In very poor places, sea turtle conservation efforts face a serious challenge: Coastal people see few alternatives to killing sea turtles for food or cash. As a result, sea turtles are severely depleted on Caribbean islands. Coastal development has also destroyed important nesting and foraging habitat.
The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) is launching a pilot project to produce “beach bottle” beads in Caribbean island communities. The objective is to use discarded or recycled bottle glass to make beads and jewelry. The products will have small educational/conservation labels and will be sold in local gift shops. Women in three communities will receive training. They will be chosen based on their capacity to sustain the project, market the beads, and show that the new skills will reduce sea turtle deaths. Our nonprofit partner hopes to replicate the project throughout the region, boosting rural incomes and protecting endangered sea turtles.