The major hurdle faced by communities which rely on turtle watching as a source of income is that the presence of nesting turtles is seasonal. By extension, this means that employment is also seasonal and communities may dwindle as residents seek employment elsewhere. The income generated is therefore often not enough to maintain conservation efforts. In order for such operations to be sustained, there is a need for year round generation of income. The Trust has identified some key areas with some of the communities which need improvement and the following are to be established:
Increase in Tour Guiding Activities:
The Trust plans on working closely with community groups to develop high quality tours which will both attract visitors and provide jobs as tour guides. Part of this will be an investment in the areas of promotion and product development. This also involves the education of existing and potential tour guides to ensure that the best practices are adhered to. Additionally, tours will be expanded to include marine environments as well.
Organic Farming Project:
There has been a major shift in the foods that people are willing to consume. More and more individuals are leaning towards organic products, which are free from any form of chemicals. Establishing such a project would serve to not only improve the quality of food produced for the community itself, but it would also provide jobs in farming and income from sales of surplus crops.
Community Craft Development Programme:
There is a wealth of talent within communities, which typically goes unnoticed in off-peak nesting months. The Trust intends to encourage the growth of the craft industry by developing a programme in which community members will be employed to produce various craft items year round. These will then be distributed to communities for retail sales, and further ventures will be established to deal with the distribution of any surpluses.
The major cause of accidental catches of sea turtles is gill net fishing. In an effort to lessen the number of sea turtles lost each year to this practice, the Trust plans on establishing an aquaculture project. This will take the pressure off our own declining stocks of fish, while reducing the number of accidental catches. Employment opportunities will be created for project staff and small scale processing plant workers.
In addition to these general areas which can be done on a community to community basis, certain locations are earmarked for further development. Examples of this are the Salibay and the Galera Lighthouse Park. Both of these are popular destinations for tourist, yet many facilities and amenities either do not exist or have been left in a state of disrepair. The Trust plans on refurbishing these areas so they are more comfortable for visitors and jobs will be created for attending staff.