ESO wins $5,000 marine turtle sustainability grant

Muscat: The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has won the $ 5,000 Summer Marine Turtle Sustainability Grant.

To support projects dedicated to protecting nesting turtles, nonprofit groups Turtle Island Restoration Network and SEE Turtles held a grant contest this summer, known as the Summer Sea Turtle Sustainability Grant, to offer nonprofit organizations around the world emergency funds.

Forty-five nonprofit organizations applied to be eligible to receive the grant and more than 30,000 individuals from around the world voted for the group they wanted to receive the funds.

One $5,000 grant was awarded to the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) for receiving the most votes. A second grant was given to Fundação Tartaruga, who was randomly selected to receive $1,000.

“It was a pleasure for Turtle Island Restoration Network to sponsor this grant to protect nesting sea turtles,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “While there were only two winners, we hope the tens of thousands of voters took the time to read and learn about the scores of great projects and dedicated conservationists working to protect sea turtles. We look forward to working with all 45 organizations and each participating voter to make nesting beaches and seas around the world safer for sea turtles,” a press releases said.

“SEE Turtles is thrilled to be able to partner with Turtle Island Restoration Network to provide needed funding for sea turtle projects around the world,” said Brad Nahill, president of SEE Turtles. “The Environment Society of Oman protects one of the most important loggerhead beaches in the world and we are glad to be able to help support their efforts.”

ESO’s mission is to help protect Oman’s natural heritage and influence environmentally sustainable behavior through education, awareness, and conservation.

Grant funds will be used to organize a dedicated net cleanup on Masirah Island, one of the most important rookeries in the world for loggerhead sea turtles. In the past three years, the group has removed 500 tonnes of nets from nesting beaches, saving nesting female sea turtles and hatchlings from being caught and entangled in discarded fishing gear and ingesting marine debris — a result of both small-scale and industrial fishing activities around the island.

“Oman has a vital role to play in global efforts to protect sea turtles. ESO’s Sea Turtle Research and Conservation project, established in 2008, and our annual net removal campaign, have been central to the protection of various species of sea turtles that nest on our shores. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our ability to raise the funding necessary to continue to support this important work,” said Suaad Al Harthi, ESO’s executive director.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received, both locally and internationally, to secure this valuable grant. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Turtle Island Restoration Network and SEE Turtles for sponsoring this contest, and for ensuring that the protection of these critical marine species continues.”

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