In July 2018, Sea Shepherd partnered with the Antigua Sea Turtle Conservation Project (ASTP) to conduct an intensive three-week survey of marine turtle nesting activity. Barbuda’s remote beaches are nesting sites for endangered Hawksbill, Green and Leatherback turtles.
Sea Shepherd crew and ASTP scientists were stationed aboard the M/V Brigitte Bardot where they documented nesting activity during the peak hawksbill season. The crew conducted nightly foot patrols, boat surveys, and nightly drone checks using thermal imaging to cover the entire coast. The team observed 101 mother sea turtle crawls with 74 successful nesting attempts.
Using the M/V Brigitte Bardot’s small craft to access remote beaches, our team encountered 20 sea turtles. Each animal was tagged, measured, and biopsied for ongoing genetic and stable isotope studies. Data from the surveys has been shared with local management agencies and regional bodies to strengthen sea turtle protection measures in this important habitat. These patrols also assisted with stranded hatchlings and sea turtles, ensuring their safe return to the ocean.
The Operation Jairo campaign helped promote awareness and conservation of turtles in Barbuda. It also allowed us to work closely with members of the local community and various organizations including the Members of the Barbuda Council, the Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division, and Antigua State College (ASC). The Barbuda Council welcomed the campaign’s efforts, recognizing the importance of marine conservation in rebuilding a resilient community on the island.