The Marine Research Foundation is leading a sea turtle extinction risk study for sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean on behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), an intergovernmental organisation charged with promoting cooperation among Pacific islands countries and territories to protect and improve their environment and ensure sustainable development.

As part of the Pacific-European Union Marine (PEUMP) Programme, funded through the Eleventh Round of the European Development Fund (EDF 11), SPREP is the executing agency for Key result Area 5, the By-catch and Integrated Ecosystem Management (BIEM) Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to reduce the by-catch of threatened species in Pacific islands’ fisheries and to improve the health of coastal waters through an integrated approach to coastal management, including marine spatial planning, and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. Through the BIEM Initiative SPREP is working with the Governments of Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga to deliver their priorities in the sustainable management of their coastal resources and marine biodiversity, focusing on seven integrated key result areas (KRAs) id, one of which directly addresses bycatch and conservation of threatened, endangered and protected marine species at a national and South West Pacific regional scale.

Over the coming two years MRF will liaise and consult extensively with technical experts, involved Government Ministries and Departments, contractors, NGOs, donors, SPREP Threatened and Migratory Species Adviser and the BIEM Bycatch Coordinator to deliver these risk assessments, with the ultimate goal of improving the conservation status of sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean.