In 1997 a group of Watamu residents decided to take action against increasing human related threats on the marine environment. They were particularly concerned about nesting sea turtles who were unable to successfully lay their eggs due to beach developments and risk of poaching.
A dedicated team from the local community patrolled the beaches day and night to protect the female sea turtles coming to nest, their eggs and their hatchlings. This team formalised their efforts with the launch of ‘Watamu Turtle Watch’, a programme which still operates under Local Ocean Conservation today.
Watamu Turtle Watch quickly expanded to address another major threat to sea turtles, accidental bycatch in local fishermen’s nets, and in 1998 the Sea Turtle Bycatch Release Programme began to reduce sea turtle mortalities in the area.
In 2002, recognising a wider need for community involvement in marine conservation, the name “Local Ocean” was adopted to encourage people to look after their local marine environment. Imagine if everyone connected to coastlines all over the world looked after his or her own little patch of ocean – what a difference we could make together!
Today Local Ocean Conservation continues to conduct practical conservation efforts as well as encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources through community development, education and campaigning. Want to find out how? Click here to learn more about Local Ocean Conservation’s work.