The One Earth Project Marketplace funds on-the-ground climate solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis through three pillars of collective action — renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. This project protects hawksbill sea turtles and their nesting grounds through community-led action.
Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered worldwide, with fewer than 700 females remaining in the eastern Pacific. In El Salvador, 50% of nesting occurs, making the country vital for their recovery in the region. However, in 2007, hawksbills were considered extirpated from the area due to rampant nest poaching.
Currently, the joint efforts of Wild Earth Allies (WEA) and ProCosta, a women-led Salvadoran NGO, have transformed 100% nest-poaching into near-total protection, releasing tens of thousands of hatchlings into the sea each year. This project supports the recovery of the eastern Pacific hawksbill turtle population while enhancing community well-being.
Protecting sea turtles and supporting Salvadorans
This project will safeguard over 300 nests, help release more than 30,000 hatchlings, and financially benefit 130 community members involved in conservation efforts. Additionally, it will provide 30 artisanal lobster fishers with improved fishing gear to reduce hawksbill bycatch.
Moreover, the annual hawksbill festival organized by ProCosta engages seven communities, creating an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of conserving these sea turtles.
Uniting the community in conservation
ProCosta's guiding principle is "Somos Un Equipo," or "We Are One Team." Following this mantra, hundreds of community members, including former poachers, play an integral role in protecting nesting beaches.
This collaboration dramatically improves nest protection rates and offers valuable income for communities. One survey discovered that Hawksbill conservation network members earned 16% more annual household income through their participation.
A partnership in preserving biodiversity
Led by Ani Henríquez, ProCosta has protected sea turtles and aquatic biodiversity in El Salvador through community-based conservation for over fifteen years. To date, the organization and coastal residents have defended over 3,000 hawksbill nests, identified 400 nesting females, and released more than 250,000 hatchlings into the sea.
Established in 1981, WEA envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy ecosystems that sustain us all. For many years, their partnership with ProCosta has contributed to the recovery of marine life.
Scaling to safeguard all marine life
The long-term goal is to further enhance protections for marine habitats and at-risk wildlife. In support of this, WEA and ProCosta are expanding to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in El Salvador. MPAs will reduce hawksbill bycatch, improve the health of ocean ecosystems, and boost the sustainability of artisanal fisheries.
Saving sea turtles is good for the planet
Sea turtles play a crucial role in maintaining thriving marine habitats, including seagrass beds and coral reefs, which effectively absorb and store carbon. Protecting hawksbill sea turtles through this project can preserve these critical environments' carbon sequestration capabilities while uplifting communities.