Since 2003, the MTSG has led an ongoing effort, called the Burning Issues process, to identify and describe “burning issues” in sea turtle research and conservation, and to set global priorities for sea turtle research and conservation action. The process was initiated at the MTSG vision and mission retreat in December 2003, and there have since been four dedicated Burning Issues Meetings, in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
The Burning Issues process is led by an informal MTSG Burning Issues Working Group chaired by Alan Bolten, Milani Chaloupka and Rod Mast, whose mission is:
“To fulfill the mission of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group, using the best available science, input from the MTSG global network, and a consensus among key experts to determine a dynamic set of priority sea turtle populations, critical issues, and recommended actions for conservation and research that will help to raise awareness, enhance the image of the MTSG, direct funding and encourage on-the-ground action in places where the MTSG believes it is most urgent and can have the largest impact in preventing sea turtle extinctions.”
The current efforts of the Burning Issues Working Group are focused on the definition of Regional Management Units for all sea turtle species, as well as a framework for research and conservation priority setting among those management units. Updates will be made to this page as these products become available in 2010.
Past products from the Burning Issues process include the identification and description of the five major hazards to marine turtles, as well as the key unsolved mysteries of marine turtle natural history.