Improving the local capacity to integrate research, education, and ecotourism into meaningful sea turtle management in Ghana

Andrews Agyekumhene

Ghana is home to five of the world’s seven species of endangered sea turtles, but unfortunately sea turtles face harvesting, egg poaching, disorientation, and degraded habitat on the nesting beaches. The primary risk to their survival comes from the marine environment where they are threatened with entanglement or capture in commercial and artisanal fisheries. Many current programs in West Africa are operated through international non-government organizations that often do not work closely with government agencies and local communities. Efforts by government and local communities are also hindered by lack of logistics and financial resources. Therefore, sea turtle threats in Ghana continue to rise with no apparent improvement at the government or community levels. These increased threats require immediate attention from coastal communities and government agencies that are mandated to protect the nation’s wildlife. This project will complement the efforts by Ghana Wildlife Division (GWD) to protect the species. The primary goal of this project is to improve capacity of fishing communities to actively participate in the promotion of sea turtle conservation and enhance the GWD’s efforts to conduct research, education programs, and sea turtle walks (ecotourism).