Next up from some of the best student posts from my LSE activism course is this piece by Mirna Medina-Silva
Whenever I read about sea turtles, my mind hears “duuude!” … you know from Finding Nemo? Unfortunately, unlike Nemo, turtles may soon be lost forever to Nicaragua. In 2019, for the first time, you couldn’t find Leatherback turtles in Nicaragua. If this continues you soon won’t find turtles here at all.
Yet hope is not lost. This blog will inform why you should care and how you can help!
Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for 110 million years, before dinosaurs became extinct. There are seven types of sea turtles, (the one in Finding Nemo is a green turtle), yet six of them are considered endangered species. The major threat is fisheries bycatch, as turtles become trapped in nets and hooks.
Why does it matter?
Turtle conservation is a win-win: we get to protect these species (and their important ecological role), while having the opportunity to create a better future for Nicaragua.
Through the “Our country, our turtles” (OCOT) campaign, a group of progressive fishers, ecotourism communities, science researchers and individuals working towards the conservation of sea turtles is making noise in Nicaragua, aiming to reduce turtles’ bycatch and promote more sustainable practices.
Turtle conservation is big business in neighbouring countries, with ecotourists paying over $800 each for Turtle conservation experiences. However, this industry is poorly developed in Nicaragua.
Many coastal communities are underdeveloped but blessed with natural assets: Beautiful coastline and rich diversity in marine life. Four species of turtles visit and nest on our beaches. Tourists can be attracted by our vibrant culture and the low cost of visiting Nicaragua.
Growing this industry means that we can preserve our natural wildlife and heritage at the same time as boosting community resilience and wealth.
The OCOT campaign has the vision to make Nicaragua a world leader in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism. Where sea turtles become synonymous with Nicaragua like sloths are to Costa Rica.
What are our choices?
Nicaragua is at a crossroads, with 2 possible futures:
What can you do?
Help us make noise! Share the OCOT campaign and a picture of your palm, with an “A” to show your support for turtle conservation being our plan A for our future. #SaveOurTurtles #ThereisnoplanB
And here’s Mirna’sfull paper