Written by: Stephen Fisher – Director of Sustainability

Sea Delight has once again commissioned Emmy-nominated Filmmaker, Larry Nimmer, to direct an informational video for our customers. The new video, intended to raise awareness of Sea Delight’s new range of cold smoked tuna and swordfish products, will also carry the message that Sea Delight’s products are sourced from responsible fisheries.

Circle hook (left) and conventional J hook (right)

Circle hook (left) and conventional J hook (right)

Recent data released by the Vietnam Hook and Line

Tuna FIP indicates that the efforts of major NGO’s, FIP partners, like Sea Delight, and tuna trade advocates, like VINATUNA, to increase the use of Circle Hooks (C Hook) are starting to pay off.

Data analysis from on-board observer trips, which have been conducting trials with C hooks and conventional J hooks in 2017, confirmed other data collected in the fishery over the last five years: interaction of C hooks with marine turtles is significantly lower than with J hooks.

With this news in mind, the video team, Director Larry Nimmer, Executive Producer Stephen Fisher, and Production Assistant Ms. Pham Thi Anh Tho, traveled to the Con Dao Archipelago National Park to share the good news with the staff at the Con Dao National Park Marine Turtle Rescue Center at Con Son Island. They also wanted to see turtle conservation from another angle.

The primary job of the park rangers is to protect nesting mother turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs. They also keep poachers from stealing the eggs, which have been long prized as food. As soon as the mother turtle finishes laying her eggs, the rangers relocate them to sandy nests inside their security compound. They’re to be guarded 24/7 until they hatch about 30 days later.

Once the video team arrived, they explained Sea Delight’s work in reducing turtle bycatch in the tuna fishery to the park staff. The rangers were excited to learn about their turtle conservation efforts. Veteran rangers pointed out that in the last 5 years, the nesting turtle return rate had increased significantly in Con So’s 14 nesting beaches. Whether this was a happy coincidence or due in part to reduced turtle bycatch remains to be seen, but it is good news for all.

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The Sea Delight team was able to witness firsthand the great work the rangers do each night during the nesting season (April to June). In the middle of the night, the team was lucky to see an adult turtle emerge from the sea to make a nest and lay her clutch of more than 100 eggs.

Rescued baby turtles being released by park ranger Mr. Dac (L) and filmed by Director Larry Nimmer (R)

Rescued baby turtles being released by park ranger Mr. Dac (L) and filmed by Director Larry Nimmer (R)

At dawn. they were awakened again. The first batch of eggs that had been gathered and protected that year had hatched. Our video team was invited to see their release into the warm waters of the South China Sea.

The Sea Delight team and the park staff agreed to stay in contact. In the future, Sea Delight hopes to invite park staff to attend tuna fishing community meetings.  They’ll be able to show presentations on the work they do,  and network with the fishers cooperating in protecting turtles at sea. We hope this kind of information-sharing will encourage more fishers to switch to C hooks. Watch for reports on these upcoming events here.

A baby turtle reaching the sea for the first time

A baby turtle reaching the sea for the first time

Adriana Sanchez