Friend of the Sea, the leading international sustainable seafood certification program, is pleased to announce an event to award and highlight initiatives to protect Sea Turtles in Nigeria.
Friend of the Sea founder and director Paolo Bray will hand out to Atlantic Shrimpers Limited, the largest fishing company in Nigeria, the Turtle Safe Award for the company’s engagement in preventing bycatch of Sea Turtles utilizing bycatch reduction devices.
Local conservation hero Doyinsola Ogunye will also be updating on its Friend of the Sea supported Sea Turtles Conservation Project, which has helped save 40 sea turtles from poachers and raised awareness in Lagos and Nigeria about this major threat.
Over 1500 companies worldwide have products certified according to the Friend of the Sea standard for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Among these are shrimp products from Atlantic Shrimpers Limited.
The Friend of the Sea certification logo allows consumers to choose their seafood responsibly and help conserve marine resources. In turn, Friend of the Sea dedicates an important part of the revenue from its certification activities to develop and support conservation projects to protect endangered marine species, such as sea turtles, albatross, dolphins, whales, seals, penguins and many more.
One of the supported projects is the one by Doynsola Ogunye to protect Sea Turtles from poaching in Lagos.
Consumers choosing Friend of the Sea certified products, such as the shrimps from Atlantic Shrimpers Limited, will know the product is fished sustainably and that, at the same time, they will be able to contribute to conservation projects to protect endangered aquatic species.
Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle are found in the waters of Nigeria. Their nesting grounds are found on beaches throughout Nigeria, including near Lagos.
Local poachers vigorously hunt sea turtles and rob their nests during the egg-laying season, damaging the endangered species’ reproducing female populations, nesting grounds, and potential hatchlings.
Poor awareness of the conservation status and needs of sea turtle populations continues to pressure migrating sea turtles and nesting females and their potential hatchlings.
Mangrove forests and local terrestrial forests are beginning to exhibit signs of terminal exhaustion, with mangroves cut down and used as firewood for households and commercial fish drying and the terrestrial forests cleared for use as lumber for house-building and canoe carving.
The mangrove area has also served as a breeding ground for important wildlife species (sea turtles, West African manatee, crocodiles etc.) and other important edible species such as fish, crab, frogs, lobsters and periwinkle are continuously destroyed without restoring it.
Rescuing and protecting endangered sea turtles has become Doynsola Ogunye’s life’s mission. What started as a random call from someone from the public saying they’d found a turtle on the street has led to a conservation movement that has saved over 40 turtles.
Most of these rescues have been critically endangered leatherbacks and olive ridley sea turtles. An entirely grassroots movement, locals report either lost turtles or poachers hawking them on the streets through the phone or social media. Then, Ogunye and her team respond.
Today, a small area is set aside at the Kids Beach Garden for a sea turtle sanctuary. Here, Ogunye teaches people and encourages them to spread the word about sea turtle rescue in Lagos state. She continues striving to build a children-led revolution for a clean world and save sea turtles.
Atlantic Shrimpers Limited, the owner of The Fish Shop seafood points of sales, is also actively involved in conserving sea turtles and reducing bycatch, which its fishing activity may cause.
A fully computerized reporting system allows the Fleet Manager to monitor production from the different fishing grounds. The ASL fleet takes care by using turtle avoidance and escape systems and strictly adhering to mesh sizes.
ASL is also a responsible employer dedicated to the well-being of its employees. All employees receive health care benefits, and life insurance cover is provided to staff members. All Nigerian laws and requirements as to employment and safety at work are being adhered to or improved wherever possible.
ASL has helped generate employment directly for 1,300 persons and indirectly for over 5,000 people in Nigeria. The local supply of fish proteins to the Nigerian market makes the country less dependent on the import of fish.
Black Tiger Prawns (Peneaus Monodon) fished trawling in FAO area 34 by Atlantic Shrimpers Ltd conform with the Friend of the Sea Criteria for Sustainable Fisheries.