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Recovery Strategy for the Leatherback Turtle

10.0 Anticipated challenges for recovery

As has been illustrated throughout this document, a major challenge facing the recovery of Atlantic leatherbacks is the lack of general knowledge about the species, its abundance (both in Canadian waters and on the high seas) and appropriate measures to mitigate any negative human-induced effects.  While there has been significant progress in narrowing these knowledge gaps in recent years, it is widely accepted that research efforts must continue and increase.  Accordingly, areas where more information is needed have been identified in this strategy (Section 5.0).

Targeted studies in the implementation phase of recovery are expected to yield a better understanding of what is needed to achieve a viable population (and hence recovery) of leatherback turtles in Atlantic waters.  In the absence of complete information, however, recovery actions are possible and are promoted as key objectives in this strategy.  Through an iterative and adaptive approach to recovery, it should be accepted that new data will inform the development of mitigation measures and strategies for recovery implementation.

In addition to knowledge gaps, the highly migratory and pelagic habits of the species present a significant challenge for recovery.  Recovery of the leatherback turtle will require significant international coordination to reduce or remove the negative impacts of human activities across the species’ range.  While some progress is being made in this area, with the establishment of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements between range states, international coordination still poses a special challenge.  Canada can play an important role on the international stage in promoting conservation efforts for this species, and will need to examine the ways in which this can be most effectively achieved.

The strategies recommended here reflect opportunities for immediate action as well as the urgent need for more research, and places both in the context of international cooperation.  Canada has a role both at home and abroad for the recovery of this species.