Conservationists in Ghana are warning of possible extinction of sea turtles if more care isn't taken to protect them. Only one out of a thousand turtles survive to adult life.
Strong lagoon waves hit the shoreline where Anane Afagying is mending his fishing nets.
He and his family live in Akosua village, a coastal community wheremost of the people depend on the sea for living.
The lagoon in Akosua host several species of sea reptiles including turtles. "When you spend time mending the nets and then your net catches a turtle, no matter how strong the net is, the turtle will destroy it. So what will you do?" Anane asked.
The fisherman admitted that they have killed turtles many times.
Turtle meat and eggs are highly desirable in Ghana, threatening further the lives of the reptiles.
Battle to save sea turtles
Conservationists in Ghana have classed sea turtles in the first category of fully protected animals. A conservation site for turtles has been set up to rescue such reptiles and the killing or capture of such animals is now punishable by law.
The conservation site works with community volunteers and school children, who patrol the beaches to deter potential poachers.
"There are a lot of threats that have caused their population to decline over the years," Andrew Agyekume-Hene, site manager of Muni-Pomadze Ramsar, one of the areas designated for turtle conservation.
Whenever turtles leave their eggs on the seashore, the conservationists have a duty to dig holes and cover them with sand rather than leaving them exposed to poachers. Some fish traders are also perceived to contribute to the decline since they sell turtle products.
There are no reliable figures of turtles living in Muni-Pomadze Ramsar conservation site nor of those killed so far.
However, the site management says the region has the highest population of sea turtles in Ghana. But their existence still faces a constant threat.
Despite a campaign to educate the people on the importance of preserving the reptiles, their global numbers continue to fall."If the poaching continues, then we are going to have a rapid decline of population and then they might even go extinct and get eradicated from this area." Agyekum-Hene said. "On average, just one out of a thousand hatchlings will grow to become an adult turtle."