Investigation of Status of the Green Turtle in Hong Kong and Action Plan for its Survival  

Project Title: Investigation of Status of the Green Turtle in Hong Kong and Action Plan for its Survival

Applicant: The Hong Kong Marine Conservation Society

Total Approved Grant: $84,192.70

Duration: 01/06/97 to 31/10/97

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

Scope: To determine how many turtles are nesting in Hong Kong during nesting season, to assess beaches in Hong Kong for nesting suitability, to protect any eggs laid and to develop sighting reporting system for recreational boat users.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
Boat trips were made around Hong Kong to examine beaches for their suitability to support a nesting population. Of all the beaches examined, six were thought to have such properties as to be conducive to turtles nesting there.

Camps were set up on Sham Wan on southern Lamma Island to look for turtles coming to nest. Sham Wan was the only beach in Hong Kong where turtles were known to nest.

During the survey period, no turtles were seen to nest in Hong Kong. Sightings of four turtles were reported over the summer. Two were live juveniles, approximately 30 cm in length, the others were dead adults found floating off the east coast.

An education programme was also run to promote conservation ideas regarding green turtles. This would continue into next year and would be focused on the rural communities of Lamma Island.

Recommendations to ensure the future survival of the green turtle in Hong Kong included:

  • The declaration of Sham Wan at southern Lamma Island as a Site of Special Scientific Interest;
  • Assignment of Sham Wan to Marine Park Status;
  • Continued and more comprehensive surveying of Sham Wan in the coming nesting season by HKMCS and the Agriculture and Fisheries Department;
  • A comprehensive environmental education system to be implemented in Hong Kong schools;
  • The Association of South East Asian Nation Environmental Committee to implement the introduction of Turtle Excluder Devices in trawl nets in the region; and
  • The Hong Kong government to take a lead in the region and require the installation of Turtle Excluder Devices in all commercial fishing vessels.