5 Turtles Environmentally Sensitive Species

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THE Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has officially designated five sea turtle species as Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS).

The species include the Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Olive Ridley.

This designation aims to heighten awareness and protection measures during the crucial nesting period observed annually from March 1 to August 31, a release by the EMA stated on Wednesday.


The EMA, along with relevant state agencies, non-governmental organisations and vigilant beachgoers, has been working diligently to protect these sea turtles and their habitats. Despite ongoing efforts, numerous challenges persist, the release stated.

It has outlined protected nesting sites, which include but are not limited to Grande Riviere, Matura, and Fishing Pond in Trinidad, as well as various locations in Tobago such as Stonehaven Beach, Hermitage, and Bloody Bay.

Additionally, Matura beach, Fishing Pond beach, and Grande Rivière beach have been identified as prohibited areas, requiring special permission from the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, and Fisheries for turtle viewing.


To ensure the safety and well-being of these sea turtles, the EMA provides the following general safety tips and precautions, sourced from the National Sea Turtle Task Force:

  • Obtain the necessary permits or guides, especially for Prohibited Areas.
  • Avoid driving on nesting beaches.
  • Maintain a safe distance of up to 20 meters from laying turtles.
  • Wear comfortable, long, dark-colored clothing.
  • Refrain from leaving trash on the beach and using stakes or burying items in the sand.
  • Remove beach furniture and do not disturb hatchlings unless guided by a certified turtle tour guide.
  • Exercise caution regarding physical contact with sea turtles due to potential bacterial and viral transmission.

These species enjoy legal protection, and the EMA emphasizes that individuals violating the designated protection areas or committing offenses involving ESS may face imprisonment for two years and a fine of $100,000.00.


Citizens are encouraged to report any breaches by contacting the EMA’s Hotline at 367-8824 or sending emails to complaints@ema.co.tt. Photos or video recordings related to breaches can be submitted from mobile devices, but WhatsApp calls are not available on this service.



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