September 16, 2011
LIME supports conservation of the Leatherback turtle

LIME, through its telecommunications service directory, is partnering with the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Trust as it embarks on a conservation project related to the endangered Leatherback turtle. The 2011/2012 directory cover features the photograph of the record breaking reptile.{{more}}

The SVG National Trust teamed up with Union Islanders to launch the United Nations Global Environmental Facility Small Grants program (GEF) and hatched a sustainable livelihood project entitled Capacity Development for the Conservation of Leatherback Turtles in Bloody Bay, Union Island. The National Trust, under the Presidency of Louise Mitchell-Joseph, is spearheading the project, and several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Tourism, the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, Sustainable Grenadines Inc., Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries, Union Island Environmental Attackers, Tobago Cays Marine Park, have committed to the task and are leading the fight in Union Island to protect the turtle on the eclectic community 40 miles south of mainland St. Vincent.

“The launch of this year’s telecommunication service directory comes at an opportune time since the closed season for these endangered reptiles is March 1 to July 31 and the nesting season for the Hawksbill turtle peaks in September and October. Additionally with the inadequate legislation in place, the National Trust proposes to extend the closed season for the Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles should be March to November. That way the minimum size limit imposed on the marine turtle factory and our valuable egg-bearing female turtles will be protected from poachers,” said Mitchell-Joseph.

Mitchell-Joseph was at the time delivering remarks at the handing over ceremony of the first directory at LIME Corporate Office in Kingstown. She passionately stressed “the National Trust is also concerned that under the current legislation there is no special protection for the most critically endangered species that are found in the waters and nesting beaches of SVG, namely Leatherback and Hawksbill turtles. Accordingly, the Trust recommends that legislation be amended to allow for the total protection of the species of turtles classified as ‘critically endangered’.

Mitchell-Joseph further called on Government to embrace conservation while allowing sustainable harvesting of Green and Loggerhead turtles that are not internationally recognized to be critically endangered. That way a critical balance can be struck that is necessary at this point in our history and of our scientific knowledge of the fragility of planet earth.

General Manager Acting, Leslie Jack, presented the directory to Mitchell-Joseph and expressed delight that LIME has partnered with the National Trust in this worthwhile conservation project. Jack said: “History will show that this company was at the forefront of this project. Our directory will reach over 25,000 homes, and this can help to drive awareness about the endangered Leatherback turtle. There is also an element of tourism here, which is our main economic driver. The Union Island Turtle watch can be developed as part of our tourism product, and we can market this to the world, hence strengthening our diversity.”