Endangered animal species
Côte d’Ivoire

Protection of green and hawksbill turtles and creation of a Marine Protected area in Côte d’Ivoire

Juvenile green turtle

CEM (Protect Marine Animals) is an NGO that carries out sea turtle conservation activities on the 30 km stretch of beach between the villages of Roc and Kablaké, the coastal region of Côte d’Ivoire most frequented by turtles.

The sea turtles are under threat on many fronts: illegal fishing, both industrial and artisanal, often carried out a few dozen meters offshore using inappropriate methods (incorrect mesh size, banned products, etc.); uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources; deforestation for agriculture; charcoal production; poaching; beachfront hotel construction; and weak law enforcement.

Every year, the NGO’s teams succeed in protecting between 30 and 50 green turtle nests and from 2 to 10 hawksbill turtle nests on the beach. But their habitats include marine areas containing feeding and nursery grounds (rocks, coral, etc.) that are critical for the species.
This project aims to safeguard the marine habitat of these two species of turtle through the creation of a Marine Protected Area. To achieve this, two secondary objectives have been set:

  • Marine ecosystem studies will be carried out. Details of the current fishing situation will be collected via interviews with artisanal fishers. Ten artisanal fishing boats will be equipped with GPS tracking systems to monitor their fishing areas, and fishing data will also be gathered at the ports of Dahoua and Grand-Bereby.
  • Initiatives to protect the two species in the marine area will be launched. A description of green turtle and hawksbill turtle habitats will be made by CEM staff, working with local communities. It is planned to draw up a map of the various types of habitat and to carry out an inventory of marine biodiversity in the area. In addition, the turtles’ behavior in known feeding and resting areas will be observed. Finally, accidental capture data will also be collected.

This project has already been pre-selected by the Ministry of the Environment as one of Côte d’Ivoire’s first three Marine Protected Areas, subject to a feasibility study to be conducted by CEM.

An initial phase of the project has already received Fondation Ensemble funding. You can find more details here.

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