Protecting sea turtles in a sustainable local economy

Centre d'Étude et de Découverte des Tortues Marines (Center for the Study and Discovery of Sea Turtles) analyzes interactions between sea turtles and their environment, in order to reconcile economic investment on the seaboard and conservation of the lagoon at Mayotte.

"This project contains all the details that I consider crucial for its success: development of a sustainable and comprehensive territory, public awareness-raising through appropriate environmental education, balanced compromise between development and environmental conservation, local players, managers and a force for bringing forward proposals."

Fabien Verfaillie

By public service delegation, Centre d'Étude et de Découverte des Tortues Marines (CEDTM) manages Kélonia, the sea turtle Observatory, for the purpose of developing regional research and conservation programs on sea turtles and their habitats, while conducting conservation projects for the natural and cultural heritage associated with this species. This Réunion nonprofit works together with the Indian Ocean countries in the framework of "Centers for international relations concerning sea turtles" and helps reinforce the networks for the study and conservation of the species.

Since 2002, the Mayotte Authority has enlisted the expertise of CEDTM-Kélonia, particularly in the area of scientific assistance and training of the General Council staff on programs for the study and conservation of the sea turtles and their habitats. At the same time, CEDTM-Kélonia provides crucial support for the sea turtle conservation programs conducted at Mayotte by the Mahorais nonprofit Oulanga na Nyamba. It also runs an eco-tourism staff program in the Le Jardin Maoré hotel.

Useful data for all the players

The data gathered at Mayotte over 10 years by CEDTM-Kélonia have been utilized directly for the conservation of exceptional national heritages: Nature Reserves of the Mayotte Lagoon Project, Inventory of Natural Areas of Faunistic and Floristic Ecological Interest (Znieff) of Mayotte, compilation of the White Paper for sustainable management of the environment, environmental expertise of the N'Gouja hotel complex.

Reconciling conservation, development and raising awareness

Pursuing an integrated approach, the nonprofit has initiated the description of the interactions between the green sea turtles and their environment to contribute to a better understanding of the marine biodiversity and to a sound management of the associated ecosystems. The idea is to draw up recommendations for setting up a plan for the conservation of the sea turtles in the French southwest Indian Ocean territories, based on concrete management measures derived from a closer familiarity with their biology and their environment, and compatible with sustainable regional development, such as eco-tourism.

This project benefits from the expertise of CEDTM-Kélonia and its local, regional and national partners, built up over 10 years in the scientific and socioeconomic circles of Mayotte Island. It enjoys the backing of the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg, CNRS-IPHC, the directorate of l'Environnement, de l'Aménagement et du Logement de Mayotte, the Nature Marine Park of Mayotte/Agency for Protected Marine Areas, and the NGO FSE Collège Tsingoni. The Veolia Foundation is participating in the project because of its intelligent combination of environmental conservation and a context of strong economic development of the seaboard, on which Mayotte Island is working. It promises valuable feedback for the Group, which works on similar issues.