Muscat: The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU); one with Oman Oil Company (OOC) and the other with Port of Duqm, for supporting the conservation of marine turtles on the Masirah Island.
The project aims to collect nesting data, build the capacity of the ESO's field assistants and educate the local community to make them aware of the important role of turtles in maintaining Oman's environment.
Amor Al Mattani, vice-president of the ESO, said, "The ESO has been studying sea turtles on Masirah Island since 2008, and the new partnerships will allow us to continue our long-term monitoring programmes in order to understand their population trends. The Sultanate is one of the world's most important thriving habitats for marine turtles and, together with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), we will be able to continue our work, which is vital for preserving and sustaining these vulnerable creatures living in a fragile natural ecosystem."
Mulham Al Jarf, deputy CEO of Oman Oil Company, said, "In line with the OOC's corporate sustainability objectives, the project will empower communities to actively participate in preserving the environment. The OOC continues to invest in building Oman's future and remains committed to supporting the country's sustainable social and environmental development.
"Apart from helping to build the capacity of conservation professionals, the partnership will instil the values of volunteerism and emphasise the importance of protecting the Sultanate's wildlife."
Peter Broers, general manager of the Port of Duqm Industrial Land, said, "As a port, it is our responsibility to operate with a sustainable mindset. The ESO project will give us insights into understanding how management of port activities and the preservation of natural habitat can go hand in hand." Masirah Island is home to the world's largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles and also acts as a nesting ground for other species including green, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles.
All the four species of turtles in the island have been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The ESO has tagged loggerhead turtles to monitor their migration and nesting patterns and participates in various collaborative global research projects to increase the understanding of turtles living in Oman's coastal waters.