Sandy beaches along parts of Tanzania’s 1,400km coastline provide important nesting habitat for green and hawksbill turtles. Loggerhead, olive ridley and leatherback turtles are also present in coastal waters but do not nest in Tanzania. Sea Sense has established a successful community-based nest monitoring programme that is now in its 20th year, which covers all major nesting sites in the country.
The programme has had a huge impact! At Tanzania's largest green turtle rookery, located in Mafia Island, our data shows that nest numbers have increased by 40% and hatchling production has increased by 60%.
Dugongs were once widespread along the Tanzanian coast, but after decades of hunting for their meat and oil, the population has declined dramatically. A small population remains in the Rufiji Delta-Mafia Channel seascape due to presence of dense seagrass meadows, which is their main food source.
Sea Sense implements a range of dugong conservation measures and remains committed to securing the future for dugong populations in East Africa.
A small population of ~ 200 whale sharks occurs off the west coast of Mafia Island. They are attracted by the availability of small sergestid shrimps, which make up most of their diet. The whale sharks are resident all year round, although they are less visible during the south-east monsoon when their prey moves further offshore.
Sea Sense works with a range of stakeholders to conserve whale sharks and promote sustainable fishing and tourism activities in whale shark habitat.
You can support our community-based marine conservation programmes by donating online here. Just select 'sea turtle' from the drop down list and 100% of your donation will reach Sea Sense.
Our work is having a positive impact on marine wildlife in Tanzania and helping to restore critical marine habitats such as coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, which are home to a wealth of marine biodiversity. Coastal fishing communities are at the forefront of this work. Change happens at grassroots!
Thank you for caring about the ocean, and the wildlife and people that rely on it.