San José, Costa Rica. 02.17.2010. A chain of emails is circulating on the Internet with false information regarding the Conservation and Use of Ridley Sea Turtle Eggs Project (Lepidochels olivacea) at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste. There are 12 photos of the legal gathering of eggs accompanied by text labeling it as “theft” and an “international shame.”
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) seeks to clarify that the images actually represent a model of sustainable development in the Ostional community, approved in 1990 by executive order N° 28203-MINAE-MAG, law N° 8325 of the Protection, Conservation, and Recovery of Sea Turtle populations enacted on November 28th, 2002 and by law N° 8436 of Fishing and Agriculture on April 25th, 2005.
The legal use and allotment of resources plan, far from being an embarrassment, is the pride of the country and has been applauded and recognized by national and international scientists.
The Ostional National Wildlife Refuge witnesses up to 200,000 Olive Ridley turtles during the rainy season and about 15,000 in the dry season. Upon their arrival, the sea turtles lay thousands of eggs and destroy a large portion of them as they return to the ocean.
That’s why, under the sustainability development concept, the nearby rural areas are allowed to remove a specified amount for commercial purposes in Costa Rica under the Ostional Internal Development Association (ADIO in Spanish).
ADIO assures a rational use of the eggs and avoids massive and uncontrolled removal by communities. The association works together with the Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET), the Costa Rica Institute of Fishing and Agriculture (INCOPESCA), and the Biology Department of the University of Costa Rica.
Only ADIO has permission to commercialize turtle eggs in the country, packed in sealed bags displaying the association’s logo and sold with corresponding invoices. Any other consumption is illegal.
For more information on the issue, contact Johana Perlaza or Luis Jara, in Public Relations at 22995800 extension 323 or by email at jperlaza @ ict.go.cr or ljara @ ict.go.cr. You may also contact Alejandra Fernández, the press consultant, at 2296 2722 or at afernandez @ comunicacioncorporativa.net