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NES selects consultant to develop sea turtle conservation plan for Rarotonga

Wednesday 10 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Environment, National

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NES selects consultant to develop sea  turtle conservation plan for Rarotonga
The consultant will look into developing an environmental management plan to address concerns about unsustainable tourism practices impacting sea turtles in Rarotonga. FACEBOOK/24030303

The National Environment Service (NES) has selected a qualified and experienced consultant to develop an environmental management plan to address sea turtle conservation concerns.

Environment director Halatoa Fua said they received a competitive open request for quotes, and they were now in the process of finalising contracts with the successful applicant.

“We will release more details on the successful applicant and the organisation of work once this has been finalised in the coming weeks.”

The consultant will look into developing an environmental management plan to address concerns about unsustainable tourism practices impacting sea turtles in Rarotonga.

Fua earlier said their work on a Turtle Management Plan was their response to the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cook Islands Tourism and the turtle tour operators.

In a statement, NES stated that following ongoing concerns from various stakeholders, multi-government agency meetings were held between NES, Cook Islands Tourism, and the Ministry of Marine Resources to identify options to address the mounting concerns with the way turtle tours in the southern Rarotonga passages, particularly Avaavaroa, were being conducted.

Concerns vary from the disturbance to the endangered turtles present and coral destruction, to safety and the Cook Islands’ reputation as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination.

The consultant will assist the NES Project ENUA team and its partners to complete stakeholder mapping and consultations, desktop assessments and briefing note/summary report, a draft management plan for review and input, a final plan, and provide recommendations.