Five species of sea turtle inhabit Mozambique’s 2 7 00km of coastline. Some, like the Loggerhead and Leatherback nest on the in south and Green turtles nest further North near the Bazaruto archipelago. The coastal waters provides important foraging habitats and deeper waters of the Mozambican Channel are important migratory corridors. All five species are listed on the IUCN Red list as Critically Endangered or Endangered worldwide.
Despite being legally protected since 1965, poaching is an increasing threat to this regional population. Our previous marine conservation work has identified the coast of Inhambane Province to have the highest rate of poaching in the country.
Anecdotal evidence from interviews with long-term residents suggest that the numbers of nesting turtles have been dramatically reduced. There is little marine science capacity within the country, and information on sea turtle biology and behavior is poorly known. No focused studies have examined the impacts of illegal hunting or the reasons why it occurs.