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Action plan for a sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica

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Title:
Action plan for a sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Sammy, Dennis
Eckert, Karen L.
Harris, Errol
Publisher:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network ( WIDECAST )
Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization ( DomSeTCO )
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network
Holding Location:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier:
System ID:
AA00000390:00001


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
    List of Figures
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
    Summary of recommendations
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
    Problem analysis
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Goals for the sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative
        Page 6
    Structure of the sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Community capacity for implementation
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Five-year national sea turtle research plan
        Page 32
    Infrastructure and essential policies for implementation
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Challenges to community capacity for implementation
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Sustainability network: Economic linkages to sea turtles
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Monitoring and evaluation
        Page 46
    The way forward
        Page 47
    Literature cited
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Appendixes I-V
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Back Cover
        Page 60
Full Text




Towards a Sustainable Community-Based Sea

Turtle Conservation Programme in Dominica


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Note:


This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International
Development. It was prepared by WIDECAST under a subcontract with Chemonics
International Inc. under the terms of USAID Caribbean Open Trade Support Program,
Contract No. AFP-1-02-04-00002-01. The opinions expressed herein are those of the
authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International
Development or the United States Government.



















For bibliographic purposes, this document should be cited as:

Sammy, Dennis, Karen Eckert and Errol Harris. 2008. Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conser-
vation and Tourism Initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Prepared by the Wider
Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), in partnership with Nature
Seekers and the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO), with
funding from the United States Agency for International Development. Roseau, Com-
monwealth of Dominica. 59 pp.


Cover Photo courtesy of Seth Stapleton


Copies of this publication may be obtained from:

Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO)
P.O. Box 939, Roseau
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: (767) 448-4001
E-Mail: domsetco@amail.com


Online at www.widecast.orq








Action Plan for a Sea Turtle
Conservation and Tourism Initiative in
the Commonwealth of Dominica

A Community Based Approach


2008








S WIDECAST DomSeTC DominicaSea
idr Caribbean Sea Turte ConservationTurtle Conservation Organization
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network


iture Seekers
nre seeker and help preserve wildlife


SAID
FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE









Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Contents i
List of Figures and Tables iii
Acknowledgements iv

Summary of Recommendations 1

I. Introduction 3
II. Problem Analysis 4
III. Goals for the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative 6
IV. Structure of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative 7
DomSeTCO 11
What should be the role of RoSTI? 12
Community Organisations 15
Government 15
WIDECAST 16
V. Community Capacity for Implementation 17
Capacity Building 17
Institutional Development 19
Operational Management Plan 20
Database Management Information System 20
Visitor flow and financial recording 20
Scientific data collection and record-keeping 21
Community Ecotourism Handbook 22
Visitor management system 22
Carrying capacity for beaches 23
Field equipment 24
Health and safety of guests 25
Administration and staffing 25
Marketing Plan 27
Marketing objectives 27
Marketing strategies and branding 28
Product strategies: emphasise community 28
Competition, including identifying the target audience 29
Market trends 31
VI. Five-Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan 32
Research and Protection of Sea Turtles 32






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


VII. Infrastructure and Essential Policies for Implementation 33
Payment Centres 33
Visitor Facilities 34
Beach Access 34
Regulating Beach Access 35
Why is regulating beach access important? 36
How might beach access be regulated? 36
Trinidad and Tobago: a model for Dominica? 36
VIII. Challenges to Community Capacity for Implementation 38
Leadership and Management 38
Standards and Policies 39
Fundraising 39
Organisational Inertia 39
Staff/ Member Turnover 39
Turtle Poaching 40
Competition among Community Groups 40
Granting concessions 41
Getting Dominicans to Take Your Services 42
IX. Sustainability Network: Economic Linkages to Sea Turtles 42
Overview 42
Evaluating and Prioritising Projects 43
Turtle Watching 44
Create an integrated community eco-tourism enterprise 44
Establish visitor facilities at nesting beaches 45
Develop 'host homes' for accommodation 45
Initiate a community tourism exchange programme with Trinidad 45
Others 45
X. Monitoring and Evaluation 46
XI. The Way Forward 47
XII. Literature Cited 48



Appendix I: DomSeTCO "SWOT" Analysis 50
Appendix II: Forestry and Wildlife Act, Commonwealth of Dominica 51
Appendix III: Forests Act, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 52
Appendix IV: 2003 Public Awareness Survey Results Summary 54
Appendix V: 2003 Public Awareness Survey Questionnaire 57






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES


Figure 1 Problem Tree: factors affecting sustainable livelihoods 4
Figure 2 Problem Tree: factors affecting sea turtles 5
Figure 3 Proposed relationship between community groups and 7
DomSeTCO
Figure 4 Proposed organisational chart for DomSeTCO 8
Figure 5 Proposed communication structure for inclusive sea turtle 9
conservation in Dominica
Figure 6 Proposed organisational structure for community groups 18
Figure 7 Potential network of economic activities linked to Turtle
Watching at the community level 43



Table 1 Levels of Competition that Compete with the Nature Tour 29
Table 2 Projects Prioritised for Implementation under the Sea Turtle 44
Conservation and Tourism Initiative Should meet Established
Criteria Related to Economic and Environmental Contributions,
as well as Cultural, Competitive and Tourism Impacts
Table 3 SWOT Analysis, with a Focus on DomSeTCO 50






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are very grateful to the members of Government, as well as to the
community based groups and private sector interests, that actively and voluntarily
participated in the many discussions that formed the basis for this Action Plan, and later
reviewed its recommendations.

Reviewers included Hon. Yvor Nassief (Ministry of Tourism), Hon. Colin Mclntyre (Ministry
of Agriculture), Mr. Lloyd Pascal (Environmental Coordinating Unit), Mr. Errol Harris
(DomSeTCO), Mr. Charles Watty (NEWCEPT), Mr. Simon George (NET), Hon. Ron Green
(LEAP), Mr. Anthony Attidore (LAND), Mr. Andrew Magloire (Fisheries Division), Mr. Harold
Guiste (Fisheries / DomSeTCO), Mr. Ronald Charles and Mr. Minchinton Burton (Forestry,
Wildlife and Parks Division), Mr. Stephen Durand (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division /
DomSeTCO), and Mr. Davis Thomas (La Plaine Village Council / LAND), as well as Dr.
Scott Eckert (WIDECAST) and Dr. Julia Horrocks (University of the West Indies, Cave Hill).

With such a broad base of support, it is clear that science-based sea turtle manage-
ment and conservation is firmly established in Dominica. As this Action Plan is imple-
mented, its programmes will surely grow to benefit the citizens of (and visitors to)
Dominica for many generations to come.

In the spirit of recognizing those whose efforts have brought us to this point, we dedi-
cate this Action Plan to those who have already given so much of themselves for many
years in patrolling the nations nesting beaches and protecting her sea turtles and their
young.






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

This Action Plan lays the foundation for a national dialogue that will propel Dominica in
a natural evolution from a single sea turtle research and conservation project (the
Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative, or RoSTI) to a coordinated national programme of sea turtle
research, conservation, management, and livelihood development. In order to achieve
a national Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative designed to "enhance the
standard of living for persons living in communities near major sea turtle nesting
beaches, while at the same time offering greater protection to nesting turtles and their
young", the Action Plan makes the following recommendations:


Recommendation 1 -



Recommendation 2 -












Recommendation 3 -


Recommendation 4 -




Recommendation 5 -




Recommendation 6 -


Participating community-based organizations should remain
independent and work together with DomSeTCO under the
terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

A Sea Turtle Management Committee should be established
to be comprised of representation from organizations partici-
pating in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative
MOU, with organizations to be added or removed as time
goes on and as appropriate to the success of the pro-
gramme. In addition, there should be representation on the
Management Committee from natural resource agencies
(Forestry, Wildlife and Parks; Fisheries) and other agencies
(e.g. tourism, education, law enforcement), along with re-
search organizations, and the private sector, as needed, in
order to achieve an organised and positive implementation
of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative.

The roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined for
each member of the Sea Turtle Management Committee.

Assess (and develop) the capacity of DomSeTCO and com-
munity organizations to assume responsibility for decision-
making, planning and management of their role in the Sea
Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative.

Institutional development of community groups should seek
to build capacity for managing tour guides and beach pa-
trols, including staff and wages, rostering, discipline, evalua-
tion, team-building actions, and professional training.

For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, each community organisation should
develop an Operational Management Plan specific to the
nesting beach where their tour guiding activity takes place.


I






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Recommendation 7-





Recommendation 8 -




Recommendation 9-




Recommendation 10-




Recommendation 11 -





Recommendation 12-




Recommendation 13-




Recommendation 14-




Recommendation 15-


For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, each community organisation should
develop a Community Ecotourism Handbook with standards
for managing visitors, carrying capacity, health and safety,
and staff protocols (e.g. hiring, training, evaluation).

For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, each community organisation should
develop a Marketing Plan to address strategic objectives,
market trends, retail products, and competition.

A Five-Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica
should be developed, highlighting information gaps and re-
search projects needed to inform and improve sea turtle
management and conservation at a national scale.

The Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative cannot be
successful without the development of supporting infrastruc-
ture, including payment centres, land access, beach facil-
ities (an area for arrival, waiting, and interpretation), etc.

For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, persons must purchase a ticket grant-
ing access to the nesting beach during the annual nesting
season and be accompanied, while on the beach, by a
trained and licensed Tour Guide.

Identify challenges facing community organizations relative
to their assuming responsibility for decision-making, planning
and management of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tour-
ism Initiative and identify solutions.

"One community group one nesting beach." In order for
Turtle Watches to be successful, experience in other areas
has demonstrated that the concept of a sole concessionaire
is fundamentally important.

For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, supporting linkages must be develop-
ed with related enterprises such as small business enterprises,
training and education, and research and monitoring.

For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative, a mechanism for long-term monitoring
and evaluation is needed.


I






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



I. INTRODUCTION

With support from the United States Agency for International Development, through its
Caribbean Open Trade Support (COTS) programme in the Eastern Caribbean, the
Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation (DomSeTCO), in partnership with the
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), has been tasked with
developing a nation-wide scientifically sound, non-invasive sea turtle research, conser-
vation, and ecotourism program that can be implemented in collaboration with Gov-
ernment, coastal communities, the tourism industry, and visitors to the island.

The resulting program has focused heavily on leadership training in coastal communities
interested in assuming greater responsibility for sea turtle survival in Dominica and has
included technical training in population monitoring and research, data collection, and
habitat conservation, including a public outreach component. Importantly, the pro-
gram has aimed to facilitate a sustained commitment to conservation goals by foster-
ing capacity for income generation at the community level. Training guides to lead
Turtle Watches, building on Dominica's reputation as an ecotourism destination and
WIDECAST's expertise in this area, has provided a basis for new professional livelihoods
that both create a more diversified income base in participating communities and also
discourage sea turtle poaching at major nesting beaches.

Prior to implementation of this program, discussions with Government and relevant
communities in the South East and North East' confirmed that there was consensus
regarding the need for livelihood diversification in ways that support The Nature Island
market niche, and that a professional "Turtle Watch" tour product was a high priority.
Notwithstanding, there was no national capacity to support such diversification in ways
that met the standards of international best practice. Therefore, the program has
sought to identify the appropriate community structure, regulatory framework, and
institutional development necessary to create a Turtle Watch programme in Dominica,
while at the same time to maintain nightly beach patrols at the nation's primary nesting
beaches in order to collect basic population data, to nurture a feeling of civic pride in
the protection of these grand and ancient creatures, and to reduce illegal killing of the
animals during their egg-laying period.

Through community consultations, partnerships with experts, literature reviews and other
processes, the program has created a legacy of supporting documents, including this
Action Plan, a Field Procedures Manual, a Tour Guide Manual, a complete geo-refer-
enced national map of nesting beaches (for three species of sea turtle), standardized
data collection forms, and more. The intent of this Action Plan is to invite and guide an
ongoing dialogue among stakeholders interested in defining and pursuing a viable Sea
Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica.


1 The 'South East Community' (4.000-4,500 residents) includes Grand Fond to Delices. The 'North East Com-
munity' (ca. 7,000 residents) includes Wesley to Marigot. As practicable, the program will also involve com-
munities north of the Carib Territory in planning meetings and technical training.






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


II. PROBLEM ANALYSIS

The challenge of creating truly sustainable livelihood choices for rural communities is
widespread, and this is certainly true for many of the communities along the largely un-
developed East coast of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The ability of these
communities to sustain fundamental needs is limited: farming is affected by weather
conditions and changing international trade dynamics, tourism visitation remains com-
paratively low, transportation is complicated by road disrepair, fuel costs, and oft-unre-
liable public access, and clothing, construction material, food and other necessities are
very costly. Some basic services can only be obtained in larger communities; others
(e.g. banking, protective, health, higher education, and a range of other government-
al services) are only available in the capital city of Roseau.


Causes










SProblems








Effects


Leads to:


Di sabling Factors
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Figure 1. Problem Tree: Factors Affecting Sustainable Livelihoods.


I







Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



An assessment of causal factors and their effects in relation to the creation of sustaina-
ble livelihood choices must be clearly understood before we can consider (and apply)
appropriate solutions. Figure 1 (above) represents a problem tree that looks at issues
related to sustainable livelihoods in a simple and logical way, illustrating the causes and
effects of low economic growth in local communities.



Lack of protection and Management of Natural
Resources



Other Natural Resources:
Forest
culture Wildlife
Causes ack of Appropriat Traditions Unregulate and Waterfall
legislation & Incorrect fishing
enforcment techniques Others
Planned or
u-ck of
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Actles







Effecs ( Decreasing number of Turtles Nesling in
Effects Dominica


Figure 2. Problem Tree: Factors Affecting Sea Turtles.


Although there are relatively few individuals directly involved in sea turtle hunting, legal-
ly or illegally, the number of turtle meat consumers is significant in Dominica. Cultural
beliefs about the protein content and the potency of turtle meat drive demand for
turtle meat in the country, and especially in rural areas. Recognising this, it is important,
once again, to identify causal factors and their effects this time as they relate to the
depleted status of the nation's sea turtle resource (Figure 2).

The use of Problem Trees in strategic planning assists stakeholders in identifying impor-
tant cause and effect relationships, and then prioritising actions needed to reduce or
eliminate root causes.






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


III. GOALS FOR THE SEA TURTLE CON-
SERVATION AND TOURISM
INITIATIVE

The goal of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism
Initiative is to: Enhance the standard of living for per-
sons living in communities near major sea turtle nest-
ing beaches, while at the same time offering greater
protection to nesting turtles and their young. The op-
erational objectives are as follows:

A. Economic Development
i To promote training and self-employment skills
for community residents as nature tour guides
and other entrepreneurial activities.
i To enhance the development of other sectors
of the community by fostering the establish-
ment of backward and forward linkages be-
tween Heritage Tourism and local agriculture,
cuisine, accommodation, and other services.

B. Socio-cultural and Community Development
i To develop community awareness of the sig-
nificance and value of the natural heritage of
areas within and around the communities.
i To enhance self-worth and develop civic
pride toward culture and the way of life.
i To realize the economic potential and other
developmental benefits that could accrue
from multiple use management of natural
ecosystems within and around communities.

C. Environmental Protection
i To increase participation in natural resources
management by community residents.
i To promote Heritage Tourism as a tool for the
sustained conservation of natural ecosys-
tems and species, by using educational pro-
grams and the spectacular ecological be-
haviour of egg-laying Leatherback turtles as
the principle focus for this activity.
i To safeguard the nesting habitat of sea tur-
tles, and conserve other natural resources,
from negative human and other impacts.


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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


IV. STRUCTURE OF THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM
INITIATIVE

RECOMllMENDATION I
Particilp)tiin conmunity-based orian isations should remain independent and
work together \\ith DomnSeTCO under the terms ofa n negotiated .llMeimrn-uliin
i. I'mltervaKiidini (MOlt).

After consultation (during preparation of this Action Plan) with partners, experts and
other stakeholders2, we recommend that community-based organizations participating
in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative work together with DomSeTCO un-
der the terms of an MOU (Figure 3) in order to implement programme activities.


I _


Figure 3. Proposed Relationship Between Participating Community Groups and DomSeTCO.


2 Errol Harris (Chairman, DomSeTCO); Hon. Ron Green (Parliamentary Representative); David Williams (fmr
Director, Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division); La Plaine Village Council; Community Organisations
(NEWCEPT- North East Wildlife Conservation, Environmental Protection & Tours, NET Nature Enhancement
Team, LEAP La Plaine Environmental Advancement and Protection); Samantha Letang (Quality Control
Specialist, Discover Dominica Invest Dominica); Andrew Magloire (Director, Fisheries Division); Minchinton
Burton (Director, Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division); Beverly Deikel (Owner, Rosalie Bay Nature Resort); Sam
Raphael (Owner, Jungle Bay); and several members of the La Plaine community.


Rosalie"
Community


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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


DomSeTCO itself needs to develop a core professional staff dedicated to: nurturing its
community partners (e.g. hosting training and peer-exchanges, maintaining an inven-
tory of tags and tagging equipment, assisting with fund raising and marketing, medi-
ating disputes, bringing new communities into the program), facilitating a responsible
and standardised national sea turtle conservation, management and livelihood pro-
gram (e.g. liaising with Government, soliciting an annual Forestry permit to conduct the
work, overseeing data collection, conducting program evaluations, maintaining a
technical reference library), and generally being proactive about ensuring programme
success (see Section IV "Structure of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative":
DomSeTCO) and Figure 4.


Figure 4. Proposed Organisational Chart for DomSeTCO. The figure is based on the operational scheme
adopted in 2008. The most experienced beach patrollers (e.g. Dexter George at Rosalie) should also
have an important and ongoing role to play in mentoring, data oversight, and operational stability.



-----------9





Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Figure 5. Proposed Communication Structure for Inclusive Sea Turtle Conservation in Dominica.

Figure 5 shows the roles of the various stakeholders in the conservation of the sea turtle
resource in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Although all stakeholders should be
expected to play a key role in programme planning, management, implementation
and evaluation, Figure 5 emphasizes which stakeholder/ sector has overall responsibility
in the development of these various aspects of sea turtle conservation. The diagram
also defines the flow of communication among stakeholders, demonstrates the impor-
tance and need for all players to collaborate with each other, and identifies the
Management Committee as representing the main coordinating body for the conser-
vation development process. Finally, we highlight the formal and informal impetus for
communication and collaboration.



0S






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


There is clearly a common interest among community groups, government agencies,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private entities (for example, eco-lodges
in the area) in more effectively protecting the sea turtles that utilise at least four major
nesting beaches: La Plaine (Bout Sable), Rosalie, Cabana (Londonderry), and Castle
Bruce. There is equal interest in working together for the greater good of the people
living in communities near these nesting beaches.

Based on discussions with community organizations operating in each of these areas,
we recommend that these organizations remain independently registered and adminis-
tered each having their own name, structure, bylaws, procedures and policies and
that they collaborate together under the terms of a mutually negotiated memorandum
of understanding (MOU). This recommendation provides for very specific advantages:

First, members of each organisation can first take the time to build capacity within
their organisation without having to devote time and effort to defining and
building an umbrella organisation.
Second,each organisation is fully aware of its roles and responsibilities under the MOU,
and each organisation can fully develop unlimited parameters for organisa-
tional growth and expansion outside of this MOU.
Third, since each individual organisation is already germinated, each can create
and develop its vision and strategic plan without parental or sibling influ-
ences.
Fourth, each organisation will have equal involvement in decision-making, planning
and implementation of activities developed within the context of the MOU.


RECOMMhENDATION 2
A .S'el Turlie M.Ilnagecment C'innitrtc should be established to be comprised of
representation from organizations participating in the Sea Turtle Conservation
and Tourism Initiative NIOl. % ith organizations to be added or removed as
lime goes on and as appropriate to the success of the progralmme. In addition,
there should be representation on the Mlanagemenlt Commlittee front natural
resource agencies (Forestr. wildlife e and Parks; Fisheries) and other agencies
(e.g. tourism, education, Ia.t enforcement), along with research organizations.
and the private sector, as needed, in order to achieve an organized and positive
implementation of the Sea Turlle Conservation and Tourismi Initiatie.

Due to the particular needs and common interests of stakeholders, it is recommended
that a Sea Turtle Management Committee (hereafter, the Management Committee)
be established with the goal of implementing the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism
Initiative at a strategic level.

The Management Committee's main function is to facilitate coordination and com-
munication among stakeholders, to lobby for the appropriate legislation and policy





-g--- ^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


support, and to holistically make decisions that are in the interest of Dominica while
eliminating the obstacles that face individual communities.

The Committee should aim to strengthen all its members, empowering and supporting
them to accomplish more than they could achieve individually or alone, and it should
be structured to solicit and incorporate the views of international experts, such as
WIDECAST and the University of the West Indies, as needed.

Among its responsibilities should be to periodically review and update this Action Plan
to address important priorities that will assist in more effective coordination and imple-
mentation, and to ensure that there is consensus for the implementation of recom-
mendations prioritised by the Action Plan. One high priority recommendation might be
to develop a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica (see Recom-
mendation 9), for which DomSeTCO would take the lead in terms of coordination and
implementation.


RECOMMlENDATION 3
The roles and responsibilities should be clerlr dteined.l for eatc in i bher
orniisation of the Sea Turtle MNhlna ementl Committee.


Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO)

"The Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) is dedicated to pro-
moting strong linkages between science, policy, and public participation in the design
and implementation of sea turtle research, conservation and education actions in the
Commonwealth of Dominica." Articles of Incorporation, 2007

DomSeTCO is an independent body created inter alia as a response to the need to
evolve the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (see "What should be the role of RoSTI?", below)
from a place-based project to a national programme able to coordinate, replicate
and evaluate sea turtle conservation and tourism nation-wide. As requests to extend
the coverage of RoSTI further and further from its base in Rosalie Bay increased, it
became clear that the structure of RoSTI a pilot project begun in 2003 as "a practical
example of how the sustainable management of depleted sea turtle stocks could be
accomplished at the community level in Dominica" did not lend itself to perpetual
expansion. After five years of operation the project was stretched thin, and the chal-
lenge threatened to undermine its success.

In response, a dedicated group of individuals from the governmental and private sec-
tors, met to create a national organisation specifically designed to help communities
build their capacity to participate collectively and professionally in sea turtle research,
management and conservation activities, as well as sea turtle ecotourism.





-----------<






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Given its charter and intentions, DomSeTCO's role should include but not be limited to
the following, and these responsibilities must be clearly stated in the MOU:

develop projects, in partnership with community organizations, that will result in
achieving livelihood and conservation targets, while building strong community
capacity
promote sustainable conservation projects with strong community involvement,
including projects that accrue financial benefits from conserving migratory sea
turtles known to occur within our waters and on our coastal beaches
encourage support initiatives that promote grassroots involvement in decision
making, planning and implementation
advance the development of projects that provide technical assistance and
that build capacity within participating organizations and groups3 who organise
themselves with similar interests in conserving biodiversity and promoting grass-
roots involvement in project implementation
create alliances with programmes in other Caribbean countries where communi-
ty members are benefiting economically, socially, and ecologically from their
sea turtle conservation efforts
forge consensus in the design and implementation of a Five Year National Sea
Turtle Research Plan for Dominica
invite the expertise of national and international experts to ensure that the best
available science is used in the conservation and management of Dominica's
sea turtles
ensure, through a Science and Coordination Officer, that data collected on sea
turtles and their nests remains consistent among nesting beaches, and of high
quality
promote national awareness of sea turtle biology and conservation issues
serve as a national "clearinghouse" for sea turtle information, including keeping
a reference library and a national sea turtle database, as well as engaging with
WIDECAST to ensure that stakeholders are aware of training, funding, and other
relevant opportunities at the Caribbean level

What should be the role of the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI)?

The Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative was established in 2003 to study and conserve the sea
turtles of Dominica, with an emphasis on Rosalie Bay: "The project objective is to dem-
onstrate in Dominica how sea turtle conservation and sustainable management of
depleted stocks can be achieved. The project is science-based, and features a strong
public awareness component. Information generated by the project will form the basis
of management recommendations to Government, the tourism sector (e.g. coastal ho-

3 These organizations and groups could include: community organizations, Invest Dominica & Discover
Dominica, Government offices (Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture: Forestry, Fisheries), and Dominica
Hotel & Tourism Association, as well as international partners such as the University of the West Indies, Wider
Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
and Nature Seekers in Trinidad and Tobago.




^0----






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


teliers), and community stakeholders, including those interested in participating in profit-
making non-consumptive use options such as a 'Turtle Watching' programme open to
the public." Research Activity Registration Form, Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment
(Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division), 2003

The project was designed by and funded through WIDECAST, in partnership with Gov-
ernment, the Rosalie Bay Nature Resort and surrounding communities, and its successes
include increasing the level of protection at Rosalie and elsewhere (for example,
consistently reducing poaching at key sites), increasing national awareness of the plight
of Dominica's depleted sea turtle stocks, and also creating community awareness
which generated sufficient interest by the community to want to become (and stay)
involved in the process. With the exception of a trained biologist hired to manage the
project each year, project staffing (e.g. beach patrollers, event coordinators, artists)
was entirely local.

As interest in the initiative grew due inter alia to media attention, local festivals and
sponsored events, and part-time employment RoSTI responded to requests to extend
its conservation and protection activities to other beaches, including Bout Sable (La
Plaine), Londonderry, Castle Bruce, Turtle Point, and Hampstead. The project's Annual
Reports (Franklin et al. 2004, Byrne and Eckert 2006, Byrne 2006, Stapleton and Eckert
2007) document this expansion and the data collected from nesting beaches studied.

Among RoSTI's objectives was a commitment to help build community-level capacity
towards local management and control. For the most part this did not occur, and the
reason it did not occur could be attributed to the fact that RoSTI as an organisation did
not evolve with its own success. Responding to interest on the part of communities to
become more involved would have been an evolved responsibility of RoSTI. Therefore,
RoSTI should have redesigned its function to help develop community organizations for
sustainable community management of this project.

Faced now with interest far beyond RoSTI's mandate to study and conserve the sea
turtles of Rosalie Bay, and recognizing the impossibility of accomplishing that mandate
in light of evidence that sea turtles, especially Leatherbacks, nest freely among and
between Dominica's beaches (meaning that protecting them at only one or two sites
leaves them vulnerable to poachers elsewhere), what is needed is a national co-
ordinating body tasked with "developing projects, in partnership with community
organizations, that will result in achieving strong livelihood and conservation targets,
while building strong community capacity" (see DomSeTCO, above).

We envision that a new generation of projects will build on the foundation laid by RoSTI,
but that these projects will be community administered in a collaborative way, taking
advantage of the strength provided and mutual support enabled by the MOU (see
Recommendation 1) and the Management Committee (see Recommendation 2). To-
gether these projects will move Dominica in a very natural evolution from a single
project (RoSTI) to a coordinated national programme for sea turtle conservation, man-
agement, and livelihood development.



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


With this in mind, we recommend that the RoSTI Project Manager serve DomSeTCO and
the Management Committee during a year of transition (2008), as follows:

Train a Science and Coordination Officer (SCO) in sea turtle biology, field tech-
niques, and database management.
Assist community organizations in establishing and managing a beach patrol
schedule during the annual nesting season (e.g. assist in creating standardized
criteria and procedures for rostering), and communicate these procedures to
DomSeTCO (through the SCO) for future reference.
Assist community organizations in monitoring and evaluating the beach patrol
schedule (e.g. how to supervise payment by monitoring "time-card" documen-
tations), and develop standardised forms and procedures for same.
Assist community organizations in ensuring that their field methods are in line with
international best practices (e.g. join patrollers on the beach and provide
feedback to them during regular visits to the island in 2008).
Empower community organizations to build public awareness. For example, help
groups to use computer programmes (such as PowerPoint) that create aware-
ness presentations and help to develop their outreach skills by making presenta-
tions to schools and other audiences. Provide participating community organ-
isations with a model sea turtle PowerPoint presentation that each can update
and personalise for their own outreach efforts.
Empower community organizations to be more effective in engaging the media
and potential programme sponsors; e.g. develop a press release, organise com-
munity and national awareness events, write grant proposals, successfully solicit
sponsorships.
Help to ensure continuity and consistency in how sea turtle data are collected,
assembled, archived and reported at both community and national levels 4
Serve as a technical resource to DomSeTCO, to the community organizations,
and to Government in providing updated information on best practices of data
collection (including analysis and reporting), field techniques (e.g. tagging,
moving eggs, controlling predators, reducing lighting), and conservation out-
reach, upon request.

Following the year of transition (2008), a decision can be made concerning any on-
going role for RoSTI. Perhaps the most logical outcome is that communities in the vicinity
of Rosalie Bay will continue the work of RoSTI as part of a community-level portfolio, and
in partnership with other community-led projects and DomSeTCO under an MOU (see
Recommendation 1). In this way, the name "RoSTI" would cease to exist but the work
would continue uninterrupted.


