The #freetheflipper campaign is now closed. You can still donate to the Olive Ridley Project here:
We are excited to announce the launch of our first fundraising campaign:
Help us #freetheflipper!
The Olive Ridley Project has expanded our reach exponentially since the beginning in 2013; this could not have been possible without your continued support! Help us us untangle more turtles from ghost gear, as well as further our educational programs, ghost gear removal efforts and initiatives to reuse end-of-life fishing gear by contributing to #freetheflipper.
Our aim is to raise $5000 through #freetheflipper and we are grateful for any donation we receive – big or small.
Read on to find out more about how your generous donations will help us.
On behalf of the thousands of turtles, and other animals, entangled each year,
we thank you!
The Olive Ridley Project Story
Did you know that invisible “ghost” nets result in the slow, inhumane process of entanglement, which devastates turtles by causing undue stress, dehydration, starvation, and eventually death? We know that thousands of turtles, and other marine animals, are affected by ghost gear each year in the Indian Ocean, but it is almost impossible to pinpoint exactly how many go unnoticed. The turtles we have rescued at The Olive Ridley Project are only a fraction of those who endure this agony in the open sea.
The Olive Ridley Project is a citizen science based project founded in the Maldives in 2013. It began as a response to the vast amount of ghost nets travelling into the country, which were often found with entangled or dead Olive Ridley sea turtles.
Our mission is to actively fight ghost nets in the Indian Ocean and reduce the existence of them to a non-detectable level. We advocate for the humane treatment and protection of Olive Ridley sea turtles and other marine animals. Since 2013, our volunteers have disentangled over 300 sea turtles that would have otherwise been left to die in the cruelest manner. We have also safely removed over 400 ghost nets, small and large, in the past three years. Furthermore, we promote the rehabilitation of sea turtles, the education of fishing communities and the general public across the Indian Ocean and the creative reuse of ghost nets.
What Is Ghost Gear?
It is fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded in the ocean, whether due to adverse conditions, operational damages, gear conflict or being deliberately left behind by fishers, which is sometimes the cheapest and quickest solution compared to collecting them at port or discarding them in an environmentally friendly manner. It is important to understand that small-scale fishers are under tremendous pressure, and it is expensive for them to purposefully discard any gear. So far, we have trained over 100 volunteers on how to collect date on ghost gear and turtle entanglements and how to release safely disentangled turtles.
Our long-term goals as a charity are as follows:
- We will continue to safely remove nets from the marine environment, with the support of volunteers and citizen scientists.
- We will rescue as many turtles as possible and rehabilitate injured turtles at our Turtle Rescue Centre in the Maldives, which will open in September 2016.
- We will continue to educate on a local and global scale in order to conserve and protect the marine environment and the wildlife that inhabit it, paying particular attention to sea turtles.
- We plan to continue to host public workshops that focus on empowering local communities to remove and reuse ghost nets in creative ways.
- We aim to establish collection points for the disposal of nets that will no longer be put to use.
- We also intend to initiate recycling and reuse initiatives in which we will collaborate with artists, farmers and builders in the area and explore for ways in which the nets can be used.
Why We Need Your Help
We have already achieved a measurable amount of success in the three years we have existed. We aim to raise $5000 to save more Olive Ridley turtles andreach out to more fishing communities who we can train and educate.
Here is a breakdown of how your generous donations will help us:
- At present, we do not have the money to support a full-time ghost gear removal crew in the Indian Ocean, instead relying on the good-will of citizen scientists and volunteers working in the area. Your donations, however big or small, would go towards sustaining a small team that will actively remove and research ghost nets.
- Your donations will allow a member of our team to attend the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit in Winter 2016, which strives to fulfill the sustainable development goals set by the United Nation in 2015. Considering that we are one of few organisations fighting ghost gear in the Indian Ocean, our attendance at the conference is vital. It will allow the communities with whom we work to have a voice and be represented on a global scale.
- We aim to establish collection points for the disposal of nets that will no longer be put to use. Our pilot project will begin in a fishing village called Rehman Goth in Karachi, Pakistan, which is home to around 800 people. Our plan is to set up five collection points in landing areas, where fishers can safely and ethically dispose of damaged or end-of-life nets that they will not be using again. If this project is successful, it will be implemented in other areas. Your contributions would allow us to realise this long-term plan, which will actively prevent nets drifting into the Indian Ocean and entangling and killing turtles and other marine wildlife.
- Your generosity will allow us to implement creative workshops for local fishing communities. These workshops will develop initiatives for the creative recycling of ghost gear deposited at established collection points. We have already made connections with artists, farmers and builders in Pakistan and the Maldives. Your donations would allow us to further develop those connections, collaborating with local workers to host workshops which could turn ghost nets into community arts and crafts projects, reusable bags, football nets agricultural fences and building materials. These workshops will provide a platform for the local fishing communities to connect and initiate positive plans for the future.
Thank you so much for taking the time to the end. We are hugely grateful for any donations we receive, big or small. On behalf of all turtles that will benefit from your generosity, we would like to say a huge thank you.