Help Protect Endangered Sea Turtles in Curacao

by Friends of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao Vetted since 2017 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit
Release of a recued turtle
Release of a recued turtle

Progress report – Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao – August 2018


Nesting season

Three months into the 2018 nesting season. The turtles started a little late this season, but they are finally pretty active now. Last week we had an unexpected hatching at Kokomo beach of a Loggerhead nest. The first group of baby turtles came out during the day. The second group came out 2 nights later. The staff of Kokomo was really helpful and they turned out the lights, so that the newborn turtles would not be disoriented by the lights. So far we registered nests of loggerheads and green turtles.

We’ve had 8 nests adopted this season so far. We are aiming for 30 per season, so we still have a few to go. A nest adoption enables us to check the nest beaches 3 times a week, register all the nest activities, check nests 3 times a week during the incubation period and do an excavation after it has hatched. Each nest has around 100 hatchlings in it and takes us on average 96 hours.


In the last 3 months we did 8 turtle rescues. Mostly entanglement and hooking cases. 2 of our resident turtles were spotted with injuries that most likely were cause by collision with a boat, but they seem to be recovering slowly but steadily. Releases are usually done publically, because we feel it is a chance to educate the audience about sea turtles and the threats they face.


STCC is one of the participants in ‘Present your Startup’. We thought it could be an educational experience to present our ideas for a different audience and get some valuable insights from fresh perspectives. And we did! In the semi-finals STCC won the public’s choice award and also got a place in the Caribbean finals which will take place the 29th of August.

To practice for the Caribbean finals Sabine Berendse thought it would be a good idea to get some extra practice. She participated in a pitch competition in New York City in June, where she won the first prize. This price means that she has a guaranteed spot in overall finals of Present your Startup in the Netherlands in November.

In the Caribbean finals she will have 3 minutes to convince the audience to support STCC with the realization of a Sea Turtle Visitor and Information Center in Westpunt as well as to convince them to invest 100K USD of seed funding in a new startup “Green Phenix”. If you would like the pitch you can reserve a ticket at Present Your Startup

Sea Turtle Visitor & Information Center

The increasing number of visitors at Playa Piskado is a great concern and we are working towards a collaborative project of a visitor and information center, to reduce the threats to the sea turtles and to regulate the visitor streams and behavior.

Green Phenix

Green Phenix is a social enterprise that turns plastic waste into valuable products. It joins forces of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao, Limpi, 2nd Life and Green Force to stimulate inclusion, reduce poverty and prevent plastic pollution.  Part of the profit of Green Phenix will be donated to STCC, so that they will get a more stable financial basis so that they can continue doing their important work of protecting sea turtles and their habitat.

Volunteers for clean ups

The last few months we had an increase in the number of “day volunteers”. People that visit Curacao for a holiday very often offer to help with volunteer work for a morning. The extra hands help us to increase our impact. We also had some groups come out for a day. Overall we cleaned around 4800 kg of marine debris from the beaches in the last 3 months. In this endeavor we have had great support form NuCapital, who enabled us to adopt 4 inlets in the San Pedro area.


We are still working really hard to generate some income so we can continue to do our important work. The donations we receive have increased somewhat, but our financial situation still only insures 2 more operation years. We aim to create a more stable basis, by generating divers income streams.

We made several grant proposals to companies to support the fibro papillomatosis research.  So far without success. We did manage to get donations to acquire the needed materials and a special net is being produced and should be with us shortly.

We expanded the “recycled plastic” merchandise range. In May we introduced the turtle keychains. These keychains are made from recycled plastic and they help prevent plastic from entering the oceans. In July Limpi introduced the “Curacao keychains” and in August Green Phenix introduced the “Klein Cuarcao Keychains”. These last 2 items provide a nice souvenir for a broader audience, increasing the sales and therefor the impact.


We are very grateful to everyone that supports our project financially, with materials or mentally. Being able to contribute to the survival of endangered species and helping to make the world a little bit better is a good motivator, but knowing we are not alone is very much appreciated. So a sincere THANK YOU to all of our supporters.

One of the regular clean ups
One of the regular clean ups
Famous Curacao artist joins our clean up
Famous Curacao artist joins our clean up
One of the bigger clean ups
One of the bigger clean ups
Winner of the PYS pitchcompetition in NYC
Winner of the PYS pitchcompetition in NYC
The newest recycled plastic product
The newest recycled plastic product
Turtle buddy
Turtle buddy

One of the activities STCC undertakes to generate income is selling merchandise items made from marine debris/ recycles plastic. Volunteers clean marine debris from the beach during the monitoring checks and the reusable plastic is brought to our partner LIMPI. They transform the plastic into new high quality items.

