Pilot Site: Turtle Island
After an exploratory mission led by a small team from the Sierra Leone Environment Protection Agency and GRID-Arendal, the presence of a large seagrass meadow of Halodule wrightii (commonly known as shoal grass) was confirmed along the shores of Turtle Island.
The Turtle Island lies in the south–eastern province of Sierra Leone. It is part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Bonthe-Sherbo Estuary. The environment is characterised by vast mangrove forests, mudflats and sand banks. The presence of seagrasses adds to this variety of habitats. It is home to a rich biodiversity of sting rays, sea stars, and many different species of juvenile fish. It is also a site for sea turtles to lay their eggs, and for birds to breed.
There is still a need for further exploration to map the full extent of seagrass and to increase communication toward stakeholders and local communities. The project team continue to work with local stakeholders to reduce human pressures on seagrasses, and to achieve a more sustainable use of this marine resources.