The main goal of this program is to promote the long term survival of marine turtles in Liberia by increasing the capacity of coastal community’s inhabitants to protect sea turtles and develop a sustainable livelihoods program in these coastal communities. Coastal communities’ inhabitants are the direct beneficiaries of this program, and a well structure and managed community based marine turtle conservation programs are the expected products we envisioned.
The key objectives are:
1. An increase capacity of coastal community’s inhabitants to protect sea turtles and develop a sustainable livelihoods program in these coastal communities;
2. Increase public awareness and community participation in sea turtle conservation through educational programs;
3. Beach monitoring and sea turtle conservation projects are managed by local inhabitants with the direct supervision of SAMFU; and
4. Priority marine turtle nesting sites along the coast of Liberia are established with coastal community inhabitants’ full participation in community based marine turtle conservation programs.
The project came about as a result of a baseline survey conducted by the organization in 2000. The survey was done in collaboration two experts from Yale University in the United States of America and was carryout on the entire 570 kilometers coast of Liberia. During the survey residents of coastal communities were interview through questionnaire produce as to understand whether they have seen sea turtle in their location. Whenever there was a positive respond, they were asks as to which type through a poster that was used by the survey team. Whenever they identify one of the turtle species most especially the hard shell on the poster a member of the team would ask if the carapace was still around. Samples of carapace found in these communities were taking by the team for proper identification. At the end of the survey, all samples collected were taking to Duke University Marine lab for genetic test. After the test, it was reviews that of the seven species of sea turtles around the world five (5) were found in the ocean of Liberia and four nest on Liberian beaches. The test resulted to the printing of over five Thousand (5000) educational posters with the various species of sea turtles found in Liberia by a group known as the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network.
SAMFU is working in parnership with the Sea Turtle Watch (Liberia), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Bereau of Fishery to protect endangered sea turtles in Liberia