The first product that we developed was the ‘Turtle Buddy’. A small plastic sculpture on a driftwood stand. We started with 10, which we sold in a day. Then we ordered 20, which we sold in a week. All the money we earned with the sales were reinvested in the production of more buddy’s. Now they are sold in 10 different shops.

We received feedback from the shops, that although lots of people liked the idea, not all of them actually bought a ‘Turtle Buddy’ because it takes up a lot of space in the suitcase. That is why we experimented with the ‘Hanging Buddy’ in 2 different sizes.

We started in the same way, by only creating a few. But unfortunately they didn’t sell at all. The reason for this item to fail was that the customers didn’t feel they got enough value for money. It wasn’t possible to make them a lot cheaper than the original turtle buddy.  After the first batch was unsuccessful we stopped with the production.

We still had the feedback that people wanted to contribute by buying something small and that is why the keychains were created. A small very well designed plastic turtle that can be offered for a relatively low price.

We started with selling recycle plastic merchandise items in August and we have sold over 1500 items so far. It helps STCC to create awareness, it generates some additional funding and also it helps to create a solution for the marine debris problem on our nesting beaches. WIN – WIN – WIN

In the near future we will expand the number of items and we will also sell the products at additional retailers, so we can make an even bigger impact and also work to a more stable financial situation for STCC.

Hanging Buddy
Hanging Buddy
We gave the trainers a Turtle Buddy to thank them
We gave the trainers a Turtle Buddy to thank them

Thanks to the "Present your startup" workshop in which Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao participated May 7, 8 and 9 we now have a 3 minute pitch to interest potential investors. With this pitch, STCC won the 'Public Choice Award 2018' and 1 of the 5 Jury prizes which guarentees a spot in the Caribbean finals in August. 

The speach goes as follows:

How much is a clean and healthy ocean worth to you? We believe a clean ocean is priceless. But the sad reality is oceans are filling up with plastic and toxins and if nothing changes there will be more plastic in the sea then fish by 2050.

My name is Sabine Berendse and I’m the founder of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao. We protects endangered sea turtles and their habitat. So even if you don’t like turtles, my message is important to you, because the ocean affects you! We have a resilient team. 2 staff members, 30 core volunteers and amazing partners and supporters


Since the start we saved over 1000ends of turtles. We cleaned beaches that were previously covered with marine debris. We created a music video, published an online book, plached signage at turtle hotspots and organized an exposition. We organise turtle experiences upon request and we have a followerbase of 28K+

In total our activities reached well over 150.000 people. 

Since august we have been selling merchandise items made from marine debris. So far we sold 1500 items with a value of 36K ANG. There is still a huge growth potential since we are not jet offering our prodects to cruise tourists and at hotels. And so far we only have been making turtle related products.

Without any marketing we were able to do 200 turtle experiences. With our expertise and followerbase there is a huge potential market these touristic products. Especially if we would partner with existing tour companies. Also our current logistics is highly suitable for scientific and educational tourism. That would not only generate income, but will also give us additional hands.

 We already offer different adoption programs. This year we aim to get 30 nests and 30 turtles adopted. We are also looking for strategic partners. These partners would ideally be willing to make a 3 year commitment to support us with either money or services in exchange for good exposure. Maybe you are our future partner or maybe you can introduce me to someone that might see us as an interesting partner.

 Futhermore I would love to get at least 5 sea turtle nests adopted  tonight!- $600 dollars a nest – which helps protect 100 baby turtles.

 Together we can make a change. So I’m hoping you will support our cause.


6 nests were adopted and some promising contacts were made. The "present your startup workshop" was extremely valuable and gave us a different perspective on STCC. Although we have been identifying ourselves as an NGO, it seems we are making a shift to become a social enterprize. This seems to be a good business model to make STCC sustainable. 

Some of the participants of the PYS training
Some of the participants of the PYS training
The 5 finalists
The 5 finalists
Public choice award and 1 of the 5 jury prizes
Public choice award and 1 of the 5 jury prizes


On the 9th of February Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao finally launches the promised music video "Can you see". The song and video clip are intended to raise awareness about sea turtles and the threats they face as a result of human behavior. One of the goals that Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao has set itself is to reach and make aware the largest possible group of people, because only when everybody comes together we can change the current worrying situation in the ocean.

We need to change our behavior to prevent that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

To reach as many people as possible is a big challenge for conservation organizations. This project is a combination of conservation and art to send the message. By using music and visual art, Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao hopes to reach a larger group of people than it already does.

