Sea turtle conservation in French Guiana
Located within the unique Amazon ecosystems of French Guiana is Awala-Yalimapo beach, the most important nesting site for endangered Leatherback turtles and an essential habitat for Green and Olive Ridley turtles. An evaluation of the recovery plan for these turtles has recently been conducted to assess its effectiveness and to account for the progress that has been made since its implementation over the last five years.
Although the complete results of the evaluation are still pending, it is clear that the combined efforts of multiple actors including police services, local authorities, fisheries organizations and above all, NGOs have successfully stimulated conservation in the region for decades.
Until now, the Plan has been utilized for land areas within French Guiana’s national borders. The assessment is expected to identify the potential to extend these efforts beyond current land boundaries to the sea and enhance overall regional and transboundary cooperation on a wider scale. The Plan could have many positive effects on neighbouring countries by creating synergies between social challenges and the survival of marine turtles, setting the stage for sustainable fishing and creating green jobs for residents.
More than three million Euros have been raised to support the next five years of the Plan, which will enable actors to meet their goals of reducing some of the most urgent threats to marine turtles including by-catch from local fisheries, feral dog attacks on eggs and nesters and illegal harvesting of eggs.
The French Guiana Sea Turtle Recovery Plan 2007 - 2012 was initiated by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing (MEDDTL), coordinated by WWF, an IUCN Member along with the French National Hunting and Wild Life Agency (ONCFS) under the supervision of the Regional environmental authority (DIREN). This Plan is the result of significant documentary research and action by players in the sustainable development field and is the first recovery plan to target marine species in a French overseas territory.
French Guiana, the French overseas territory in the Amazon, is home to unparalleled biodiversity. It hosts primary tropical forests, mangroves, savannahs and several types of wetlands which are some of the richest and most fragile ecosystems on the planet.