Completed Project

Description of Project
Objectives of the project
Key Achievements
NACOM Deliverables

Participatory Conservation and Monitoring of Spoonbilled Sandpiper and Sea Turtles in Teknaf Peninsula Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) of Bangladesh –Phase I and II

Location within country: Southern –East Coastal Region (Cox’s Bazar – Teknaf Peninsula (ECA)
Partner Organization: Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF)
Start Date: April 2009
Completion Date: March 2011

Description of Project:

The overall objective of the project was to contribute to the al efforts for the conservation of endangered spoon billed sandpiper and sea turtles through providing protection to them at the Teknaf Ecologically Critical Area (ECA). The specific objectives were to safeguard the nesting of turtles, involve local community in conservation effort, encourage fishermen to release turtle caught in nets.

Objectivesof the project:

to reduce turtle mortality and protect nesting grounds of sea turtles
to monitor spoon billed sandpiper with a view to develop a database on them  and reduce disturbances to them
to ensure participation of local community based organizations and school based nature club (formed earlier by NACOM) in the conservation activities
to enhance the awareness level of the local people and stakeholders about the conservation importance of spoon billed sandpiper and sea turtles and their obligation in this regard

Key Achivements:

a. Meeting with Fishermen Associations and development of a code of conduct
Sea turtle mortality is mainly caused due to their entanglement in some particular type of fishing nets. Fishers usually kill the turtles to get rid of them of their nets. The purpose of this activity was to develop a code of conduct to be followed by the fishermen with regard to release of turtles caught in their nets. A total of 5 meetings were held with Fisher Associations to discuss how the turtles could be saved while fishing and a code of conduct detailing what to be done and what not be will be developed and to be agreed. These meetings were participated by the Fisheries Department officials and law enforcing agencies.

b. Training to the fishermen on safe release of turtles :
The purpose of training themwas on how to release the turtles safely caught in their nets. A total 5 training programs will be conducted targeting a total of 100 fishermen. Each training program will be a days duration and was followed by a demonstration sessions showing how to release turtles safely.

c. Demonstration of TED’s to fishermen:
A huge number of sea turtles could be saved simply by using TED (Turtle Excluder Device). However, the use of TEDs is unknown to fishers of Bangladesh. With consultation with government and fisher association a TED was procured and fixed to a net with a view to demonstrate how to use a TED.

d. Protection of turtle nesting and staging grounds of migratory birds:
Seven species of turtles are known to nest on the beaches of the project site. Some local people collect eggs either for their home consumption or for selling at the local markets. With the help of the local community organizations (CBO) and school based nature clubs (both formed under a project of NACOM) we imposed and implemented a ban on egg collection. Similarly, the major staging grounds of migratory birds were also protected from any disturbances and trapping of birds.

e. Participatory monitoring of spoon billed sandpiper and maintaining database:
NACOM has a monitoring program for the migratory birds, sandpiper in particular. NACOM continues to monitor sandpipers in the project site with the nature club students and NACOM volunteer. The volunteers and nature club students are trained and provided with some logistics to monitor the bird species. NACOM maintains a database for the significant migratory birds and data on spoon billed sandpiper .

f. Publication and distribution of awareness materials –poster and folk drama:
A poster on the safe release of turtles was developed and printed for posting on the fishing boats and also at local strategic public places. Nd three folk dramas were held per year targeting the fisher folk and other community people.

Initial dialogue with Forest Department, mandated for conservation of Wildlife, showewd their keen interest in the project. Department of Environment, which is implementing a conservation project also showed their keen interest in the matter. NACOM formed a number of community organizations and nature clubs in local school.

NACOM Deliverables :

Participatory monitoring of spoon billed sand piper.
Protection of nesting grounds of turtles.
Meeting with fisher association.
Training to fishermen on safe release of turtles.
Production of a poster on safe release of turtles.
Performances of folk drama for awareness building.
Development of database on sand piper monitoring.
Initiate the use of turtle excluder devices in nets.