New Economic Insights and Case Studies
Chapter 10: The Role of Open-cycle Hatcheries Relying on Tourism in Sea Turtle Conservation: A Blessing or a Threat?
* 10.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the potential conservation benefits that can be derived from well-conducted open-cycle hatcheries, especially in developing countries as an ex situ conservation tool. In many developing countries where beaches and sea turtle eggs are a common property resource and where the illegal demand for sea turtle egg consumption is high, ex situ conservation becomes the only viable conservation tool. Regulatory approaches, including patrolling of beaches to protect sea turtle eggs from poachers, are not a sustainable option. Despite the potential of open-cycle hatcheries as an ex situ conservation tool recommended by some conservation bodies and government agencies where other options have either failed or are not workable, the existence of hatcheries that are closely linked with tourism and profit-making raises many questions. This is especially so with regard to the survival of hatchlings and their ability to grow into adults (see, for example, Hamann et al., 2007; Pilcher and Enderby, 2001). Despite some consensus and doubts raised about the conservation benefits, open-cycle turtle hatcheries are now well established in many developing countries such as Sri Lanka where sea turtles nest regularly. These hatcheries depend on the collection of sea turtle eggs from the wild to provide their turtle stock and rely almost entirely on tourists for their continuing economic viability. The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate, as discussed in Tisdell and Wilson (2005), the extent of the problem in some developing countries of sea turtle egg collecting from the wild for human consumption and...
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