Hawksbill Sea Turtle

May 8, 1994 Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge established June, 2005 Request to reduce impacts on sea turtles drafted by Costa Rican Ambassador for inclusion in the United Nation resolution on sustainable fisheries and marine conservation. Seek measures such as no fishing zones, periodic closures of fishing grounds when many sea turtles are present and fleet size and capacity reductions.

October 5, 2005 PRETOMA (a Costa Rica non-profit) begins petition drive urging government to protect endangered leatherback sea turtles by protecting nesting beaches, educating communities about benefits of protection, incentives to abandon turtle egg poaching and consumption, nightly beach patrols, tagging, monitoring, hatchling production and release, hiring of local community members to assist in monitoring, and by generating money for communities by increasing need for accommodations and food for project workers and volunteers.

October 11, 2005 First leatherback sea turtle nest of season recorded at proposed National Wildlife Refuge site on Nicoya Peninsula, Playa Caletas. 42 eggs transferred by PRETOMA to project hatchery site for protection and development. The turtle was tagged by PRETOMA 20 months earlier in February, 2004. This may be second most important nesting beach for leatherbacks in Costa Rica preceded. First is Playa Grande in the Las Baulas National Park. Six leatherbacks nested at Playa Caletas during 2004 and 52 at Las Baulas. PRETOMA works directly with the Ministry of Environment (MINEA) to designate Playa Caletas as National Wildlife Refuge.

November 11, 2005 PRETOMA announces over 20,000 Costa Ricans signed petition to protect leatherbacks. Petition is directed to Ambassador of Costa Rica at United Nations and request Costa Rica lead the way at the UN assembly to include clauses in a fisheries and marine conservation resolution with recommendations to protect Pacific Leatherbacks.

November 23, 2005 After request by PRETOMA and town of San Miguel, the Costa Rica electric company (ICE) installed shields on 22 street lamps along the main street of San Miguel that negatively affectinged hundreds of sea turtles attempting to nest there each year.

November 28, 2005 The United Nations General Assembly approved fisheries resolution including calls for control on fishing fleets to protect sea turtles such as time and area closures of fisheries in areas where sea turtle activity is high. In four months 40,000 Costa Ricans, three city governments (Heredia, San Isidro de Heredia, and Belen), the Orphan Hospice of San Jose, and multiple non government agencies signed a petition urging protection of sea turtles.

November 30, 2005 Municipality of Nandayure in Guanacaste presents PRETOMA with order to dissolve research camp at Caletas sighting article 12 Maritime Terrestrial Zone Law.

PRETOMA files lawsuit requesting municipality retract its order as the the Ministry of Environment can authorize research projects. PRETOMA had been permitted by MINEA to conduct research at the camp since 2002, and for the past two years has worked with MINEA to declare the beach and surrounding area a National Wildlife Refuge.

PRETOMA has also conducted educational programs in local schools, community outreach efforts to educate others about sea turtles, and organized beach cleanups. PRETOMA sites Costa Rica has signed many international accords requiring specific actions to protect leatherback sea turtles including a November, 2004 resolution at the Interamerican Convention for Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles. The resolution also urged all countries with leatherback nesting beaches in the eastern Pacific to take measures to protect their beaches and surrounding habitats.

December 7, 2005 In the early evening a leatherback sea turtle came ashore at San Miguel to lay its eggs.

2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve, International Affairs Division of International Conservation Multinational Species Conservation Fund - Marine Turtles Program lists a Summary of Projects for 2006. Included is an Initiative to Create the Southern Nicoya Peninsula Sea Turtle Network (SNSTN) of Costa Rica: Expanding and Consolidating Eastern Pacific Leatherback and Olive Sea Turtle Protection. Working in partnership with PRETOMA the purpose of the project is to unite six beaches into one network with monitoring and protection at Costa de Ora and Camaronal, and assessment of nesting activity at Bejuco and Corozalito.

Work is to address conservation of Olive Ridley and Pacific Leatherback turtles. FWS: $25,000. Leveraged Funds: $57,050. Also included is a project titled Global Assessment of Arribada Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. This project will result in a simultaneous global estimate of the number of female Olive Ridley sea turtles coming ashore to nest at the most important rookeries in India, Mexico, and Costa Rica. FWS: $42,784. Leveraged Funds: $11,000.

July, 2006 PRETOMA launched new sea turtle conservation and investigation network to protect more than 25 kilometers of sea turtle nesting beach and to provide benefits for coastal communities along the southern Nicoya Peninsula. This network, named PLANS (Spanish acronym for Nesting Beaches of Southern Nicoya) includes projects at San Miguel and Playa Caletas and two new projects in Costa de Ora and Camaronal. The 2007 plans intend to expand project further to protect Corozalito and Bejuco, to complete a network of six beaches spanning 25 kilometers.

July 7, 2006 First new project of PLANS began at Camaronal Beach. Camaronal is located within the 524 acre Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge, formed in 1994 as an important sea turtle nesting site. Investigation began to determine which types of turtles nest there and how many, amount of poaching, and hatching success Turtle Rates. Research conducted in collaboration with Tempisque Conservation Area (ACT) of MINEA.

July 20, 21006 Costa de Oro asked PRETOMA for help for years to stop illegal poaching of eggs in that area. PLANS projects began with workshop and construction of hatchery by community members and PRETOMA staff.

August 11, 2006 The government of Costa Rica announced creation of new national wildlife refuge and marine protected area called Caletas-Ario. This refuge stretches from Coyote Point along Caletas Beach and south past Bongo River including 313 hectares of coastline. A 19,846 hectare Marine Protected Area extending 12 miles offshore will ban shrimp trawling and compressor diving. Four species of sea turtles (leatherback, olive ridley, pacific green, and hawksbill) nest at Caletas.

September 26-28, 2006 Costa Rica led international effort to secure inclusion of fisheries guidelines in the fisheries resolution “Reduction of the adverse impacts of fisheries on sea turtles” at the Third Conference of the Parties of COP III of the Interamerican Convention for the Conservation and Protection of Sea Turtles CIT held in Mexico. Costa Rica led international effort which secured inclusion of fishery guidelines directly favoring regional conservation of leatherback sea turtles. A series of guidelines for fisheries were approved including avoiding interaction between sea turtles and fishing operations, and identificatione and implementaiton of closures for critical and protected areas.

November 11, 2006 More than 2,500 sea turtles arrive on Camaronal Beach at the Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge to lay their eggs over the course of two nights. It has been 15 years since 1,000 sea turtles came ashore here during October and November. Since then there have only been solitary occasional sightings. The turtles on this occasion were Pacific Leatherbacks, but at other times have included other species.