March 29, 2018 at 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110
John Flynn, co-founder and director of Wildseas and New England Aquarium Marine Conservation Action Fund Fellow
Maggie See (AquariumLectures@neaq.org, 617-973-6596)
During a 2011 visit to the western region of Ghana, Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF) Fellow John Flynn and his colleague Neil Davis witnessed the rampant poaching of nesting sea turtles and their eggs. They reached out to local village chiefs, recruited a dedicated team from the community, and began nightly beach patrols to deter poachers. Within a few short years, Flynn, Davis, local anti-poaching patrol leader Enock Agyimah, and numerous seasonal staff helped protect thousands of turtle eggs and many nesting turtles from poachers. The conservation mission of the group, known as Wildseas, soon grew beyond protecting sea turtle nesting beaches. In 2012, Flynn and Davis’ interpreter, Eric Quayson, alerted them to high bycatch rates of sea turtles in offshore fishing nets. Working with Quayson, who served as a liaison to the fishing community, Flynn and Davis secured a commitment from the fishermen to safely release turtles caught in their nets. This collaborative safe-release program has saved nearly 1,000 turtles since 2012. Flynn will speak about the many challenges and successes he and his team have experienced in their efforts to save turtles, collaborate with fishermen, engage local communities, and build local capacity for conservation.