4 Database management skills may not be present, at least not initially, at the community level so a
decision to centralize all the data with DomSeTCO (to be maintained and shared, transparently, among
data collectors) might be a good way to begin. Pooling data at the national level is also useful because
the same turtles are nesting throughout the island meaning that not much is learned, at least from a
management standpoint, by analysing data at the level of individual beaches.




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Community Organisations

Each participating community should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities
which should be developed in partnership with DomSeTCO through the Management
Committee for the implementation of the project. These responsibilities, which should
include but not be limited to the following, must be clearly stated in the MOU:

Creating awareness in the community and environs
Conducting nightly beach patrols to tag, record and protect nesting turtles, their
eggs and young
Managing paying visitors, both local and international, on the nesting beaches
where tour guiding is approved
Conducting beach clean-ups on a regular (at least annual) basis
Assuming responsibility for managing tour guides and beach patrols, including
staff and wages, rostering, discipline, evaluation, and team-building
Developing a management and accountability system with the Management
Committee, including participating in whatever data-sharing agreement is mutu-
ally agreed upon
Raising funds for project implementation and supporting DomSeTCO in its efforts
to raise funds for capacity-building and other shared priorities

Community organizations should also foster and build a good relationship with residents
and other organizations in their community. This is a good strategy for building com-
munity support that can encourage members to participate in the community building
process. The involvement of the community organizations in site management through
product development, community empowerment, networking, site promotion, and
fund raising is crucial to the success of these groups. The efficiency of each organisation
will depend on its ability to acquire the necessary technology, and to develop its hu-
man resources to implement and manage projects.

Government

The divisions of Forestry, Wildlife and Parks, and of Fisheries, are critical to the develop-
ment process and are very important partners, supporters and mentors. Government
has the legal mandate and responsibility for safeguarding the patrimony of the nation,
and the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division has the authority to grant (and withdraw)
permits to work with sea turtles (e.g. tag measure, relocate eggs, exhume hatched
nests). Their contributions, which should include but not be limited to the following,
should be clearly stated in the MOU:

Provide community groups with technical support in establishing mechanisms to
achieve effective nesting beach management, including crowd control and
eliminating poaching
Provide ecotourism development support and community access to resource
use with permits and other mechanisms





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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Provide support to the Management Committee in the context of governance
and policy compliance on use of natural resources
Provide technical assistance in record-keeping and database management, as
well as other research-related aspects
Provide information on government-related assets, including funding, training,
facilities use, library materials, etc.

As needed, other government agencies, including tourism, youth, education, and law
enforcement, should be invited to participate on the Management Committee. Each
member of the Management Committee has an important role to play in supporting
community-based research, conservation and outreach agendas, in addition to
supporting the national service that communities play in dissuading poaching at the
nation's major sea turtle nesting beaches.

Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST)

In the past the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, a Caribbean region-
al network of sea turtle scientists, has contributed tremendously to Dominica's sea turtle
research, conservation, and outreach programmes and, as such, should be invited to
continue to provide such support. WIDECAST's contributions, which should include but
not be limited to the following, should also be clearly stated in the MOU:

Provide updated information on sea turtles and their status in the Caribbean Sea
Play a major role in developing a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for
Dominica in collaboration with the Management Committee comprised of Dom-
SeTCO, Government agencies, communities and other stakeholders
Encourage integrated resource management by assisting stakeholders in the
establishment of techniques and mechanisms that will ensure a coordinated and
collaborative approach to research and long-term population monitoring
Provide specific recommendations for the management and recovery of
depleted sea turtle stocks, based on internationally recognized standards
Provide technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of DomSeTCO to:
o fundraise for project implementation and institutional strengthening, as
well as to support research, management, conservation, population moni-
toring, community development, and public outreach priorities
o determine and evaluate sea turtle conservation priorities, and to promote
science-based management planning and project implementation
o facilitate institutional strengthening, both of DomSeTCO itself and of the
community organizations, such that local groups are able to identify, ana-
lyze and resolve issues related to sea turtle management and protection
o assist Government in modernising the regulatory framework, including the
formulation of legislation, policies and standards, as appropriate, for the
management of sea turtles at local and national levels
o encourage and promote institutional strengthening and technical capa-
city in government agencies responsible for sea turtle management




S----<






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



V. COMMUNITY CAPACITY FOR IMPLEMENTING THE SEA
TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE

RECONINMENDATION 4
.4sess (anid develop) the LcapLitir of DomiSeTCO andl community or2aniisltions
to asslune responsibility for decisioil-Inakin,. planning2 and lmali ngement of
their role in the Sea Turtle Conservation andl Tourismn Initilaive.


Capacity Building

The capacity of the community organizations, including DomSeTCO (see Appendix I), is
a major element that needs to be assessed in order to determine what training needs
exist. It is necessary that efforts be directed in building organisational capacity, particu-
larly in the context of resources and readiness (see below). Community capacity is built
through experience by directly involving the community in decision making, planning
and management of Turtle Watching (ecotourism) and conservation efforts.


Capacity building is often defined as "action that im-
proves an organisation's effectiveness in achieving its
mission", and it can be grouped into four areas:

Organisation Life Cycle new organizations need
help to get established, and existing organizations
need help to focus on and improve efficiency
Organisation Resources time, commitment, skills,
expertise, money, facilities, and equipment
Organisation Readiness ability to take on the
task for which the organisation was established
Access to Support and Resources trainers, tools,
and networking support

To attain and maintain capacity, organizations must
invest in training. In particular, the following areas should
be emphasised:

Strategic planning
Conflict management
Small business management
Environmental education and awareness
Food preparation and service
Craft design and display
First aid


satu, suhas:



2. Bylaw
3. Fiacal Procedures
4. Othr *liie


I






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Standard procedures (e.g. developing a Tour Guide Handbook for Dominica)
Fundraising: proposal writing and follow-up

For organizations involved in conservation goals and formal tour guiding, it is essential
that guides receive continuous training and feedback. Emphasis should be placed on:

Visitor management
Self / Guide management
Basic sea turtle biology and conservation
o Reproduction/nesting cycle
o Ecology (e.g. migration, feeding/diet)
o Basic research (e.g. tagging, measuring)
o Data collection
Record keeping and reporting


Figure 6. Proposed Organisational Structure for Participating Community Groups.


I


Members
Coordinator

Staff
Guides / Patrols






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


RECOMMENDATION 5
Invituiinail development of coininunitN groups should seek to build Cap)acity for
ni1ni;2iing tour guides and bench patrols, including staff and rages, rosterin2g
discipline, ev valuation. leami-building actions. and professional Iraining.

Institutional Development

As a way forward, the community organizations should first engage themselves in a
strategic planning exercise designed to develop a VISION of their future, as well as
establish appropriate GOALS & OBJECTIVES leading to the achievement of their vision.
This recommendation applies to all stakeholders; if it is not done, community groups, in
particular, tend to whither and fade.

Community organizations should also engage in activities that assist in and promote the
development of a STRONG COHESIVE EXECUTIVE TEAM supported by a formal structure
within the organisation. The experience of community groups involved in sea turtle con-
servation and tourism elsewhere in the Caribbean (such as Nature Seekers in Trinidad) is
that sustained participation of community members is likely to increase and their
confidence in the organisation is likely to increase when a formal structure is in place.

With a strong internal executive team, a community organisation is better placed to
contribute to the Management Committee (see Recommendation 2) and to play an
important role in a science-based sea turtle conservation programme.

While a community organisation's sea turtle conservation and tourism programme is in
its infancy stage, the organisation's Board of Directors or Executive Committee (see
Figure 6) should take an administrative and/or leadership role in coordinating the
activities. At a later stage, when the work is further developed and funding is available,
the group should seek to hire a Coordinator. Groups should ensure that the selection
process is highly transparent to avoid the germination of new conflict. The Coordinator
should have the responsibility of creating value for the organisation, and ensuring
quality and professional delivery of products and services to the target group (see also
Sammy and Baptiste 2008).

Whatever structure is decided upon, it is important to evaluate the organisation as the
work is defined through management and implementation. The structure can always
be revised accordingly to meet the needs of the organisation and the needs of the
community in the implementation of its activities.


RECOMMENDATION 6
For effective ilmlemenltaion of the Sen Turtle C'onservation and Tourism Initi-
iaiv e, each co mmuniltl organisation should develop an Operationlt .illtieinelwii
Plan specific to the nestiIn beach % here their tour-guiding activitN takes place.





--~-----~^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Operational Management Plan

An Operational Management Plan for each nesting beach managed by a community
organisation should be developed separately, and the terms of the Plan should be
clearly understood by the responsible community organisation. Given the nature and
diversity of sea turtle conservation, the supporting systems should be in place in order to
ensure the proper management of both the sea turtles and the visitors at each of the
nesting beaches: an Operational Management Plan explains these supporting systems.

The following elements, not necessarily in order of priority, should be given sufficient and
careful consideration in the development of the Operational Management Plan:

Database Management Information System (DMIS) for record-keeping

There should be an appropriate system of record-keeping for the management of the
programme both from a conservation and from a tourism prospective. A Database
Management Information System for tracking customers, tour purchases (ticket sales),
product purchases, and payment of staff for guiding and beach patrolling must be
developed to increase efficiency in and provide for evaluation of daily operations.

The organisation must also document the number of tour guides working each night, as
well as per year. These records will make for easy payment of stipends and facilitate
evaluation of guides (e.g. it will be clear whether the guide worked the required hours).

Visitor flow and financial recording

An appropriate visitor management system for payment of tickets and guide fees
should be developed (see Section VII, "Infrastructure and Essential Policies for Imple-
mentation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative").

If Government requires that tickets (permits) be purchased in order to gain access to
major nesting beaches at night, these should be sold at the same time at 3 or 4
designated sale centres that guide tickets are sold.

Each nesting beach will have a carrying capacity (see Recommendation 7), and
therefore only a certain number of tickets can be sold. Communication among ticket
sale centres, as well as with tour guiding organizations, is necessary on this point. For
example, if there is a limit of 100 tickets available per beach per night, the sales centres
must know when 100 tickets have been sold by all the centres combined. When that
limit is reached, sales staff must indicate that the night is full and that tickets are no
longer available but that tickets are available for a later date (or perhaps for another
beach). This kind of record-keeping is very important because the community organi-
sations are scheduling guides based on a certain number of visitors. If too few, or too
many, visitors arrive at the beach, conflict can arise.





--------------^g






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


There should be records kept of the number of tour tickets sold to foreigners and to
locals; these records assist in annual planning, evaluation, and report writing. An appro-
priate accountability system should be adopted; e.g. triplicate receipt books should be
printed and used whereby the original and one copy are given to the visitor and one
copy remains in the sales office. The visitor has the option to retain the original for their
files, but the visitor must give the copy to their guide at the nesting beach so that verifi-
cation of payment is assured before the tour begins.

Finally, a Customer Database is an important asset for a community organisation. Such
a database can be use for making tour or product decisions based on customers'
purchases and choices (e.g. which beach, meal, craft, etc. is preferred). The database
can also be used to promote the upcoming season and/or other nature tours or
offerings by sending e-mails, or direct mail, to former customers. There should be a
notation made in the file if the Customer has indicated that s/he does not want to
receive any information from the organisation.

Scientific data collection and record-keeping

Regular emphasis should be placed on the collection of data on nesting sea turtles and
their young. The accuracy and clarity of information is of paramount importance to the
conservation effort, and will reflect on the professionalism of the community. Accurate
information is also important to Government offices charged with protecting the sea
turtle resource on a national level, and it is through these offices that communities
receive their permits to work with these species during an annual period of protection
(see Appendix II).

Attempts must be made to ensure that community groups are both well-trained and
adequately supervised (monitored) for at least two weeks on a nightly basis by an
experienced data collector such as the RoSTI Project Manager or a Forestry Officer -
before delegating full responsibility to the community. Throughout the season, spot
checks by Fisheries and/or Forestry staff, or DomSeTCO, must be done. In other words,
there must be both a process of transition and a recognition that data collection and
record-keeping are big jobs that can only be successfully undertaken with the support
of all partners working together.


Following international best practices and keeping accurate records
is the difference between good conservation practice and a programme
that simply exploits and harasses sea turtles.


Data forms (see Stapleton and Eckert, 2008) should be compiled nightly by the com-
munity organisation. Forms should be sequentially numbers and filed, in order, in a
notebook. Data forms should be reviewed regularly, ideally weekly, by the DomSeTCO
SCO who is responsible for national database management.




----------





Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


RECOMMENDATION "
For effective imiplementiation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism
Iniiiitiive, each communitnu organisation should develop a Co niumity EL I-
IouriIsm Haindblhok \ ith standards for managing visitors. cenirring capacitL,
hie h and safenandafet staff Iprotocols (e.g. hiriig, training, evaluation).


Community Ecotourism Handbook

A Community Ecotourism Handbook for each nesting beach managed by a commun-
ity organisation should be developed separately, and the requirements described by
the Handbook should be clearly understood by the responsible community organisa-
tion and its partners. The following elements, not necessarily in order of priority, should
be given sufficient and careful consideration in the development of the Community
Ecotourism Handbook: I


Visitor management system

There must be a tour bookings system for everyone, in-
cluding local residents, and there must be an efficient
flow from one activity to another during every tour.

To facilitate these bookings and to centralize record-
keeping, 3-4 payment centres should be selected and
developed. It is at these payment centres that visitors
must purchase a guide ticket and, if required, an en-
trance fee to the nesting beach (see Section VII, "Infra-
structure and Essential Policies for Implementation of
the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative").

To support and maintain the carrying capacity system
(see below), all visitors, including local residents, should
book their tours in advance. Because of the high level
of interest shown in Turtle Watching by local communi-
ties, the community group should have some flexibility
to achieve management of residents who may occa-
sionally make spontaneous visits for Turtle Watching.


Community I Eco toul111 ri' Im '




guidelinesJ o:nr-- th folowng



D~ Tunrtles mm
Vistor
Stfe & Repniblte
Managemen

"~~ ~ Imlmetn Comnt
"~ ~ Helt & Saet

Suportoftnd Oner
Beah Failit


There should be an orientation on every tour, and this should be given shortly after the
tour arrives to the beach. The orientation is a very critical part of the tour, and its
objective is to prepare the visitor for the experience. The orientation should include a
short history of the community, including how the community became involved in turtle
conservation efforts, and a description of the tour that is to come including guidelines
for safety of visitors and protection of turtles.




^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


The flow of visitors from one point to the next should be efficient and smooth. The visi-
tors must not be inconvenienced and must not be rushed. Visitors will be paying for
their service so the tour guide's attitude must be friendly but firm with respect to rules
and guidelines for the tour. At all times the service must be professional and efficiently
carried out.

Tour guiding is a service industry, and the success of your business relies on the visitor
having a good experience. This does not mean that the visitor is in charge! The far
majority of visitors want a professional experience: they want everyone to follow the
same rules, they want to feel as though they are not disturbing the turtles during the
delicate period of egg-laying, and they want the tour guide to maintain respect and
order during the tour.

Cautionary note: Critical to good visitor management is the fact that the community
organisation should always have a plan to deal with unexpected events. What if a
large group comes to the beach without a booking? What if communication between
the payment centres broke down and twice the carrying capacity of tickets were sold
for a particular night? What if a visitor is drunk? What if a poacher is encountered?
What if a visitor trips and breaks his ankle?

In all cases and at all times the tour guide must have reliable communication (radio,
cell phone) both to the group (for example to call for additional guides or other
assistance on short notice) and to law enforcement officers who have an established
relationship with the group and are reliable in their response to a troubling situation.

Depending on the nature of the tour, accommodations, transport, meals or other servi-
ces might be involved. Again the tour guide should be well informed of these aspects
and able to call (radio, cell phone) for clarification or additional assistance in any
aspect of the tour, as needed. This communication should function from all areas of
the beach, not just from the entrance point, parking lot, or visitor centre.

Carrying capacity for beaches

The Community Ecotourism Handbook should be clear on the carrying capacity that
has been set for the Turtle Watching programme on all the beaches. This is to ensure
that the development of tourism does not compromise the carrying capacity of the
ecosystems.

Too many times unmanaged tourism results in environmental destruction. The elements
that should be considered when arriving at this capacity figure is to look at the number
of turtles, the number of tourists, the number of guides (and other services, such as
accommodations or meals), the amount of parking and the level of development of
other infrastructure, and the price per tour in order to arrive at a balance between the
protection of the turtles, the ability of the program to provide a good tour guiding
service, and the economic viability of the ecotourism programme.




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


There are several aspects of carrying capacity. First there is the total number of tickets
that can be sold for each beach each night. Then there is the number of visitors that
can be handled by each guide. Finally there is the number of visitors that should be
standing around each turtle. These are very important decisions that must be made by
each organisation.

~~ Recommendation: I turtle I tour guide 20 visitors ~~

Sample calculations: If the beach generally has many turtles and 20 people are allow-
ed around each turtle, the carrying capacity might be 100 people 5 guides, each
with 1 turtle and 20 visitors. If there are few turtles or the beach is narrow and cannot
accommodate 100 people or if the community only has 2 trained tour guides, then the
decision might be made to establish a carrying capacity of 40 visitors 2 guides, each
with 1 turtle and 20 visitors. Lower carrying capacity makes it easier for everyone to see
the turtle if there is only one turtle that night e.g. the tours might alternate first one
tour for 15 minutes, while the other waits at a distance, then the other tour approaches
for 15 minutes, and so forth.

Cautionary note: Selling too many tours can result in:

sub-standard service (e.g. the guide will be overwhelmed, visitors will be unable
to hear the orientation or tour presentation, visitors will be unable to see the
turtle, rules for beach behaviour will be ignored)
ecosystem harmed by too many vehicles and too many people on the beach
(e.g. too many people walking on the beach is known to increase erosion and
reduce nesting habitat)
disruptions to turtle nesting, such as by noise or lights, so that it becomes less likely
that the turtle will return to that beach for her next nesting

In each of these cases, the result is that the economic viability of the programme is
lowered and the community may be unable to sustain tour guiding as a livelihood. If,
on the other hand, a reasonable carrying capacity is established, the visitor receives
professional service, the environment is not degraded, and the turtles are not disturbed
the tour guide livelihood will remain sustainable and profitable. The decision is yours.

Field equipment

Equipment, such as clipboard (with pencils and data forms), radio/cell phone, binocu-
lars, whistle, head lamp, camera (including video camera), etc. might be needed and
should be appropriately packed for protection from wind, sand, rain, etc. The availa-
bility of radio (or cell phone) communication is extremely important in the delivery of
the service and the safety of the guides and visitors. The method of communication
should be tested and found to be very effective on the beaches. If the programme
allows tagging of the sea turtles and if tour guides are conducting the tagging then
the use of appropriate tags and tagging equipment is needed.



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


See Eckert and Beggs (2006) and Stapleton and Eckert
(2008) for details on field techniques for tagging, mea-
suring, etc. as well as standard data forms and advice
for data collection and record-keeping. Tagging can
serve both conservation and management purposes, as
well as being used to facilitate the development of an
Adopt-A-Turtle programme (see insert).

To view an example of an Adopt-A-Turtle program, visit
the website of Trinidad's Nature Seekers organisation at
http://natureseekers.org/adoptaturtle.html. 5

Health and safety of guests

The health and safety of visitors should be taken seriously
by the community. Guides and beach-patrollers should
be equipped with radio communication, and they
should ensure that safety procedures are in place for the
successful enjoyment of the tour. There should be an
Emergency Procedure Plan developed by each com-
munity, with help from stakeholders. This should include
partnerships with law enforcement and medical person-
nel which are aware of the nightly activity on the beach,
will monitor a radio or cell phone through the night, and
will respond to a call for help.

Caution should be taken to ensure that guests' property,
such as vehicles and personal belongings, are secure at
all time. As Dominica is still developing its tourism industry,
insurance coverage should be explored, if appropriate.

Administration and staffing

There should be an organisation in the community re-
sponsible for the overall management of the conserva-
tion and tourism programme, working closely with Dom-


5 "The Adopt-A-Turtle programme was initiated to raise funds to sustain the Matura Turtle Conservation Pro-
gramme. The objectives of the Adopt-A-Turtle programme is to improve Nature Seekers financial capability
to provide and sustain the Sea Turtles Research Programme at Matura. Once you are convinced that this is
a project you would like to be involved with, the special attached form must be completed for our records.
Later a Certificate of Adoption will be mailed to parents soon after. At the end of the turtle nesting season,
general information will be sent out to parents (of adopted turtles) that can be determined from the data
collected. The cost for adopting a turtle is US$ 35.00. This is an annual fee that will be made for the care,
protection and conservation of your turtle. We highly recommend that school, groups, organizations, and
individuals adopt turtles. Adopting a turtle can be a wedding gift, birthday gift, Mother's day, Father's Day
gift or a personal gift. This is a very meaningful way to express friendships!"


^^--------

"Adopt-A-Turtle"

Tagging can serve both
conservation and
management purposes, as
well as being used to
facilitate the development of
an Adopt-A-Turtle
programme.

Adopt-A-Turtle programmes
offer visitors a chance to
supportyour programme
beyondjust the purchase of a
tour and it also offers
people who will never visit
Dominica a chance to support
your work, as well.

It is ideal (but not absolutely
necessary) that turtles be
tagged so that 'parents'can
'adopt'an individual turtle.
When the nesting season is
overyo u can send, by E-Mail,
detailed information to each
'parent'on how many times
the turtle nested, whether her
nests hatched, etc.

If turtles are not tagged, then
visitors can be encouraged to
adopt 'a turtle'but not
necessarily a particular
individual.






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


SeTCO and Government (e.g. Forestry, Wildlife and Parks; Fisheries). A Coordinator,
delegated by this community organisation, should be in charge of the implementation
of the sea turtle ecotourism project in close collaboration with the interagency
Management Committee under the terms of the MOU (see Section IV: "Structure of the
Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative"). Guides should be under the supervision
of the Coordinator and efforts should be in place to develop a professional approach
in executing duties.

The community group should ensure that there is another person, besides the Co-
ordinator, involved in the management of the project. This could be an assistant to the
Coordinator, a Master Guide, etc. This is to prevent the adverse effect of the departure
of any one administrator on the project. Similarly, additional guides should be trained
and upgraded in order to ensure that there is consistency in the quality of service pro-
vided at all times.

It is important to employ different "categories" of guides. New guides should start at a
lower rank and rise, depending on the criteria set for promotion: e.g. Apprentice Guide
for the first year, then proceeding through ranks Guide I, Guide II, Guide III, achieving
the title of Master Guide after 5 years, assuming excellent ratings and evaluations dur-
ing this time. This will facilitate and manage the issue of equity, and provide for self-
improvement and promotion. Guides with more experience should be compensated
appropriately. Tour guides, whether new or experienced, must:

Be well-informed, outgoing generalists who can talk about a wide variety of
topics involving the destination and not just be informed on the natural history of
one specific area or just be informed in one subject of expertise.
Be environmentalists who can inform and motivate their clients on environmental
issues without being confrontational or overly controversial in their views.
Be well informed about potential impacts, and be willing and able to prepare
their clients well in advance about the rules of travel.
Be diplomatic but direct if rules are broken and be able to take corrective action
Be spontaneous and able to opportunistically take advantage of opportunities
for learning.
Be equipped with a "Guide Kit" that includes relevant field guides, trails maps,
charts, extra binoculars, and first aid equipment.
Know how to communicate with clients without always lecturing. Two-way com-
munication involving input in a dialogue is highly important, and can lead to a
learning process for the guides and other visitors.

Specific duties of tour guides, whether new or experienced, are to:

Educate, inform, manage, and enlighten visitors.
Work closely with the tour group leaders to assure a smoothly run tour.
Adjust the schedule, when necessary, to maximize the tour (for example, giving a
little more time if no other tours are waiting).
Be professional at all times.



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Influence visitors' behaviour around sites and attractions.
Know how many visitors are on your tour (or in your group) and be sure everyone
is accounted for at all times!
Be on time, in uniform (if appropriate), and well-groomed for duties.
Show consideration and respect for others, including other guides, at all times.
Promote (including by your own example) that littering is prohibited.
Follow directions and instructions from superiors.
Have a spirit of fun!
Know the prices of all tour products (e.g. tours, souvenirs, meals, transport).
Ensure that all payments have been made to the organisation.
Be responsible for giving out Visitor Evaluation Forms, and taking charge of other
tour-related reporting.
Be dedicated to staff meetings, training opportunities, and other organisation-
related commitments.


RECONIMIENDATION 8
For effective implement:ltion of the Sea Turtle C'onservation and Tourism
Initiative, each community organisation should develop n ..1irketing Plan to
address strategic objectives, market trends, retail products, and competition.



Marketing Plan

A Marketing Plan should be developed be each community organisation. The follow-
ing elements, not necessarily in order of priority, should be given sufficient and careful
consideration in the development of the Marketing Plan:

Marketing objectives

The goals and objectives of marketing are:

i To create awareness of the special biological event of the nesting process of the
Endangered Leatherback turtles (and other sea turtles) in Dominica.
i To develop and stimulate the uses of heritage/nature tours and other economic
activities in the community such as Host Home (see Section IX: "Sustainability Net-
work: Economic Linkages to Sea Turtles"), local crafts, and other heritage and/or
nature tours.
i To create financial sustainability by encouraging visitors to use the services of the
communities, thereby encouraging maximum visitor spending in the community
and in support of community organizations and other residents.
i To create a positive and unique image for the communities by providing unique
and very high quality services for sea turtle viewing, nature tour guiding, and
other community-based experiences (e.g. cultural festivals, youth activities, craft
expositions, sports events).



----------------^ ^^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Marketing strategies and branding

'Adventure' according to the Oxford dictionary means inter alia "an unusual, excit-
ing and daring experience". This is going to be a new experience for Dominica -
offering a community-based sea turtle tour led by local people. Therefore the tour
should be given a name that will entice Dominicans to try the service in a community:
La Plaine Turtle Watching Adventure, Rosalie Turtle Watching Adventure, Londonderry
Turtle Watching Adventure, Castle Bruce Turtle Watching Adventure (and so on) are rec-
ommended. It is important to know the name of the beach in the brand of the product
because there are different locations where permits and tours will be sold. Using the
name of the community in the brand will also assist in building community pride.

Many nature-conscious individuals, both locals and foreigners alike, want to be part of
nature's unique experience. This puts the communities in control in offering such an
adventure-type experience. Also because it is the plan to involve the community in the
project, it enables the service offered to be unique. Since the community members
involved tend to feel that they are a part of something different/unique and important,
it is likely that they will share their experiences a lot. They will try their best to maintain
and preserve its reputation, helping the product to stand out.

Showcasing the communities working together with other stakeholders such as by
brochures, site fliers, posters in hotels, postcards on sales, and a village sign will help to
realize marketing goals.

The most inexpensive and efficient way to promote Turtle Watching and other tour
services is to build a quality product that will influence clients to spread the word about
the good service. The result is that, with no additional effort (beyond providing an
excellent tour), the organisation will benefit from repeat customers as well as those
referred by satisfied customers. The asset most worth protecting in any tour guiding
business is the satisfied customer!

Product strategies: emphasise community

The main product strategies should be elements of "local community" and "nature"
combined with good facts in every aspect of the experience, and these should be
presented in every tour available to visitors. The use of local guides, local craft, local
cuisine, locally sourced products (e.g. organic produce), local culture and the natural
attractions in the area will indeed enhance the experience and develop a unique
image of the services that will be offered.

The focus will be to generate income through the use of the Turtle Watch Expeditions
which will open the tours up to more foreigners, while encouraging locals to participate
in the developing Adventures.

Turtle Viewing this can be an indelibly imprinted moment, as guests have a first-hand
opportunity to witnesses nesting by endangered sea turtles.


----- ^^9






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Because these giant reptiles will nest 3-7 times each season (and return at 2-5 year
intervals), protecting the sea turtles means that income is assured year after year (as
opposed to killing the sea turtles, which means that income is only derived once and
then it's gone forever). The main element of the tour is the Turtle Watching. The whole
tour is planned to make it as interesting and enjoyable as possible, offering more than
just turtle viewing. If the turtles do not come to nest, a wonderful experience will still be
obtained.

Heritage Tourism this offers the guest an opportunity to be directly involved with the
cultural expressions, values, local cuisine, customs and folklore of Dominica's local
communities. The use of story telling, myth and legend can play a major role
in making the guest experience very special and memorable.

The combination of culture, recreation and nature as a total package is very innovative
compared to the average product offered currently in Dominica, and in the Caribbean
Region in general. The product is enhanced by the fact that no two communities are
alike and therefore, no two communities provide the exact same service or experience.

