More than 40 members of the Laúd OPO network convened for our annual workshop, during the International Sea Turtle Symposium in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. The Marine Turtle Conservation Fund of the US Fish and Wildlife Service generously supported the workshop.
While most participants were present in the meeting room, more than a dozen other members who could not attend in person were connected virtually. Remote participants were able to contribute presentations and participate in discussions with almost perfect connectivity.
The workshop provided a forum for updates from all countries from Mexico south to Chile, from nesting beaches to fishing ports to marine habitats. The participants also shared updates on research projects, international policy work, and new funding opportunities.
Participants learned that leatherback nesting in Costa Rican and Nicaragua (and nearly all other countries in the region) remains extremely low, while nesting in Mexico has remained higher in recent years.
Efforts to engage fishing communities in monitoring, reporting, and reducing bycatch continue to grow stronger, particularly in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. Recent bycatch assessment work in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica has also brought new opportunities to work with fishing communities in these key nesting beach countries.
The workshop always provides an important opportunity for sharing experiences and information, for learning from other members, and for exploring new opportunities for collaboration. Despite the critical conservation status of the population, being able to meet as a group gives us new energy and hope that fuels our activities throughout the East Pacific region.
Check back for more updates and new projects developed by Laúd OPO network members!