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The Leatherback Project

The Leatherback Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the leatherback sea turtle and other threatened and endangered marine species through research, education, and advocacy initiatives primarily aimed at mitigating fisheries bycatch and designating and implementing marine protected areas.

We work towards restored balance, decreased anthropogenic pressures on overexploited resources and a sustainable future for the world’s ocean ecosystems and coastal habitats, allowing for the recovery of endangered wildlife like the leatherback. We have been working in Ecuador since 2019 to decrease fisheries bycatch through collecting data on endangered species stranding, fisheries interactions, fishermen’s perspectives on conservation, and working with government and community stakeholders to come up with comprehensive solutions to decrease fisheries bycatch.

This work is currently being supported as a United Nations Development Program Ocean Innovation Challenge project. Our team also works in Panama to identify and study new-to-science sea turtle nesting and foraging grounds throughout the Pearl Islands Archipelago, illuminate key threats to biodiversity, and collaborate with local communities to come up with impactful, long-lasting conservation solutions such as proposing a community-managed National Wildlife Refuge around Isla Saboga and a new law recognizing the Rights of Nature (Law 287). In 2023 The Leatherback Project also started the long-term monitoring program, together with the Guna People of Armila, Panama in one of the largest nesting aggregation of leatherback turtles in the world.