Youth took the lead. Imagine going completely against the culture of your small community as a youth of 17 or 18 years of age. Think about the determination, courage, and values that would inspire you to persevere through the challenges of facing people in your community who feel that you are betraying your people.
In April of 2001, residents of Barra del Parismina, with the assistance of the Costa Rican Coast Guard, began patrolling the beach of Parismina to protect marine turtles from poachers. This small group of concerned residents became The Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina (ASTOP). That's how the transformation from consumption to conservation began and it continues today.
Every year, critically endagnered leatherback, endangered green, and critically endangered hawksbill turtles visit the beaches of Barre del Parismina, Costa Rica to lay their eggs. The season begins with leatherbacks in March and ends with the green turtles in October. Prior to the formation of ASTOP, 98% of green turtles were killed for their meet and 98% of all nests were poached. As a result of the efforts of ASTOP and countless volunteers who assist with patrols, poaching rates have dropped to less than 38%.