To realize this project, a collaboration was made with various local musicians. The song is written by Gino James and produced by Reuben van Lierop. Both young Curacao musicians. A total of 13 local musicians sang along in the song, namely Gino James, Reuben van Lierop, Shanuska Schoop (Shuga mama), Deborah Gomez, Gidguidemely Gomez, Jeniffer Grant, Sheldon Angelister, Roshane Daley, Yanique Suydon, Eric Jan van Leeuwen and Roxan van Leeuwen. Lucas van Twillert and Kim Russel. Zion has mixed and mastered the song.

The production of the video clip for the song was made partly with financial support from the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund Caribbean. Fisheye media has produced the video clip and several filmmakers have provided visual material, both locally (Stichfactor, TurtleandRay, Naturepics, BLEND creative imaging, David de Bruijne, Koral, Pedro Amaya &Yuri Kneppers) and internationally (Chris Figgener, Sean Williamson, Hung-Chang Liu). and Celine Gamble).

Many thanks to everybody that helped us realize this project!


Girl helping Ard release a rescued turtle
Girl helping Ard release a rescued turtle

2017 was an eventful year for Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao (STCC). In May we received our offical NGO status. Before that we were active as a volunteer initiative that started in 2014. What originally started as a nest monitoring group, grew into an organization with a broad focus and an aim to protect sea turtles around Curacao. STCC is active in the fields of research, conservation, education and awareness.

Just after STCC was founded, Curacao was hit by an oil spill, coming from Trinidad and Tobego. STCC played a mayor role in the coordination of the clean up activities that followed the disaster.  Collaboration with government, other NGO’s, companies and volunteers led to a speady clean up at the affected areas.

During the nesting season 3 species of sea turtles were recorded to lay their nests on Curacao: Loggerheads, Green Turtles and Hawksbills. 4 routes were checked 3 times a week. Klein Curacao, Banda Ariba, Westpoint and Banda Abou. We had to do 2 relocations. One was of a loggerhead nest that was made nest to a concrete structure and where the mother had left the nest uncovered. The other was of a nest that was predated by feral pigs. Only a few eggs were unharmed.

We did not only focus on nesting population, be we also collected data about the juvenile turtles around our island. We use photo identification to gain information about resident and visiting turtles. We collected more than 7000 pictures and were able to identify 100 individual turtles. This helps us better understand and protect our populations of sea turtles.

With the help of amazing support from the local dive community we were able to place information signage at Playa Piskado. The information was mede available in 7 languages, to reach a broad group of people. For Klein Curacao an information sign is also in the pipeline.

We had to perform 32 rescue missions, to help entangled or hooked turtles. Three of these turtles needed vetarinary care. We registered 10 poaching cases. We were able to save six of the 10 cases. Furthermore we also lost 9 sea turtles to natural causes. Due to the storm Bret  they got stuck in the salina where they passed away.

Besides the cleaning that our volunteers do during their monitoring routes, we organized monthly larger clean ups. We started to sort the marine debris. All the colorful plastic that could easily be shreded was taken to Limpi. Limpi is a young company that makes articles from recycled plastic. With the plastic we bring them they make turtle buddy's. We sell them at dive shops.

We gave presentations for 5 groups and organized 5 turtle tours. With the help of 13 musicians we wrote and produced a song to create awareness about sea turtles and threats to oceanlife due to human behavior. This project still includes the production of a videoclip, but so far we did not find sufficient financial support to produce this video.

STCC furthermore is in desperate need of a good pick up truck. This is a basic necessity to efficiently carry out the monitoring, clean up and the rescue activities. We generated an amount that might be sufficient dor for a secondhand, but so far we have not een able to find a good alternative in the available pricerange. We will keep looking and maybe we will get lucky.

Thanks to a great number of contributions we were able to protect sea turtles and their habitat around Curacao. Without your support we could not have done this. So thanks again and we really hope we can count on your continued support!

Unveiling of information signage at Playa Piskado
Unveiling of information signage at Playa Piskado
Green turtle hatchlings going to the sea
Green turtle hatchlings going to the sea
Oil spill clean up
Oil spill clean up
Underwater clean up
Underwater clean up
Boss one of our resident turtles
Boss one of our resident turtles

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Organization Information

Friends of Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao

Location: Willemstad, Curacao - Curaçao
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sabine Berendse
Willemstad, Curacao Curaçao
$9,964 raised of $75,000 goal
167 donations
$65,036 to go
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