mr. Peter Kenilorea, Chief Fisheries officer representing the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, all echoed the importance of leatherback turtle conservation.

Mr. Kenilorea referenced the biblical concept of stewardship, drawing parallels between God’s instruction to Adam and Eve to be stewards of creation and the responsibility to protect leatherback turtles.

Expressing gratitude, Kenilorea thanked the people of Visunauru for their commitment and highlighted the Ministry of Fisheries’ ongoing support. Following the speeches, attendees participated in the unveiling of the signboard and witnessed a chupu ceremony organized by the community to express appreciation for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources’ support in their conservation efforts.

Francis Pituvaka

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