United Nations
Nature Seekers- Leatherback Sea Turtle By-Catch Project- GEF SGP Trinidad and Tobago
by Nature Seekers Trinidad and Tobago and the GEF Small Grants Programme (Civil society organization)
The Trinidad East Coast Fishery Bycatch Management, Livelihood Development and Bycatch
Reduction Project, initiated by Nature Seekers is a project geared towards reducing the incidental
gillnet capture of marine turtles off the north-east coast of Trinidad. The project is a continuation
of projects managed by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST)
aimed at achieving the same objective.
Studies have shown that the use of gillnets by fishermen has resulted in the following key
 Increased Bycatch- Increased unintentional capture of non-target marine species during
fishing such as marine turtles
 Overfishing- Exploitation and over exploitation of fish stock
Moreover, increased oil and gas exploration and a lack of a robust legislative infrastructure and
enforcement activities have exacerbated the problem.
In light of the problems outlined above, Nature Seekers, in conjunction with the EMA and
WIDECAST, have designed the Trinidad East Coast Fishery Management, Livelihood
Development and Bycatch Reduction Project aimed at rehabilitating the sea turtle population on
the east coast of Trinidad. (See Appendix II Organizational Background for further details on
these project partners).
Project Development
This project was developed with the support of the UNDP Global Environmental Facility Small
Grants Programme planning grant. The project planning involved a series of meetings with the
fishers to identify issues related to net fishing and the problem of bycatch. Issues also discussed
were related to factors or conditions that facilitated the environment for net fishing.
Meetings were also held with Fisheries Division, Turtle Village Trust, The Matura National Park
Stakeholders committee and the Institute of Marine Affairs.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
May 2017
To strength Nature Seekers capacity and develop and implement an awareness programme on the northeast coast of Trinidad;
May 2017
Build the awareness of family of fishers and students about safe fishing practices and the benefits of protecting turtles
May 2017
Developed communication tools to be used in the awareness building process.
May 2017
To inform the public about the challenges and solutions related to sea turtle bycatch
Financing (in USD)
149,629 USD
Other, please specify
In-kind contribution
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2014 - July 2017
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (Scientific Community) Environmental Management Authority (Government Agency) T&T Fisheries Division (Government Agency) Institute of Marine Affairs(Government Agency) Turtle Village Trust and other Turtle NGOs (CSO) Matura National Park Stakeholders (CSO)
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Community Members and Fishermen of the Matura to Matelot Area in North East Trinidad- this included 9 rural villages
Contact information
Rissa Edoo, GEF SGP National Coordinator, rissa.edoo@undp.org, 1-868-623-7056
Port of Spain Trinidad
Other SDGs
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