East African Whale Shark Trust
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Projects and Volunteering

Turtle Project

Fisherman Project

Research

Education
Programmes

Volunteering

 

Turtle Project

The newly launched turtle workshop is the brainchild of the EAWST founder Volker Bassen. It is well-known that countless turtles get caught in fishermen’s large mesh nylon drift nets and meet their death by drowning. As well as turtles, a host of other marine creatures meet a similar fate. These nets can be several hundreds of metres long and can cause decades of severe damage to the aquatic ecosystem. It is important to note at outset that these nets have been used for years by fishermen along the Kenya coast. One net costs at least Ksh 50,000. The disadvantage of using these nets is that the fishermen can only use them at night and moreover when there is no moon. Turtle Project In practice that limits them to 2 weeks per month.
Furthermore, because they set the nets in the evening and collect them in the early morning, any fish caught in the early evening will not be fresh by the time it gets to the end-buyer. Many hotels reject the fish resulting in a loss of income to the fishermen who end up drying the fish and eating it themselves. In turn this causes the fishermen and their families all manner of health problems. To compound the situation, these nets will frequently become detached from their marker buoys and the fisherman will then have lost his most essential piece of equipment.
Turtle Shell Lamp Meanwhile the net itself becomes a “ghost net”, one of the most destructive weapons to be let loose on our fragile coral reefs. These ghost nets continue to fish for several decades. They catch turtles and whale sharks as they drift with the current. These creatures sink to the bottom
with the net and there the net
trawls the reef for lobster and fish,
damaging the coral in the process.
As the fish rot, they bloat and the net floats to the surface where the whole destructive process repeats itself again and again.
Turtle Shell Lamp
These drift nets are the single most serious threat to Kenya’s whale shark and turtle population. As a result of this, the EAWST has launched the turtle project. It has set up a work shop with fishermen making fibre-glass turtle shell lamps. These are beautifully crafted and look enchanting on the wall. They are sold in gift-shops and hotels. With the proceeds, the EAWST buys the nets from the fishermen. Large Turtle Shell Lamp The fishermen are then taught how to fish using more environmentally friendly fishing methods, specifically using bottom long-lines. This method of fishing is carried out in much deeper water and targets different deep water species. This way the coral reef is left untouched, meaning that the juveniles can grow and continue to have a productive life cycle. The fishermen can fish throughout the month and the fish is much fresher when it reaches the consumer.

Fisherman Project

Fishermen Working hand in hand with the local fisherman, encouraging them to report whale shark sightings,
produce whale shark carvings and other curios to illustrate the widespread benefits of conservation.

Research

Research  

Monitoring, tagging and satellite tracking working in tandem with Universeum and Chalmers University in Sweden and Hubbs Seaworld Research Institute in the US among others to create a wider knowledge data base on the whale shark.
Remarkably little is known about the biggest fish in the ocean. It is unknown where whale sharks go to breed or whether global populations are related.
Their migration patterns remain a mystery.
Thanks to www.air-adventures.fr for all their help.

The billfish foundation tag billfish with similar tags
and do good work tagging and releasing.

Education
Programmes

Education Programmes   Accredited workshops and presentations on the whale shark, including field trips for local schools and for visitors/tourists.

Volunteering with EAWST
Proud to be members of The Green Volunteers www.greenvolunteers.org
www.volunteer4africa.org

Click on the questions
to see the answers below.


1. What could I do?
2. When can I come?
3. What do I need to have already?
4. Where will I stay?
5. How will I get there?
6. Will I need a visa?
7. What about vaccinations and malaria
8. What should I bring with me?
9. How do I get started?


Volunteer activities
All our volunteer programmes include accomodation, training, studying whale shark behaviour, phsiology and movement, whale shark safaris, education workshops and more!
Volunteers


What will you do?

Help with the education programme in schools and hotels, assist with fundraising, assist with data collection and analysis, assist the guides on whale shark safaris, help in the Fibre-Glass Turtle workshop

Scheduling
1 – 3 month programmes at a cost of $750 per month. Weekly costs are also available. Whale shark season runs from Oct – March, peak being Feb – March. In the off season, focus is on research, education and community projects. Activities such as safaris and mountain climbing are available and encouraged during days off.

Prerequisites
It will be helpful but not essential if you have a marine science background, have a diving licence, have a driving licence and are happy in the water!

Accomodation
The EAWST accommodation centre is located in the middle of Diani beach, 2 mins walk from shops, internet cafes and restaurants. The double rooms are simple and comfortable with a communal washroom facility and kitchen. Bedding is provided. The centre is on the beach and a short drive to our research base at Aqualand Watersports Centre. Diani beach also has a Post Office and 2 good hospitals.

Travel to the Trust
You will need a connection to Moi International Airport Mombasa, usually from Nairobi but there are now more direct flights to Mombasa. At the airport you will be met by a Trust representative and driven to Diani beach, approximately a 2 hour drive.

Visas
Most visitors to Kenya require a tourist visa. Please check with your travel agent. We recommend that you obtain your visa before traveling to ease your arrival although you can get the visa at the airport when you land.

Medical Considerations
Vaccinations recommended include Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Meningitis and Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Please note proof of yellow fever vaccination may be needed to enter the country. Please check with your local Kenyan embassy for yellow fever requirements. Volunteers should seek medical advice from their doctor regarding inoculations. Rabies is not needed however in case of an animal bite the injection can be given at the local hospital. We recommend that you travel with a basic first aid kit although the centre is fully equipped. Please note that we will require proof of medical/travel insurance upon arrival. The coast is a malaria zone so please come with anti-malaria drugs and insect repellant. Mosquito nets are provided.

What to bring
It can get very hot and humid, as well as very wet, so you should bring appropriate clothing (rain proof gear and bags) if you will be here during the rainy season (May/June).
Light clothing is advised - shorts, shirts and durable sandals/flip flops.

* Cotton shirts and shorts
* Light sweater/anorak for evenings/safaris
* Good sandals/flip flops that stay on in water
* Water bottle
* Rucksack
* Insect repellent
* Antimalarial tablets
* Torch
* Sun hat, sun glasses and sun cream
* Towel
* Mask, fins, snorkel (not essential)

Please note that due to local traditional cultures, women are asked not to wear short shorts or revealing tops on work days.
Mobile phones can be used here, please check the local service providers (www.safaricom.co.ke or www.zainlco.ke).
If your mobile phone doesn't have a SIM lock, purchasing a pre-paid SIM card while here and using it in your phone (far cheaper) is quite easy.
Laptops are useful as computer time is limited. We can lock up computers each evening, but this is not a guarantee of safety.

Home News Goals Projects
& Volunteering
Frequently Asked Questions
CONTACT
nimu@giantsharks.org        +254720293156
East African Whale Shark Trust, Galu Kinondo Beach, PO Box 933, Ukunda 80400, Kenya

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