• Beach Clean - Watamu

    Marine Scouts
    beach clean up

    Supporting Local Ocean Trust
    and their Marine Scouts youth programme.

    • Beach Clean - Watamu

Local Ocean Trust

Local Ocean Trust

Local Ocean Trust is a private, not for profit organisation committed to the protection of Kenya's marine environment. We love our local ocean and we use practical conservation, community involvement and development, education, research and campaigning to promote the sustainable use of Kenya's marine resources.

Watamu Turtle Watch is our flagship programme. It was started by local residents in 1997 to protect nesting sea turtles. Now it consists of our Nest Monitoring and Protection programme, By Catch Net Release Programme, and specialist Rehabilitation Centre for sick and injured sea turtles. The combination of these programmes enables us to make a real difference in ensuring the future of endagered sea turtles.

wtw lot turtle on beach

About Local Ocean Trust

  • Who We Are

    In 2002, the Local Ocean Trust (LOT) was established in Watamu. It is a not for profit organisation committed to the protection of the Kenyan marine environment through community development, practical conservation, education, research and campaigning.
    The Local Ocean Trust aims to promote the conservation and protection of special marine areas and endangered species, especially sea turtles, under the project’s flagship programme, Watamu Turtle Watch. The Local Ocean Trust also encourages the sustainable use and management of marine resources for future generations and Kenya’s marine heritage, through empowerment, education and campaigning.
    In 1997, a group of local residents joined well-known Watamu naturalist Barbara Simpson’s turtle nest beach patrol initiative. The group became concerned for the local sea turtle population after seeing a dramatic increase in activities threatening their existence, such as tourism and poaching. They began increasing the beach patrols, searching for nesting females and protecting them and their eggs, as well as starting a fledgling community awareness programme. Watamu Turtle Watch was born and continues to protect the nesting turtles of Watamu today. The wider need for marine conservation was later recognised and resulted in the launch of the Local Ocean Trust in 2002. This was not only to ensure the continuation of Watamu Turtle Watch as the project’s flagship programme, but also to expand into broader marine conservation through education, community outreach and campaigning for the sustainable use of marine resources.
    Who We Are
  • What We Do

    Turtle Nest Monitoring
    lot bycatch releaseOne of the core focus areas for LOT is the protection of sea turtles. Through LOT’s Watamu Turtle Watch programme, day and night beach patrols and monitoring are conducted to try to ensure a safer nesting environment for sea turtles. LOT’s nesting programme has been running since 1997 and it has successfully monitored over 750 nests in the Watamu / Malindi district, which means more than 57,000 (est.) hatchlings have made their way to the ocean.
    Sea Turtle Bycatch Release
    A Sea Turtle Bycatch Release programme is also run through LOT’s Watamu Turtle Watch programme. Over 13,800 sea turtles have been safely released from fishermen’s nets and returned to the ocean since the programme began. Most of these turtles would undoubtedly have been killed without this programme. Over 400 local fishermen are now involved in the programme. This number grows steadily each year and is a great reflection of the success of community participation in LOT’s community outreach and awareness programmes. The Bycatch Release programme is also an excellent way to collect data and monitor the numbers and health of the resident population of sea turtles.
    Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
    LOT also operates East Africa’s only Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The centre consists of 8 rehabilitation tanks, 2 smaller tanks and a Clinic. The centre has treated over 390 sea turtles. These are turtles that usually come to us through our Bycatch Release programme. Our field officers will have assessed their condition and either found an injury or signs of illness, rendering them unfit for immediate release. Once in our rehabilitation centre we are able to provide urgent medical attention and nurse them back to a strong, healthy state so that they can be released. This centre is also enabling us to conduct research, for example, into the fibropapillomatosis tumours that are becoming more and more common in green turtles.
  • Education Programme

    lot education programmeLocal Ocean Trust has built up a strong education programme over the years. School visits are arranged to LOT’s Marine Information Centre as well as our education co-ordinator conducting outreach to local schools. This is to encourage local children to understand the importance and value of the local marine life and environment.