Competition, including identifying the target audience

Competition can be identified by using three approaches: organizations making the
same product or service; organizations that are within the same strategic group (i.e.
organizations that satisfy the same consumer need, or follow the same strategy in a
particular market or industry); and any product that is cheaper and has the potential to
attract customers away from the Nature Tour Experience. Table 1 identifies some of the
many activities that can compete with the Nature Tour Experience, and therefore can
affect the likelihood that a community-based product will be successful.



LEVEL I LEVEL II LEVEL III LEVEL IV
PRODUCT OR PRODUCT/ PRODUCT GENERIC BUDGET
SERVICE SERVICE FORM CATEGORY COMPETITION COMPETITION
SUBSTITUTE
PRODUCT


Nature Tour Hotels, Tour Nature Experi- Typical "Nightlife", Beach (or River)
Turtle Tour Operators, Tour ence, Health Party, Restaurant, Party, Gym/ Spa,
Waterfall Guides, Areas/ focus (e.g. spa), Night Club Stay home, Enjoy a
Destinations that Entertainment day at the beach
Mountain offer similar
Hike services)

Table 1. Levels of Competition that Compete with the Nature Tour.




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


There are various mediums by which promotional efforts can be made. These include
websites, brochures, posters, photos and videos, radio and television exposure, and
word-of-mouth are all ways to get your message out. Also, if national standards are
met, Discover Dominica Authority (www.discoverdominica.com), Dominica Hotel and
Tourism Association (www.dhta.org) and other official outreach sites will promote Turtle
Watches and other community-based tour services.

Communication and promotional efforts should be directed to the following target
audiences (i.e. consumer groups):

Community Residents, including members of the community organisation, mem-
bers of the community, and media representatives;
International Visitors, including both leisure and eco-tourists; and
Visiting Friends and Relatives.

Community Residents:

Employees/Members of the community organisation: The goal of maintaining
morale and providing employees with an indication of the results of their efforts is
often the prime objective of marketing efforts. Organisational notices on bulletin
boards, direct mail, and annual reports are some of the methods used to com-
municate with this group.
Community members: Those persons who live and work in the community in
which the community organisation operates should be the targets of Public Re-
lation efforts. Such efforts may involve informing the community of activities that
the organisation is engaged in, e.g. reducing pollution, beach clean-ups, pro-
tecting wildlife, providing employment, conducting research, emphasising civic
pride. The effort here is to demonstrate to the community that the organisation
has the welfare of all in mind. Special effort should be made to reach the mem-
bers of the community to prepare them for the expansion of tourism.

Media: Perhaps one of the most critical of external public relation activities is
that directed toward the media. The media determines what you will read in the
newspaper or see on television, what is "news" and how this news is presented.
Because of the media's extreme power, they should be informed of the actions
of the community. This will assist in developing support for conservation initiatives
and also creating local markets. In addition, any opportunity to promote the
programme in special magazines and/or periodicals should be encouraged.

These outreach efforts should be done by the community, with guidance from
DomSeTCO. DomSeTCO should take responsibility for encouraging the media to
cover the activities of the community organizations, and should work with com-
munity-based sea turtle coordinators to ensure that each organisation has the
capacity to interact with the media; e.g. that they have contacts inside media
offices, that they are aware of how to submit a press release, etc.




---------* g






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


International Visitors: Know your audience! "The core target group for ecotourism are
30-59 years old with higher education and above-average income" (Tom6s 2002). This
group is increasingly interested in the natural experience is seeking new and innovative
ways to enjoy their vacations. This means that the targeted communities need to
ensure that the product is well-developed to meet the need of the visitor and to com-
pete with existing tourism and destination products. These tourists include eco-tourists,
scuba divers, honeymooners, adventure tourists, and beach vacationers. Forging par-
tnerships with local travel agents is useful, as is making sure that information is available
at tourism centres; e.g. major hotels, Internet cafes, cruise-ship ports, airport immigration
lounge, museums and other public attractions.

Visiting Friends and Relatives: A significant number of Dominicans are living abroad and
regularly visit friends and relatives on-island. There is a great opportunity, therefore, to
attract these visitors through local promotion to the area. Special discount packages
should be prepared for this sector, as they often travel in large numbers (family groups).

Market trends

Tourists are always looking for new experiences and trying to discover new destinations.
Aside from growing as an activity, tourism is changing "shape" and important new
trends are emerging: for example, research shows that people are taking shorter vaca-
tions (but more of them) and that tourists are traveling in groups and are taking vaca-
tions closer to home (http://www.unwto.org). Clearly it is important to stay informed
about these trends, especially as they pertain to Dominica and to the Caribbean
region in general.

An important recent trend is that tourists are demanding more from the destination in
terms of protecting the environment and ensuring positive impacts on communities.
Hence, there is tremendous growth in the "new" tourism: ecological, cultural, heritage
and agro-forestry tourism. This trend is largely due to demographic, economic and
cultural changes related to the shrinking size of households (families) and the increasing
urbanisation and migration of populations. Other trends affecting tourism are the
increase in the number of dual-career partners in households, and more intense interest
in conservation and 'green' issue, including making a personal contribution to safe-
guarding the global environment (http://www.unwto.org).

Turtle Watch tourism, if undertaken in the true spirit of ecotourism, which focuses on the
appreciation and preservation of nature, aligns well with recent moves within the Carib-
bean to emphasise the region's biodiversity assets, the need for sustainable income op-
portunities at the community level, and the need for greater conservation of natural
resources. The Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism within the Association of
Caribbean States (of which Dominica is a member), has long sought to ensure that des-
tinations can attract visitors but in a way that does not harm the physical environment
or the communities that surround them. These values are enshrined in the Convention
on Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC), signed at the Third ACS Summit in
December 2001 in Margarita, Venezuela and its Protocol.




~--------0






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



VI. FIVE-YEAR NATIONAL SEA TURTLE RESEARCH PLAN

RECOMMENDATION 9
A Five- )'er Natiomil Se.a Tuitle Reeurc I Plia foIr Dominica should be devel-
oped, highlighting information g~aps and research projects needed to inform
alnd iniprove sen turtle m1anan en1e nt and conseIrvation at a national scale.


Research and Protection of Sea Turtles

In support of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative, a Five-Year National Sea
Turtle Research Plan (hereafter, the Research Plan) should be developed for Dominica.
The Research Plan need not be lengthy but should summarise what is known, identify
information gaps, describe projects that could address those gaps, and present a time-
table and budget for implementation. The objective should be to ensure the recovery
and survival of sea turtle populations in Dominica, including protecting egg-bearing fe-
males from shoreline development and direct take onshore and from fisheries interac-
tions offshore.

The Research Plan is necessary for managing the development of projects, in the sense
that projects should seek to contribute meaningfully to sea turtle conservation and
management and, as a priority, either fill gaps and/or maintain long-term data collec-
tion efforts (note: sea turtle datasets become more valuable as time goes on because
of the unique management value of information [e.g. growth, clutch frequency, remi-
gration timing, habitat use] associated with tagged individuals seen over and over
again). In addition, the Research Plan should promote the collection of baseline data
against which to evaluate the effects of tourism (e.g. potential harassment of egg-
laying females, compaction of nests from foot traffic along the beach, disorientation of
hatchlings).

The emphasis on nightly monitoring of nesting turtles should be continued, and attempts
should be made to develop and use evolving strategies, based on the experiences of
the communities, to achieve a high degree of commitment to nightly beach patrol.
Community managers, government agencies and other stakeholders need to know
how many turtles are nesting and at what sites (beaches) in order to efficiently manage
the Turtle Watch programme. Such data will also assist in managing and safeguarding
the sea turtle resource from a national prospective.

Additional to patrols, the community should engage in activities related to education
and awareness. Beach clean-ups, for example, should be an annual community-led
activity before the turtle nesting season and efforts should be made to get the media,
environmental groups and schools to participate. Clean-ups remove debris that can
pose a danger to nesting turtles (and to tourist), foster civic pride in the surroundings,
and also to highlight the up-coming Turtle Watch season.




--------------- *)






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


At the present time there appear to be six (6) nesting beaches that would benefit from
community-led beach patrols to monitor sea turtle populations and, in turn, these
communities are best positioned to contribute information that is most useful to man-
agement. These beaches in the North are: Cabana (Londonderry), Turtle Point, and
Hampstead, and in the South East: Coffee (Rosalie), Bout Sable (La Plaine), and Castle
Bruce. Beyond simply monitoring sea turtle populations, regular patrols also reduce
poaching and other illegal activity on the beaches. Each community group should in-
vite and maintain a good relationship with the local police service in the area. Similarly,
the police should understand the work being done by the communities so that, when
called upon, the community group can expect a prompt response time. For the
development of the Research Plan, the advice and support of WIDECAST should be
obtained; their technical expertise would clearly be an asset to strengthen the plan.

VII. INFRASTRUCTURE AND ESSENTIAL POLICIES FOR IMPLEMEN-
TING THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM
INITIATIVE

RECOMhlMENDATION 10
The Sea Turtle ConserI ationl nd Tourism Initiative cannot be successful
w without thle develtpmeinll / pptrtliig iiin/raliru ure, inclhdin2 pi)aiment
centres. land access, beach l facilities (an area for arrival, waiting, andI inter-
i)retation). etc.

Payment Centres

To facilitate tour bookings and to centralize record-keeping, 3-4 payment centres
should be selected and developed. It is at these payment centres that visitors must pur-
chase a guide ticket and, if required, an entrance fee to the nesting beach. The pay-
ment centres should be centrally located in popular areas for both locals and foreign-
ers in order that potential clients might have convenient access to purchasing Turtle
Watching tours. If purchasing a tour is an easy procedure it will attract many visitors,
especially locals. When purchasing a ticket, visitors should be asked to complete a Tour
Guide Visitor Form with contact (local address and telephone number, which would be
needed in order to contact them if the tour was cancelled, e.g. due to bad weather).

It is important that personnel of these offices communicate between centres in order to
facilitate carrying capacity management (see "Carrying Capacity").

An appropriate accountability system should be put in place to ensure that the funds
collected on behalf of the communities (e.g. from the purchase of tours) is deposited
with the respective community groups) in a timely way and without meddling into the
internal accounting policies of these groups.




--------------*^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Visitor Facilities

At the present time, no major nesting beach has any kind of visitor facility for accom-
modating clients on tours. As a priority, attempts should be made to develop facilities
by the community groups or to create alternatives to ensure visitor comfort and con-
venience. The facility must provide shelter from wind, rain and the roar of the surf so
that everyone can easily hear the tour guide.

In a beach facility, licensed tour guides conduct a prepared tour briefing and present
slide shows or movies appropriate to the tour. This serves to involve clients while they
await a turtle to come on shore. This is also an opportunity for guides to assemble prior
to receiving their tours, to offer information about related services (e.g. other tour pack-
ages), and to display community crafts and other retail products.

A professional designer or architect should be involved in the plans for the beach facil-
ities. The ideal facility need not be fancy, but must offer: protection from the weather;
a secure storage area for project field gear, interpretation materials (e.g. slide project-
tor, brochures), retail inventory, and emergency and first aid supplies; a supply of po-
table water; electrical connection; plumbing (toilet, sink); simple seating, such as wood-
en benches; a white-washed interior wall against which to project slide shows or movie.

Any facility must be constructed with the sea turtles in mind for example, no lights
should be visible from the nesting beach and incoming traffic (whether vehicles or foot
traffic) should not negatively affect the nesting habitat or the conduct of the tours. No
construction should occur on the beach, or seaward of the line of permanent vegeta-
tion.

Beach Access

Acquiring lands (or partnership for use of lands) in the area of the nesting beach in
order to have proper visitor control and to provide protection of the nesting turtles is
essential to implementation of the sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative. To this
end, attempts should be made to partner with the land owners or to acquire lands bor-
dering major sea turtle nesting sites, such as Cabana (Londonderry), Turtle Point, and
Hampstead in the Northeast and, in the Southeast, Rosalie and Bout Sable (La Plaine).

Predictable and safe beach access is very critical to the success
of community-led Turtle Watch tours.

In addition to early emphasis on partnership or acquisition, the appropriate regulatory
framework must be adopted by Government, with citizen input, to ensure that visitors
have purchased a ticket in order to gain access to the nesting beach at night (see
Recommendation 11). At the present time, access to the beaches in the Northeast is
through private and State lands; access to the Rosalie beach is by private lands; and
access to La Plaine by private and State lands.




-*------^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


RECOlMMENDATION 1
For effective ilmpllemlenatioin of Ihe Sen Turtle C'onservation and Tourism
Initiiiti e, persons /nmlu purhItlc a t like granting access I th e Itneing beach
tlIriiig the tinul l fnctinig %eaon and be accompanied. w while on lie bench, b\
a trained and licensed Tour Guide.

Regulating Beach Access

Lack of a clear policy on concessions (see above) and an inadequate framework for
beach control (with respect to nighttime access in particular), are among the biggest
challenges to a successful community-based Turtle Watch product.

The level of awareness and enthusiasm created by RoSTI over the years has significantly
increased the number of visitors coming to the beaches to watch turtles lay their eggs.
The current inability of communities or national authorities to establish and manage an
appropriate carrying capacity for the beaches (see Recommendation 7) negatively
affects turtles and their young, as well as decreases the quality of tour services. This, in
turn, harms the ability of the community organisation to sustain the organisation, to
retain its members' participation, to generate a profit, and to achieve its mission.

Even a community group that has trained and committed to a sustainable Turtle Watch
product can be easily undermined by "guides" from other organizations or private
sector entities better able to attract and transport clients.

These competing entities can, through market access and other assets (e.g. better ac-
cess to international advertising, comfortable vehicles, or hotel guests), exclude the
community group from the Turtle Watch product. This result defeats the purpose of the
Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative, which is to "enhance the standard of liv-
ing for persons living in communities near major sea turtle nesting beaches, while at the
same time offering greater protection to nesting turtles and their young." (see Section
III, "Goals for the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative").

With this in mind, Government should grant a single concession per nesting beach and
require that all visitors to that beach be accompanied by a trained and licensed Sea
Turtle Tour Guide during nighttime hours (6:00 PM to 6:00 AM, daily). The guide must be
employed by the organisation receiving the concession. The client (visitor) must have
purchased a ticket in advance, and must have that ticket available to give to the
guide upon their arrival at the nesting beach.

Without a ticket, the visitor cannot walk out onto the nesting beach between the hours
of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM, from I March to 31 August each year.

