The Hawaii Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project

Published November 2018

A single turtle hatchling on the beach.

Widespread community engagement in a scheme based on the sustainable harvesting of sea turtle eggs in Guatemala has contributed to a conservation success story in spite of a lack of government resources and weak legislation.

Conservation of Sea Turtles in Guatemala is almost entirely dependent on an informal system of egg donation to a network of hatcheries. Eggs may only be taken from olive ridley turtle nests, and collectors must donate 20 per cent of their harvest to the hatcheries. Taking the eggs of all other species, and any adult turtles is banned.

In the context of high rates of poverty in coastal communities in Guatemala, turtle eggs are important for subsistence, and prized by locals as a supplement to their income and diets.

Lead

The poaching and wildlife trade problem

Species affected Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas , Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea , Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea

The strategy

Increasing incentives for wildlife stewardship

Subsistence resource access/use
Further detail

Sustainable harvesting of sea turtle eggs in Guatemala has contributed to a conservation success story in spite of a lack of government resources and weak legislation.

Eggs may only be taken from olive ridley turtle nests, and collectors must donate 20 per cent of their harvest to the hatcheries. Taking the eggs of all other species, and any adult turtles is banned. Under the project, egg collectors who donate are given a receipt which gives them the right to sell and transport the rest of the nest.

Donated eggs are then buried in hatcheries and after a 45–55 day incubation period, the hatchlings are released into the sea.

As the ability to continue harvesting the eggs is important to them, local communities assist in enforcing the sea turtle egg donation system.

Organisers, donors and partners

For further information contact ().