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Responsible Tourism Project in Cape Verde
IN CRUZINHA DA GARÇA
EQUATOR PRIZE 2010
In recognition of its work, the community was honored by the UN as one of the 25 Equator Prize Winners 2010. The certificate was received at the Communities Summit held in New York, United States, on September 20, 2010, at the time of the Summit of Review of the Millennium.
The coastal border of Cruzinha da Garça in the north of the island of Santo Antao is an important area for reproduction, growth and feeding of sea turtles. The follow-up carried out over the last few years shows that the five species of sea turtles existing in Cape Verde: Caretta caretta, Eretmochelys imbricata, Dermochelys coriacea, Chelonia mydas and Lipidochelys olivacea, frequent the coastal zone of Cruzinha. The species Caretta caretta is the most common and the only one that annually leaves on the beaches to lay the eggs. The strong pressure on marine biodiversity, coupled with the absence of employment alternatives, increases the risk of predation of the most fragile species such as sea turtles. Consequently, it is a great challenge for Cruzinha to ensure the protection of local marine resources.
The community seeks to develop alternative forms of local marine resource use to conserve this endangered species framed in an initiative of the Community Marine Association of Cruzinha da Garça (ACNEMC) that involves fishermen, divers and the population in the conservation their habitat. The Association protects spawning loggerhead sea turtles in their natural habitats through beaches monitoring, protecting the nesting grounds of the loggerhead sea turtles, and guarding against sand extraction and resulting habitat loss. They are engaged in data collection on species and population growth and is involved in the development of ecotourism ventures.
ACNEMC is a non-profit organization, officially established on February 6, 2003, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of community living conditions (livelihood, drinking water and sanitation, education, health, etc.), mobilizing resources for the exploitation and exploitation of local endogenous resources for the benefit of the community as a whole and for the conservation of marine biodiversity and its habitat. The organization has vast experience gained in the conservation of sea turtles. Thanks to the work of monitoring the beaches, signaling and counting turtles and nests, ACNEMC gathered information and data that allowed to know the most common species, to have an idea of the number of turtles that frequent these beaches annually, the number of traces, nests and eggs, to forecast the date of hatching of eggs and the number of juveniles reaching the sea. The data are sent annually to the Ministry of the Environment for the National Program for the Protection of Marine Turtles and also support new environmental projects.
The "Turtles and Men" trip is part of the ecotourism project in Santo Antao, developed by the local Association (ACNEMC). All profits from the activity are used by the community for its development.