Urgent Call at UN to Protect Critically Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles

by | Oct 5, 2005

5, 2005 – San Jose, Costa Rica

PRETOMA has begun a
petition drive urging the Costa Rican government to take steps at the
United Nations to protect the critically endangered leatherback sea
turtle. The United Nations has a rare opportunity to include
language to protect these turtles in a resolution on sustainable
fisheries and marine conservation. The resolution will be discussed
in the coming weeks, and the UN General Assembly will vote on it in

Thanks in part to
negotiations by the Costa Rican government in June 2005, preliminary
language, including calls for the implementation of FAO guidelines to
reduce impacts on sea turtles, has already been drafted; however, the
language will only be included in the resolution if a specific
country brings it to the table for the vote at the General Assembly.

The PRETOMA petition
thanks the Costa Rican Ambassador at the United Nations for his
actions in June and asks him to propose the language at the General
Assembly and strengthen it.

The language is
extremely timely and important given the critical status of
leatherbacks. Leatherbacks in the eastern Pacific are the most
endangered sea turtles in the world. Their
populations have declined 99% in the last 25 years. It is now
estimated that only 1000 adult females remain in the eastern Pacific.
Costa Rica is the most important country in all the Americas for
nesting eastern Pacific leatherbacks. Just 15 years ago nearly 1400
leatherbacks nested at Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Last year there
were only 52.

Scientists from
around the world have stated that the Pacific leatherback sea turtle
could be extinct within 5-15 years if immediate measures are not
taken to mitigate the threats posed to them.

The UN has a unique
opportunity to urge countries around the world to take those

The draft language,
which could be included in the resolution, currently “requests”
that States implement measures such as temporary no-take zones or
periods in specific fishing areas where there is a high concentration
of sea turtles as well as controls on the number and capacity of
fishing vessels. 

The PRETOMA petition
asks the Costa Rican government to ensure this language is included
in the resolution and change it from a “request” to a “strong

“I believe it’s
extremely important for us Costa Ricans to realize how important our
country is for leatherbacks and just how close to extinction they
are,” says Randall Arauz, President of PRETOMA. “Leatherbacks
have roamed the oceans for over 100 million years, and I don’t
think there is a single Costa Rican who wants to see them disappear
during our watch. We invite Costa Ricans of all ages to sign the

To sign the petition
(in Spanish) contact PRETOMA at +(506) 236-0884 or

Please also view the
PRETOMA TV announcement about leatherbacks at www.tortugamarina.org.
(Footage from “Last Journey for the Leatherback?”

Link to the

Links to photos of
leatherback sea turtles:






(cite Doug Perrine)







Randall Arauz, President PRETOMA

+(506) 241-5227

+(506) 236-6017


(Programa Restauraci