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To work closely with coastal communities to conserve and protect the marine environment for the
benefit of marine biodiversity, local livelihoods and future generations in Tanzania.
To achieve this, Sea Sense:
Supports a community Conservation Officer network in six coastal districts
Monitors and protects sea turtles and their eggs at all major nesting beaches in Tanzania
Conducts biological research and socio-economic surveys to determine population size,
distribution and threats to endangered marine species
Delivers creative environmental education and outreach programmes in schools and
communities Works with local Fisher Associations to promote sustainable fishing techniques and
strengthen governance systems
Promotes sustainable livelihoods (sea turtle ecotourism, handicrafts production)
Lobbies for action against destructive practices such as dynamite fishing, coral mining,
mangrove harvesting and the use of poisons for fishing
Works with the Government of Tanzania to enhance multi-level national capacity for marine
resource monitoring, research and management
Mafia Island is Tanzania’s most important sea turtle nesting site. More than 250 green turtle nests are laid there each year and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle is also known to nest on the tiny islands around Mafia. However, nesting beaches are on the east coast of the island and are continually covered in large amounts of plastic waste that washes in on the east African current from as far away as Indonesia and the Philippines. The amount of plastic debris on the nesting beaches poses a significant threat to nesting sea turtles and emerging hatchlings and also threatens the long term sustainability of a developing sea turtle ecotourism project.
Sea Sense has organised a number of beach clean-up events in Mafia Island and delivers an ongoing waste management education programme to communities. However, plastic debris is constantly washed up with every incoming tide and hence it is necessary to develop a more creative and sustainable solution to the plastic problem on sea turtle nesting beaches in Mafia.
- Jessica Chen
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