How this policy is actualised for example under what legislative or Ministerial
authority- should be decided by Government, following the appropriate consultation,
as a matter of highest priority.




~~~~*-----e






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Why is regulating beach access important?

Without a system of regulated beach access that is perceived to be fair to all stake-
holders, there is no business environment in which to develop a sustainable tourism
product.

By purchasing a ticket in advance (see "Payment Centres"), the visitor gains access to
the nesting beach, is assured of a professional guided tour, and agrees to abide by pre-
established conditions (e.g. no alcohol, controlled use of lights). In this way, the serious
current problem of undisciplined and uncontrollable crowds disturbing the sea turtles
and preventing responsible ecotourism, can be greatly reduced.

Regulating access is also related to the issue of concession (see "Competition Among
Community Groups") in that competing tour services will confuse and discourage visi-
tors, compromise the regulatory framework (the interloper might say, "You need a per-
mit to walk with that Guide, but not with me"), make it difficult from a procedural stand-
point to respect carrying capacity (see Recommendation 7), and introduce conflict at
the nesting beach which will degrade and ultimately destroy the tourism product.

How might beach access be regulated?

Londonderry, Rosalie Beach, and Bout Sable (La Plaine) should receive an appropriate
designation perhaps Conservation Enterprise Zones, or Sea Turtle Management Areas
- in order that certain conditions might be established. The legal route for this designa-
tion must be identified and pursued at the appropriate political level.

Trinidad and Tobago: a model for Dominica?

According to Fournillier and Eckert (1998), the 1960's and 1970's were dangerous years
for sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago. Thousands of pounds of meat (mostly Hawksbill
and Green turtles) were traded annually from beaches and fishing depots throughout
the country, but it was the killing of the giant Leatherback turtles that caused the most
concern. The Leatherback killing was illegal because it targeted egg-bearing females
hunted on nesting beaches during the closed season.

As awareness of the turtles' plight grew, so did pleas for conservation action. There was
rising alarm that an unsustainable number of turtles, and especially adult females, were
being killed each year. Bacon (1973) estimated that 30% of turtles nesting at Matura
Beach on the East coast and 100% of turtles nesting near villages on the North coast -
were killed every year. Despite persistent efforts by local conservation groups and
Forestry officials, it was not possible to provide complete surveillance of prominent
nesting beaches along these remote coasts. In 1983, Dr. Carol James (Director, Wildlife
Section) wrote, "Every year scores of rotting carcasses could be observed along
beaches of Trinidad as a result of illicit slaughter by poachers who are unable to cart
away all of the meat, and the major portion is left to rot."




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Formal law enforcement alone was insufficient to curb this trend. A more effective and
innovative approach was needed. In the 1980's, the Wildlife Section of the Forestry
Division turned away from traditional "top-down" natural resource management and
made a commitment to what has since become known as "community co-manage-
ment". This growing trend in wildlife management emphasises a partnership with rural
communities, whereby communities are trained and sensitised to a locally occurring
and threatened natural resource and, as a result, these communities actively partici-
pate in resource protection.

Workshops, seminars and field projects were organised at communities near major
Leatherback nesting beaches and empowering these communities resulted in the
formation of groups able to provide suitable services and facilities to a situation that
previously lacked organisation and infrastructure.

Today groups such as Nature Seekers; Fishing Pond Environmental and Community
Group; Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association (GRNTGA); Toco Foundation;
PAWI Sports, Culture and Eco-Club; Nariva Environmental Trust (NET); and the Manatee
Conservation Trust in Trinidad as well as SOS Tobago on the smaller island are active
and informed partners in natural resource conservation, providing beach surveillance,
population monitoring, essential biological data, interpretation and outreach pro-
grammes, threat mitigation, and habitat maintenance. Many of these groups, based
on pioneering efforts by Nature Seekers at Matura, also offer Turtle Watches to bring in-
come into underdeveloped villages well positioned to create small business enterprises
aimed at sea turtle conservation through ecotourism.

Critical to the success of these enterprises was the declaration of some of the nation's
most important nesting grounds Fishing Pond and Matura in 1990 and Grande Riviere
in 1997 as Prohibited Areas under the Forests Act (Chapter 66:01 Laws of Trinidad and
Tobago). See Appendix III.

The Wildlife Section had considered a variety of legal options to enhance protection to
nesting turtles, and had concluded that the only mechanism which could provide
legislative support to a suitable range of short-term management actions was a provi-
sion under the Forests Act allowing designation of Prohibited Areas and imposing a
large fine for entering the Prohibited Area without permission from the Forestry Division.

To address community concerns over the new restrictions, access was regulated only
during peak nesting season (1 March 31 August, annually) and only during nighttime
hours (6:00 PM to 6:00 AM). Negotiations with the villages of Fishing Pond, Matura, and
Grande Riviere resulted in agreement that all bona fide residents of the three com-
munities would automatically receive free permits to allow unrestricted entry to nesting
beaches. The Wildlife Section considered this necessary so that villagers could continue
to enjoy traditional social interactions on the beach, as long as such activities did not
impact negatively on sea turtles during the nesting period and as long as they carried
their permit with them when they visited the beach.





~----------B*






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Permanent signboards at the entrance to the Prohibited Areas alert the visiting public
to what types of activities are permitted and what types of activities are not permitted
in the management area. Signage explains inter alia that permits are required during
certain hours, that beach fires and littering (and other actions that could disturb nesting
turtles) are prohibited, that pets must be leashed and vehicles parked in designated
areas, etc. The rules and conditions of access are also clearly printed on the back of
the permit, and this permit can serve as a useful model for Dominica (see Appendix III).

Today the Turtle Watch programmes of the East and North coast of Trinidad have won
several prestigious international awards, poaching has long since ended, and Nature
Seekers is the largest employer in the village of Matura. Accomplishing these eco-
nomic, social and conservation goals could not have been possible without strong
partnerships with Government, technical support from international experts, and a pro-
active regulatory framework that protected the communities' interests by ensuring that
(i) visitors to the beach had to pay a fee in order to gain access, (ii) visitors had to be
accompanied by a licensed tour guide, and (iii) only a manageable number of visitors
(carrying capacity) were allowed into these Prohibited Areas at night.

VIII. CHALLENGES TO COMMUNITY CAPACITY FOR IMPLEMENTING
THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE



RECOMllMENDATION 12
Identiily cL hlle/nit' e faciio coiimm nity organizations relative to their assuminoi
responsibility for decision-mnlakini planning and management of the Sea Turtle
Conservation land Tourismi Initiative and idenItif solutions.

The following challenges emerge, at one time or another, in all organizations. These
challenges can be crippling in young, inexperienced organizations. They should be
monitored and met with effective leadership and solutions.

Leadership and Management

There exists, among Dominica's community organizations, tremendous leadership
power which is a very important enabling factor for success. The challenge is seen in
the transfer of leadership skills, or succession planning, which is a function of leadership.
Leaders must be able to communicate their vision with the group, develop strategies
and create an environment for achieving the vision. Only when people grasp the vision
can they commit to it, and buy-in is critical to motivating action.

In all community organizations, good management requires some level of flexibility and
understanding in managing culture and in reinforcing positive behavior.




-------------- ^b






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Management challenges will be reduced only when roles and function are clearly
defined, when policies are understood by all members and staff, when there are clear
policies for managing funds, and when people in decision-making positions are
genuinely interested in building a community organisation and in meeting both short-
and long-term goals.

Standards and Policies

It is difficult to initiate or establish standards and policies in community organizations. By
design, when community organizations make policies or set standards they are plan-
ning to manage themselves. Executives or Board Members may not want to set appro-
priate standards and policies, because some of them may be employed by the group
and the policies will affect them, as well. Yet, without standards and policy, fairness (or
the perception of fairness) can be compromised and the organisation will fail.

Fundraisinq

Funding will always (always, always) be a challenge. Groups need to be innovative
and creative in developing partnerships and in developing projects to help ensure that
sustainability is achieved. There has to be a culture of team-building, not self-promo-
tion. Know that it may take several years for the organisation to be financially stable,
but also know that by working together, investing in capacity building, and managing
finances wisely, success will come.

Organisational Inertia

Organisational inertia does not mean stability and it does not mean "lack of change",
inertia represents a situation where the rate of change is low. Community organizations
need to be planning consistently, and continuously nurturing the enabling factors
necessary for their success. Organisation complacency can cause community groups
to lose opportunities. It is also possible to lose members if they feel that the organisation
is not effectively creating value. Thoughtful leadership and vitality in the mission are
both very important in minimising inertia.

Staff/ Member Turnover

It is possible to have a high turnover of staff and members in community groups early in
the development stages. People join organizations for various reasons, including to
contribute their time and/or talents, to earn money, to belong, to interact with others,
to learn, etc. It is the responsibility to the executive to learn about the staff and mem-
bers of the organisation and to ensure that their needs are being fulfilled. Failing this,
staff and members will go to other places to have these needs satisfied. If this is not
done right and seen as an ongoing priority community organizations will lose their
trained members and staff.




---------- S






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Turtle Poaching

Turtle eating is part of the culture of Dominica: the belief that turtle meat "makes you
strong" is widely held throughout the country (Franklin et al. 2004). This traditional know-
ledge maintains localized demand for sea turtle meat and drives poaching activity.
Although killing egg-bearing turtles at the nesting beach is against the laws of Dominica
(see Appendix II), many poachers find the motivation to perform this inhumane act.

Because this brutal act focuses on the nesting females, it can undermine any possibility
of increasing the current and future sea turtle population. This consumptive way of
using the turtles is unsustainable (as demonstrated by population declines in recent
decades), it does not broadly benefit communities, and it would not appear to provide
any benefit to the nation (for example, the nation's main economic earner is tourism
and bloodied carcasses on the beach do not positively contribute to the marketing
focus of the "Nature Island"). DomSeTCO should make strategic attempts to address
this issue in a direct way, as required by its mission. If the problem continues, the re-
source for which turtle tourism is based will be diminished and may disappear entirely.

In 2003, the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI) conducted a national survey (see Appen-
dix IV, V) and found that the majority (60%) of respondents felt that people should not
hunt turtles or collect their eggs, twice the number of those (32%) that believed this
should still be allowed. An overwhelming number (95%) of those surveyed, and this was
true across age and employment categories, thought that using turtles for tourism was
an excellent idea; and 93% also thought that this type of ecotourism had the potential
to bring economic benefits to local communities while sustaining an important part of
Dominican culture.

The results of this survey support the idea that 'using' the nation's sea turtle resource in
ways that generate sustainable income and that do not result in the loss of sea turtle
populations are broadly supported at a national level. Therefore, it may be possible to
meet the challenges posed by poaching by motivating public support for conservation,
emphasising what it means to be Dominican, and opening a constructive dialogue
(e.g. concerning more sustainable livelihood choices) with members of the community
that rely on turtle killing for their livelihood.

Competition among Community Groups


RECONIMlENDATION 13
"O(e cininlnitiiily ,r.pp onle iieatig heallcLh. In order foi Turtle \\ntches to be
successful. experience in other ;areas has (demonstrated that the concept of a sole
concessionaire is funlldamentally importlllt.

Sometimes more than one community-based organisation will express genuine interest
in taking the lead in developing a Turtle Watching product at a particular site (i.e.




---------*Ag






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


nesting beach). In the case of La Plaine, there are at least two groups with this interest
they both have strong leadership and in both cases that leadership is tightly con-
nected to opposing political parties. This can be a very sensitive issue at both the com-
munity level and at the national level, and stakeholders should recognize that (i) every-
one has a place in the community, and (ii) everyone has a responsibility to contribute
positively to the development of the area.

Granting concessions

From a regulatory standpoint, as well as a business perspective, the Turtle Watch eco-
tourism product at each beach should be controlled by a single organisation with its
members fully committed to and certified in tour guiding. This is essential to providing a
high quality service to the tourist, avoiding conflict and confusion, and enabling a focus
on capacity building and team-building rather than addressing external conflicts.
Once the decision has been made to the grant the concession, all groups should be
willing to work with the other stakeholders in Dominica to protect the turtles at both
localised and national levels.

What this means in practice is that through community-led processes shepherded, as
needed, by a respected agency or other authority one community group must be
recognized as having managerial responsibilities over a particular nesting beach. In
other words, one group (for each nesting beach) should be permitted by the Forestry,
Wildlife and Parks Division to interact with the turtles (which are fully protected at their
nesting grounds, see Appendix II), including tagging, data collection, etc., and that
same group is granted a tour guiding concession6 from the Ministry to conduct a
tourism business at the nesting beach.

The history of the development of Turtle Watch tours in Trinidad, for example, has clearly
demonstrated that any attempt to facilitate two (or more) groups on the same beach
as having the same responsibility is likely to result in community-level conflict, a poor
quality of tour service, reduced enforcement and protection of the beach due to lack
of accountability (one group blaming the other for deficiencies in record-keeping,
beach coverage, etc.), continued poaching, reduced benefits to community residents
from unrealized programme sustainability, and reduced benefits to community resi-
dents due to time and energy spent in conflict resolution. Far better to take the time,
up front, to grant a concession to the group best positioned to attend passionately to
the tour business over the long term.



6 Concession: a contract granting the right to operate a subsidiary business; something conced-
ed by Government or a controlling authority, as a grant of land, a privilege, or a franchise.
Concessionaire: a person, group, or company to whom a concession has been granted, such as
to operate a subsidiary business or service: e.g. a Turtle Watch at a particular nesting beach.




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Getting Dominicans to Take Your Services

It is not common for Dominicans to pay for tour services, and introducing the concept
of Turtle Watch Tours might meet with some objections, especially since in recent years
Dominicans have been going to the beaches to watch turtles without paying a fee and
without the benefit of a trained and licensed tour guide. The new, more professional
approach to Turtle Watching will require a "soft and gentle" strategy to introduce the
population to this new culture.

Also important is that the fee structure be fair and suitable to encourage the population
to participate.

Possible examples are:

Charge Adults $10.00 EC and Children (1-14 years) $1.00 EC
Charge schools $1.00 for each member of the group
Provide bona fide residents (i.e. residents living permanently within a certain dis-
tance of the nesting beach) with free permits, which must be carried when on
the beach and must be renewed each year.

IX. SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK: ECONOMIC LINKAGES TO SEA
TURTLES

RECOMMlENDATION 14
For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle ConIservation and Tourisim Initi-
ative, %uipporinli linkal ge nuit he tevchl eld it'h related enierprise% sncl as small
business enterprises, training and education. a(nd research and Imonitoring.



Overview

Community Tourism involves hosting and opening up one's community to visitors. Why
do people wish to share their community with tourists? One could argue that commun-
ity pride is enhanced through the act of hosting, or that cultural assets are maintained
by preserving them for tourism. But the most important answer, even if it is not openly
expressed, invariably relates to direct economic benefits.

Within the tourism industry on a community level there are linkages to be made eco-
nomically. Some of the basic aspects of how the Community Tourism industry is struc-
tured are the same as the international tourism industry; e.g. there is a need to facilitate
the development and potential of place-based recreational options such as fishing,
hiking, swimming and photography. These options should be tailored and packaged
with natural attractions, which together offer excellent merchandising opportunities.



*--------






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Figure 7 shows the economic activities that can be developed around Turtle Watching
to make the experience more rewarding to the communities and tourists. Due to the
fact that Turtle Watching is a seasonal activity, generally profitable about six months of
the year, it is clear that the more developed these other activities are, the better the
chance that communities will achieve sustainability in the areas of tourism, employ-
ment, and environmental protection.


Co-Management


Turtle Protection)


Community
Capacity
Building


Training &
Education
Education &
Awareness






( Food & -----
:Beverage Y


Forestry


Data Collection


Research
and
Monitoring
,(X.


Small
Business
Enterprises


SFood &
Beverage


Local Art &
Craft


AgriltuHost Homere


Agriculture


Figure 7. Potential Network of Economic Activities Linked to Turtle Watching at the Community Level.

Evaluating and Prioritising Projects

Economic linkages can be enhanced by undertaking projects designed to emphasise
certain criteria. By establishing these criteria beforehand, the Management Committee
will be better able to identify projects that meet community needs and reject those
that are not as desirable: projects should meet at least three (3) of the following criteria
(see Table 2) in order to be considered.



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Economic Contribution The project creates a significant level of income and employment
benefits

Environmental Contribution The project is developed in compliance with existing regulations
and legislation governing the conservation and protection of the
environment, and the project achieves significant conservation
objectives (e.g. reducing poaching through beach presence)

Social and Cultural Impact The project does not jeopardize the social well-being of villagers

Competitive Impact The project complements, rather than competes with, existing
tourism businesses, and it does not seriously jeopardize the
financial viability of any individual enterprise in the community

Tourism Impact The project adds to the tourism potential of the communities and,
by extension, Dominica

Table 2. Projects Prioritised for Implementation under the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative
should meet Established Criteria Related to Economic and Environmental Contributions, as well as Cul-
tural, Competitive and Tourism Impacts. Source: Criteria adapted from Mills and Morrison (1992).

The following projects, all of which meet at least three (3) of these criteria, were favour-
ably highlighted by stakeholders during interviews conducted as part of the develop-
ment of this Action Plan.

Turtle Watching

Tourism activities are developing at the present time that include Turtle Watching as a
unique tourist product. During the nesting season there have been, in recent years, as
many as 400 persons on the nesting beach waiting to see turtles. Clearly there is an
opportunity for communities to create a sustainable (albeit seasonal) income flow -
and one advantage of this enterprise is that 'word of mouth' is an effective marketing
strategy, requiring no cost. The message will go very far if the quality of service is good
but remember that word will also spread if the service is bad. (It is hard to recover
from bad reports, always be mindful of your professional services.)

Because Turtle Watch clients gather at a Visitor Facility (see Section VII, "Infrastructure
and Essential Policies for Implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism
Initiative") prior to going out on the beach (and may remain there for some time before
a turtle arrives), there is an opportunity to support other community-based businesses,
including the sale of food, crafts, and other tours or tourism-related products.

Create an integrated community ecotourism enterprise

This project will attempt to develop other tour services to include waterfalls, historical
sites, agriculture or organic farm tours, and others. This project will create employment
generating tourism activities daily.



----------AA






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Tourists should have the opportunity to purchase a local lunch and hear local stories
along the way, led by a licensed guide nationally accredited through the State Col-
lege (Turtle Watch guides must also have had specific sea turtle ecotourism training;
e.g. Baptiste and Sammy 2007). Communities trained in sea turtle tourism will be well-
placed to participate in this enterprise. Communities should constantly seek to obtain
training for residents, especially for guides and small business management, and to
conduct outreach and marketing through websites, brochures, and media.

Establish visitor facilities at nesting beaches

Plans for these facilities should be designed with the activities in mind for which the
facilities will be used; for example, the design should assist in managing the flow of
clients from one point to another (from the moment they arrive), should make provision
for slide shows (shown at the beginning of every evening tour), should facilitate that
sale of local craft, food and other community services that are relevant to the clients.

Develop 'Host Homes' for accommodation

With the high level of migration from Dominica, rooms in local homes may be unused.
At the appropriate time, community organizations should seek evaluate the feasibility of
this project as an option for accommodation. This initiative will more widely spread the
benefits to residents in the community in return, residents share their homes and their
family experience with tourists as well as providing lodging, meals, and other services.
As tourism increases, residents may choose to add guest rooms to their homes, thus
promoting economic growth in the area.

Initiate a community tourism exchange programme with Trinidad

Due to the limited resources and opportunities available at this early stage to coastal
communities seeking to become seriously involved in tourism ventures, this programme
aims to support community partnership in other countries. The exposure that can be
gained by community residents can develop and enhance Community Tourism
throughout the Caribbean Region. By learning from each other, it will be easier to
develop the special niche of professional, community-based tourism products. One
example of this training is the "Basic Course on Community-Based Sea Turtle Ecotourism,
Guiding and Management" (Baptiste and Sammy 2007) taught by Nature Seekers to
community organizations in Dominica in 2007, made possible by support provided by
the United States Agency for International Development.

Others

Agricultural or Organic Farming (to generate food, and as a tourist attraction)
Bird Watching
Health Tourism (for example, hot springs or hiking/fitness)
Education and Awareness Projects



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008

RECOMMlENDATION 15
For effective imllplementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism
Initiative, a IIecWIhamiil fr lnir -trin 'i minirhi inl 'evalulait i\ needed.



X. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The following indicators are provided by the Sustainable Economic Development Unit
(SEDU), University of West Indies (St. Augustine), and have been adapted to be relevant
to the local community level. The Economic, Social, and Environmental impacts of the
Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative should be monitored through the use of
these indicators to ensure that the initiative is positively benefiting the community. Note
that these indicators are long term in nature, emphasising the importance of creating
capacity to monitor results and impacts over time.

Economic Indicators of Sustainable Tourist Development
1. Employment:
a. total number of people employed including specialized staff such as
cooks, managers, and accountants
2. Net Foreign Exchange Earnings for the community
3. Domestic linkages; involving agriculture and other local services
4. Externalities impact and cost to inter alia human health and the environment
5. Impact on domestic prices (labour, land, housing, food, other consumer goods)
6. Ownership of tourist accommodation and other facilities

Socio-Cultural Indicators of Sustainable Tourism Development
1. Acceptance of access restrictions (especially of residents) to beaches and
tourist facilities
2. Contribution of tourist expenditure to:
a. Maintenance/ preservation/ restoration of natural heritage
b. Demand for cultural products (goods and services)
3. Community involvement in tourism planning and implementation
4. Impact of tourism on social cohesion/ tension
5. Attitudes of the community toward tourists

Ecological Indicators of Sustainable Tourism Development
1. Waste generation, treatment and impact:
a. Quantity/ quality of waste generated by the tourism industry
b. Methods of waste disposal
c. Ecological impact of waste generation and disposal
2. Ecological impact of tourist to areas, such as sea turtle nesting beaches:
a. Carrying capacity monitoring (effect on sea turtles, habitat)
b. Social capacity monitoring (effect on services, quality of life)




----------- A,






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



XI. THE WAY FORWARD

As noted in the Introduction, the intent of this Action Plan is to invite and guide an on-
going dialogue among stakeholders interested in defining and pursuing a viable Sea
Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica. DomSeTCO must now take this
Action Plan and present it to the relevant communities and community organizations
who have participated in its development, and promote continued discussion con-
cerning "the way forward". The importance of an ongoing dialogue cannot be over-
emphasised it is an essential part of the community consensus building process.

The recommendations in this report can also form an agenda for each community or-
ganisation to discuss. Groups need to look at the issues of management of guides and
patrols, visitor safety, collection of revenue, accountability, transparency, membership
development, community awareness and capacity building, as well as the develop-
ment of bylaws, financial procedures, policies, etc.

The next step after the community consultations and consensus building is to discuss a
way forward with participating community organizations. If the recommendation on
setting up of a Management Committee is supported, then Terms of Reference (TOR)
should be developed and agreed upon by all stakeholders. The TOR should include the
underlining reasons for coming together, the objectives to be achieved, the output at
the end of a period, and the implementation of some or all of the recommendations of
this Action Plan, including working together to ensure that fundamental decisions such
as those concerning regulated access to the nesting beaches during the annual nest-
ing season are make in a timely way by Government.

An evaluation should be conducted after a year to determine the level of successes
achieved. This evaluation should focus on the structure (including the viability of the
Management Committee), Terms of Reference, support of the community groups and
other stakeholders, successes within the community groups (and factors enabling these
successes), and closely assess the challenges that were encountered and the needs of
the program in the future.

















-A---^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



XII. LITERATURE CITED


Bacon, P.R. 1973. The Status and Management of Sea Turtles of Trinidad and Tobago.
Report to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Unpubl. 40 pp.

Baptiste, S.L. and D. Sammy. 2007. Final Report: Basic Course on Community-Based Sea
Turtle Ecotourism, Tour Guiding and Management. La Plaine Agricultural Training
Centre, Commonwealth of Dominica, 11-15 September and 1-12 October 2007. Pre-
pared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), in part-
nership with Nature Seekers and the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization
(DomSeTCO), with funding from the U. S. Agency for International Development.
Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica. 39 pp.

Byrne, R. 2006. 2006 Annual Project Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI). Prepared
by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (Forestry, Wildlife
and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 25 pp.

Byrne, R. and K.L. Eckert. 2006. 2004 2005 Biennium Project Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle
Initiative (RoSTI). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the En-
vironment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, W. Indies. 51 pp.

Eckert, K.L. and J. Beggs. 2006. Marine Turtle Tagging: A Manual of Recommended
Practices. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Technical
Report No. 2. Revised Edition. Beaufort, North Carolina. 40 pp.

Fournillier, K. and K.L. Eckert. 1998. Draft Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Trinidad and
Tobago. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme Technical Report Series. Port of
Spain, Trinidad. 132 pp.

Franklin, A., R. Byrne and K.L. Eckert. 2004. 2003 Annual Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initi-
ative (RoSTI). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Envi-
ronment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 57 pp.

James, C. 1983. The Leatherback Turtle, p.41-44. In: Carol James (Editor), Highlighting
Wildlife Basic Information on Wildlife Conservation in Trinidad and Tobago. Forestry
Division Document, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Food Production. Port of Spain,
Trinidad.

Mills, R.C. and A.M. Morrison. 1992. The Tourism System: An Introductory Text. Prentice
Hall, New York.

Sammy, D. and S.L. Baptiste. 2008. Community Tourism Handbook: A Resource Guide for
Community Groups Participating in Sea Turtle Ecotourism in the Commonwealth of
Dominica (Karen L. Eckert, Editor). Prepared by Nature Seekers and WIDECAST, in




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


partnership with the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO),
with funding from the U. S. Agency for International Development. Roseau, Com-
monwealth of Dominica. 40 pp.

Stapleton, S.P. and K.L. Eckert. 2007. Nesting Ecology and Conservation Biology of Mar-
ine Turtles in the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies: RoSTI 2007 Annual Pro-
ject Report. Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environ-
ment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 45 pp.

Stapleton, S.P. and K.L. Eckert. 2008. Community-Based Sea Turtle Research and Conser-
vation in Dominica: A Manual of Recommended Practices. Prepared by the Wider
Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and the Dominica Sea Tur-
tle Conservation Organization, with funding from the U. S. Agency for International
Development. WIDECAST Technical Report No. 8. Beaufort, North Carolina. 47 pp.

Tom6s, H. 2002. Summary of the Ecotourism Market Prospects in Europe and North Am-
erica, p.109-114 In B. Rauschelback, A. Schafer and B. Steck (Editors), Cooperating
for Sustainable Tourism. Proceedings of the Forum International at the Reisepavillon
2002. Kasparek Verlag and GTZ, Germany.



























0AS






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008



Appendix I:

DOMSETCO SWOTT" ANALYSIS

A review of the internal and the external environment of DomSeTCO resulted in the
following description of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This SWOT
analysis is provided to help match resources and capabilities towards achieving suc-
cess in establishing a community-led Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in
Dominica. Given this analysis (Table 3), DomSeTCO should not necessarily pursue the
most lucrative opportunities; ... rather it may have a better chance for developing a
competitive advantage by identifying the best fit between Strengths and Opportunities.


StregthsWeakesse


1. \ ell Cpl),ninccd Cooidinaior ad dicli'd
Bo.rid of Diicitors
2. Esthblishcd niw oikr, \\ ilh local and
ItIII ,TnlO110 l or0'jllisI lon I$
3. Din.jnd foir ours bI locals A Ioi,'-'n Iounists
4. S 1ior1, \,llies in ii ll, n ,_'ol. to 1 ihelp oilicrs
5. Hisionl o'f .,1 linll[i coIn lion 11 1111 DoIiniiiiic
lhus buIhIl Nc \pcius iriiiorw DiICCIors


I. Suppon lo101 collILI InmmIunl lout-
2. Suppon of0 Go >nunnii aic.ncir s
3. Supp)oi o ic'toial (Ciarbb.ai .xl).s
4. Dimanid fioni hoi l opc:iionis im lhllK JI
5. Bud \\jiclim,' nd lrul 'u iidnir' opp)oilinlcsi
6. C Irl' dc& lopl)lImii oppolliillntiSi
". L I\ I, ttlc i \ N itchlnii on IIhc iit itIcr i
8. Do inicJ| p)ioinilli'- ;and dc\ e'lopinl,_
COIiiiillt11111\ lourislnl
1). Domi lllni ;Illlliis I'co-lonriss INJlure Isllci
I1 i. 5-slar lioll dc\ 'lopinei t ll I Loiidoid 1i
11. C(p;icil) a nd isuppori for ol :Illicall\ 'iO\MI n
produce,
12. Sus.liiiable hI\clilhoods incore' needed


1. Lack of organised system for controlling guide
fees
2. Lack of knowledge of effective NGO
management at the community level
3. Lack of trained and experienced tour guide staff
4. Narrow product line (at this time)
5. Limited financial resources
6. No permanent staff


I In. ilml 0 icl, StllC.llin.d kbnlcflll 10o
COIII IIIll lIN l O -'1l S l\ I lillc I11kl \\ kill. I
O tIIIIIIIlll Ip ll.lI lltp l o\IIo 0\1I 1I11t I
2 Coonipclliion iinoiin coninini ill -'ioups II1 La-

; Tunil po cliiini-' n1 ll coll I tiniii s l,.ii ajdin' to 1 .
dc.ilC n Ill lil. lh Ilk popl)ul llOn
4 Tlicjlst 10 tbccli pIuioll.Is fliorn pochlic.Is nd

5 G liIJnc l IIcI Jlcs IIn Clllni
> Ecoinomic do\\ iinull 11 I IliK couiiin
5-S.I hlioitl d\ clopmintil iII Londondiki
x Lick of pIlOkClcd bc.clch.s no 11 _'ulllcd a cccss
S DiscInchluntd co mtltiiiiiii n Iit'iiiibci d(i 10to
confl|cl u llhllt +Ol\\ cO11111C ll l ,__,IOtllp|
I i Pciccni\l cd Ihck of bacjclih acc's Roisa.ilh
Tmilc. Point
II Pocntil ciiiy iiim- c~,ipii conflict associated
a ith I [l[iat hoIl l ,, u .sts
12 A\ipolt C\linslion ploi.cCt in Londondcir
C\CC iS \ e, sill and ino0ll d.c,_'ldi l,' i n ilJitolc
Ilti t and ni.i ini' b.ach


Table 3. SWOT Analysis, with a Focus on DomSeTCO.



g 0


SI Opruiie het






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


APPENDIX II:
FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE ACT, CHAPTER 60:02
COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA




Laws of Dominica
Forestry and Wildlife Act
Chapter 60:02, Act 12 of 1976
Amended by Act 35 of 1982
Amended by Act 12 of 1990


Chapter 60:02
Section 21
Ninth Schedule


Regulations for the taking of sea turtles

1. The word 'turtle' shall be deemed not to include the tortoise or land turtle
(Geochelone carbonaria).

2. No person shall:
Catch or take or attempt to catch or take any turtle between the 1st June
and the 30th September both dates inclusive,
Catch or take or attempt to catch or take any turtle which is under twenty
pounds in weight
Disturb any turtle nest or eggs or take any turtle eggs, or take or attempt to
take any turtle laying eggs or on the shore engaged in nesting activities.











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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


APPENDIX III:
FORESTS ACT, CHAPTER 66:01
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO



PERMIT TO ENTER PROHIBITED AREAS MATURA,
FISHING POND AND GRANDE RIVIERE
[Under the Forests Act, Chap. 66:01, sections 2 and 8(f)]

OrderNo. .................................... A N o. 1 1 8 3 3
N a m e ............................................................
A d d re ss ................................ ......... .........................................................




Purpose of Visit ......... ...................... .......................
Duration ............. .......... .... ........... ............................
Permission is hereby granted to enter Prohibited Area at ...... ............................. ..
............. ........... ............ ........ subject to the provisions of the Forests Act and to regulations
made under this section 8, Chap. 66:01 and the attached conditions.
This Permit it Not Transferable.
Fee payable ........... .......................
Date of Issue .......................................
D ate of Expiry .............................. ...........



Director ofForestry
(Conservator ofForests)
[Conditions Overleaf]


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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


CONDITIONS

1. Permission granted for the purpose of Studying/Observing Marine Turtles during the Nesting Season 1st March
to 31st August annually (between the hours of 6.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. only for Grande Riviere). Other activities
which would have any negative impact upon marine turtles or their habitat during this period are strictly
forbidden.

2. No making of fire on the beach.

3. No loudspeakers and excessive noises.

4. Fishing is permitted in zoned areas only for the period specified and is subjected to declaration of Catch on
request by a Forest Officer or Police Officer.

5. Picnicking only during the day in specified locations.

6. Camping only for the purpose of Turtle Watching and/or Research in specified areas.

7. No high-powered artificial lights which exceed the beam power of hand torchlights.

8. No driving of vehicles on the beach.

9. Conditions also subjected to the Protection of Turtle and Turtle eggs Regulations made under section 4 of the
