29th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation

The 29th Annual Symposium on sea turtle biology and conservartion was in truth anticipated by all. And this mainly because for the first time it would take place in the Southern hemisphere. Australia is a pioneer in sea turtle research and conservation and host very important areas for 6 of the 7 species of turtle found in the world, including the flatback (Natator depressus) that con only be encountered in this continent.

From 14 to 19 February 2009, about 670 specialists from 70 countries gathered together in Brisbane, Australia to exchange ideas and present research results, ignoring the long journey and the jetlag that came as a result. The important thing was that the symposium was attended by many Australians (including indigenous peoples) involved in sea turtle conservsation, as well as representatives coming from atleast 8 different Pacific Ocean countries that usually are unable to attend these meetings.

Like every year, there were several regional meetings, such as the Latin America Reunion (Retomala), the Indean Ocean and SouthEast Asia Reunion (IOSEA), the South East Asia and Pacific Ocean Regional meetings. The participation from Mediterranean countries was poor this year, partly because of the cost, but mainly because of the 3rd Mediterranean Conference held in Tunisia last October. As a result, this yearʼs Mediterranean Reunion was attended by only 10 people and the discussion focused on some Mediterranean Conference results and the interaction of turtles with fisheries in the region.

ARCHELON was represented by Aliki Panagopoulou, who presented the alarming number of sea turtles found dead on the coasts of Zsakynthos and West Peloponnesus. During the video night, the 8 minute film especially prepared for the occasion of ARCHELONʼs 25th anniversary was projected.

Like every year, we met several previous volunteers of ours that have moved on to work with universities and other projects all over the world. We were also very proud to see work presented on collborations with the tourism industry and hear the presenters state they they have been inspired by our work that had previously been presented in meetings.

The nest symposium will take place in Goa India, on 27 – 30 April 2010. Using the words of its president, Kartik Shanker, “ Letʼs Goa!”



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