The purpose of this project is to assess directed and accidental sea turtle bycatch in artisanal fisheries along the Mauritanian coast. Mauritania’s 750 km coast provides rich and extensive foraging grounds for five species of sea turtles, including loggerhead sea turtles from Cape Verde nesting grounds and olive ridleys, leatherbacks, and green turtles from unknown nesting populations. The intent of this project is to identify the main fisheries and techniques with the highest level of sea turtle bycatch and to identify measures to reduce this bycatch. Activities include: (1) surveying fishermen in coastal villages and immigrant fisher camps to determine fishing sites, target fish, type of gear, and sea turtle bycatch; (2) placing onboard observers on voluntary fishing vessels to document bycatch and teach fishermen about safe handling and release techniques; and (3) working with Imraguen native fishermen to reach an agreement on the use of fishing techniques that will reduce accidental captures without disturbing their traditional way of fishing. (2018-2019)
Former Project Titles:
- Community-based efforts to evaluate sea turtle nesting and intentional and unintentional captures in local fisheries along the Mauritania coasts (West Africa) (2016-2017)
- The purpose of this project is to conduct community-based nesting surveys and assessments to determine the number of nests and degree of threats from poaching and jackals at two sites in the south of Nouakchott, and to work with artisanal gillnet fishers to reduce sea turtle bycatch mortality. Activities include: (1) patrolling of nesting beaches and relocation of nests to hatcheries ; (2) community outreach and education; and (3) working with Imraquen fishers to reduce sea turtle bycatch. This project is providing basic information on nesting distribution, density, and threats to sea turtles for the Ministry of Environment in its development of a National Conservation Action Plan for Mauritania that will address longer-term conservation needs. This project is the only known marine turtle conservation project in Mauritania.
- Conservation of nesting loggerhead and green sea turtles in Mauritania (West Africa) – Phase II (2015-2016)
- The purpose of this project is to implement community-based nesting surveys and assessments at two sites in the south of Nouakchott, where nesting is greatest. The project aims to determine the number of nests and degree of threats from poaching and jackals. Specific activities include providing this information to the Ministry of Environment to assist with its development of a National Conservation Action Plan for Mauritania.
- Knowledge and conservation of loggerheads and green turtles nesting on the coasts of Mauritania (2014-2015)
- This project will continue to survey the Mauritania coastline to assess sea turtle nesting with a special focus on loggerheads, and will distribute sea turtle conservation outreach materials for awareness campaigns with local communities.