TAOLA prepares ecotourism legislation proposal
The national sea turtle protection network TAOLA is elaborating ecotourism legislation proposals to submit to the government. On Friday, November 16, all of the network’s members met on the island of Sal with the proposals as the main item on the table for debate.
In TAOLA president Júlio Rocha’s opinion, ecotourism is disorganized in Cape Verde, at least in part due to the lack of specific legislation for the activity. And in the case of sea turtle watching “there are no regulations clearly defining who may provide this type of service or how to do it on our beaches.” For this very reason, “there have been constant conflicts between tourist agencies, as well as with conservation organizations.”
As such, the network is preparing proposals for analysis alongside the government and the Directorate General of the Environment. “We’re going to submit proposals for regulations, in which we may begin with a pilot project on Sal. Through these regulations, we’ll begin with a new approach, in which only those with specific training may promote these types of excursions,” he explains.
TAOLA, affirms Rocha, wants turtle observation activities to be an alternative for locals. “There’s also a certain degree of laxness with regards to the people who see turtle watching as a way of making money without thinking about the impact that it may have on the species. I think we’ll only be able to have an more aware population if the population itself benefits from the profits of its country’s natural products.”
Other proposals will be presented in terms of the application of the law prohibiting the hunting and killing of sea turtles, as well as in the area of inspections and surveillance. “There is a problem with the formalization of the law, which is open to various different interpretations and which often slows down court cases. In other words, lawbreakers are often not punished,” he says.
Surveillance are another weakness in terms of the protection and preservation of sea turtles, suggestions for the regulation of which the network is also analyzing. “There are major faults in surveillance. We have laws, but proper surveillance and inspection work is needed,” notes Júlio Rocha.