About the Plan of action

The West Africa sub-region is home to six of the seven species of sea turtles that have been listed across the world. Also found in the region are three sites of global importance for the breeding and survival of these species, as follows:

  •     - The Bijagos Archipelago: more specifically the Joao Vieira and Poilao Marine Park in Guinea-Bissau. It is considered as the most important egg-laying site for green turtles along the Atlantic coast.
  •     - The Boa Vista island, Cabo Verde: This is the third most important breeding ground for the loggerhead turtle in the world.​
  •     - The Banc d’Arguin National Park, Mauritania: Based on recent observations, this site is considered as one of the most important feeding grounds for turtles worldwide, along with its significant areas of seagrasses and seaweeds.

Monitoring sea turtles on these sites proves extremely difficult because of the magnitude of human activities and their disturbing impact, such as illegal exploitation activities, urbanisation, infrastructural development, mass tourism, oil spill, etc. At sea, the increase in fishing efforts also endangers sea turtles, not least because of the significant amount of bycatches. Marine debris, particularly plastic waste, poses an additional threat to sea turtles. Under this project, West African stakeholders, with the support of their international partners, aim to reduce such threats by providing specific support, so as to  :

  •     - protect turtle populations on breeding and feeding grounds
  •     - mitigate the negative impact of infrastructural development along the coastline and offshore oil and gas activities;
  •     - reduce fishery bycatches.

Spanning three years, the project covers 7 countries of the PRCM area in West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone).

Approaches or strategies

The PRCM pursues through this project 5 major objectives, as follows :

- Eradicate illegal catches on key breeding and feeding grounds of the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle;

- Minimise the disturbance caused to natural habitats on breeding grounds;

- Reduce the risks of pollution from oil and gas activities;

- Decrease bycatches of sea turtles in a number of relevant specific fisheries.

- La réduction des prises accessoires des tortues marines dans certaines pêcheries spécifiques concernées

In order to reach these objectives, several strategies are contemplated, as follows:

- Improving knowledge through research and ecological monitoring;

- Strengthening the management of protected areas;

- Providing training to managers and technical officers;

- Building the capacities of local stakeholders;

- Enhancing spatial planning through the development of appropriate legal and regulatory tools;

- Disseminating information about the value of turtles and advocating for protective measures for sea turtles.

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Cause 25 Sep 2020
A new record: Loggerhead Turtles love Cape Verde

Every year, the magic repeats itself. Thousands of male and female loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) come to breed in Cape Verde, the world’s third largest nesting site for this species behind Oman and Florida.

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