Community - Based Sea Turtle Project, San Blas, El Salvador

Will it be possible for the FSPM to finance the turtle project this year? The hatchery season has started and we don't have the financial means to assist the people of San Blas, El Salvador. Who would like to contribute to the project? We need $,9000.

The coast of El Salvador supports nesting populations of four sea turtle species—hawksbill, leatherback, Pacific green and olive ridley—all of which are endangered. Historically, people have consumed more than 98 percent of sea turtle eggs laid in El Salvador. In 2009, the Salvadoran government banned the consumption of sea turtle eggs and use of turtle products. While the ban greatly improves the turtles’ prospects for recovery, it also creates new pressures for coastal communities, as they seek replacements for income and food turtle eggs once provided. Thus, coastal communities now combat heavy poaching of turtle eggs, which continues despite the ban.

FSPM has been working effectively in Central American communities for 11 years and has facilitated many successful conservation projects with affiliated organizations throughout Central America. Since 2008, FSPM has been managing the successful sea turtle hatchery project at San Blas, La Libertad, which is located in the middle of El Salvador’s Pacific Coast, about 20 miles from San Salvador. Olive ridleys nest regularly here, and Pacific greens resumed nesting in 2012. FSPM launched its holistic, community-based conservation program in order to protect sea turtles and their habitat at San Blas, increase the productivity of the hatchery, educate the local community about the importance of conserving turtles, and engage them in sea turtle and habitat conservation.

FSPM combats major threats to turtles in San Blas and fosters community stewardship to ensure long-term change. We seek to minimize poaching, maximize hatching success, educate and engage the entire community in conservation, shift community perspectives to embrace turtle conservation, reduce threats to turtle habitat, and conduct research to improve turtle conservation efforts over time.