Augusta, Georgia – June 2, 2022 – In an ongoing effort to support marine conservation around the world and in coastal communities, the Sea of Change Foundation supports Association ELI-S in Nicaragua.
Over the past five months, in Nicaragua, the Association has worked with both regional scientists and local communities to promote “science for a purpose”. In February 2022, they organized a scientific conference for 17 central and South American scientists to coordinate conservation priorities and share scientific methodologies.
The Association has also provided multiple workshops for local communities including 68 school children about marine conservation including lessons about their coastal humpback whale populations and how to protect them. Knowledge of their local humpback whale populations was increased with 244 hours of data collection via routine boat surveys. With funding from the Sea of Change Foundation, the Association will also provide conservation workshops for local fishermen to help educate them on sustainable fishing practices emphasizing the protection of humpback whales. Community outreach in this project also includes beach clean-ups, two of which collected 80 kg (177 lbs.) of trash from San Juan del Sur Beach.
Why is this project important? Nicaragua is a developing country that depends on marine resources. Those resources include ecotourism such as whale watching, megaprojects such as shipping canals, and fisheries. Currently, none of these activities includes sustainable management plans. Since coastal areas are a common space for shared anthropogenic activities and breeding humpback whales, there is concern regarding the impact of these unregulated activities on humpback whales and coastal ecosystems. However, ecotourism represents a potential complementary activity to fishing if both are performed in a sustainable way. Therefore, a code of good conduct must be created by tour operators and fishermen alike to ensure continued ecosystem health and productivity for these communities. Collection of scientific information about humpback whales combined with local education and outreach can begin to create positive change at a community level around these issues. “We’re thrilled with the progress of this community-based project,” said Samantha Whitcraft, the Foundation’s Executive Director. And, she continued, “this is the kind of work that ties into our mission to create positive change for the natural world we all love to enjoy and explore.” Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, Wayne Brown, added “as always, we’re so proud that 100% of the funds donated to our Foundation go directly to worthy conservation projects like this one that can really make difference for both people and ecosystems.”
About the Sea of Change Foundation: The Sea of Change Foundation initiates and funds conservation, research, and education that directly impact the natural world we all love to enjoy and explore. Our mission is to create positive change. Learn more at www.seaofchange.com
About Association ELI-S: The Association was founded in France and Australia in 2013 to promote, transmit, and develop science for all audiences. #scienceforapurpose