/ ©: EWS-WWF
Period: April 2010 - Present

The Issue

Marine turtle populations around the globe are threatened with extinction, having been heavily over-harvested and having their habitat increasingly destroyed by mankind. With increased coastal development, urbanisation and industrialisation, the global population of marine turtles is in decline. Nowadays, critical measures are urgently needed to safeguard the few remaining turtle nesting, feeding and breeding sites on beaches and at sea; as well as their migratory pathways.

Two out of the seven species of marine turtles, the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), occur in Gulf waters. Worldwide, the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2008) lists the Hawksbill turtle as critically endangered and the green turtle as endangered. At the local and regional level the stocks of these species are threatened and the number of foraging habitats and nesting grounds are continually declining.

What we’re doing

The Marine Turtle Conservation Project was launched in 2010 by EWS-WWF to better understand the conservation needs of marine turtles in the Gulf.
Focusing its attention on the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle (IUCN Red Listed), the project currently monitors up to 79 post-nesting female turtles from the region using satellite tracking.

Since turtles depend on coastal habitats (such as coral reefs for feeding and beaches for nesting) this project will help in identifying important migratory routes and foraging grounds in the region.

Project & Objectives

  • Raise the awareness of marine turtle conservation needs at regional levels;
  • Understand the post-nesting migrations and biology of marine turtles using satellite tracking;
  • Identify the foraging grounds of endangered marine turtles and linkages between nesting and feeding population assemblages;
  • Share tracking data and findings to relevant authorities and contribute to the development of a regional marine turtle conservation plan;
  • Integrate these conservation initiatives within international conservation agreements on marine turtles and national programmes.

How you can help

  • Adopt a turtle. With your symbolic adoption you can contribute to our turtle conservation efforts, and raise awareness about this important cause. 
  • Do your part. Turtles are very sensitive to their environment, so learn about how you can alter your beach and water activities during turtle nesting season to encourage turtles to nest. Link to Support The Project pages.
  • As an organisation. Hotels interested in the turtle cause can learn more about our Check Out for Turtles initiative, or participate in our Whatever Floats Your Boat event. 


  • Marina Antonopoulou

    WWF United Arab Emirates Project Office,

Partners & Sponsors

  • Research Partner & Scientific Advisor
    Marine Research Foundation

    Wildlife & Aquatic Affairs Bureau of Iran
    Emirates Marine Environment Group 
    Sharjah EPAA
    Environment Agency Abu Dhabi
    Ministry of Environment & Climate Affairs
    Environment Society of Oman 

    Ministry of Environment
    Qatar University
    Ras Laffan Industrial City

    To see our list of turtle sponsors over the years, click here.