I am Catharine Muir, Director of Sea Sense, a Tanzanian community-based NGO that I set up in 2001. Sea Sense helps to protect endangered marine life including turtles and dugongs with a view to improving the lives of local people and protecting biodiversity. My job is essentially to coordinate our dedicated team which is comprised of 3 in the office and a network of 65 local Conservation Officers who collect data and raise awareness along the coast.
The kinds of activities Sea Sense is involved in include: protecting nesting turtles and their eggs; tagging; monitoring sightings and strandings of turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whales and whale sharks; conducting socio-economic and biological surveys to collect information on values, beliefs, perceptions and trends; and raising awareness through village meetings, competitions and distribution of educational materials. Aside from the field work, I am also responsible for fund-raising and report writing and dissemination of our work through local and international media and publications.
I work closely with John Mbugani the Education / Field Officer who is Tanzanian and who graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam in 2007 with a BSc in Marine Biology from the Faculty of Aquatic Sciences & Technology. John spends the majority of his time in the field, either in villages raising awareness, training Conservation Officers and organizing campaigns or on the beaches or at sea monitoring turtle nests, reports of dead marine animals or illegal activities.
We have just completed a dynamic primary schools’ competition centered around dugongs for World Environment Day and have many more exciting activities planned for the rest of 2008!
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be reporting on the work of Sea Sense, I hope you enjoy reading about the work which we are so passionate about!!