Many of the world's most important turtle habitats are in developing countries with marginal economies, where local economies and livelihoods are dependent on unsustainable levels of local resource use. This provides a golden opportunity to help local communities and marine turtles at the same time.
Unsustainable levels of use have caused worldwide declines in the numbers of marine turtles. High levels of turtle mortality jeopardize potential future income for these communities.
Research indicates that in most cases the income from non-lethal uses often grows on an annual basis, while income from consumptive uses has fallen over time as turtle populations decline.
Local & national economies benefiting from turtle-based tourism
Over-exploitation of turtles and their eggs is often a result of a lack of knowledge and/or concern about the impact of such use, coupled with a lack of suitable alternatives. This provides a compelling case for countries to investigate the options of economies based on live turtles, and to invest resources into their protection as part of a comprehensive poverty alleviation and sustainable development strategy.
WWF is working with coastal communities across the region to conserve turtles in a manner which benefits both turtles and people. This work includes bolstering local economies and investigating new livelihood opportunities for local peoples through a suite of options including sustainable ecotourism