EMA probes destruction of nesting site at Turtle Beach

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The scenic Turtle Beach in Tobago. – Photo courtesy Visuals Style

THE Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has launched an investigation into the destruction of a turtle nesting site at Turtle Beach, Tobago, which it said is an important site for endangered leatherback turtles on the island.

The authority said the investigation follows a video that surfaced recently on social media showing what appears to be land works and crushed turtle eggs scattered along the sand at Turtle Beach.

In a statement, the EMA said officers from its Environmental Police Unit (Tobago Office) and officers of the Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development conducted a joint site visit on April 30, to determine the extent of the works conducted.

“The EMA reminds all that leatherback turtles have been designated as one of the Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS) and are protected by law,” it said.

“Habitat preservation is crucial for their annual nesting period between March and September, and appropriate enforcement action will be taken against those committing acts in contravention of the requirement to refrain from any unauthorised activity impacting on the environment with respect to an ESS, pursuant to Section 62(d) Environmental Management Act, Chap. 35:05 (the Act).”

According to the act, “Any person who knowingly or recklessly undertakes or conspires to allow any activity in an environmentally sensitive area or with respect to an environmentally sensitive species designated under Section 41, which may have an adverse impact on the environment within such area or on such species, commits an offence.”