The purpose of this project is to conduct hawksbill conservation programs at Bahia de Jiquilisco Biosphere Reserve (Bahia), El Salvador. The project is intended to protect nests and nesting females from poaching, to reduce bycatch from lobster fisheries, and to reduce mortality of adult and juvenile hawksbills from illegal blast fishing. The Eastern Pacific hawksbill nesting population was until 2008 thought to have been extirpated and Bahia accounts for about 45 percent of all hawksbill nesting in the East Pacific. Specific activities include: (1) community-based patrols and relocation of nests to hatcheries; (2) outreach activities such as a Hawksbill Festival, Hawksbill Cup competition and “Day of the Hawksbill” events in schools to raise awareness about threats to hawksbills; (3) year-round fisheries bycatch monitoring with employed on-board observers; (4) Light emitting diodes (LED) light trials on lobster nets to determine deterrence effectiveness; and (5) engagement of local fishermen and local and national authorities in the creation of a Marine Protected Area. (2017-2020)

Former Project Titles:

  • Advancing a multifaceted Approach to recover Hawksbills in the eastern Pacific: Protecting major Nesting Beaches and reducing extensive Bycatch at critical Foraging Grounds (2016-2017)
  • A comprehensive approach to recovery of hawksbill turtles in the Eastern Pacific: Protecting one of the last remaining nesting strongholds and spearheading reduction of catastrophic bycatch at critical foraging ground (2015-2016)
  • Hawksbill conservation and local empowerment in El Salvador (2014-2015)
  • Advancing hawksbill recovery in the eastern Pacific Ocean through participatory research and conservation in El Salvador (2013-2014)
  • Reducing threats and sustaining hawksbill turtle conservation in El Salvador (2012-2013)