Launch of the Sea Turtles Survival project in West Africa

The PRCM and its partners took advantage of the celebration of the World Sea Turtle Day on Tuesday 16 June 2020 to launch the regional project for Sea Turtles Survival (STS) in West Africa.

The event was organised in the form of a webinar hosted by a panel of experts around the theme “Challenges facing the conservation of sea turtles in West Africa: issues of concerns and multistakeholder approaches”, and attended by over 200 participants. It was an opportunity for conservation stakeholders to mull over the measures for protecting sea turtles.

At the global level, sea turtles have been included on IUCN’s Red List as endangered or critically endangered species. In West Africa, key threats faced by sea turtles include bycatches, egg harvesting, poaching, the degradation of habitats and the loss of egg-laying beaches. A multistakeholder approach is therefore required as a matter of urgency to address issues related to their conservation.

In his presentation, the Project Coordinator, Mr. Ibrahima Gueye, unveiled his objectives and strategies as well as the various players involved. He even recalled that the “the STS Project hinges on a multistakeholder approach across the seven member countries of the PRCM, in conjunction with MAVA’s plan of action for turtles already being implemented in three countries, i.e. Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde. The STS Project intends not only to strengthen MAVA’s plan of action but also to help the other countries (Gambia, Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone) implement conservation actions in feeding grounds, breeding grounds and migratory routes along RAMPAO’s marine protected areas (MPA). This is why due consideration is given, under the project, to issues related to the impact of oil and gas exploitation and coastal infrastructures on sea turtles”.

To download the full presentation of the project, click here.

The launch day was also marked by the interventions of other speakers, such as Professor Paulo Catry, ISPRA University of Portugal, whose presentation looked into “Green turtles: the icons of marine connectivity in West Africa and in the Atlantic”.

Taking the floor for his presentation, the Coordinator of the TAOLA Network (that comprises all NGOs in Cabo Verde working to protect sea turtles), Herculano DINIS, highlighted successful conservation experiences and activities in Cabo Verde, a country that hosts one of the most significant breeding grounds of the loggerhead turtle worldwide.

The Sea Turtles Survival project is implemented by the PRCM for a period of three years, and covers seven countries in West Africa, being, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, the Republic of Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone.