About the Sea Turtle Tracking Program:

Marinelife Alliance is an independent, nonprofit organization that supports local sea turtle conservation efforts. These efforts take place along  most coastal areas of Bangladesh, such as Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Peninsular beach, Sonadia Island, and St. Martin Island.

For over 21 years, the founders of Marinelife Alliance have tirelessly worked alongside skilled scientists, conservationists, resource managers, and educators to promote sustainable and effective marine turtle management practices.

With the support of local stakeholders and community participation, we continue to bridge the gaps between community involvement and conservation measures.

Over years of research and experience, conservationists, scientists, and biologists worldwide have began to determine one of the biggest threats to sea turtles; deep sea fishing and pollution. Although there are many places who heavily rely on commercial fishing, there are multiple adverse effects that hinder marine ecosystems.

Discarded, lost, misplaced or forgotten nets trap migrating turtles. Since turtles must breathe at the surface, and can hold their breath for 4 to 7 hours. While trapped in underwater fishing nets, with no access to the surface, they eventually drown due to the lack of air.

Above is a photo of a fishing trawler taken by a member of our team. This trawler was too close to shore, invading the protected marine area. By national law, this vessel was not allowed to be within 40 meters of the shoreline. Foraging turtles, migrating turtles and/or mating turtles have a high potential to be injured by these vessels, or have a high chance of becoming trapped by their nets.

Our team then approached the vessel to inform the captain and crew of local fishing laws. Below is a photo of the exchange.

Working together with local stakeholders shows that community involvement is an essential tool during conservation and research projects. Crew members have their own local knowledge of fishing areas, and know what to look for. Local fisherman serve as an additional resource, especially during research projects, and those who are properly versed in conservation measures will more likely educate and train future crew members.