Saving Turtle Cove
I was born in Hong Kong, a unique island that used to be a glorious fishing port until the recent fisheries collapse. In January 2013, trawling was banned and since then, we have noticed a rebound in some species.
But much more needs to be done in order to protect the local cetaceans and sea turtles that migrate through our waters.
Hong Kong is host to 5,943 marine species within its 1,651 square-kilometre waters. It is home to more than a quarter of all recorded marine species in China, has more hard corals than the Caribbean Sea, and more mangrove tree species than East India. Over 10 years ago, studies carried out by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department claimed that at least 10 percent of our waters needed protection in order to sustain our fisheries and conserve marine biodiversity. Yet, till now only two percent of our marine habitats are partially protected.
Sham Wan, also known as Turtle Cove, is located at Lamma Island and is one of the few remaining nesting sites for sea turtles in Southern China. The site is essential to the survival of this highly endangered species in both local and regional contexts.
Sea turtle deaths are mainly attributed to three causes: consumption of indigestible trash; entanglement in drift nets; and collision with motorised vessels. Before nesting on sandy beaches, female green sea turtles mate in shallow waters, usually at the surface. This is when they become most vulnerable to vessels.
It is my hope to turn Turtle Cove into a Hope Spot – part of Mission Blue’s international conservation campaign to recognise and support ecologically unique areas of the ocean designated for global protection. Preventing extinction is dependent upon having areas of natural protection to maintain biodiversity as we know it for our future generations.
TOP RIGHT: Sharon holding a young albino turtle. These turtles don’t stand much of a chance in Nature and are kept in a facility ABOVE: A turtle hatchling that was raised for a few weeks in a Mexican government facility before being...