PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Wednesday, January 22nd the Minister of VROMI, Christopher Wever attended an informative session on Marine Conservation organized by the St. Martin division of Sea Shepherd Global at La Samana Hotel.
In attendance were representatives of Sea Shepherd, the Collectivite de St. Martin, The Nature Foundation, Officers of the Brigade Nautique Marine Park and Dive Safaris.
The main objective of the session was to bring about awareness in regards to the destruction of the environment and the effects this has on marine life.
Representatives of the Nature Foundation emphasized that it is an illegal act to hinder turtles from nesting or to disturb their nests. Turtles are confronted with many impediments to their well-being, such as water pollution due to sewage water runoff, pollution and garbage. They become victims of poaching, traps, debris that end up
in the water, particularly in the Simpson Bay lagoon, and accidents caused from boat engines.
The representative of the Nature Foundation explained that turtles sometimes get confused and distracted by onshore lights, which hinders them from nesting. The same goes for young turtles making their way to the sea.
The attendees agreed that a speed limit must be introduced and controlled for boats in the Simpson Bay lagoon and close to seashores to alleviate injuries caused to turtles swimming in the area. Other challenges in curtailing harm to sea turtles were pointed out and discussed in an effort to eradicate harm to or death of turtles.
Minister Wever expounded on his ministry’s commitment to alleviate sewage water from running into the Simpson Bay lagoon and beaches. The proposed sewage plant in Cole Bay, when operational, will help to lessen the sewage water runoff in that area. The recently launched “Be part of the solution, reduce your pollution”
campaign is another clear indication of the ministry’s efforts to keep the island clean and to reduce pollution through recycling. The minister pledged his commitment to the endeavors to protect the sea turtles and other marine life.