Marginalised Communities Conserving Sea Turtles, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

TREE Foundation’s purpose is to protect and conserve marine life, particularly sea turtles and their habitats, through community-based initiatives, education, and advocacy, aiming to ensure the sustainability of marine ecosystems for future generations.

 

The east coast of India has a wide diversity of important coastal and marine ecosystems, which many people depend on. Olive Ridley turtles nest along the sandy beaches of Nellore district. Before TREE Foundations’ community-based sea turtle conservation initiative started in 2008, local fishing communities were unaware of the protection laws and the importance of protecting turtles. Fishery-related mortality of sea turtles at sea remains high. TREE Foundation engages former turtle consumers and artisanal fisherfolk as Sea Turtle Protection Force (STPF) members. This project expects to protect 600 turtle nests and to safely release around 60,000 hatchlings during the 2024/25 nesting season. It will monitor the nesting sea turtles; prevent opportunistic consumption of turtles along 96km of coastline through patrols, community engagement and awareness; reduce by-catch mortality through environmental education programmes engaging 12,000 artisanal fishers, and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders to ensure conservation laws are observed. The project also offers guided Turtle Walks to raise awareness and fortunate participants can witness nesting turtles.