May 13, 2010
Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC)
The Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) is the only international agreement in the Americas created for the sole purpose of sea turtle protection and conservation issues. Originally drafted in a series of meetings in the 1990s, the IAC has now been signed and ratified by thirteen countries or “Parties” to the Convention.
The IAC’s objective is to promote the protection and recovery of the populations of marine turtles and their habitats in the Americas. All species of sea turtles are endangered and listed on Appendix I by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES).
CITES protects sea turtles by prohibiting international trade of live sea turtles and any products that derive from them. However, these endangered animals face many additional threats to their survival, including:
- Local consumption or use of turtle meat, eggs, leather, and shells.
- Incidental catch by commercial fisheries, especially bottom trawls and longlines.
- Habitat destruction and pollution.
Humane Society International has been closely involved with this treaty since its first Conference of the Parties (CoP) in 2002 to help ensure that the member countries adopt and enforce measures to increase protection for sea turtles in the region. HSI successfully convinced Parties at the first meeting to establish a formal link between CITES and the IAC so that the Parties of both agreements would cooperate to share information and reinforce resolutions to maximize sea turtle protection efforts.