Most nests were recorded on the island of Boa Vista.
Satisfied with these figures, the national director of the environment recalled that in three years, the number of turtle nests in Cape Verde has increased from 15 thousand (2015) to 109,202 (2018).
In the previous year (2017), 40 thousand nests had been registered and, in 2016, 25 thousand nests.
This success is due to the “good condition of the beaches where turtles spawn because they can find food in them”, but also to the “political measures taken”.
These measures include the financing of non-governmental organizations to monitor beaches, currently accounting for 182 kilometers of beach guarded throughout the Cape Verdean territory.
The criminalization of the consumption of meat and turtle eggs, which strengthened the measures provided for in the special legal regime for the protection of sea turtles, also helped to protect these animals.
According to Alexandre Rodrigues, in 2015 the percentage of turtles caught was 8.25% of the females that arrived at the beach.
This number dropped to 6.81% in 2016, 6.64% in 2017 and 1.22% in 2018.
Regarding the offenders, 22 incidents were recorded by the authorities, most of them occurring on the islands of Sal and Maio.
“Only when offenders are caught in the act is the law able to achieve its objectives,” said the national director of the Environment for whom catch and lighting on the most touristy islands are the biggest threat to protected species of turtles.
With regard to lighting, the law currently in force already provides maximum values to prevent turtles from heading towards them.
This is because the turtle hatchlings go towards the light soon after hatching, bearing in mind that the horizon of the sea is brighter due to the reflection of the stars and the moon in the sea.
As the light of cities is brighter than in nature, turtles are often disoriented and go towards the cities rather than the sea, subjecting themselves to all the dangers in this journey.
“Through the new law, we must reduce the light intensity of the lamps to the outside and we will promote a campaign to replace these lamps,” said Alexandre Rodrigues.
When this is not possible, he added, the nests will be translated.