It is an unforgettable sight to witness the tiny sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their nest in the sand before making their way bravely across the beach and out into the open ocean. It is also a great opportunity to meet the Sea Sense team and observe community-based conservation in action. Sea Sense asks for a small donation of $20 per adult and $10 per child to help support the project and fund the activities of community Conservation Officers and Tour Guides.
The donations made by guests participating in sea turtle ecotourism are split equally between Sea Sense and the local community. Sea Sense has established a ‘Village Environment Fund’ in several villages near to nesting beaches and each year they receive ecotourism revenue to help support community development projects that have been prioritized and agreed upon by the local community. In the past, communities have used the revenue to purchase school desks and books, install solar panels and make improvements to the village dispensary.
Sea Sense uses their half of the proceeds to support a range of marine conservation initiatives including education and awareness events in nearby schools and communities. Recently, Sea Sense worked with village leaders in the fishing village of Buyuni, just south of Ras Kutani, to conduct and film discussions with members of the community who had been affected by dynamite fishing. Sea Sense has since shown the film in several fishing villages in Temeke during education and awareness events that aim to encourage communities to take action against dynamite fishing and other illegal activities that are harming Tanzania’s rich and diverse marine environment.
The Sea Sense ecotourism initiative enables Juma, Mohamed, Tabu, Juma and Amina to earn extra income and they in turn, provide a vital link with the local community by passing on information about the importance of sea turtle conservation and demonstrating how conservation initiatives can benefit local communities.