Saving nests, recovering eggs and nurturing hatchlings. Gathering data and discovering new information about the species that informs new methodologies and policies. Converting poachers to protectors in the region and helping local communities and families find other means of livelihood.
1. Nesting beach conservation – Programs that focus on protecting hawksbill nests from poaching and other elements (feral animals, climactic events, etc.) in order to increase overall population size via hatchling production and release to the sea. These programs also seek to collect data on nesting female turtles, hatchlings and nest performance that can be used to better understand hawksbill biology and life-history. The majority of these programs employ local inhabitants as staff.
2. In-water monitoring – Programs that consistently implement tangle-nets, visual surveys or hand captures to generate information on hawksbill turtles in the marine environment (i.e. foraging habitats). Via these programs researchers gain insights into residency times, growth rates and dietary requirements of hawksbills, as well as connectivity between nesting and foraging areas, which enable better understanding of hawksbill biology and life-history.
3. Fisheries bycatch research/reduction [*Note: The term ‘bycatch’ is used for fish, turtles, marine mammals and other organisms that are caught (commonly mortal) unintentionally in a fishery that is designated to catch other fish. Nonselective fishing gear types that incur high rates of bycatch include gillnets, longlines, trawling and others] – Programs that work with fishermen to quantify hawksbill bycatch in industrial or artisinal fisheries via onboard fisheries observations or data collection at fishing ports. A focus on understanding fishery dynamics and trends, evaluating non-turtle bycatch, and seeking alternative, sustainable fishing gear is often a primary component of these programs.
4. Exploratory habitat investigations – Exploratory activities undertaken in an attempt to identify new and important habitats for hawksbill turtles. This often involves visiting coastal communities and fishing ports to conduct interview surveys with local inhabitants and glean information on potentially important sites for hawksbills. During these activities, project personal often conduct opportunistic in-water and beach monitoring to assist in identifying important foraging areas and nesting beaches, respectively.
5. Social science research – Programs that conduct studies at the local and international scale focused on topics including environmental conflict management, conservation policy, and community-based resource management, with emphasis on the interactions of primary resource users with hawksbills and their habitat.
6. Eco-tourism – Programs that aim to facilitate conservation tourism as a means to provide alternative sources of income to local community members and reduce extraction and/or unsustainable use of natural resources, including turtles and their habitats.
7. Protected area management and/or habitat protection – Programs that work directly with governmental institutions, non-profit organizations and/or community members to improve management and performance of protected areas, including parks, refuges, sanctuaries, reserves, etc. and/or programs that involve direct actions to improve and/or restore marine turtle habitats.
8. Outreach and education – Programs that include specific activities to raise awareness and provide education on hawksbills, oceans and general environmental stewardship themes. 9. Policy advocacy/activism – Programs that undertake actions to change laws and policies in order to provide greater benefits to marine turtles and the natural habitats upon which they depend.