Fisheries Act, Chap. 67 :51 and section 5 of the Conservation of Wildlife Act, Chap. 67:01.

10. Permits for one entry cost $5.00 for Adults and $2.00 for Children under 12 years old. Permit charges may be
waived at the discretion of the Director of Forestry.

11. Multi-entry Permits for the season 1st March to 31st August cost $50.00 for Adults and $20.00 for Children
under 12 years old.

12. Permit holders must be accompanied by tour guides authorized by the Forest Division.

13. Entry may be refused to persons with or without Permits at any time at the discretion of the Director of
Forestry, should conditions for the management of marine turtles warrant such action.


Boundaries:

Matura 8.85 kilometres in length.
Bounded on the north by the Primera Pria River, east by the Sea, south by North Oropouche River and west by the
Coastline.

Fishing Pond 10.46 kilometres in length.
Bounded on the north by the North Oropouche River, east by the Sea, south by Manzanilla Point and west by the
Manzanilla Windbelt Reserve.

Grande Riviere 1.6 kilometres in length.
Bounded on the north by the sea, east by the Grande Riviere River, south by the Coastline and west by the end of the
beach which is 1.6 kilometres from the Grande Riviere River.








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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


Appendix IV:

2003 PUBLIc AWARENESS SURVEY: RESULTS SUMMARY 7

The Public Awareness Survey [conducted by RoSTI: see Appendix V] revealed some in-
teresting results. In total, 180 surveys were completed by respondents, who represented
a wide variety of Dominicans. The largest number of interviews (30.5%) was conducted
with individuals aged between 20 and 34 years of age. Respondents in the '35-49 years
of age' and the '50 years of age and over' categories were the next most abundant,
comprising approximately 28% of the survey. Only 6% of those surveyed were 19 years
and under, while 7% of people declined to submit their ages. [N.B. the percentages did
not sum to 100% in the original Franklin et al. 2004.] The majority of those interviewed
were male (70%) as opposed to female (30%). In terms of their occupations, only 12% of
Dominicans involved in the survey were directly involved in the fishing industry.

The vast majority (81.7%) of those polled knew of the existence of between one and
three species of sea turtle. Far fewer (6.7%) knew that there were more than five
species of sea turtle, and 11% of Dominicans admitted that they could not name any
sea turtles at all. Of those that knew sea turtles, many (73.9%) were able to correctly
name them, either by the standard names or by their Creole/local equivalent, while
26.1% could not do this. Most Dominicans (64.0%) could identify the different species of
sea turtles based on a combination of their size, shape, markings. As might be expect-
ed, this was particularly true for the giant leatherback. Respondents were far more mis-
informed on the difference between male and female turtles. While most were con-
fident that they could differentiate between the sexes, only 36.0% correctly knew the
difference. This is not surprising, since most people would never see an adult male turtle
with its distinguishing tail extending 20 cm or more beyond the rear of the carapace
(shell). Most encounters with turtles are with nesting females. Curiously enough, these
encounters, too, must be relatively few since only 26.7% of those interviewed had seen
a female sea turtle nesting.

Fully 73.0% of those Dominicans surveyed by the RoSTI project have never seen any
species of sea turtle nest on the beach, which certainly explains the wonder and awe
of residents who joined RoSTI staff on the beach this year and saw the ancient ritual for
the first time.

Section Two of the questionnaire focused on "Uses of Turtle, The Past". The first question
in this section was whether sea turtles are important to the future of Dominica. An
overwhelming majority (95%) agreed that they were. Eighty-one percent went further
to say that they believe that sea turtles have been an important aspect of Dominican

7 Excerpted from: Franklin, A., R. Byrne and K.L. Eckert. 2004. 2003 Annual Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative
(RoSTI). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (Forestry, Wildlife and
Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 57 pp.



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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


culture since they were children; only 15% disagreed. This influence of sea turtles in the
culture of Dominica is supported by the more than 60% of Dominicans who recalled
eating turtle meat and eggs on a regular basis. Many (56%) of those polled recalled
that most turtle meat was shared within the village, and 27% noted that it was shared
between villages as well.

In terms of the species of turtle eaten, 28% of respondents said that they ate any turtle
species that was caught; 23% ate leatherbacks along with other species, while only 17%
ate leatherback meat alone. A few individuals (16%) did not know what type(s) of sea
turtles had been eaten. Although turtle meat was a highly enjoyed meal, relatively few
people (25%) regarded it as a 'special meal'. While the price of turtle meat may have
varied over the years, 40% of those interviewed (the largest segment) said that sea
turtle meat normally cost between five and six EC$ per pound. A similar amount of
people could not remember the price paid for turtle meat or how quickly it sold. Of
those who could remember such details, 75% enthusiastically recalled how quickly it
would be sold. Only 4% percent said that vendors of turtle meat would have to wait for
a buyer.

Most people (74%) remembered that in years gone by, turtle shells would be used more
for decoration than for utilitarian purposes. This mainly consisted of the polished shell
being hung on a wall. Quite a few people (65%) also recalled the use of turtle scutes in
the production of jewellery. Opinion was almost equally divided on whether these
products were consumed locally, traded to merchants from the French Islands, or the
respondent simply could not recall.

An interesting question centred on use of the giant leatherback. Data collected by the
RoSTI project indicate that the leatherback and the hawksbill turtles are the most
common species to nest on the shores of Dominica. Seventy-six percent of interviewees
said that leatherback meat was eaten. When asked about its uses, 12% said that it was
also noted for its oil (a product also savoured in years past in other Eastern Caribbean
islands, including Grenada). A popular use for the oil was for medicinal purposes; 26%
recalled this use from years past.

By far the most popular way to prepare sea turtle meat for a delicious meal is by
stewing it, 84% of respondents readily agreed to this. Previously, many people indicated
that they did not recall at what price turtle meat was sold, and this makes sense since
respondents reveal that 76% of turtle meat was shared among family and friends (as
opposed to just 12% which was sold).

Section Three focused on "Uses of Turtle, The Present" and how sea turtles are utilised as
a resource today. When an interviewee was asked if s/he ate sea turtle meat at the
present time, 49% said that they still do, 42% said that they do not, and 9% declined to
respond. Interestingly, more people (47.2%, as opposed to 38.9%) thought that turtles
were caught differently today than in previous years. Although responses indicated that
turtle hunting was seasonal, most people did not know how many turtles were taken




^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^






Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


daily. Similarly, the response to questions regarding the usage of nesting beaches was
not well answered.

Twenty-seven percent of those polled admitted to taking part in the hunt, while 70% did
not. Seventy-one of those interviewed think that fewer sea turtles are caught today,
while 18% think that more sea turtles are caught today. A majority (55%) of Dominicans
polled believe that there are fewer sea turtles in Dominica today than in years past.
Importantly, most Dominicans (76%, as opposed to 20%) know the law concerning sea
turtles.

Questions posed as part of Section Four revealed that consistently high numbers of
people are aware of the role of sea turtles in Dominica's stories and legends. The vast
majority (71%) of respondents had heard of at least one turtle story or legend, while
slightly more people (74%) had heard tales of hunters predicting whether turtles would
nest by observing "signs" in the sky at night.

Section Five of the survey looked towards the future and Dominican's attitudes toward
conserving sea turtles. Seventy percent of Dominicans reported that they would be
saddened if sea turtles became extinct and their decedents were unable to see them.
Twenty-three percent and 7%, respectively, of respondents would not have been
saddened if turtles became extinct or were undecided. The majority (60%) of respon-
dents replied that people should NOT fish for turtles and eggs, twice the number of
those that believed that this should still be allowed (32%); 8% were undecided. If turtle
fishing is allowed to continue, 49% of those surveyed indicated that the practice should
be regulated based on how abundant sea turtles are in the wild. For this question,
however, the number of respondents who were 'undecided' was high (39%); 12% felt
there should be no regulation at all.

An overwhelming number (95%) of those surveyed, and this was true across age and
employment categories, thought that using turtles for tourism, such as RoSTI's Turtle
Venture, is an excellent idea. Ninety-three percent also thought that this type of eco-
tourism had the potential to bring economic benefits to local villages, while sustaining
an important part of Dominica's local culture.















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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


APPENDIX V:
2003 PUBLIc AWARENESS SURVEY: QUESTIONNAIRE


INTERVIEWER INFORMATION:


Date:


Time:


Location:


Interviewer(s):


Introduce yourself to the interviewee. Explain that you are carrying out a survey as part of the Rosalie
Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI) to find out about how important sea turtles are, and were, to the culture and
everyday lives of the people of Dominica. Explain that it is important to find out about this historical
relationship as many traditions are being lost as the country becomes more and more developed. Tell
them that the results of the surveys will be made into a cultural book designed to share these important
traditions and cultural heritage with the school children of today.

Ask the interviewee if they mind being taped (show them the tape recorder), or if they would prefer for
notes to be taken during the interview. Tell them that you need to do this to help you remember things to
prepare the book at a later date. Tell them that the interview is confidential and that only members of
RoSTI and WIDECAST staff will have access to the information. Their name will not be used in any
publication without their permission.

Inform them of the time it should take to complete the questionnaire. Let them know that you can make it
brief if they are busy and time is limited, or it may last longer if they are interested and have a lot of
information to share.


INTERVIEWEE INFORMATION:

Name:


Do they wish to remain anonymous? Y ] N


Occupation:


Age:


Sex: M F


Area of Residence:









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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


1.1. SECTION 1 TURTLES, GENERAL INFORMATION

1. HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF SEA TURTLE DO YOU KNOW?
2. CAN YOU NAME THEM?
3. HOW DO YOU TELL ONE KIND FROM ANOTHER?
4. CAN YOU TELL A MALE FROM A FEMALE?
5. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A SEA TURTLE NESTING?

1.2. SECTION 2 USES OF TURTLE, THE PAST

1. DO YOU THINK SEA TURTLES ARE IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF DOMINICA?
2. DO YOU THINK THIS HAS CHANGED OVER THE PAST 70 YEARS / SINCE YOU WERE
YOUNGER / A CHILD?
3. WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER / A CHILD DID YOU EAT TURTLE MEAT OR EGGS
REGULARLY?
4. WHEN TURTLE WAS CAUGHT, WAS IT SHARED WITHIN THE VILLAGE OR BETWEEN
VILLAGES?
5. WHAT KINDS OF TURTLE WERE EATEN?
6. WAS TURTLE EATEN ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS, OR WAS IT AN ORDINARY MEAL?
7. WHAT DID TURTLE MEAT SELL FOR?
8. WERE THE TURTLES SOLD RIGHT AWAY, OR KEPT UNTIL A BUYER WAS FOUND?
9. WERE ITEMS OF JEWLERY MADE FROM TURTLE SHELL?
10. DID PEOPLE USE TURTLE SHELLS AS DECORATION OR FOR "UTILITARIAN"
PURPOSES, SUCH AS FOR BOWLS, ETC.?
11. WERE THESE ITEMS SOLD LOCALLY, OR TO TRADERS THAT WOULD COME TO THE
ISLAND?
12. WHAT WAS THE GIANT LEATHERBACK TURTLE USED FOR?
13. WAS THE MEAT OF THIS TURTLE EATEN?
14. WAS THE OIL USED, IF SO WHAT FOR?
15. WAS THE OIL SOLD? HOW WAS IT STORED?
16. HOW WAS / IS TURTLE MEAT COOKED?
17. WHICH DISH IS BEST?
18. HOW WERE THE EGGS EATEN?
19. WERE THEY GIVEN AWAY TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS OR SOLD?

1.3. SECTION 3 USES OF TURTLE, THE PRESENT

1. DO YOU STILL EAT TURTLE MEAT OR EGGS?
2. IF YES, HOW OFTEN?
3. ARE TURTLES CAUGHT DIFFERENTLY NOW TO WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?
4. HOW MANY TURTLES COULD BE CAUGHT PER DAY (AT SEA) OR PER NIGHT (ON THE
NESTING BEACH) WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER? WAS THE HUNT SEASONAL?
5. DID YOU EVER TAKE PART IN THE HUNT?
6. DO YOU THINK MORE OR FEWER TURTLES ARE CAUGHT TODAY?
7. DO YOU HAVE ANY OPINION AS TO WHETHER THERE ARE FEWER SEA TURTLES IN
DOMINICA OR MORE THAN IN YEARS' PAST?
8. ARE THERE ANY BEACHES THAT USED TO BE USED FOR NESTING, BUT ARE NOT
USED ANY MORE?




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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008


9. F SOME BEACHES ARE NO LONGER USED, WHY IS THAT?
10. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE LAW IS REGARDING SEA TURTLES?

1.4. SECTION 4 TURTLE STORIES AND LEGENDS

1. DO YOU KNOW OF ANY TURTLE STORIES OR LEGENDS?
2. COULD A HUNTER TELL FROM "SIGNS" IN THE EVENING OR NIGHT SKY WHETHER
TURTLES WOULD BE ON THE BEACH THAT NIGHT?

1.5. SECTION 5 THE FUTURE

1. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE IS FOR TURTLES IN DOMINICA
2. WOULD YOU BE SAD IF TURTLES BECAME EXTINCT AND THERE WERE NONE FOR
THE CHILDREN OF TOMORROW TO SEE?
3. DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD STILL FISH FOR TURTLE AND TAKE THE EGGS?
4. IF SO, DO YOU THINK THIS SHOULD BE REGULATED IN SOME WAY BASED, FOR
EXAMPLE, ON HOW MANY TURTLES ARE LEFT?
5. EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE NO FORMAL LAWS REGULATING TURTLE TAKE IN THE
OLD DAYS, WERE THERE VILLAGE RULES GOVERNING HOW MANY (OR WHAT TYPE
OF) TURTLES COULD BE TAKEN?
FOR EXAMPLE, WERE THERE ANY RULES TO LET THE EGG-LAYING FEMALES LIVE
SO THAT THEY COULD CONTINUE TO NEST IN THE FUTURE?
6. DO YOU THINK THAT USING THE TURTLES FOR TOURISM SUCH AS TAKING
TOURISTS ON "TURTLE WATCHES" IS A GOOD IDEA?
7. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS TYPE OF "ECOTOURISM" COULD BRING ECONOMIC
BENEFITS TO LOCAL VILLAGES, WHILE ALLOWING THE PEOPLE OF DOMINICA TO
"KEEP ALIVE" AN IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR HERITAGE?























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Full Text

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Towards a Sustainable Community -Based Sea Turtle Conservation Programme in Dominica 200 8 Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica A Community Based Approach Dennis Sammy, Karen Eckert and Errol Harris

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Note: This publication was produced for review by the United States Agency for International Development. It was prepared by WIDECAST under a subcontract with Chemonics International Inc. under the terms of USAID Caribbean Open Trade Support Progra m, Contract No. AFPI 02 04 00002 01. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the United States Government. For bibliographic purposes this document should be cited as: Sammy, Dennis, Karen Eckert and Errol Harris. 200 8 Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conser vation and Tourism Initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Prepared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WID ECAST) in partnership with Nature Seekers and the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development Roseau, Com monwealth of Dominica. 5 9 pp. Cover Photo courtesy of Seth Stapleton Copies of this publication may be obtained from: Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) P.O. Box 939, Roseau Commonwealth of Dominica Tel: (767) 448 4001 E Mail: domsetco@gmail.com Online at www.widecast.org

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in the Commonwealth of Dominica A Community Based Approach 2008 DomSeTCO Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 i TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents i List of Figures and Tables iii Acknowledgements iv Summary of Recommendations 1 I. Introduction 3 II. Problem Analysis 4 III. Goals for the Sea Turtle Conserva tion and Tourism Initiative 6 IV. Structure of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative 7 DomSeTCO 11 What should be the r ole of RoSTI ? 12 Community Organisations 15 Government 15 WIDECAST 16 V. Community Capacity for Implementation 17 Capacity Building 17 Institutional Development 19 Operational Management Plan 20 Database Management Information System 20 Visitor flow and financial recording 20 Scientific data collection and record keeping 21 Community Ecotourism Handbook 22 Visitor management system 22 Carrying capacity for beaches 23 Field equipment 24 Health and safety of guests 25 Administration and staffing 25 Marketing Plan 27 Marketing objectives 27 Marketing strategies and branding 28 Product strategies: emphasise community 28 Competition, including identifying t he target audience 29 Market trends 31 VI. Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan 32 Research and Pro t ection of Sea Turtles 32

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 ii VII. Infrastructure and Essential Policies for Implementation 33 Payment Centres 33 Vi sitor Facilities 34 Beach Access 34 Regulating Beach Access 35 Why is regulating beach access important? 36 How might beach access be regulated? 36 Trinidad and Tobago: a model for Dominica ? 36 VI I I. Ch allenges to Community Capacity for Implementation 38 Leadership and Management 38 Standards and Policies 39 Fundraising 39 O rganisational Inertia 39 Staff/ Member Turnover 39 Turtle Poaching 40 Competit ion among Community Groups 40 Granting concessions 41 Getting Dominicans to Take Your Services 42 IX. Sustainability Network: Economic Linkages to Sea Turtles 42 Overview 42 Evaluating and Prioritising Projects 43 Turtle Watching 44 Create an integrated community eco tourism enterprise 44 Establish visitor facilities at nesting beaches 45 Develop host homes for accommodation 45 Initiate a community tourism exchange p rogramme with Trinidad 45 Others 45 X. Monitoring and Evaluation 46 XI. The Way Forward 47 XII. Literature Cited 48 Appendix I: DomSeTCO SWOT Analysis 50 Appendix II: Forestry and Wildlife Act, Commonwealth of Dominica 51 Appendix III: Forests Act, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 52 Appendix I V : 2003 Public Awareness Survey Results Summary 54 Appendix V : 2003 Public Awareness Survey Questionnaire 57

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 iii LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Figure 1 Problem T ree: f actors a ffecting su stainable l ivelihoods 4 Figure 2 Problem Tree: f actors a ffecting s ea t urtles 5 Figure 3 Proposed r elationship between community groups and 7 DomSeTCO Figure 4 Proposed organisational c hart for DomSeTCO 8 Fi gure 5 Proposed communication structure for inclusive sea turtle 9 conservation in Dominica Figure 6 Proposed o rganisational s tructure for c ommunity g roups 18 Figure 7 Potential n etwork of e conomic a ctivities l inked to Turtle Watching at the c ommunity l evel 43 Table 1 Levels of Competition that Compete with the Nature Tour 29 Table 2 Projects Prioritised for Implementation under the Sea Turtle 44 Conservation and Tourism Initiative Should meet Established Criteria Rela ted to Economic and Environmental Contributions, as well as Cultural, C ompetitive and Tourism Impacts Table 3 SWOT Analysis, w ith a Focus on DomSeTCO 50

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS T he authors are very grateful to the members of Government, as well as to the community based groups and private sector interests, that actively and voluntarily participated in the many discussions that formed the basis for this Action Plan, and later reviewed its recommendations. Reviewers included Hon. Yvor Nassief (Mini stry of Tourism), Hon. Colin McIntyre (Ministry of Agriculture), Mr. Lloyd Pascal (Environmental Coordinating Unit), Mr. Errol Harris (DomSeTCO), Mr. Charles Watty (NEWCEPT), Mr. Simon George (NET), Hon. Ron Green (LEAP), Mr. Anthony Attidore (LAND), Mr. A ndrew Magloire (Fisheries Division), Mr. Harold Guiste (Fisheries / DomSeTCO), Mr. Ronald Charles and Mr. Minchinton Burton (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division), M r. Stephen Durand (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division / DomSeTCO), and Mr. Davis Thomas (La Plaine Village Council / LAND), as well as Dr. Scott Eckert (WIDECAST) and Dr. Julia Horrocks (University of the West Ind ies, Cave Hill) With such a broad base of support, it is clear that science based sea turtle manage ment and conservation is fir mly established in Dominica. As this Action Plan is imple mented, its programmes will surely grow to benefit the citizens of (and visitors to) Dominica for many generations to come. In the spirit of recognizing those whose efforts have brought us to this point, we dedi cate this Action Plan to those who have already given so much of themselves for many years in patrolling the nations nesting beaches and protecting her sea turtles and their young.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 1 SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS This Action Plan lay s the foundation for a national dialogue that will propel Dominica in a natural evolution from a single sea turtle research and conservation project (the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initi ative, or RoSTI) to a coordinated national programme o f sea turtle research, conservation, management, and livelihood development. In order to achieve a national Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative designed to enhance the standard of living for persons living in communities near major sea turtle nesting beaches, while at the same time offering greater protection to nesting turtles and their young th e Action Plan makes the following recommendations: Recommendation 1 Participating communi ty based organisations should remain independent and work together with DomSeTCO under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Recommendation 2 A Sea Turtle Management Committee should be established to be com prised of representation from organisations partici pating in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative MOU, with organisations to be added or removed as time goes on and as appropriate to the success of the pro gramme. In addition, there should be representation on the Management Committee from natural resource agencies (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks; Fisheries) and other agencies (e.g. tourism, education, law enforcement), along with research organisations, and the private sector, as needed, in order to achieve an organised and positive implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative. Recommendation 3 The r oles and responsibilities should be clearly defined for each member of the Sea Turtle Management Committee. Recommen dation 4 Assess (and develop) the capacity of DomSeTCO and com munity organisations to assume responsibility for decision making, planning and management of their role in the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative. Recommendation 5 I nstitutional development of community groups should seek to build capacity for managing tour guides and beach patrols including staff and wages, rostering, discipline, evaluation, team building actions and professional training Recommendation 6 F or effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative, each community organisation should develop an Operational Management Plan specific to the nesting beach where their tour guiding activity takes place.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 2 Recommendation 7 F or effect ive implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and To urism In itiative, each community organisation should develop a Community Ecotourism Handbook with standards for managing visitors, carrying capacity, health and safety, and staff protocols (e.g. hirin g, training, evaluation). Recommendation 8 F or effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative, each community organisation should develop a Marketing Plan to address strategic objectives, market trends, retail products, and competition. Recommendation 9 A Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica should be developed, highlighting information gaps and re search projects needed to inform and improve sea turtle management and conservation at a national scale. Recommendation 10 T he S ea Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative cannot be successful without the development of supporting infrastruc ture including payment centres, land access, beach facil ities (an area for arrival, waiting, and interpretation), etc. Recommendation 11 F or effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative persons must purchase a ticket grant ing access to the nesting beach during the annual nesting season and b e accompanied while on the beac h, by a trained and licensed Tour Guide. Recommendation 12 Identify challenges facing community organis ations relative to their assuming responsibility for decision making, planning and management of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T our ism I nitiative and identify solutions. Recommendation 13 One community group one nesting beach . In order for Turtle Watches to be successful, experience in other areas has demonstrated that the concept of a sole concessionaire is fundamentally important. Recom mendation 14 For effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative, supporting linkages must be develop ed with related enterprises such as small business enterprises, training and education, and research and monitoring. R ecommendation 15 For effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and T ourism I nitiative, a mechanism for long term monitoring and evaluation is needed.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 3 I. INTRODUCTION With support from the United States Agency for International Development, through its Caribbean Open Trade Support (COTS) program me in the Eastern Caribbean, the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organisation (DomSeTCO), in partnership with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), has been tasked with d evelop ing a nation wide scientifically sound, non invasive sea turtle research, conservation, and ecotourism program that c an b e implemented in collaboration with Gov ernment, coastal communities, the tourism industry, and visitors to the island. The resulting program has focus ed heavily on leadership training in coastal communities interested in assuming greater responsibility for sea turtle survival in Dominica and has include d technical training in population monitoring and research, data collection and habitat conservation, including a public outreach component. Importantly, the pro gram has aimed to facilitate a sustained commitment to conservation goals by foster ing capacity for income generation at the community level. Training guides to lead Turtle Watches, building on Dominicas reputation as an ecotourism destination and WIDECASTs expertise in this area, has p rovide d a basis for new professional livelihoods that both create a more diversified income base in participating communities and al so discourage sea turtle poaching at major nesting beaches Prior to implementation of this program, d iscussions with Government and relevant communities in the South East and North East1 confirm ed that there was consensus regarding the need for livelih ood diversification in ways that suppo rt The Nature Island market niche, and that a profes sional T urtle W atch tour product was a high priority. Notwithstanding, the re was no national capacity to support such diversification in ways that met the standard s of international best practice. Therefore, the program has sought to i dentify the appropriate community structure regulatory framework, and institutional development necessary to create a Turtle Watch programme in Dominica, while at the same time to maintain nightly beach patrols at the nations primary nesting beaches in order to collect basic population data, to nurture a feeling of civic pride in the protection of these grand and ancient creatures, and to reduce illegal killing of the animals during their egg laying period. Through community consultations, partnerships with experts, literature reviews and other processes, t he program has created a legacy of supporting document s including this Action Plan a Field Procedures Manual, a Tour Guide Man ual, a complete geo referenced national map of nesting beaches (for three species of sea turtle), standardised data collection forms, and more. The intent of this Action Plan is to invite and guide an ongoing dialogue among stakeholders interested in def ining and pursuing a viable Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica. 1 The South East Community (4.000 4,500 residents) includes Grand Fond to Delices. The North East Com munity (ca. 7,000 residents) includes Wesley to Marigot. As practicable, the program will also involve com munities north of the Carib Territory in planning meetings and technical training

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 4 II. PROBLEM ANALYSIS The challenge of creating truly sustainable livelihood choices for rural communities is widespread, and this is certainly true for many of t he co mmunities along the largely un de veloped East coast of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The ability of these communities to sustain fundamental needs is limited : farming is affected by weather conditions and changing international trade dynamics, tourism vis itation remains com paratively low, transportation is complicated by road disrepair, fuel costs, and oft unre liable public access, and clothing, construction material, food and other necessities are very costly. Some basic services can only be obtained i n larger communities; others (e.g. banking, protective health, higher education and a range of other governmental services) are only available in the capital city of Roseau. Figure 1 Problem Tree: Factors A ffecting S us tainable L ivelihood s.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 5 An assessment of causal factors and their effects in relation to the creation of sustain able livelihood choices must be clearly understood before we can consider (and apply) appropriate solutions. Figure 1 (above) represents a pro blem tree that looks at issues related to sustainable livelihood s in a simple and logical way illustrating the causes and effects of low economic growth in local communities. Although there are relatively few individuals directly involved in sea turtle hunting, legal ly or illegally, the number of turtle meat consumers is significant in Dominica. C ultural beliefs about the protein content and the potency of turtle meat driv e demand for turtle meat in the country and especially in rural areas Recognising this, it is importa nt once again, to identify causal factors and their effects this time as they relate to the depleted status of the nations sea turtle resource (Figure 2). The use of Problem Trees in strategic planning assists stakeholders in identifying impor tant cause and effect relationships, and then prioritising actions needed to reduc e or eli minat e root causes. Figure 2 Problem Tree: F actors A ffecting Sea T urtles.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 6 III. GOALS FOR THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE The goal of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative is to: Enhance the s tandard of living for persons l iving in communities near major sea turtle nest ing beaches, while at the same time offering greater protec tion to nesting turtles and their young. The op erational o bjectives are as follows: A. Economic Development To promote training and self employment skills for community residents as nature tour guides and other entrepreneurial activities. To enhance the development of other sectors of the community by fostering the establish ment of backward and forward linkages between Heritage Tourism and local agriculture, cuisine, accommodation, and other services B. Sociocultural and Community Development To develop community awareness of the sig nifi cance and value of the n atural heritage of areas within and around the communit ies. To enhance self worth and develop civic pride toward culture and the way of life. To realize the economic potential and other development al benefits that could accrue from multipl e use management of natural ecosystems within and around communit ies. C. Environmental Protection To increase participation in natural resources management by community residents To promote Heritage Tourism as a tool for the sustained conservation of natural ecosystems an d species by using educational pro grams and the spectacular ecological be hav iour of egglaying Leatherback turtles as the principle focus for this activity. To safeguard the nesting habitat of sea tu r tles, and conserve other natural resources, from neg ative human and other impact s. The goods and services required to support a tourism market are broadly based. Hence, activity in the tourism sector will in turn stimulate a wide range of related sectors such as public works, agriculture, food and beverage services, transportation and communications, and accommodation. Tourism can be a force for improving the quality of life in a community by building capacity, creating jobs, and creating business opportunities that contribute to social stability. Maintaining a quality environment and protecting natural and historic resources instils pride and provides additional recreation and leisure opportunities for citizens. Cultural development is encouraged by the involvement of community groups and individuals. Heritage Tourism can generate significant direct and indirect employment among community resi dents in the areas of tour guiding, accommodation services, agriculture, and story telling. These service industries are, by their nature, labour intensive.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 7 IV. STRUCTURE OF THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE After consultation (during preparation of this Action Plan) wi th partners, experts and other stakeholders2 we recommend that community based organisatio n s participating in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative work together with DomSeTCO un der the terms of an MOU (Figure 3 ) in order to implement programme activities Figure 3 Proposed R e lationship B etween P articip ating C o mmunity G roups and DomSeTCO. 2 Errol Harris (Chairman, DomSeTC O); Hon. Ron Green (Parliamentary Representative); David Williams (fmr Director, Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division); La Plaine Village Council; Community Organisations (NEWCEPT North East Wildlife Conservation, Environmental Protection & Tours, NET Nature Enhancement Team, LEAP La Plaine Environmental Advancement and Protection); Samantha Letang (Quality Control Specialist, Discover Dominica Invest Dominica); Andrew Magloire (Director, Fisheries Division); Minchinton Burton (Director, Forestry, Wil dlife and Parks Division); Beverly Deikel (Owner, Rosalie Bay Nature Resort); Sam Raphael (Owner, Jungle Bay); and several members of the La Plaine community R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 Participating community -based organisations should remain independent and work together with DomSeTCO under the terms of a negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 8 DomSeTCO itself needs to develop a core professional staff dedicated to : nurturing its community partners (e.g. hosting training and peer exchanges, maintaining an inven tory of tags and tagging equipment, assisting wi th fund raising and marketing medi ating disputes, bringing new communities into the program), facilitating a responsible and standardised national sea turtle conservation, management and livelihood pro gram (e.g. liaising with Government, soliciting an a nnual Forestry permit to conduct the work, overseeing data collection, conducting program evaluations, maintaining a technical reference library ) and generally being proactive about ensuring programme success (see Section IV S tructure of the Sea Turtle C onservation and Tourism Initiative: DomSeTCO) and Figure 4. Figure 4. Proposed Organi s ational C hart for DomSeTCO The figure is based on the opera tional scheme adopted in 2008. The most experienced beach patrollers (e. g. Dexter George at Rosalie) should also have an important and ongoing role to play in mentoring, data oversight, and operational stability.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 9 Figure 5. Proposed Communication Structure for Inclusive Sea Turtle Conservat ion in Dominica Figure 5 shows the roles of the various stakeholders in the conservation of the sea turtle resource in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Although all stakeholders should be expected to play a key role in programme p lanning management imple menta tion and evaluation Figure 5 emphasizes which stakeholder/ sector has overall responsibility in the development of these various aspects of sea turtle conservation. The diagram also defines the flow of communication among stakeholders demonstrates t he impor tance and need for all players to collabo rate with each other and identifies the Management Committee as representing the main coordinating body for the conser vation development process. Finally, we highlight the formal and informal impetu s for communication and collabo ration. Management Committee Community Groups LAND NEWCEPT LEAP NET (others) IMPLEMENTATION D om S e TCO Government MANAGEMENT Science & Coordinating Officer PLANNING ADVISORY & TECHNICAL SUPPORT

