Photo Credit: Erastus Kithi

Establishing a Local Marine Managed Area to protect Green Turtles

09.10.2019

Turtle released into the sea
Credits : Lekita Mwangemi

CONSERVATION PROBLEM

The project area exhibits an outstanding marine biodiversity with diverse coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea grass beds, spectacular sand dunes, large number of lagoons and estuaries; and a lucrative fishing industry that supports the majority of the local communities. However, the Endangered Green Turtle is facing numerous threats in this environment, and a high proportion of these are caused by humans.

Over exploitation of marine resources is a key issue. The turtle habitat is being degraded due to pollution, continuous sedimentation and unsustainable fishing, while the turtles themselves are being used for their eggs, oils, shells and meats. Pollution and marine debris are also impacting the turtles' nesting beaches and many turtles are accidentally caught and drowned in fishing gear.

Urgent action is needed to protect the turtles and their habitat.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

This project aims to protect the Endangered Green Turtle and their habitats in partnership with the local community by establishing a marine protected area known as a Local Marine Managed Area (LMMA). Seeing as overexploitation of marine resources is a threat to the turtles, it will be key for the project to work closely with the local community in the implementation and future management of this area.

The project will ensure that the turtles are protected both in-water and outside the waters. The LMMA will be a no-take zone, where fishing will not be allowed. The nesting beach will be under surveillance and monitoring to protect nesting turtles and their hatchlings.

Beach patrols, bycatch releases and beach clean-ups will be undertaken to help restore turtle habitat and policies, including a management plan, will be developed to ensure the protection of turtles and their habitats.

PROJECT RESULTS

By the end of this project, the team hopes to have:

  • Established a new community managed marine protected area;
  • Contributed towards a change in Red List Status by protecting 450 turtles and 1200 hatchlings;
  • Ensured that 455 local communities have benefitted from the project;
  • Reduces the number of threats facing turtles in the area;
  • Restored and protected turtle habitat;
  • Initiated Ecotourism plans as an alternative income source for the local communities.

This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.



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