History

The marine turtles found in the territorial waters of Liberia face a grave and challenging task surviving. Like other coastal countries around the world, sea turtle poaching is a serious business for local villagers living near the coast in urban and rural Liberia. Sea turtles are listed as endangered species in Liberia; but the responsible government agencies lack the capacities and resources to protect them. Law enforcement is poor and regulations are not fully implemented; therefore, the already declined population of sea turtles are still being hunted, poached and traded on the local markets specifically at important unprotected nesting areas. Many important nesting beaches are being threatened by human activities including poaching of nesting females and their eggs, trading of turtle meat and incidental turtle capture by local fisheries.

It is on this basis, that the Sea Turtle Watch of Liberia was established in 2009 by Trokon Saykpa, Varfee Holmes and Gabriel Saykpa. After series of surveys 2009, the Sea Turtle Watch Liberia launched a community-based sea turtle conservation initiative in Little Bassa. The project has extended far towards Bassa Point, the mouth of the Farmington River near Marshall City. It covered 22.7km. Our main project purpose was to work in partnership with the local coastal communities in an effort to protect endangered sea turtles occurring on the beaches within the area. 

Sea Turtle Watch was established as a community-based organization but in 2013, it was registered under the Laws of the Republic of Liberia functioning as a National Non-Governmental Organization.

Trokon Saykpa formulated the idea and was later joined by Mr. Varfee Holmes and Gabriel Saykpa. Currently, the organization has four (4) Administrative or permanent Staff and is governed by a Management Team in close consultation with its Advisory Board. The organization received its first grant for sea turtle conservation from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) International Program – Marine Turtle Conservation Fund in 2012.