Bahia Jiquilisco Biosphere Reserve, El Salvador

Located on the southeast Pacific coast of El Salvador, Jiquilisco Bay is the country’s largest coastal estuary with a mangrove-lined series of inlets and canals. The area is designated as a RAMSAR wetland and was named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2007.

Each season beginning in 2008, staff, many of whom are former egg poachers, observe and flipper-tag dozens of nesting hawksbills and protect hundreds of hawksbill nests with a 95 percent protection rate. Nests are protected primarily in three project hatcheries, one located near the community of La Pirraya, another across the mouth of the estuary on the Punta San Juan peninsula and a third at a remote beach called Las Isletas.


Maximum number of eggs are staying in the sand. Hatchlings are being produced, while we financially support local community members who often have limited options to provide for themselves and their families.

  • Protecting more than 400 nests.
  • Releasing more than 35,000 hawksbill hatchlings.
  • Equipping six hawksbills with satellite tags for tracking.
  • Benefiting more than 95 local families.
  • Uncovering new information about hawksbill biology, life-history and conservation through scientific research. 
  • A prime conservation area hosting 40 percent of the known hawksbill nesting sites in the entire eastern Pacific.


Conservation strategies used by this project site:

Nesting Beach Conservation

In-water Monitoring


Protected Area Management

Outreach and Education

Policy Advocacy

Implementing Organizations

ICAPO’s Role with Implementing Organization

  • Communication with other organizations (information link)
  • Access funding sources
  • Funding proposals
  • Joint management (planning and implementation, reporting)
  • Technical advising (capacity-building, training, protocol/methodology development)
  • Research and publications collaboration