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 10 There is clearly a common interest among community groups, government agencies, non governmental organisations (NGOs), and private entities (for example, eco lodges in the a r ea) in more effectively protecting the sea tur tles that utilise at least four major nesting beaches : La P laine (Bout Sa ble ), Rosalie, Cabana ( Londonderry ), and Castle Bruce. There is equal interest in working together for the greater good of the people living in communities near these nesting beaches Based on discussion s with community organisations operating in each of these areas we recommend that the se organisations remain independent ly registered and administered each having their own name, structure, bylaws, procedures and policies and th at they collaborate to gether under the terms of a mutually negotiated memorandum of understanding (MOU) This recommendation provides for very specific advantages : First members of each organisation can first take the time to build capacity within their organisation without hav ing to devote time an d effort to defining and build ing an umbrella organisation. Second each organisation is ful ly aware of its roles and responsibilities under th e MOU and each organisation can fully develop unlimited parameters for organisation al growth and expansion outside of this MOU. Third since each individual organisation is already germinated, each can create and develop its vision and strategic plan without parental or sibling influ ences. Fourth each organisatio n will have equal involvement in d ecision making, planning and implementation of activities developed within the context of the MOU Due to the particular need s and common interest s of stakeholders it is recommended that a Sea Turtle Management C ommittee (hereafter, the Management Committee) be established with the goal of implementing the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative at a strategic level. The Management Committees main function is to facilitate coordination and com munication among s takeholders, to lobby for the appropriate legislation and policy R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 2 2 A Sea Turtle Management Committee should be established to be comprised of representation from organisations participating in the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative MOU, with organisations to be added or removed as time goes on and as appropriate to the success of the programme. In addition, there should be representation o n the Management Committee from natural resource agencies (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks; Fisheries) and other agencies (e.g. tourism, education, law enforce ment), along with research organisations, and the private sector, as needed, in order to achieve an organised and positive implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 11 support, and to holistically make decisions that are in the interest of Dominica while eliminating the obstacles that face individual communit ies The Committee should aim to strengthen al l its members, empowering and supporting them to accomplish more than they could achieve individually or alone and it should be structured to solicit and incorporate the views of international experts, such as WIDECAST and the University of the West Indies, as needed. Among its responsibilities should be to periodically review and update this Action P lan to address important priorities that will assist in more effective coordination and imple men tation and to ensure that there is consensus for the implem entation of recom mendations prioritised by the Action Plan One high priority recommendation might be to develop a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica (see Recom mendation 9) for which DomSeTCO would take the lead in terms of coordi nation and implementation Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) The Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) is dedicated to pro moting strong linkages between science, policy, and public participation in the desig n and implementation of sea turtle research, conservation and education actions in the Commonwealth of Dominica. ~ Articles of Incorporation, 2007 DomSeTCO is an independent body created inter alia as a response to the need to evolve the Rosalie Sea Tur tle Initiative (see What should be the role of RoSTI? below) f rom a placebased project to a national programme able to coordinate, replicate and evaluate sea turtle conservation and tourism nation wide. As requests to extend the coverage of RoSTI furt her and further from its base in Rosalie Bay increased, it became clear that the structure of RoSTI a pilot project begun in 2003 as a practical example of how the sustainable management of depleted sea turtle stocks could be accomplished at the communi ty level in Dominica did not lend itself to perpetual expansion. After five years of operation the project was stretched thin, and the chal lenge threatened to undermine its success In response, a dedicated group of individuals from the governmental and private sec tors, met to create a national organisation specifically designed to help communities build their capacity to participate collectively and professionally in sea turtle research, management and conservation activities, as well as sea turtle ecotourism R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 3 3 The roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined for each member organisation of the Sea Turtle Management Committee.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 12 Given its charter and intentions, DomSeTCO s role should include but not be limited to the following, and these responsibilities must be clearly stated in the MOU: develop projects, in pa rtnership with community organis ations, that will res ult in achieving livelihood and conservation targets, while building strong community capacity promot e sustainable conservation projects with strong community involvement, including projects that accrue financial benefits from conserving migratory sea turt les known to occur within our waters and on our coastal beaches encourag e support initiatives that promote grassroots involvement in decision making, planning and implementation advanc e the development of projects that provide technical assistance and tha t build capacity within participating organisations and groups3 creat e alliances with programmes in other Caribbean co untries where communi ty members are benefiting economically, socially, and ecologically from their sea turtle conservation efforts who organise themselves with similar interests in conserving biodiversity and promoting grassroots involvement in project implementation forg e consensus in the design and implem entation of a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica invit e the ex pertise of national and international experts to en sure that the best available science is used in the conservation and management of Dominicas sea turtles ensure through a Science and C oordination Officer that data collected on sea turtles and their ne sts remains c onsistent among nesting beaches and of high quality promot e national awareness of sea turtle biology and conservation issues serv e as a national clearinghouse for sea turtle information, including keeping a reference library and a national sea turtle database, as well as engaging with WIDECAST to ensure that stakeholders are aware of training, funding, and other relevant opportunities at the Caribbean level What should be the role of the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative ( R oSTI) ? The Rosalie S ea Turtle Initiative was established in 2003 to study and conserve the sea turtles o f Dominica with an emphasis on Rosalie Bay: The project objective is to dem onstrate in Dominica how sea turtle conservation and sustainable management of depleted stock s can be achieved. The project is sciencebased, and features a strong public awareness component. Information generated by the project will form the basis of management recommendations to Government, the tourism sector (e.g. coastal ho 3 These organisations and groups could include: community organisations, Invest Dominica & Disc over Dominica, Government offices (Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture: Forestry, Fisheries), and Dominica Hotel & Tourism Association, as well as international partners such as the University of the West Indies, Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conser vation Network (WIDECAST), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Nature Seekers in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 13 teliers), and com munity stakeholders, including those interested in participating in profit making nonconsumptive use options such as a Turtle Watching program me open to the public. ~ Research Activity Registration Form, Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division ) 2003 The project was designed by and funded through WIDECAST in partnership with Gov ernment the Rosalie Bay Nature Resort and surrounding communities, and its successes include increasing the level of protection at Rosalie and elsewhere ( for example, consistently reduc ing poaching at key sites), increasing national awareness of the plight of Dominicas depleted sea turtle s tocks and a lso creating community awareness which generated sufficient interest by the communi ty to want to become (and stay) involve d in the process. With the exception of a trained biologist hired to manage the project each year, project staffing (e.g. beach patrollers, event coordinators, artists) was entirely local. As interest in the initiative grew due inter alia to media attention, local festivals and sponsored events, and part time employment RoSTI responded to r equests to extend its conservation and protection activities to ot her beaches including Bout Sable ( La Plaine ) Londonderry, Castle Bruce, Turtle Point and Hampstead. The projects Annual Reports (Franklin et al. 2004, Byrne and Eckert 2006, Byrne 2006, Stapleton and Eckert 2007) document this expansion and t he data collected fro m nesting beaches studied Among RoSTI s objec tives was a commitment t o help build community level capacity towards local management and control. For the most part t his did not occur, and the reason it did not occur c ould be attributed to the fact that Ro STI as an organisation did not evolve with its own success. Responding to interest on the part of communities to become more involve d would have been an evolved responsibility of Ro STI. Therefore Ro STI should have redesigned its function to help develop community organisations for sustainable commu nity management of this project Faced now with interest far beyond RoSTIs mandate to study and conserve the sea turtles of Rosalie Bay, and recognising the impossibility of accomplishing that mandate in light of evidence that sea turtles, especially Leatherbacks, nest freely among and between Dominicas beaches (meaning that protecting them at only one or two sites leav es them vulnerable to poachers elsewhere), what is needed is a national co ordinating body tasked with developing projects, in partne r ship with community organisations, that will result in achieving strong livelihood and conservation targets, while building strong community capacity (see DomSeT CO, above). We envision that a new generation of projects will build on the foundation laid by RoSTI, but that these projects will be community administered in a collaborative way, taking advantage of the strength provided and mutual support enabled by the MOU ( see Recommendation 1 ) and the Management Committee ( see Recommendation 2 ). To gether t hese projects will move Dominica in a very natural evolution from a single project (RoSTI) to a coordinated national p rogramme for sea turtle conservation, man agement, and livelihood development.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 14 With this in mind, we recommend that the Ro STI Project Mana ger serve DomSe TCO and the Management Committee during a year of transition (2008), as follows: Train a Science and Coordination Officer (SCO) in sea turtle biology, field tech niques, and database management Assist community organisations in establishin g and ma naging a beach patrol schedule during the annual nesting season (e.g. assist in creating standard ised c riteria and procedures for rostering), and communicate these procedures to DomSeTCO ( through the S CO) for future reference Assist communit y org anisations in monitoring and evaluating the beach patrol schedule (e.g. how to supervi se payment by monitoring timecard documen tation s) and develop standard ised form s and procedures for same. Assist community organisations in ensuring that their field methods are in line with international best practices (e.g. join patrollers on the beach and provide feedback to them d uring regular visits to the island in 2 008). Empower community organisations to build public awareness. For example, h elp groups to use computer programmes (such as PowerPoint) that create awareness presentations and help to develop their outreach skills by making presentations t o schools and other audiences Provide participating community organ isations with a model sea turtle Po werPoint presentation that each can update and personalise for their own outreach efforts. Empower community organisations to be more effective in engaging the media and potential programme sponsors ; e.g. develop a press release, organise com munity and na tional awareness events, write grant proposals, successfully solicit sponsorship s Help to ensure continuity and consistency in how sea turtle data are collected, assembled, archived and reported at both community and national levels 4 S erv e as a technical resource to DomSeTCO to the community organisations, and to Government in p roviding updated information on best practices of data collection (including analysis and reporting) field technique s ( e.g. tagging, moving eggs controlling predators, reduc ing lighting ) and conservation out reach, upon request. Following the year of transition (2008), a decision can be made concerning any on going role for RoSTI. Perhaps the most logical outcome is that communities in the vicinity of Rosalie Bay will continue the work of RoSTI as part of a community level portfolio, and in partnership with other community led projects and DomSeTCO under an MOU ( see Recommendation 1 ) In this way, the name RoSTI would cease to exist but the work would continue uninterrupted 4 Database management skills may not be present, at least not initially, at the community level so a decision to centralize all the data w ith DomSeTCO (to be maintained and shared, transparently, among data collectors) might be a good way to begin. Pooling data at the national level is also useful because the same turtles are nesting throughout the island meaning that not much is learned, at least from a management standpoint, by analysing data at the level of individual beaches.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 15 Community Organisations Each participating community should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities which should be developed in partnership with DomSeTCO through the Management Committee for the implementation of the project. These responsibilities, which should include but not be limited to the following, must be clearly stated in the MOU: Creating awareness in the community and environs Conduct ing nightly beach patrols to tag, record and protect nesting turtles, their eggs and young Manag ing paying v isitors both local and international, on the nesting beaches where tour guiding is approved Conducting beach clean ups on a regular (at least annual) basis Assuming responsibility for managing tour guides and beach patrols including staff and wag es, rostering, disciplin e evaluation, and team building Develop ing a management and accountability system with the M anagement C ommittee including participating in whatever datasharing agreement i s mutually agreed upon Rais ing funds for project implemen tation and supporting DomSeTCO in its efforts to rais e funds for capacity building and other shared priorities C ommunity organisations should also foster and build a good relationship with residents and other organi sations in their community. This is a g ood strategy for building com munity support that can encourage members to participate in the community building process. The involvement of the community organisations in site management through product development, community empowerment, networking, sit e promotion, and fund raising is crucial to the success of th ese groups The efficiency of each organisation will depend on its ability to acquire the necessary technology, and to develop its hu man resources to implement and manage projects. Government The divisions of Forestry, Wildlife and Parks, and of Fisheries are critical to the develop ment process and are very important partner s, supporters and mentors. Government has the legal mandate and responsibility for safeguarding the patrimony of the na tion and the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division has the au thority to grant (and withdraw) permits to work with sea turtles (e.g. tag measure, relocate eggs, exhume hatched nests) Their contributions, which should include but not be limited to the following, should be clearly stated in the MOU: Provide communit y groups with technical support in establishing mechanisms to achieve effective nest ing beach management, including crowd control and eliminating poaching Provide ecotourism development support and community access to resource use with permits and other mechanisms

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 16 Provide support to the Management C ommittee in the context of governance and policy compliance on use of natural resources Provide technical assistance in record keeping and database m anagement, as well as other research related aspects Provide information on government related assets, including funding, training, facilities use, library materials, etc. As needed, other government agencies, including tourism, youth, education, and law enforcement, should be invited to participate on the Management Committee. Each member of the Management Committee has an important role to play in supporting community based research, conservation and outreach agendas, in addition to supporting the natio nal service that communities play in dissuading poaching at the nations major sea turtle nesting beaches. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) In the past the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network a Caribbean region al network of sea turtle scientists, has contributed tremendously to Dominicas sea turtle research, conservation and outreach programmes and as such should be invited to continue to provide such support WIDECASTs contributions, which should include but not be limited to the following, should also be clearly stated in the MOU: Provide updated information on sea turtles and the ir status in the Caribbean Sea Play a major role in developing a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica in collaboration with the Management Committee comprised of Dom SeTCO Government agencies, communit ies and other stakeholders Encourage integrated resource management by assisting stakeholders in the establishment of techniques and mechanisms that will ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to research and long term population monitoring Provide specific recommendations for the management and recovery of depleted sea turtle stocks, based on internationally recognised standards Provide technical assist ance to strengthen the capacity of DomSeTCO to: o f undraise for project implementation and institutional strengthening as well as to support research, management, conservation, population moni toring community development, and public outreach priorities o de termine and evaluate sea turtle conservation priorities, and to promote science based management planning and project implementation o f acilitat e institutional strengthening both of DomSeTCO itself and of the community organisations, such that local groups are able t o identify, analyze and resolve issues related to sea t urtle management and protection o assist G overnment in modernising t he regulatory framework including t he formulation of legislation, policies and standards, as appropriate, for the managemen t of sea turtles at local and national level s o encourage and promote i nstitutional strengthening and technical capa city in government agencies responsible for sea turtle management

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 17 V. COMMUNITY CAPACITY FOR IMPLEMENTING THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOU RISM INITIATIVE Capacity Building The capacity of the community organisations including DomSeTCO (see Appendix I ) is a major element that needs to be assessed in order to determine what training need s exist. It is necessary that efforts be directed in building organisation al capacity particu larly in the context of resources and readi ness (see below). Community c apacity is built through experience by directly involving the communi ty in decision making, planning and management of Turtle W atching (eco tourism) and conservation efforts C apacity b uilding i s often defined as action that im proves an organisations e ffectiveness in achieving its mission and it can be grouped into four areas: Organisation Life C ycle new organisation s need help to get established, and existing organisations need help to focus on and improve efficiency Organisation Resources time, commitment, skills, expertise, money, facilities, and equipment Organisation Readiness ability t o take on the task for which the organ isation was established Access to S upport and Resources trainers, tools, and networking support To attain and maintain capacity, organisations mu st invest in training. In particular, the following areas should be emphasised: Strategic p lanning Con flict management Small business m anagement Environmental e ducation and a wareness Food preparation and service Craft design and display First a id New organisations often require assistance in start up, such as: 1. Registration 2. Bylaws 3. Financial Pro cedures 4. Othe r P olicies 5. Code of Conduct 6. Strategic P lanning a. Vision b. Mission c. Goals 7. Roles & Function 8. Programme Development & Management R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 4 4 Assess (and develop) the capacity of DomSeTCO and community organisations to assume responsibility for decision-making, planning and management of their role in the Sea Turtle C onservation and Tourism In itiative.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 18 Standard procedures (e.g. d eveloping a Tour Guide Handbook for Dominica ) Fundraising: p roposal writing and fo llow up For organisations involved in conservation goals and formal tour guiding, it is essential that guides receive c ontinuous t raining and feedback Emphasis should be placed on: Visitor m anagement Self / Guide m anagement Basic sea turtle biology and c onservation o Reproduction/nesting cycle o Ecology (e.g. m igration f eeding /diet) o Basic research (e.g. t agging measuring) o Data c ollection Record keeping and reporting Figure 6. Proposed O rganisational S tructure for P articipating C ommunity G roups.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 19 Institutional Development As a way forward the community organisations should first engage themselves i n a strategic planning exercise designed to develop a VISION of their future as well as establish appropriate GOALS & OBJECTIVES leading to the achievement of their vision. This recommendation applies to all stakeholders ; if it is not done community groups in particular, tend to whither and fade C ommunity organisations should also engage in activ i ti es that assist in and promote the de velopment of a STRONG COHESIVE EXECUTIVE TEAM supported by a formal structure within the organisation. The experience of community groups involved in sea turtle con servation and tourism elsewhere in the Caribbean (such as Nature Seekers in Trinidad) is that s ustained participation of community members is likely to increase and their confidence in the organisation is likely to increase when a formal structure is in place W ith a strong internal executive team, a community organisation is better placed to contribute to the Management Committee (see Recommendat ion 2 ) and to play an important role in a sciencebased sea turtle conservation p rogramme. While a community org anisations sea turtle conservation and tourism programme is in its infancy stage the organisations Board of Directors or Executive Committee (see F igure 6 ) should take an administrative and/ or leadership role in coordinating the activities. At a later stage when the work i s further developed and funding is available the group should seek to hire a C oordinator. Groups should ensure that the selecti on process is highly transparent to avoid the germination of new conflict. The C oordinator should have the responsibility of creat ing value for the organisation and ensur ing quality and professional delivery of products and services to the target group ( see also Sammy and Baptiste 2008) Whatever structure is decided upon it is important to evalua te the organisation as the work is defined through management and implementation Th e structure can always be revised accordingly to meet the needs of the organisation and the needs of the community in the implementation of its activities. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 5 5 Institutional development of community groups should seek to build capacity for managing tour guides and beach patrols, including staff and wages, rostering, discipline, evaluation, team -building actions and professional training R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 6 6 For effective implementation of the S e a Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative, each community organisation should develop an Operational Management Plan specific to the nesting beach where their tour -guiding activity takes place.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 20 Operational Management Plan An Operational Management P lan for each nesting beach managed by a community organisation should be developed separately and the terms of the P lan should be clearly understood by the responsible community organisation. Given the nature and diversity of sea turtle conservation, the supporting systems should be in place in order to ensure the proper management of both the sea turtles and the visit ors at each of the nesting beaches : a n Operational Management Plan explains these supporting systems. The following elements not necessarily in order of priority should be given sufficient and careful consideration in the development of the Operation al Management Plan: Database Management Information System (DMIS) for r ecord k eeping There should be an appropriate system of record keeping for the management of th e programme both from a conservation and from a tourism prospective. A Database Managem ent Information System for tracking customer s tour purchases (ticket sales) product purchases and payment of staff for guid ing and beach patrol ling must be developed to increase efficiency in and provide for evaluation of daily operations. The organisation must also document the number of tour guides work ing each night as well as per year These records will make for easy payment of stipend s and facilitate eval u ation of guides (e.g. it will be clear whether the guide worked the required hours) Visi tor flow and financial recording An appropriate visitor management system for payment of tickets and guide fees should be developed (see Section VII, Infrastructure and Essential Policies for Imple mentation of the Sea Turtle Con servation and Tourism Ini tiative) I f Government requires that tickets (permits) be purchased in order to gain access to major nesting beaches at night, these should be sold at the same time at 3 or 4 designated sale centres that guide tickets are sold. Each nesting beac h will have a carrying capacity ( see Recommendation 7 ) and therefore only a certain number of tickets can be sold. Communication among ticket sale centres, as well as with tour guiding organisations, is necessary on this point F or example, if there is a limit of 100 tickets available per beach per night, the sales centres m ust know when 100 tickets have been sold by all the centres combined. When that limit is reached, sales staff must indicate that the night is full and that tickets are no longer avai lable but that tickets are available for a later date (or perhaps for another beach) This kind of record keeping is very important because the community organi sations are scheduling guides based on a certain number of visitors If too few, or too many visitors arrive at the beach, conflict can arise.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 21 There should be records kept of the number of tour tickets sold to foreigners and to locals ; these records assist in annual planning evaluation, and report writing. An appro priate accountability system should be adopted ; e.g. triplicate receipt books should be printed and used whereby t he original and one copy are given to the visitor and one copy remains in the sales office. The visitor has the option to retain the original for their files, but the vi sitor must give the copy to their guide at the nesting beach so that verifi cation of payment is assured before the tour begin s. Finally, a Customer D atabase is an important asset for a community organisation. Such a database can be use for making tour or product decision s based on customers purchases and choices (e.g. which beach, meal, craft, etc. is preferred ). The database can also be used to promote the upcoming season and /or other nature tours or offerings by sending e mails or direct mail to former customers. There should be a notation made in the file if the Customer has indicated that s/he does not want to receive any information from the organisation. Scientific data collection and recordkeeping Regular emphasis should be placed on the collection of data on nesting sea turtles and their young The accuracy and clarity of information is of paramount importance to the conservation effort and will reflect on the professionalism of the community. Accurate information is also important t o Government offices charged with protecting the sea turtle resource on a national level, and it is through these offices that communities receive their permits to work with these species during an annual period of protection (see Appendix I I) Attempts m ust be made to ensure that community groups are both well trained and adequately supervised ( monitored ) for at least two weeks on a nightly basis by an experienced data collector such as the RoSTI Project Manager or a Forestry Officer before delegating full responsibility to the community. Throughout the season, spot checks by Fisheries and/ or Forestry staff, or DomSeTCO must be done. In other words, there must be both a process of transition and a recognition that data collection and record keeping are big job s that can only be successfully undertaken with the support of all partners working together. Following international best practices and k eeping accurate records i s the difference between good conservation practice and a programme that simply exploits and harasses sea turtles. Data forms (see Stapleton and Eckert, 2008) should be compiled nightly by the com munity organisation. Forms should be sequentially numbers and filed, in order, in a notebook. Data forms should be reviewed regularly, ideally weekly, by the DomSeTCO S CO who is responsible for national database management.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 22 Community Ecotourism Handbook A Community Ecotourism Handbook for each nesting beach managed by a commun ity organisation should be developed separately and the requirements described by t he Handbook should be clearly understood by the responsible community organisa tion and its partners. The following elements not necessarily in order of priority, should be given sufficient and careful consideration in the development of the Community Ecotourism Handbook : Visitor management s ystem There must be a tour bookings system for everyone in cluding local residents and there must be an efficient flow from one activity to another during every tour. To facilitate these bookings and to centralize record keeping, 3 4 payment centres should be selected and developed. It is at these payment centres that visitors must purchase a guide ticket and, if required, an en trance fee to the nesting beach (see Section VII, Inf rastructure and Essential Policies for Implement ation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative) To support and maintain the carrying capacity system (see below), all visitors including local residents, should book their tours in advance. Because of the high level of i nterest shown in T urtle W atching by local c ommuni ties the community group should have some flexibility to achieve management of residents who may occasionally make spontaneous visits for T urtle W atching. There should b e an orientation on every tour and this should be given shortly after the tour arrives to the beach. The orientation is a very critical part of the tour and its objec tive is to prepare the visitor for the experience. The orientation should include a sh ort history of the community, including how the community became involved in turtle conservation efforts and a description of the tour that is to come i ncluding guidelines for safety of visitors and protection of turtles. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 7 7 For effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative, each community organisation should develop a Community Eco tourism Handbook with standards for managing visitors, carrying capacity, health and safety, and staff protocols (e.g. hiring, training, evaluation). A comprehensive Community Ecotourism Handbook should include guidelines on the following: Visitor Management Research Projects Methods for Data Collection Procedures for Data Collection Turtles Visitors Staff Roles & Responsibilities Management Implementing Community Health & Safety Support of Land Owners Beach Facility Others

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 23 The flow of visitors from one poi nt to the next should be efficient and smooth. The visi tors must not be inconvenienced and must not be rushed. Visitors will be paying for their service so the tour guides attitude must be friendly but firm with respect to rules and guidelines for the tour. At all times the service must be professional and efficiently carried out. Tour guiding is a service industry, and the success of your business relies on the visitor having a good experience. This does not mean that the visitor is in charge! Th e far majority of visitors want a professional experience: they want everyone to follow the same rules, they want to feel as though they are not disturbing the turtles during the delicate period of egg laying, and they want the tour guide to maintain resp ect and order during the tour. Cautionary note : Critical to good visitor management is the fact that the community organisation should always have a p lan to deal with unexpected events. Wh at if a large group comes to the beach without a booking? What i f communication between the payment centres broke down and twice the carrying capacity of tickets were sold for a particular night? What if a visitor is drunk? What if a poacher is encountered? What if a visitor trips and breaks his ankle? In all cases and at all times the tour guide must have reliable communication (radio, cell phone) both to the group (for example to call for additional guides or other assistance on short notice) and to law enforcement officers who have an established relationship wi th the group and are reliable in their response to a troubling situation. Depending on the nature of the tour, accommodations, transport, meals or other servi ces might be involved. Again the tour guide should be well informed of these aspects and able t o call (radio, cell phone) for clarification or additional assistance in any aspect of the tour, as needed. This communication should function from all areas of the beach, not just from the entrance point, parking lot or visitor centre Carrying c apacity for beaches The Community Ecotourism Handbook should be clear on the carrying c apacity that has been set for the T urtle W atching programme on all the beaches. This is to ensure that the development of tourism does not compromise the carrying capacity o f the ecosystems. Too many times unmanaged tourism results in environmental destruction. The elements that should be considered when arriving at this capacity figure is to look at the number of turtles, the number of tourist s, the number of guides (and o ther services, such as accommodations or meals), the amount of parking and the level of development of other infrastructure, and the price per tour in order to arrive at a balance between the protection of the turtles the ability of the program to provide a good tour guiding service, and the economic viability of the ec o tourism programme

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 24 There are several aspects of carrying capacity. First there is the total number of tickets that can be sold for each beach each night. Then there is the number of visitors that can be handled by each guide. Finally there is the number of visitors that should be standing around each turtle. These are very important decisions that must be made by each organisation. ~~ Recommendation: 1 turtle 1 tour guide 20 vi sitors ~~ Sample calculations : If the beach generally has many turtles and 20 people are allow ed around each turtle, the carrying capacity might be 100 people 5 guides, each with 1 turtle and 20 visitors. If there are few turtles or the beach is nar row and cannot accommodate 100 people or if the community only has 2 trained tour guides, then the decision might be made to establish a carrying capacity of 40 visitors 2 guides, each with 1 turtle and 20 visitors. L ower carrying capacity makes it easi er for everyone to see the turtle if there is only one turtle that night e.g. the tours might alternate first one tour for 15 minutes, while the other waits at a distance, then the other tour approache s for 15 minutes and so forth. Cautionary note : Selling too many tours can result in : sub stan d ard service (e.g. the guide will be overwhelmed, visitors will be unable to hear the orient ation or tour presentation, visitors will be unable to see the turtle, rules for beach behav iour will be ignored ) ecosystem harmed by too many vehicles and too many people on the beach (e.g. too many people walking on the beach is known to increase erosion and reduce nesting habitat) disruptions to turtle nesting, such as by noise or lights so that it becomes less lik ely that the turtle will return to that beach for her next nesting In each of these cases, the result is that the economic viability of the programme is l owered and the community may be unable to sustain tour guiding as a livelihood. If, on the other han d, a reasonable carrying capacity is established, the visitor receives professional service, the environment is not degraded, and the turtles are not disturbed the tour guide livelihood will remain sustainable and profitable. The decision is yours. F ield e quipment E quipment such as clipboard (with pencils and data forms), radio/cell phone, binocu lars, whistle head lamp, camera ( including v ideo camera ), etc might be needed and should be appropriately packed for protection from wind, sand, rain, etc The availability of radio (or cell phone) communication is extremely important in the delivery of the service and the safety of the guides and visitors. The method of communication should be tested and found to be very effective on the beaches. If t he programme allows tagging of the sea turtles and if tour guides are conducting the tagging then the use of appropriate tags and tagging equipment is needed

