U.S. Congress Ratifies Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles

Date: October 8, 2000
Contact: Gary Appelson
(352) 373-6441

On the night of September 20th, 2000, the Senate voted to approve ratification of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles! The Senate approved the “resolution of advise and consent to ratification”. U.S. ratification of the Inter-American Convention will now become final once it is signed by the President, which should happen expeditiously. See our recent “action alert” for details on the treaty. CCC’s congratulates and thanks all those that have worked to ensure the ratification of the treaty.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the IAC in late July. At first it appeared the IAC would be linked with a series of other treaties to be considered near the end of the session, possibly even delaying ratification to next year. The Committee staff decided to hotline the treaty, though, and the full Senate approved the IAC! There are a series of understandings in the resolution of advise and consent which state that the U.S. is not obligated to appropriate funds for establishing a secretariat or other forms of technical assistance, but these do not seem to limit voluntary contributions by the United States.

Sea turtle protection advocates within the government and in the private sector (including several national conservation groups) have been working for over two long years toward U.S. ratification of this important treaty. Of the original 12 countries that were signatories of the treaty, 5 have now ratified it. Three more countries must ratify before the treaty comes into force. It appears that Honduras and Belize will soon join the list.

Even after the treaty is ratified, much work will be needed to guarantee that the treaty successfully works for the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats. There are still many unknowns as to how the treaty will be implemented. It is critical that conservation organizations and government officials continue to actively work toward satisfactory implementation of the treat after full ratification. We remain confident that the regional approach to sea turtle conservation envisioned by the treaty will go a long way toward ensuring necessary protections.

You can access the entire IAC document.

The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website atwww.conserveturtles.org or call (800) 678-7853.