In 1997 Nicola Parazzi (Nicky) helped form a group of Watamu residents 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.
Always dedicated to marine conservation, she patrolled the beaches day and night to protect the female sea turtles coming to nest, their eggs and their hatchlings. Nicky then helped to formalise the group’s 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.
Today Local Ocean Conservation, with her support, continues to conduct practical conservation efforts as well as encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources through community development, education and campaigning.