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 25 See Eckert and Beggs (2006) and Stapleton and Eckert (2008) for details on field techniques for tagging, measuring, etc. as well as standard data forms and advice for data collection and record keeping. Tagging can serve both conservation and management purposes, as well as being used to facilitate the developmen t of an Adopt A Turtle pro gramm e (see insert). To view an example of an Adopt A Turtle program visit the website of Trinidad s Nature Seekers organisation at http://natureseekers.org/adoptaturtle.html 5 Health and safet y of g uests The health and safety of visitors should be taken seriously by the community. Guides and beach patrollers should be equipped with radio communication and t hey should ensure that safety proced ures are in place for the successful enjoyment of t he tour. There should be an E mergency P rocedure P lan develop ed by each com munity with help fro m stakeholders This should include partnerships with law enforcement and medical person nel which are aware of the nightly activity on the beach, will monitor a radio or cell phone through the night, and will respond to a call for help. Caution should be taken to ensure that guests property such as vehicles and personal belongings are secure at all time As Dominica is still developing its tourism industr y, insurance coverage should be explored if appropriate. Administration and s taffing There should be an organisation in the community responsible for the overall management of th e conservation and tourism programme working closely with D om 5 The Adopt A Turtle programme was initiated to raise funds to sustain the Matura Turtle Conservation Pro gramme. The objectives of the Adopt A Turtle p rogramm e is to improve Nature Seekers financial capability to provide and sustain the Sea Turtles Research Programme at Matura. Once you are convinced that this is a project you would like to be involved with, the special attached form must be completed for our records. Later a Certificate of Adoption will be mailed to parents soon after. At the end of the turtle nesting season, general information will be sent out to parents (of adopted turtles) that can be determined from the data collected. The cost for adoptin g a turtle is US$ 35.00. This i s an annual fee that will be mad e for the care, protection and conservation of your turtle. We highly recommend that school, groups, organizations, and individuals adopt turtles. Adopting a turtle can be a wedding gift, birthday gift, Mothers day, Fathers Day gift or a personal gift. This is a very meaningful way to express friendships ! Adopt A Turtle Tagging can serve both conservation and management purposes, as well as being used to facilitate the development of an Adopt A Turtle programme. Adopt A Turtle programmes offer visitors a chance to support your programme beyond jus t the purchase of a tour and it also offers people who will never visit Dominica a chance to support your work, as well. It is ideal (but not absolutely necessary) that turtles be tagged so that parents can adopt an individual turtle. When the nesting season is over you can send, by E Mail, detailed information to each parent on how many times the turtle nested, whether her nests hatched, etc. If turtles are not tagged, then visitors can b e encouraged to adopt a turtle but not necessarily a p articular individual.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 26 SeTCO and Government (e.g. Forestry, Wildlife and Parks; F isheries). A C oordinator delegated by th is community organisation should be in charge of the implementation of th e sea turtle ecotourism project in close collaboration with the interagency M anagement C ommi ttee under the terms of the MOU (see Section I V: Structure of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative). Guides should be under the supervision of the Coordinator and efforts should be in place to develop a professional approach in executing d uties. The community group should ensure that there is another person besides the Co ordinator, involved in the management of the project This could be an assistant to the Coordinator, a Master Guide, etc. T his is to prevent the adverse effect of th e departure of any one administrator on the project Similarly, additional guides should be trained and upgraded in order to ensure that there is consistency in the quality of service pro vided at all times. I t is important to employ different c ategor i es of guides. Ne w guides should start at a lower rank and rise, depending on the criteria set for promotion : e.g. Apprentice Guide for the first year, then proceeding through ranks Guide I Guide II Guide III achieving the title of Master Guide after 5 years assuming excellent ratings and evaluations dur ing this time T his will facilitate and manage the issue of equity, and provide for self improvement and promotion Guides with more experience should be compensated appropriately. Tour g uides whet her new or experienced, must: Be well informed outgoing generalist s who can talk about a wide variety of topics involving the destination and not just be informed on the natural history o f one specific area or just be informed in one subject of expertise. Be environmentalist s who can inform and motivate their clients on environmental issues without being confrontational or overly controversial in their views. Be well informed about potential impacts, and be willing and able to prepare their clients well in advance about the rules of travel Be diplomatic but direct if rules are broken and be able to take corrective action Be spontaneous and able to opportunistically take advantage of opportunities for learning. Be equip ped with a G uide Kit that includ es relevant field guides trails maps, charts, extra binoculars, and first aid equipment. Know how to communicate with clients without always lecturing. Two way com munication involving input in a dialogue is highly important, and can lead to a learning proc ess for the guides and other visitors. Specific duties of tour guides, whether new or experienced, are to : E ducate, inform, manage, and enlighten v isitors. W ork closely with the tour group leaders to assure a smoothly run tour A djust the schedule when necessary to maximize the tour ( for example, giving a little more time if no other tours are waiting ) Be professional at all times.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 27 I nfluence visitors behavi our around sites and attractions. K now how many visitors are on your tour (or in your group) and be sure everyone is accounted for at all times! Be on time, in uniform (if appr opriate), and well groomed for duties. S how consideration and respect for other s, including other guides at all times. P romote (including by your own example) t hat litterin g is prohibited F ollow directions and instruction s from superiors Have a spirit of fun! K now the p rices of all tour products (e.g. tours, souvenirs meals, transport ) E nsure that all payments have been made to the organisation Be responsible for givin g out Visitor Evaluation Forms, and taking charge of other tourrelated reporting. Be dedicated to staff meetings, training opportunities, and other organisation related commitments. Marketing Plan A Marketing Plan should be developed be each c ommunity organisation The follow ing elements not necessarily in order of priority should be given sufficient and careful consideration in the development of the Marketing Plan: Marketing o bjectives The goals and objectives of marketing are: To create awar eness of the special biological event of the nesting process of the Endangered Leatherback t urtles (and other sea turtles) in Dominica. To develop and stimulate the uses of heritage/nature tours and other economic activities in the community such as Host Home (see Section IX: Sustainability Net work: Economic Linkages to Sea Turtles) local craft s, and other heritage and /or nature tour s. To create financial sustainability by encouraging visitors to use the services of the communities thereby encouraging maximum visitor spending in the community and in support of community organisations and other residents. To create a positive and unique image for the communities by providing unique and very high quality services for sea turtle viewing, nature tour guidin g and other community based experiences (e.g. cultural f estivals youth activities, craft expositions sports events) R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 8 8 For effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative, each community organisation should develop a Marketi ng Plan to address strategic objectives, market trends, retail products, and competition.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 28 Marketing s trategies and branding Adventure according to the Oxford dictionary means inter alia an unusual, exciting and daring experience This is going to be a new experience for Dominica offering a community based sea turtle tour led by local people. Therefore the tour should be given a name that will entice Dominicans to try the service in a community : La Plaine Turtle Watching Adventure Rosalie Turtle Watching Adventure Londonderry Turtle Watching Adventure Castle Bruce Turtle Watching Adventure (and so on) are rec ommended. It is importa n t to know the name of the beach in the brand of the product because there are dif ferent locations where permits and tours will be sold. Using the name of the community in the brand will also assist in building community pride. Many natureconscious individuals, both locals and foreigners alike, want to be part of natures unique experience. This puts the communities in control in offering such an adven ture type experience. Also because it is the plan to involve the community in the project, it enables the service offered to be unique. Since the community members involved tend to feel that they are a part of something different /unique and important it is likely that they will share their experiences a lot. They will try their best to maintain and preserve its reputation helping the product to stand out. S howcasing the communities wo rking together with other stakeholders such as by brochures, site fliers, posters in hotels, postcards on sales and a village sign will help to realize marketing goals. The most inexpensive and efficient way to promote T urtle W atching and other tour services is to build a quality product that will influence clients to spread the word about the good service. The result is that, with no additional effort (beyond providing an excellent tour), the organisation will benefit from repeat customers as well as those referred by satisfied customers. The asset most worth protecting in any tour guiding business is the satisfied customer! Product strategies : emphasise community The main product strategies should be elements of local community and "nature" c ombined with good facts in every aspect of the experience and these should be presented in every tour available to visitors. The use of local guides, local craft, local cuisine, locally sourced products (e.g. organic produce) local culture and the natural attractions in the area will indeed enhance the experience and develop a unique image of the services that will be offered. The f ocus will be to generate income through the use of the Turtle Watch Expeditions which will open the tours up to more foreig ners, while encouraging locals to participate in the developing Adventures. Turtle V iewing this can be an indelibly imprinted moment as g uests have a first hand opportunity to witnesses nesting by endangered sea turtles.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 29 Because t hese giant reptiles wi ll nest 3 7 times each season (and return at 2 5 year intervals), protecting the sea turtles means that income is assured year after year (as opposed to killing the sea turtles, which means that income is only derived once and then its gone forever) The main element of the tour is the T urtle W atching. The whole tour is planned to make it as interesting and enjoyable as possible, offering more than just turtle viewing. If the turtles do not come to nest, a wonderful experience will still be obtained. Heritage Tourism this offers the guest an o pportunity to be directly involved with the cultural expressions, values, local cuisine, customs and folklore of Dominicas local communities. The use of story telling, myth and legend can play a major role in mak ing the guest experience very special and memorable. The com bination of culture, recreation and nature as a total package is very innovative compared to the average product offered currently in Dominica and in the Caribbean Region in general The product is enhanced by the fact that no two communities are alike and therefore, no two communities provide the exact same service or experience. Competition, including identifying the target audience Competition can be identified by using three approaches: or ganisation s making the same product or servi ce; organisations that are within the same strategic group (i.e. organisations that satisfy the same consumer need, or follow the same strategy in a particular market or industry); and any product that is cheaper and has the potential to attract customers away from the Nature Tour E xperience. Table 1 i dentif ies some of the many a ctivities that can compete with the Nature Tour Experience and therefore can affect the likelihood that a community based produc t will be successful PRODUCT OR SERVICE LEVEL I PRODUCT/ SERVICE FORM LEVEL II PRODUCT CATEGORY LEVEL III GENERIC COMPETITION SUBSTITUTE PRODUCT LEVEL IV BUDGET COMPETITION Nature Tour Turtle Tour Waterfall Mountain Hike Hotels, Tour Operators, Tour Guides A reas/ D estinations that offer similar service (s) Nature Experi ence, Health f ocus (e.g. s pa) Entertainment Typical Night life , Party, Restaurant Night Club Beach (or River ) P arty, Gym / Spa Stay h ome, Enjoy a day at the beach Table 1 Levels of Competition that Compete with the Nature Tour

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 30 There are various medium s by which promotional efforts can be made. These include websites brochures, posters, photos and videos, radio and television exposure, and word of mouth are all ways to get your message out. Also, if national standards are met Discover Dominica Authorit y ( www.discoverdominica.com ) Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association ( www.dhta.org ) and other official outreach sites will promote T urtle Watches and other community based tour services. Communication and p romotional efforts should be directed to the following target audiences (i.e. consumer groups) : Community Residents including members of the community organisation, mem bers of the community, and media representatives; I nternational V isitors, including both leisure and eco tourists; and V isiting Friends and R elatives. Communit y Residents : Employees/Members of the c ommunity organisation : The goal of maintaining moral e and providing employees with an indication of the results of their efforts is often the prime objective of marketing efforts. Organisation al notices on bulletin board s direct mail, and annua l reports are some of the methods used to com municate with this group. Community members : Those persons who live and work in the community in which the community organisation operates should be the targets o f Public Re lation efforts. Such efforts may i nvolve informing the community of activities that the organisation is engaged in, e.g. reducing pollution, beach clean ups, protecting wildlife providing employment, conducting research emphasising civic pride The effort here is to demonstrate to the community that the organisation has the welfare of all in mind. Special effort should be made to reach the mem bers of the community to prepare them for the expansion of tourism. Media : Perhaps one of the most critical of external public relation activi ties is that directed toward the media. The media determines what you will read in the newspaper or see on television, what is news and how this news is p resented. Because of the medias extreme power, they should be informed of the actions of the comm unity. This will assist in developing support for conservation initiatives and also creating local market s. In addition, any opportunit y to promote the programme i n special magazines and /or periodicals should be encouraged. Th ese outreach efforts should be done by the community, with guidance from DomSeTCO. DomSeTCO should take responsibility for encourag ing the media to cover the activities of the community organisations, and should work with com munity based sea turtle coordinators to ensure that each organisation has the capacity to interact with the media; e.g. that they have contacts inside media offices, that they are aware of how to submit a press release, etc.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 31 International Visitors : Know your audience! The core target group for ecotourism are 3059 years old with higher education and aboveaverage income (Toms 2002). This group is increasingly i nterested in the natural ex perience is seeking new and innovative ways to enjoy their vacations. This means that the targeted communities need to en sure that the product is well developed to meet the need of the visitor and to com pete with existing tourism and destination product s These tourists include eco tourists, scuba divers, honeymooners, adventure tourist s, and beach vacationers. Forging pa r tnerships with local travel agents is useful, as is making sure that information is available at tourism centres; e.g. major hotels, Internet cafs, cruiseship ports, airport immigration lounge, museums and other public attrac tions. Visiting Friends a nd Relatives : A significant number of Dominicans are living abroad and regularly visit friends and relatives on island There is a great opportunity therefore, to attract these visitors through local promotion to the area. Special discount packages sho uld be prepared for this sector, as they often travel in large numbers (family groups) Market t rend s T ourists are always looking for new experiences and trying to discover new destinations. Aside from growing as an activity, tourism is changing shape and important new trends are emerg ing: for example, research shows that p eople are taking shorter vacations (but more of them ) and that tourists are traveling in groups and are taking vaca tions closer to home ( http: //www.unwto.org ). Clearly i t is important to stay informed about these trends, especially as they pertain to Dominica and to the Caribbean region in general. An important recent trend is that tourists are demanding more from the destination in terms of protecting the environment and ensuring positive impacts on communities Hence, there is tremendous growth in the new tourism: ecological, cultural, heritage and agro forestry tourism. Th is trend i s largely due to demographic, economic and cultural ch anges related to the shrinking size of households (families) and the increasing urbani sation and migration of populations. Other trends affecting tourism are the increase in the number of dual career partners in households and more intense interest in co nservation and green issue, including making a personal contribution to safeguarding the global environment ( http://www.unwto.org). Turtle Watch tourism, if undertaken in the true spirit of ecotourism, which focus es on the appreciation and preservation of nature, aligns well with recent moves within the Carib bean to emphasise the regions biodiversity assets, the need for sustainable income op portunities at the community level, and the need for greater conservati on of natural resources. Th e Spec ial Committee on Sustainable Tourism within the Association of Caribbean States (of which Dominica is a member), has long sought to ensure that destinations can attract visitors but in a way that does not harm the physi cal environment or the communities that surround them. These values are enshrined in the Convention on Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC), signed at the Third ACS Summit in December 2001 in Margarita, Venezuela and its Protocol.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 32 VI. FIVE-YEAR NATIONAL SEA TURTLE RESEARCH PLAN Research and Protection of Sea Turtles In sup port of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative, a Five Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan (hereafter, the Research Plan) should be developed for Dominica. Th e Research P lan need not be lengthy but should summarise what is known, identify i nformation gaps describe projects that could address those gaps, and present a timetable and budget for implementation. The objective should be to ensure the recovery and survival of sea turtle populations in Dominica, including protecting egg bearing f emales from shoreline development and direct take onshore and from f isheries interac tions offshore. Th e Research P l an is necessary for managing t he development of projects in the sen se that projects should seek to contribute meaningfully to sea turtl e conservation and management and, as a priority, either fill gaps and /or maintain long term data collec tion efforts ( note : sea turtle datasets become more valuable as time goes on because of the unique management value of information [e.g. growth, clutch frequency, remi g ration timing, habitat use] associated with tagged individuals seen o ver and over again). In addition, the Research Plan should promote the collection of baseline data against which to evaluate the effects of tourism (e.g. potential harassment of egg laying females compaction of nests from foot traffic along the beach, disorientation of hatchlings) T he emphasis on nightly monitoring of nesting turtles should be continued and a ttempts sh ould be made to develop and use evolving strate gies based on the experiences of the communities to achieve a high degree of commitment to nightly beach patrol. C ommunity managers, government agencies and other stakeholders need to know how many turtles are nesting and at what sites ( beaches ) in orde r to efficiently manage the T urtle Watch programme. Such data will also assist in managing and safeguarding t h e sea turtle resource from a national prospective. Additional to patrols, the community should engage in activities related to education and a wareness. Beach clean ups for example, should be an annual community led activity before the turtle nesting season and efforts should be made to get the media, environmental groups and schools to participate. Clean ups remove debris that can pose a dang er to nesting turtles (and to tourist), f oster civic pride in the surroundings, and also to highlight the up coming T urtle Watch season. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 9 9 A Five-Year National Sea Turtle Research Plan for Dominica should be developed, highlighting information gaps and research projects needed to inform and improve sea turtle management and conservation at a national scale.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 33 At the present time there appear to be six (6) nesting beaches that would benefit from community led beach patrols to m onitor s ea turtle population s and, in turn, these communities are best positioned to contribute information that is most useful to man agement These beaches in the North are : Cabana ( Londonderry ) Turtle Point and Hampstead, and in the S outh E ast : Cof fee ( Rosalie) Bout Sable ( La Plaine ), and Castle Bruce Beyond simply monitoring sea turtle populations, regular patrols also reduce poaching and other illegal activity on the beaches Each community group should in vite and maintain a good relationship with the local police service in the area. Similarly, t he police should understand the work being done by the communities so that when called upon the communit y group can expect a prompt response time. For t he development of th e Research Plan, the advi ce and support of WIDECAST should be obtained ; t heir technical expertise would clearly be an asset to strength en the plan. VII. INFRASTRUCTURE AND ESSENTIAL POLICIES FOR IMPLEMEN-T ING THE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE Payment Centres T o facilitate tour bookings and to centralize record keeping, 3 4 payment centres should be selected and developed. It is at these payment centres that visitors must pur chase a guide ticket and, if required, an entrance fee to the nesting beach The pay ment centres should be centrally located in popular areas for both locals and foreign ers in order that potential clients might have convenient ac cess to purchasing T urtle W atching tours If purchasing a tour is an easy procedure it will attract many visit ors especially locals. When purchasing a ticket, v isitors should be asked to complete a Tour Guide Visitor F orm with contact (local address and telephone number, which would be needed in order to contact them if the tour was cancel led e.g. due to bad weather ) It is important that p ersonnel of these offices communicate between centres in order to facilitate carrying capacity management (see Carrying Capacity) An appropriate accountability system should be put in place to ensure that the funds col lected on behalf of the communities ( e.g. from the purchase of tours) is deposited with the respective communit y group(s) in a timely way and without meddling into the internal accounting policies of these groups R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 0 0 The Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism I nitiative cannot be successful without the development of supporting infrastructure including payment centres, land access, beach facilities (an area for arrival, waiting, and inter pretation ), etc.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 34 Visitor Facilities At the present time, n o major nesting beach has any kind of visitor facility for accom modating clients on tours. As a priority attempts should be made to develop facilities by the community groups or to create alternatives to ensure visitor comfort and con venience The fac ility must provide shelter from wind, rain and the roar of the surf so that everyone can easily hear the tour guide. In a beach facility licensed tour guide s conduct a prepared tour briefing and present slide shows or movies appropriate t o the tour. Thi s serves to involve c lients while they await a turtle to come on shore. This is also an opportunity for guides to assemble prior to receiving their tours, to offer information about related services (e.g. other tour pack ages), and to display community cr afts and other retail products A professional designer or architect should be involved in the plans for the beach facil ities. The ideal facility need not be fancy, but must offer: protection from the weather; a secure storage area for project field gear, interpretation materials (e.g. slide project tor, brochures), retail inventory, and emergency and first aid supplies; a supply of po table water; electrical connection; plumbing (toilet, sink); simple seating, such as wood en benches; a whitewashed interior wall against which to project slide shows or movie. Any facility must be constructed with the sea turtles in mind for example, no lights should be visible from the nesting beach and incoming traffic (whether vehicles or foot traffic) should not negatively affect the nesting habitat or the conduct of the tours. No construction should occur on the beach, or seaward of the line of permanent vegeta tion. Beach Access Acquiring l ands (or partnership for use of lands) in the area of the nesting beach in order to have proper visitor control and to provide protection of the nesting turtles is essential to implementation of the sea turtle conservation and tourism initiative. To this end, a ttempts should be made to partner with the land owners or to ac quire lands bo r dering major sea turtle nesting sites such as Caban a ( Londonderry ) Turtle Point and Hampstead in the Northeast and in the Southeast, Rosalie and Bout Sable ( La Plaine) Predictable and safe b each access is very critical to the success of community led Turtle Watch tours. In addition to e arly emphasis on partnership or acquisition the appropriate regulatory framework must be adopted by Government with citizen input to ensure that visitors have purchased a ticket in order to gain acc ess to the nesting beach at night (see Recommendation 11 ) At the present time, a ccess to the beaches in the N ortheast is through private and S tate lands ; a ccess to the Rosalie beach is by private lands ; and access to La Plaine b y private and S tate lands.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 35 Regulating Beach Access Lack of a clear policy on concessions (see above) and an inadequate framework for beach control (with respect to nighttime access in particular), are among the biggest challenges to a successful co m munit y based Turtle Watch pro duct. The level of awareness and enthusiasm created by Ro STI over the years has significantly increased the number of visitors coming to the beaches to watch turtles lay their eggs The current inability of communities or national authorities to establi sh and manage an appropriate carrying capacity for the beaches (see Recommendation 7 ) n egatively affect s turtles and their young, as well as decrease s the quality of tour services. This in turn, harms the ability of the community organisation to sustain the organisation, to retain its members participation, to generate a profit, and to achieve its mission Even a community group that has trained and committed to a sustainable Turtle Watch product can be easily undermined by guides from other organisations or private sector entities better able to attract and transport clients. These competing entities can, through market access and other assets (e.g. better ac cess to international adver tising comfortable v ehicles, or hotel guests), exclude the comm unity group from the Turtle Watch product. This result defeats the purpose of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative, which is to enhance the s tandard of liv ing for persons living in communities near major sea turtle nesting beaches, while at the same time offering greater protection to nesting turtles and their young. (see Section III, Goals for the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative ). With this in mind, Government should grant a single concession per nesting beach and requir e that all visitors to that beach be accompanied by a trained and licensed Sea Turtle Tour Guide during nighttime hours ( 6 :00 PM to 6:00 AM, daily). The guide must be employed by the organisation receiving the concession. The client (visitor) must have p urchased a ticket in advance, and must have that ticket available to give to the guide upon their arrival at the nesting beach. Without a ticket, the visitor cannot walk out onto the nesting beach between the hours of 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM from 1 March to 31 August each year How this policy is actualised for example under what legislative or Ministerial authority should be decided by Government, following the appropriate consultation, as a matter of highest priority R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 1 1 For effective implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative, persons must purchase a ticket granting access to the nesting beach during the annual nesting season and be accompanied, while on the beach, by a trained and licensed Tour Guide.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 36 Why is regulat ing beach access important? Without a system of regulated beach access that is perceived to be fair to all stakeholders, there is no business environment in which to develop a sustainable tourism product. By purchasing a ticket in advance (see Payment Centres), th e visitor gains access to the nesting beach, is assured of a professional guided tour, and agrees to abide by preestablished conditions (e.g. no alcohol, controlled use of lights). In this way, the serious current problem of undisciplined and uncontrolla ble crowds disturbing the sea turtles and preventing responsible ecotourism, can be greatly reduced. Regulating access is also related to the issue of concession (see Competition Among Community Groups ) in that c ompeting tour services will confuse and d iscourage visi tors, compromise the regulatory framework (the interloper might say, You need a per mit to walk with that Guide, but not with me), make it difficult from a procedural stand point to respect carrying capacity (see Recommendation 7 ), and int roduce conflict at the nesting beach which will degrade and ultimately destroy the tourism product. How might beach access be regulat ed ? Londonderry, Rosalie Beach, and Bout Sable (La Plaine) should receive an appropriate designation perhaps Conserva tion Enterprise Zones, or Sea Turtle Management Areas in order that certain conditions might be established. The legal route for this designation must be identified and pursued at the appropriate political level. Trinidad and Tobago: a m odel for Domi nica ? According to Fournillier and Eckert (1998), the 1960s and 1970s were dangerous years for sea turtles in Trinidad and Tobago. Thousands of pounds of meat (mostly Hawksbill and G reen turtles) were traded annually from beaches and fishing depots throughout the country, but i t was the killing of the giant L eatherback turtles that caused the most concern. The L eatherback killing was illegal because it targeted egg bearing females hunted on nesting beaches during the closed season. As awareness of t he turtles plight grew, so did pleas for conservation action. There was rising alarm that an unsustainable number of turtles, and especially adult females, were being killed each year. Bacon (1973) estimated that 30% of turtles nesting at Matura Beach o n the East coast and 100% of turtles nesting near villages on the North coast were killed every year Despite persistent efforts by local conservation groups and Forestry officials, it was not possible to provide complete surveillance of prominent nesting beaches along these remote coasts. In 1983, Dr. Carol James (Director, Wildlife Section) wrote, Every year scores of rotting carcasses could be observed along beaches of Trinidad as a result of illicit slaughter by poachers who are unable to cart away all of the meat, and the major portion is left to rot.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 37 Formal law enforcement alone was insufficient to curb this trend. A more effective and innovative approach was needed. In the 1980s, the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division turned away fr om traditional top down natural resource management and made a commitment to what has since become known as community co manage ment. This growing trend in wildlife management emphasises a partnership with rural communities, whereby communities are tr ained and sensitised to a locally occurring and threatened natural resource and, as a result, these communities actively partici pate in resource protection Workshops, seminars and field projects were organised at communities near major L eatherback nesti ng beaches and empowering these communities resulted in the formation of groups able to provide suitable services and facilities to a situation that previously lacked organisation and infrastructure. Today groups such as Nature Seekers ; Fishing Pond E nvironmental and Community Group ; Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association (GRNTGA) ; Toco Foundation ; PAWI Sports, Culture and Eco Club ; Nariva Environmental Trust (NET) ; and the Manatee Conservation Trust in Trinidad as well as SOS Tobago on the smaller island are active and informed partners in natural resource conservation, providing beach surveillance, population monitoring, essential biological data, interpretation and outreach pro grammes, threat mitigation, and habitat maintenance. Many of t hese groups, based on pioneering efforts by Nature Seekers at Matura, also o ffer Turtle Watch es t o bring in come into underdeveloped villages well positioned to create small business enterprises aimed at sea turtle conservation through ecotourism. Criti cal to the success of these enterprises was the declaration of some of the nations most important nesting grounds Fishing Pond and Matura in 1990 and Grande Riviere in 1997 as Prohibited Areas under the Forests Act (Chapter 66:01 Laws of Trinidad and Tobago). See Appendix III. The Wildlife Section had considered a variety of legal options to enhance protection to nesting turtles, and had concluded that the only mechanism which could provide legislative support to a suitable range of short term management actions was a provi sion under the Forests Act allowing designation of Prohibited Areas and imposing a large fine for entering the Prohibited Area without permission from the Forestry Division. To address community concerns over the new restrictio ns, access was regulated only during peak nesting season (1 March 31 August, annually) and only during nighttime hours (6:00 PM to 6:00 AM). Negotiations with the villages of Fishing Pond, Matura, and Grande Riviere resulted in agreement that all bona f ide residents of the three com munities would automatically receive free permits to allow unrestricted entry to nesting beaches. The Wildlife Section considered this necessary so that villagers could continue to enjoy traditional social interactions on th e beach, as long as such activities did not impact negatively on sea turtles during the nesting period and as long as they carried their permit with them when they visited the beach

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 38 Permanent signboards at the entrance to the Prohibited Areas alert the vi siting public to what types of activities are permitted and what types of activities are not permitted in the management area. Signage explains inter alia that permits are required during certain hours, that beach fires and littering (and other actions th at could disturb nesting turtles) are prohibited, that pets must be leashed and vehicles parked in designated areas, etc. The rules and conditions of access are also clearly printed on the back of the permit, and this permit can serve as a useful model f or Dominica ( see Appendix I I I ). Today the Turtle Watch programmes of the East and North coast of Trinidad have won several prestigious international awards, poaching has long since ended, and Nature Seekers is the largest employer in the village of Matura Accomplishing these eco nomic, social and conservation goals could not have been possible without strong partnerships with Government, technical support from international experts, and a pro active regulatory framework that protected the communities in terests by ensuring that (i) visitors to the beach had to pay a fee in order to gain access, (ii) visitors had to be accompanied by a licensed tour guide, and (iii) only a manageable number of visitors (carrying capacity) were allowed into these Prohibited A reas at night. VIII. CHALLENGES TO COMMUNITY CAPACITY FOR IMPLEMENTING T HE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM INITIATIVE The following challenges emerge at one time or another, in all organisations These challenges can be crippling in young, inexp erienced organisations They should be monitored and met with effective leadership and solutions. Leadership and Management There exists, among Dominicas community organisations, tremendous leadership power which is a very important enabling factor for success. The challeng e is seen in the transfer of leadership skills or succession planning which is a function of leadership. Leaders must be able to communicate their vision with the group, develop strategies and create an environment for achieving th e vision. Only when people grasp the vision can they commit to it, and buy in is critical to motivating action. In all community organizations, good management requires some level of flexibility an d understanding in managing culture and in reinforcing po sitive behavior. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 2 2 Identify challenges facing community organis ations relati ve to their assuming responsibility for decision-making, planning and management of the S ea Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative and identify solutions.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 39 Management challenges will be reduced only when roles and function are clearly defined, when policies are understood by all members and staff, when there are clear policies for managing funds and when people in d ecision making position s are genuinely interested in building a community organisation and in meeting both short and long term goals Standards and Policies It is difficult to initiate or establish standards and policies in community organisations. By design when community organisations make policies or set standards they are plan ning to manage themselves. Executives or Board M embers may not want to set appro priate standards and policies because some of them may be employed by the group and the policies will affect them as well Yet, without standards and policy, fairness (or the perception of fairness) can be compromised and the organisation will fail. Fundraising Funding will always (always, always) be a challenge. Groups need to be innovative and creative in dev eloping partnerships and in developing projects to help e nsure that sustainability is achieved. There has to be a culture of team building not self promotion K now that it may take several years for the organisation to be financially stable, but also k now that by work ing together, investing in capacity building and managing finances wisely, success will come. Organisational Inertia Organisation al inertia does not mean stability and it does not mean lack of change inertia represents a situation whe re the rate of change is low. Community or ganis ations need to be planning consistently and continuously nurturing the enabling factor s necessary for their success. Organisation complacency can cause community groups to lose opportunities. It is also po ssible to lose members if they feel that the organi sation is not effectively creating value. Thoughtful leadership and vitality in the mission are both very important in minimising inertia. Staff/ Member Turnover It is possible to have a high turnover o f staff and members in community groups early in the development stages. People join organisations for various reasons including to contribute their time and/or talents to earn money, to belong, to interact with others, to learn, etc. It is the responsi bility to the executive to learn about the staff and mem bers of the organisation and to ensure that their needs are being fulfilled. Failing th is, staff and members will go to other places to have these needs satisfied. I f this is not done right and s een as an ongoing priority c ommunity organisations will lose their trained members and staff.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 40 Turtle Poaching Turtle eating is part of the culture of Dominica : the belief that turtle meat makes you strong is widely held throughout the country (Frank lin et al. 2004) This traditional know ledge maintains localized demand for sea turtle meat and drives poaching activit y Although k illing eggbearing turtles at the nesting beach is against the laws of Dominica (see Appendix I I ) many poacher s find the motivation to perform this inhumane act. Because t his brutal act focuses on the nesting females it can undermine any possibility of increasing the current and future sea turtle population. This consumptive way of using the turtles is u nsust ainable (as demonstrated by population declines in recent decades) it does not broadly benefit communit ies and it would not appear to provide any benefit to the nation (for example, t he nations main economic earner is tourism and bloodied carcasses on t he beach do not positively contribute to the marketing focus o f the Nature Island). DomSeTCO should make strategic attempts to address this issue in a direct way as required by its mission. If th e problem continues the re source for which turtle tour ism is based will be diminished and may disappear entirely. In 2003, the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI) conducted a national survey (see Appen di x IV V ) and found that t he majority (60%) of respondents felt that people should not hunt turtles or collect their eggs, twice the number of those (32%) that believed this should still be allowed An overwhelming number (95%) of those surveyed, and this was true across age and employment categories, thought that using turtles for tourism was an excellent idea ; and 93% also thought that this type of ecotourism had the potential to bring economic benefits to local communities while sustaining an important part of Dominica n culture. The results of this survey support the idea that using the nations sea turtle resource in ways that generate sustainable income and that do not result in the loss of sea turtle populations are broadly supported at a national level Therefore, it may be possible to meet the challenges posed by poaching by motivating public support for conservation, emphasising what it means to be Dominican, and opening a constructive dialogue (e.g. concerning more sustainable livelihood choices) with members of the community that rely on turtle killing for their livelihood. Competition among Community Groups Sometimes more than one community based organisation will express genuine interest in taking the lead in developing a Turtle Watching product at a particular site ( i.e. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 3 3 One community group one nesting beach. In order for Turtle Watches to be successful, experience in other areas has demonstrated that the concept of a sole concessionaire is fundamentally important.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 41 nesting beach). In the case of La Plaine, there are at least two g roups with this interest they both have s trong leadership and in both cases th at leadership is tightly con nected to opposing political parties. This can be a very sensitive issue at both the com munity level and at the national level, and stakeholders should recognis e that (i) everyone has a place in the community and (ii) everyone has a responsibility to contribute positively to the development of the area. Granting concessions From a regulatory standpoint, as well as a business perspective, the Tu rtle Watch eco tourism product at each beach should be controlled by a single organisation with its members fully committed to and certified in tour guiding This is essential to provid ing a high quality service to the tourist avoiding conflict and confu sion, and enabling a focus on capacity building and teambuilding rather than addressing external conflicts. Once the decision has been made to the grant the concession, all group s should be willing to work with the other stakeholders in Dominica to protect the turtles at both localised and national level s. What this means in practice is that t hrough community led processes shepherded as needed, by a respected agency or other authority o ne community group must be recognised as having managerial respo nsibilities over a particular nesting beach. In other words, one group (for each nesting beach) should be permitted by the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division to interact with the turtles (which are fully protected at their nesting grounds, see Appendix I I ), including tagging, data collection, etc., and that same group i s granted a tour guiding concession6 from the Ministry to conduct a tourism business at the nesting beach. The history of the development of Turtle Watch tours in Trinidad, for example, has clearly demonstrated that any at tempt to facilitate two (or more) groups on the same beach as having the same responsibility is likely to result in community level conflict, a poor quality of tour service, reduced enforcement and protection of the beach due to lack of accountability (one group blaming the other for deficiencies in record keeping, beach coverage, etc.), continued poaching, reduced benefits to community residents from unrealized programme sustainability and reduced benefits to communit y resi dents due to time and energy spent in conflict resolution. Far better to take the time, up front, to grant a concession to the group best positioned to attend passion ately to the tour business over the long term. 6 Concession : a contract granting the right to operate a subsidiary business; something conced ed by G overnment or a controlling authority, as a grant of land, a privilege, or a franchise. Concessionaire : a person, group, or company to whom a concession has been granted, such as to operate a subsidiary business or service: e.g. a Turtle Watch at a particular nesting beach