    Currently 30 local schools are involved with the programme with more than 100 pupils visiting the centre every week during term time, to learn about a range of conservation subjects including; mangrove sustainability, coral reef ecosystems, turtle conservation and recycling.

    LOT runs a Marine Scout programme on Saturday mornings for students who show a particular interest in marine conservation. Every year interns from national and international universities spend time with the project and LOT are able to support and facilitate their research projects. LOT also works with local fishing communities and holds regular training and discussion workshops, mangrove planting, beach clean ups and monitoring.
    Wider Work With the Community
    lot community educationThe Local Ocean Trust is not just limited to direct work with sea turtles. It also works very closely with local communities. LOT has been responsible for assisting with the start-up of many of the Watamu area’s Fishing and Conservation Groups. LOT are currently engaged with 19 community groups, including 5 Beach Management Units (BMU’s).

    We actively encourage the groups we work with to engage in Alternative Income Generating (AIG) activities in order to lessen their impact and pressure on the marine environment. There is a high dependency on fishing and tourism for livelihoods, which we believe to be detrimental in the long run if their resources are not sustainably managed. Many of these groups face challenges such as lack of capacity, expertise, technical support and finances. LOT provides the support and motivation that these groups need in order to grow. Without LOT’s efforts, many of these groups would collapse.

    LOT offer a constant presence in the community, organising training and capacity building workshops, as well as providing support, advice and any other assistance they can. LOT’s field monitors work in the communities around Mida Creek and North of Watamu almost every day of the year and their outreach efforts have greatly increased community participation in LOT’s work. A more informed local community now regularly participates in organised beach clean ups, mangrove planting and other conservation activities as well as reporting on illegal activities and assisting with LOT’s sea turtle conservation initiatives.

    Finally LOT also actively campaigns about greater awareness, protection and conservation of the local marine national park, as well as generating awareness of issues and challenges facing Kenya’s coastline and its unique marine environment.
  • Goals and Objectives

    - To promote a better understanding and appreciation of our Oceans and their plight.
    - To encourage the conservation of endangered marine species, especially sea turtles
    - To endorse the conservation, respect and sustainable management of our Oceans and especially our Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) with an understanding that all will benefit as well as our duty to future generations.
    - To encourage people to embrace the concept of ‘looking after your Local Ocean’. This concept is ultimately a grass roots chain of local people ensuring protection and sustainably managing their own Local Ocean area.
    - To continue ‘quietly making a difference’ with meaningful programme work which has been research and planned with long term goals and commitment.
    Our aim is to promote the sustainable use of Kenya’s marine resources especially within the Watamu Marine Park and Reserve (WMNPR) for the benefit of all through:

    - Campaigning and promoting respect for the value of the Malindi Watamu National Marine Protected Areas (NMPAs) (Watamu Biosphere Area), the Arabuko – Sokoke Forest Reserve, and the conservation of these areas
    - Providing direct protection to endangered species, especially sea turtles, their nesting and foraging areas, particularly within the Watamu MPA
    - Delivering high impact quality education and practical assistance to schools, local communities and stakeholders – such as fishing groups, tourism and government authorities and NGOs
    - Continued data collection and research
    - Working together with and assisting local communities and stakeholders
    - Promoting the value of Kenya’s marine heritage and the need for its sustainable management
    - Guiding and Training programmes
    - Empowering local stakeholders by publicising laws, mandates, ideas etc
    - Providing well researched practical, technical and scientific reasoning to problems
    - Sharing information, ideas and expertise nationally
    - Lobbying nationally and internationally
    Goals and Objectives
  • Contact LOT

    Project Manager:
    Casper van de Geer

    The Local Ocean Trust: Watamu Turtle Watch
    P.O. Box 125
    Watamu 80202

    Physical Address:
    Plot 203
    Beach Road

    +254 717 578 723

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Online Presence:

    - Website: watamuturtles.com
    - Facebook: facebook.com/localoceantrust
    - Twitter: @localoceantrust
    - Instagram: @localoceantrust
    - YouTube: “Local Ocean Trust: Watamu Turtle Watch” Channel