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Lessons learned in community-managed marine area in Karkum, Madang, Papua New Guinea

Sea turtles are a “keystone species” or a critical component of the marine environment. A keystone species plays an important role in the ecosystem by being a key feature in the functioning of the ecosystem. If the keystone species is removed it will have an adverse effect on other parts of the ecosystem. Saving keystone species helps prevent its ecosystem processes from collapsing.

Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is a keystone species. It is the most unique of the seven species of sea turtles. It does not have a shell, and It is critically endangered and on the brink of extinction in the Pacific Ocean.

This paper examines the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP) at Karkum Village, Madang province, Papua New Guinea.

The Karkum STRP was an initiative of the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) a US-based Non Government Organisation (NGO). STRP was first introduced in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG) in June 2006. Before exiting in December 2008, TIRN helped the author established Mas Kagin Tapani (MAKATA) association, a local NGO to sustain the STRP.