Turks and Caicos Turtle Project
“The way MCS and partners worked diligently with our fishermen over several years to develop these recommendations was very welcome, and means that the new measures are reasonable, proportionate, and will help protect our turtle resource. We are looking to use the same stakeholder engagement methods to address other pressing marine conservation issues here in TCI,” Kathleen Wood, SWA Ltd Turks and Caicos Islands, former Director of TCI Government’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs
The TCITP is a collaboration between the MCS, the TCI Government’s Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), The University of Exeter, Duke University, The School for Field Studies South Caicos and the Amanyara Resort.
Bright Spot Description:
Launched in 2008, the Turks and Caicos Islands Turtle Project (TCITP) is a multidisciplinary and collaborative initiative led by the UK’s Marine Conservation Society (MCS). It combines cutting-edge biological and social science, as well as extensive stakeholder engagement, to improve the management of the islands’ traditional marine turtle fishery. This fishery lands approximately 500-600 green and hawksbill turtles annually, and prior to this project, the occasional harvest of adult turtles was hindering the recovery of the islands’ genetically unique but highly depleted breeding turtle populations. Through the use of novel stakeholder engagement tools, including the film-based Community Voice Method, the TCITP fully engaged initially skeptical turtle fishing communities in the policy decision-making process, and combined their needs and desires with the results of the biological and social research to develop informed and balanced recommendations to amend the turtle fishery regulations. The recommended regulations were approved by the TCI government and endorsed by the fishing communities, and came into force in July 2014. This new fishery management regime acknowledges traditional rights to this resource, but protects large and breeding adult turtles in order to allow population recovery in TCI and the Caribbean region.
What makes it bright?
What are the essential elements that made it successful?
“Thanks. Respect. You did a nice thing. You care. People trust you now.” South Caicos turtle fisherman to TCITP Project Officer.