The project aims to support the protection of sea turtles, in particular Leatherbacks, Dermochelys coriacea, at Grande Anse Beach, Babonneau, and to support continued development of the revived Des Barras Sea Turtle Watch Group. It targets the establishment of an Enabling Environment for Marine Turtle Conservation in Babonneau, Saint Lucia
The original Grande Anse Turtle Watch Group was founded in 2001. This initiative was spearheaded in response to the need to increase awareness and appreciation for marine turtles and their conservation at the Grande Anse Beach, and to create an avenue where local residents could enjoy economic benefits from the conservation of marine turtles. It was also considered important to encourage and empower community residents to effectively manage marine turtles as they nested on their beaches. The giant leatherback marine turtle nested frequently, albeit in small numbers, on the Grande Anse beach. Unfortunately, the few nested faced threats from poaching both of nesting adults, eggs and hatchlings. The Grande Anse beach also faced some anthropogenic threats such as erosion as a result of unregulated and illegal sand mining, some deforestation as a result of cutting down of coconut trees and marine pollution from both land and marine sources.
The primary aim of this project was to monitor the build- up of sargassum on the Grande Anse beach, control its density so that it would not become a hindrance to hatchling survival, collect data on sand mining, carryout awareness activities in the different communities, develop communications tools, and strengthen linkages with all communities around Babonneau to improve capacity of interested persons in managing the sea turtle resource.