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 42 Getting Dominicans to Take Your Services It is not common for Dominican s to pay for tour services and introducing the concept of T urtle Watch T ours might meet with some objections especially since in recent years Dominican s have been going to the beaches to watch turtles without paying a fee and without the benefit of a trained and licensed tour guide The new, more professional approach to Turtle Watching will require a soft and gentle strategy to introduce t he population to th is new culture. Also important is that t he fee structure be fair and suitable to encourage the population to participate. Possible examples are: Charge A dults $10.00 EC and C hildren (1 14 years ) $1.00 EC Charge schools $1.00 for each member of the group Provide bona fide residents (i.e. resident s living permanently within a certain dis t ance of the nesting beach ) with free permits, which must be carried when on the beach and must be renewed each year. IX. SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK: ECONOMIC LINKAGES TO SEA TURTLES Overview Community T ourism involves ho sting and opening up ones community to visitors. Why do people wish to share their community with tourist s? One could argue that commun ity pride is enhanced through the act of hosting, or that cultural assets are maintained by preserving them for touri sm. B ut the most important answer, even if it is not openly expressed invariably relates to direct economic benefits. Within the tourism industry on a community level there are linkages to be made eco nomically. Some of the basic aspects of how the C ommunity Tourism industry is struc tured are the same as the international tourism industry; e.g. there is a need to facilitate the development and potential of placebased recreational options such as fishing, hiking, swimming and photography. These opti ons should be tailored and packaged with natural attractions, which together offer excellent merchandising opportun ities. R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 4 4 For effective implementation of the S ea T urtle C onservation and T ourism I niti ative, supporting linkages must be developed with related enterprises such as small business enterprises, training and education, and research and monitoring.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 43 Figure 7 shows the economic activities that can be developed around Turtle W atching to make the experience more rewarding to the comm unities and tourists. Due to the fact that Turtle W atching is a seasonal activity, generally profitable about six months of the year it is clear that the more developed these other activities are the better the chance that communities will achiev e sustainability in the areas of tourism employ ment, and environmental protection. F igure 7 Potential N etwork of E conomic A ctivities L inked to T urtle W atching at the C ommunity L evel Evaluating and Prioritising Projects Economic linkages can be enhanced by undertaking projects designed to emphasise certain criteria. By establishing these criteria beforehand, the Management Committee will be better able to i dentify project s that me et community need s and reject those that are not as desirable: projects sh ould meet at least three ( 3 ) of the following criteria (see Table 2 ) in order to be considered.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 44 Economic Contribution The project creates a significant level of income and employment benefits Environmental Contribution The project is developed in complia nce with existing regulation s and legislation governing the conservation and protection of the environment and the project achieves significant conservation objectives (e.g. reducing poaching through beach presence) Social and Cultural Impact The projec t does not jeopardize the soc ial well being of villagers Competitive Impact The project complements, rather than compete s with existing tourism businesses, and it does not seriously jeopardize the financial viability of any individual enterprise in the community Tourism Impact The project add s to the tourism potential of the communities and by extension, Dominica Table 2 Projects Prioritised for Implementation under the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative s hould meet Established Criteria Related to Economic and Environmental Contributions, as well as Cul tur a l, Competitive and Tourism Impacts Source: Criteria adapted from Mills and Morrison (1992). The following projects, all of which meet at least three (3) of these c riteria, were fa vourably highlight ed by stakeholders during interviews conducted as part of the develop ment of this Action Plan. Turtle Watching T ourism activities are d eveloping at the present time that include Turtle W atch ing as a unique tourist product During the nesting season there have been, in recent years, as many as 400 persons on the nesting beach waiting to see turtles. Clearly there is a n opportunity for communities to create a sustainable (albeit seasonal) income flow and one advantage of this enterpri se is that word of mouth is an effective marketing strategy, requir ing no cost. The message will go very far if the quality of service is g ood but remember that word will also spread if the service is bad ( It is hard to recover from bad reports, alw ays be mindful of your professional services. ) Because Turtle Watch clients gather at a Visitor Facility (see Section VII, Infrastructure and Essential Policies for Implementation of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative) prior to going out on the beach (and may remain there for some time before a turtle arrives), there is an opportunity to support other community based businesses, including the sale of food crafts and other tours or tourism related products Create an i ntegrated communit y e cotourism e nterprise This project will attempt to develop other tour services to include waterfalls, historical sites, agriculture or organic farm tours, and others. This project will create employment generating tourism activities daily.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 45 Tourist s sh ould have the opportunity to purchase a local lunch and he ar local stories along the way led by a licensed guide nationally accredited th rough the State Col lege (Turtle Watch guides must also have had specific sea turtle ecotourism training; e.g. Baptiste and Samm y 2007) C ommunities trained in sea turtle tourism will be well placed to participate in this enterprise. C ommunit ies s hould constantly seek to obtain training for residents especially for guides and small business management and to conduct ou treach and marketing through websites brochures, and media Establish visitor f acilities at nesting beaches Plans for these facilities should be designed with the activities in mind for which the facilities will be used ; for example, the design should assist in managing the flow of clients from one point to another ( from the moment they arrive), should make provision for slide shows (shown at the beginning of every evening tour), should facilitate that sale of local craft, food and other community services that are relevant to the clients. Develop H ost H omes for a ccommodation With the high level of migration from Dominica room s in local homes may be unused. At the appropriate time community organisations should seek evaluate the feasibility of this proj ect as an option for accommodation. This initiative will more widely spread the benefits to residents in the community in return, residents share their homes and their family experience with tourists as well as providing lodging meals, and other services. As tourism increases, residents may choose to add guest rooms to their homes, thus promoting economic growth in the area. Initiate a c ommun ity tourism exchange programme with Trinidad Due to the limited resources and opportunities available at this early stage to coastal c om munities seeking to become seriously involved in tourism ventures this programme aims to support community partnership in other countries. The exposure that can be gained by community residents can develop and enhance Community Tou rism through out the Caribbean Regio n. By learning from each other, it will be easier to de vel op th e special niche of professional, community based tourism products One example of this training is the Basic Course on Community Based Sea Turtle Ecotourism, Guiding and Management (Baptiste and Sammy 2007) taught b y Nature Seekers to com munity organisations in Dominica in 2007 made possible by support provided by the United States Agency for International Development Others Agricultural or Organic Farm i ng ( to generate food and as a tourist attraction ) Bird Watching Health Tourism (for example h ot springs or hiking/fitness) Education and Awareness Projects

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 46 X. MONITORING AND EVALUATION The following indicators are provided by the Sustainable Economic Development Unit (SEDU), University of West Indies (St. Augustine) and have been a dapted to be relevant to the local community level The Economic, Social, a nd Environmental impacts of the Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative should be monitore d through the use of these indicators to ensure that th e initiative is positively benefiting the community. Note that these indicators are long term in nature, emphasising the importance of creating capacity to monitor results and impacts over time. Econo mic Indicators o f Sustainable Tourist Development 1. Employment: a. total number of people employed including specialized staff such as c ooks managers, and accountants 2. Net Foreign Exchange Earnings for the community 3. Domestic linkages; involving agriculture and other local services 4. Externalities i mpact and cost to inter alia human h ealth and the environment 5. Impact on domestic prices (labour, land, housing, food, other consumer goods) 6. Ownership of tourist accommodation and other facilities SocioCultural Indicat ors o f Sustainable Tourism Development 1. A cceptance of a ccess restrictions (especially of residents) to beaches and tourist facilities 2. Contribution of tourist expenditure to: a. Maintenance/ preservation/ restoration of natural heritage b. Demand for cultural prod ucts (goods and services) 3. Community involvement in tourism planning and implementation 4. Impact of tourism on social cohesion/ tension 5. Attitudes of the community to ward tourists Ecological Indicators o f Sustainable Tourism Development 1. Waste generation, t reatment and i mpact: a. Quantity/ quality of waste generated by the tourism industry b. Methods of waste disposal c. Ecological impact of waste generation and disposal 2. Ecological impact of tourist to areas such as sea turtle nesting beaches : a. Carrying capacity monito ring (effect on sea turtles, habitat) b. Social capacity monitoring ( effect on services, quality of life) R RE E C C O O M M M M E E N N D D A A T T I I O O N N 1 1 5 5 For effective implementation of the S ea Turtle C onservation and Tourism I nitiative, a mechanism for long -term monitoring and evaluation is neede d

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 47 XI. THE WAY FORWARD As noted in the Introduction, t he intent of this Action Plan is to invite and guide an on going dialogue among stakeholders interest ed in defining and pursuing a viable Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica. DomSeTCO must now take this Action P lan and present it to the relevant communities and community organisations who have participated in its development, and p romote continued discussion con cerning the way forward The importance of an ongoing dialogue cannot be overemphasised it is an essential part of the community consensus building process. The recommendations in this report can also form an agenda for each community or ganisation to discuss. Groups need to look at the issues of management of guides and patrols, visitor safety, collection of revenue, accountability, transparency, membership development, community awareness and capacity building as well as the develop ment of bylaws, financial procedures, policies etc. The next step after the community consultations and consensus building is to discuss a way forward with participating community organisations. If the recommendation on setting up o f a Management C ommittee is supported then Terms of Reference (TOR) should be developed and agreed up on by all stakeholders. The TOR should include the underlining reasons for coming together, the objectives to be achieved, the output at the end of a peri od and the implementation of some or all of the recommendations of this Action P lan including working together to ensure that fundamental decisions such as those concerning regulated access to the nesting beaches during the annual nest ing season are make in a timely way by Government An evaluation should be conducted after a year to determine the level of successes achieved. This evaluation should focus on the structure (including the viability of the Management Committee) Terms of Reference, supp ort of the community groups and other stakeholders, successes with in the community groups ( and factors enabling these successes), and closely assess the challenges that were encountered and the needs of the program in the future

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 48 XII. LITERATURE CITED Bacon, P. R. 1973. The Status and Management of Sea Turtles of Trinidad and Tobago Report to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Unpubl. 40 pp. Baptiste, S L and D Sammy. 2007. Final Report: Basic Course on Community Based Sea Turtle Ecotourism, Tour Guiding and Management. La Plaine Agricultural Training Centre, Commonwealth of Dominica, 11 15 September and 1 12 October 2007. Pre pared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), in part nership with Nature Seekers and the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO), with funding from the U S Agency for International Development. Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica. 3 9 pp. Byrne, R. 2006. 2006 Annual Project Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI). Pr epared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 25 pp. Byrne, R. and K.L. Eckert. 2006. 2004 2005 Biennium Project Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoST I). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the En vironment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, W. Indies. 51 pp. Eckert, K.L. and J. Beggs. 2006. Marine Turtle Tagging: A Manual of Recommended Practices. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network ( WIDECAST ) Technical Report No. 2. Revised Edition. Beaufort, North Carolina. 40 pp. Fournillier, K. and K.L. Eckert. 1998 Draft Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Trinidad and Tobago. UNEP Caribbean Environment P rogramme Technical Report Series. Port of Spain, Trinidad. 132 pp. Franklin, A., R. Byrne and K.L. Eckert. 2004. 2003 Annual Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initi ative (RoSTI). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Envi ronment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 57 pp. James, C. 1983. The Leatherback Turtle, p.41 44. In: Carol James (Editor), Highlighting Wildlife Basic Information on Wildlife Conservation in Trinidad and Tobago. Forestry Division Document, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Food Production. P ort of Spain, Trinidad. Mills, R.C and A.M. Morrison. 1992. The Tourism System: An Introductory Text Prentice Hall, New York. Sammy, D and S L Baptiste. 2008. Community Tourism Handbook: A Resource Guide for Community Groups Participating in Sea Turtle Ecotourism in the Commonwealth of Dominica (Karen L. Eckert, Editor) Prepared by Nature Seekers and WIDECAST, in

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 49 partnership with the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO ), with funding from the U S Agency for International Development. Roseau, Com monwealth of Dominica. 40 pp. Stapleton, S.P. and K.L. Eckert. 2007. Nesting Ecology and Conservation Biology of Mar ine Turtles in the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies: RoSTI 2007 Annual Pro ject Report Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environ ment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 45 pp. Stapleton, S P. and K L. Eckert. 2008. Community Based Sea Tur tle Research and Conser vation in Dominica: A Manual of Recommended Practices Prepared by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and the Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization, with funding from the U S Agency for International Development. WIDECAST Technical Report No. 8 Beaufort, North Carolina. 4 7 pp Toms, H. 2002. Summary of the Ecotourism Market Prospects in Europe and North Am erica, p.109 114 In B. Rauschelback, A. Schfer and B. Steck ( Editors ), Cooperating for Sustainable Tourism. Proceedings of the Forum International at the Reisepavillon 2002. Kasparek Verlag and GTZ, Germany.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 50 Appendix I: DOMSETCO SWOT ANALYSIS A review of the internal and the external environment of DomSeTCO resulted in the following des cription of S trengths, W eaknesses, O pportunities and T hreats. This SWOT analysis is provided to help match resources and capabilities towards achieving suc cess in establishing a community led Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica G iven this analysis (Table 3), DomSeTCO should not necessarily pursue the mo st lucrative opportunities ; ra ther it may have a better chance for developing a competitive advantage by identifying the best f it between S trengths and Opportunities. Strengths Weaknesses 1. Well experience d C oordinator and diversified Board of Directors 2. Established n etworks with local and international organisations 3. Demand for tours by local s & foreign tourist s 4. Strong v alues in setting goals to help others 5. History of sea turtle conservation in Dominica has built expertise among Directors 1. Lack of organised sy stem for controlling guide fees 2. Lack of knowled ge of effective NGO management at the community level 3. Lack of trained and experienced tour guide s taff 4. Narrow product line ( at this time ) 5. Limited financial resources 6. No permanent staff Opportunities Threats 1. Support from community groups 2. Support of G overnment agencies 3. Support of regional (Caribbean) experts 4. Demand from hotel operation s in the area 5. Bird watching and trail guid ing opportunities 6. Craft d evelopment opportunities 7. Live turtle watching on the internet 8. Dominica promoting and developing community tourism 9. Dominica attracts eco tourists (Nature Isle) 10. 5 star hotel development in Londonderry 11. Capacity and s upport for organic ally grown produce 12. Sustainable livelihoods/income needed 1. Inability to create sustained benefits for community groups ( which may weaken community participation over time) 2. Competition among community groups in La Plaine 3. Turtle p oaching in all communities leading to a decline in the turtle population 4. Threats to beach patrollers from poachers and drug dealers 5. General i ncrease in crime 6. Economic downturn in the country 7. 5 star hotel development in Londonderry 8. Lack of protected beaches no regulated access 9. Disen chanted community members due to conflict within some community groups 10. Perceived lack of b each a ccess in Rosalie & Turtle Point 11. Potential c arrying c apacity conflict s associated with f acilitating hotel guest s 12. Airport extension project in Londonderry ; excess ive silt and runoff degrading nearshore habitat and nesting beach Table 3. SWOT Analysis, with a Focus on DomSeTCO.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 51 APPENDIX II: FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE ACT, CHAPTER 60:02 COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA Laws of Dominica Forestry and Wildlife Act Chapter 60:0 2, Act 12 of 1976 Amended by Act 35 of 1982 Amended by Act 12 of 1990 Chapter 60:02 Section 21 Ninth Schedule Regulations for the taking of sea turtles 1. The word turtle shall be deemed not to include the tortoise or land turtle ( Geochelone carbonaria ) 2. No person shall: Catch or take or attempt to catch or take any turtle between the 1st June and the 30th September both dates inclusive, Catch or take or attempt to catch or take any turtle which is under twenty pounds in weight Disturb any turtle nest o r eggs or take any turtle eggs, or take or attempt to take any turtle laying eggs or on the shore engaged in nesting activities.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 52 APPENDIX III: FORESTS ACT, CHAPTER 66:01 REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO PERMIT TO ENTER PROHIBITED AREAS MATURA, FISHING POND AND GRANDE RIVIERE [Under the Forests Act, Chap. 66:01, sections 2 and 8(f)] Order No. A No. 11833 Name Address Occupation Purpose of Visit Duration Permission is hereby granted to enter Prohibited Area at .. subject to the provisions of the Forests Act and to regulations made under this section 8, Chap. 66:01 and the attached conditions. This Permit it Not Transferable. Fee payable .. Date of Issue Date of Expiry .. .. Director of Forestry (Conservator of Forests) [Conditions Overleaf]

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 53 CONDITIONS 1. Permission granted for the purpose of Studying/Observing Marine Turtles during the Nesting S eason 1st March to 31st August annually (between the hours of 6.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. only for Grande Riviere). Other activities which would have any negative impact upon marine turtles or their habitat during this period are strictly forbidden. 2. No ma king of fire on the beach. 3. No loudspeakers and excessive noises. 4. Fishing is permitted in zoned areas only for the period specified and is subjected to declaration of Catch on request by a Forest Officer or Police Officer. 5. Picnicking only dur ing the day in specified locations. 6. Camping only for the purpose of Turtle Watching and/or Research in specified areas. 7. No high powered artificial lights which exceed the beam power of hand torchlights. 8. No driving of vehicles on the beach. 9. Conditions also subjected to the Protection of Turtle and Turtle eggs Regulations made under section 4 of the Fisheries Act, Chap. 67 :51 and section 5 of the Conservation of Wildlife Act, Chap. 67:01. 10. Permits for one entry cost $5.00 for Adults and $2.00 for Children under 12 years old. Permit charges may be waived at the discretion of the Director of Forestry. 11. Multi entry Permits for the season 1st March to 31st August cost $50.00 for Adults and $20.00 for Children under 12 years old. 12. Permit holders must be accompanied by tour guides authorized by the Forest Division. 13. Entry may be refused to persons with or without Permits at any time at the discretion of the Director of Forestry, should conditions for the management of marine t urtles warrant such action. Boundaries: Matura 8.85 kilometres in length. Bounded on the north by the Primera Pria River, east by the Sea, south by North Oropouche River and west by the Coastline. Fishing Pond 10.46 kilometres in length. Bounded on the north by the North Oropouche River, east by the Sea, south by Manzanilla Point and west by the Manzanilla Windbelt Reserve. Grande Riviere 1.6 kilometres in length. Bounded on the north by the sea, east by the Grande Riviere River, south by the Coastline and west by the end of the beach which is 1.6 kilometres from the Grande Riviere River.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 54 Appendix IV : 2003 PUBLIC AWARENESS SURVEY: RESULTS SUMMARY 7 The Public Awareness Survey [ conducted by RoSTI: see Appendix V ] revealed some in teresting results. In total, 180 surveys were completed by respondents, who represented a wide variety of Dominicans. The largest number of interviews (30.5%) was conducted with individuals aged between 20 and 34 years of age. Respondents in the 35 49 y ears of age and the 50 years of age and over categories were the next most abundant, comprising approximately 28% of the survey. Only 6% of those surveyed were 19 years and under, while 7% of people declined to submit their ages. [N.B. the percentages did not sum to 100% in the original Franklin et al. 2004 ] The major i ty of those interv iewed were male (70%) as opposed to female (30%). In terms of their occupations, only 12% of Dominicans involved in the survey were directly involved in the fishing i ndustry. The vast majority (81.7%) of those polled knew of the existence of between one and three species of sea turtle. Far fewer (6.7%) knew that there were more than five species of sea turtle, and 11% of Dominicans admitted that they could not name any sea turtles at all. Of those that knew sea turtles, many (73.9%) were able to correctly name them, either by the standard names or by their Creole/local equivalent, while 26.1% could not do this. Most Dominicans (64.0%) could identify the different spe cies of sea turtles based on a combination of their size, shape, markings. As might be expect ed, this was particularly true for the giant leatherback. Respondents were far more misinformed on the difference between male and female turtles. While most wer e con fident that they could differentiate between the sexes, only 36.0% correctly knew the difference. This is not surprising, since most people would never see an adult male turtle with its distinguishing tail extending 20 cm or more beyond the rear of th e carapace (shell). Most encounters with turtles are with nesting females. Curiously enough, these encounters, too, must be relatively few since only 26.7% of those interviewed had seen a female sea turtle nesting. Fully 73.0% of those Dominicans surveyed by the RoSTI project have never seen any species of sea turtle nest on the beach which certainly explains the wonder and awe of residents who joined RoSTI staff on the beach this year and saw the ancient ritual for the first time. Section Two of the que stionnaire focussed on Uses of Turtle, The Past. The first question in this section was whether sea turtles are important to the future of Dominica. An overwhelming majority (95%) agreed that they were. Eighty one percent went further to say that they b elieve that sea turtles have been an important aspect of Dominican 7 Excerpted fro m : Franklin, A., R. Byrne and K.L. Eckert. 2004. 2003 Annual Report: Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI). Prepared by WIDECAST for the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division). Roseau, Dominica, West Indies. 57 pp.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 55 culture since they were children; only 15% disagreed. This influence of sea turtles in the culture of Dominica is supported by the more than 60% of Dominicans who recalled eating turtle meat and eggs on a regular basis. Many (56%) of those polled recalled that most turtle meat was shared within the village, and 27% noted that it was shared between villages as well. In terms of the species of turtle eaten, 28% of respondents said that they ate any turtle species that was caught; 23% ate leatherbacks along with other species, while only 17% ate leatherback meat alone. A few individuals (16%) did not know what type(s) of sea turtles had been eaten. Although turtle meat was a highly enjoyed meal, relatively few people (25%) regarded it as a special meal. While the price of turtle meat may have varied over the years, 40% of those interviewed (the largest segment) said that sea turtle meat normally cost between five and six EC$ per pound. A sim ilar amount of people could not remember the price paid for turtle meat or how quickly it sold. Of those who could remember such details, 75% enthusiastically recalled how quickly it would be sold. Only 4% percent said that vendors of turtle meat would have to wait for a buyer. Most people (74%) remembered that in years gone by, turtle shells would be used more for decoration than for utilitarian purposes. This mainly consisted of the polished shell being hung on a wall. Quite a few people (65%) also rec alled the use of turtle scutes in the production of jewellery. Opinion was almost equally divided on whether these products were consumed locally, traded to merchants from the French Islands, or the respondent simply could not recall. An interesting question centred on use of the giant leatherback. Data collected by the RoSTI project indicate that the leatherback and the hawksbill turtles are the most common species to nest on the shores of Dominica. Seventy six percent of interviewees said that leatherback meat was eaten. When asked about its uses, 12% said that it was also noted for its oil (a product also savoured in years past in other Eastern Caribbean islands, including Grenada). A popular use for the oil was for medicinal purposes; 26% recalled t his use from years past. By far the most popular way to prepare sea turtle meat for a delicious meal is by stewing it, 84% of respondents readily agreed to this. Previously, many people indicated that they did not recall at what price turtle meat was sold and this makes sense since respondents reveal that 76% of turtle meat was shared among family and friends (as opposed to just 12% which was sold). Section Three focused on Uses of Turtle, The Present and how sea turtles are utilised as a resource today. When an interviewee was asked if s/he ate sea turtle meat at the present time, 49% said that they still do, 42% said that they do not, and 9% declined to respond. Interestingly, more people (47.2%, as opposed to 38.9%) thought that turtles were caught differently today than in previous years. Although responses indicated that turtle hunting was seasonal, most people did not know how many turtles were taken

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 56 daily. Similarly, the response to questions regarding the usage of nesting beaches was not well an swered. Twenty seven percent of those polled admitted to taking part in the hunt, while 70% did not. Seventy one of those interviewed think that fewer sea turtles are caught today, while 18% think that more sea turtles are caught today. A majority (55%) of Dominicans polled believe that there are fewer sea turtles in Dominica today than in years past. Importantly, most Dominicans (76%, as opposed to 20%) know the law concerning sea turtles. Questions posed as part of Section Four revealed that consistently high numbers of people are aware of the role of sea turtles in Dominicas stories and legends. The vast majority (71%) of respondents had heard of at least one turtle story or legend, while slightly more people (74%) had heard tales of hunters predicting whether turtles would nest by observing signs in the sky at night. Section Five of the survey looked towards the future and Dominicans attitudes toward conserving sea turtles. Seventy percent of Dominicans reported that they would be saddened if sea turtles became extinct and their decedents were unable to see them. Twenty three percent and 7%, respectively, of respondents would not have been saddened if turtles became extinct or were undecided. The majority (60%) of respon dents replied that peopl e should NOT fish for turtles and eggs, twice the number of those that believed that this should still be allowed (32%); 8% were undecided. If turtle fishing is allowed to continue, 49% of those surveyed indicated that the practice should be regulated based on how abundant sea turtles are in the wild. For this question, however, the number of respondents who were undecided was high (39%); 12% felt there should be no regulation at all. An overwhelming number (95%) of those surveyed, and this was true acr oss age and employment categories, thought that using turtles for tourism, such as RoSTIs Turtle Ventur e, is an excellent idea. Ninety three percent also thought that this type of eco tourism had the potential to bring economic benefits to local villages, while sustaining an important part of Dominicas local culture.

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 57 APPENDIX V: 2003 PUBLIC AWARENESS SURVEY: QUESTIONNAIRE INTERVIEWER INFORMATION: Date: Time: Location: Interviewer(s): Introduce yourself to the interviewee. Explain that you are carrying out a survey as part of the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative (RoSTI) to find out about how important sea turtles are, and were, to the culture and everyday lives of the people of Dominica. Explain that it is important to find out about this his torical relationship as many traditions are being lost as the country becomes more and more developed. Tell them that the results of the surveys will be made into a cultural book designed to share these important traditions and cultural heritage with the school children of today. Ask the interviewee if they mind being taped (show them the tape recorder), or if they would prefer for notes to be taken during the interview. Tell them that you need to do this to help you remember things to prepare the book a t a later date. Tell them that the interview is confidential and that only members of RoSTI and WIDECAST staff will have access to the information. Their name will not be used in a ny publication with out their permission. Inform them of the time it should take to complete the questionnaire. Let them know that you can make it brief if they are busy and time is limited, or it may last longer if they are interested and have a lot of information to share. INTERVIEWEE INFORMATION: Name: Do they wi sh to remain anonymous? Y N Occupation: ___________________________ Age: ________ Sex: M F Area of Residence:

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 58 1.1. SE CTION 1 TURTLES, GENERAL INFORMATION 1. HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF SEA TURTLE DO YOU KNOW? 2. CAN YOU NAME THEM ? 3. HOW DO YOU TELL ONE KIND FROM ANOTHER? 4. CAN YOU TELL A MALE FROM A FEMALE? 5. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A SEA TURTLE NESTING? 1.2. SECTION 2 USES OF TURTLE, THE PAST 1. DO YOU THINK SEA TURTLES ARE IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF DOMINICA? 2. DO YOU THINK THIS HAS CHANGED OVER THE PAST 70 YEARS / SINCE YOU WERE YOUNGER / A CHILD? 3. WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER / A CHILD DID YOU EAT TURTLE MEAT OR EGGS REGULARLY? 4. WHEN TURTLE WAS CAUGHT, WAS IT SHARED WITHIN THE VILLAGE OR BETWEEN VILLAGES? 5. WHAT KINDS OF TURTLE WERE EATEN? 6. WAS TURTLE EATEN ON SPECIAL OCCASSIONS, OR WAS IT AN ORDINARY MEAL? 7. WHAT DID TURTLE MEAT SELL FOR? 8. WERE THE TURTLES SOLD RIGHT AWAY, OR KEPT UNTIL A BUYER WAS FOUND? 9. WERE ITEMS OF JEWLERY MADE FROM TURTLE SHELL? 10. DID PEOPLE USE TURTLE SHELLS AS DECORATION OR FOR UTILITARIAN PURPOSES, SUCH AS FOR BOWLS, ETC.? 11. WERE THESE ITEMS SOLD LOCALLY, OR TO TRADERS THAT WOULD COME TO THE ISLAND? 12. WHAT WAS THE GIANT LEATHERBACK TURTLE USED FOR? 13. WAS THE MEAT OF THIS TURTLE EATEN? 14. WAS THE OIL USED, IF SO WHAT FOR? 15. WAS THE OIL SOLD? HO W WAS IT STORED? 16. HOW WAS / IS TURTLE MEAT COOKED? 17. WHICH DISH IS BEST? 18. HOW WERE THE EGGS EATEN? 19. WERE THEY GIVEN AWAY TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS OR SOLD? 1.3. SECTION 3 USES OF TURTLE, THE PRESENT 1. DO YOU STILL EAT TURTLE MEAT OR EGGS? 2. IF YES, HOW OFTEN? 3. ARE TU RTLES CAUGHT DIFFERENTLY NOW TO WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER? 4. HOW MANY TURTLES COULD BE CAUGHT PER DAY (AT SEA) OR PER NIGHT (ON THE NESTING BEACH) WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER? WAS THE HUNT SEASONAL? 5. DID YOU EVER TAKE PART IN THE HUNT? 6. DO YOU THINK MORE OR FEWER TURT LES ARE CAUGHT TODAY? 7. DO YOU HAVE ANY OPINION AS TO WHETHER THERE ARE FEWER SEA TURTLES IN DOMINICA OR MORE THAN IN YEARS PAST? 8. ARE THERE ANY BEACHES THAT USED TO BE USED FOR NESTING, BUT ARE NOT USED ANY MORE?

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Action Plan for a Sea Turtle Conservation and Tourism Initiative in Dominica, 2008 59 9. F SOME BEACHES ARE NO LONGER USED, WHY I S THAT? 10. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE LAW IS REGARDING SEA TURTLES? 1.4. SECTION 4 TURTLE STORIES AND LEGENDS 1. DO YOU KNOW OF ANY TURTLE STORIES OR LEGENDS? 2. COULD A HUNTER TELL FROM SIGNS IN THE EVENING OR NIGHT SKY WHETHER TURTLES WOULD BE ON THE BEACH THAT NIGHT? 1.5. SECTION 5 THE FUTURE 1. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE IS FOR TURTLES IN DOMINICA 2. WOULD YOU BE SAD IF TURTLES BECAME EXTINCT AND THERE WERE NONE FOR THE CHILDREN OF TOMORROW TO SEE? 3. DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD STILL FISH FOR TURTLE AND TAKE THE EGGS? 4. IF SO DO YOU THINK THIS SHOULD BE REGULATED IN SOME WAY BASED, FOR EXAMPLE, ON HOW MANY TURTLES ARE LEFT? 5. EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE NO FORMAL LAWS REGULATING TURTLE TAKE IN THE OLD DAYS, WERE THERE VILLAGE RULES GOVERNING HOW MANY (OR WHAT TYPE OF) TURTLES COULD BE TAKEN? FOR EXAMPLE, WERE THERE ANY RULES TO LET THE EGG -LAYING FEMALES LIVE SO THAT THEY COULD CONTINUE TO NEST IN THE FUTURE? 6. DO YOU THINK THAT USING THE TURTLES FOR TOURISM SUCH AS TAKING TOURISTS ON TURTLE WATCHES IS A GOOD IDEA? 7. DO YO U THINK THAT THIS TYPE OF ECOTOURISM COULD BRING ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO LOCAL VILLAGES, WHILE ALLOWING THE PEOPLE OF DOMINICA TO KEEP ALIVE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR HERITAGE?

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DomSeTCO Domin ica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization


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