Date: 12 June 2023
Author: ProDelphinus and Velkiss Gadea
Nomination made by: Organización ProDelphinus.
Mr. David Lizardo Sarmiento Barturen, presently working for the Instituto del Mar Del Peru (IMARPE), y actualmente parte del equipo de trabajo de IMARPE (Instituto del Mar del Perú, Ciencia y Tecnología), is a person who admires and respects nature, and has a passion for marine life and conservation. In 1995, Mr. Sarmiento began to learn more about different marine turtle species, and by 2000 he was converting this interest in sea turtle conservation into activities like reporting incidents of marine turtles becoming accidentally caught in gillnet fishing gear.
Over time, David has been able to participate in many trainings about taxonomic identification of marine turtles and best handling and release practices of turtles caught in fishing gear, and has become more knowledgeable about mitigation measures to reduce bycatch impacts on sea turtles.
The valuable knowledge that David has today has not only strengthened his own capacity, but also, through his motivation and commitment to marine conservation, he has dedicated much of his time to sharing this knowledge with the San José fishing community and other communities in northern Peru.
In 2013, his creativity led him to start a radio program in his hometown of San José. He used this program to talk about the importance of marine turtle conservation with a broader range of people. He became part of “The Turtle SOS Network”, working together with entities from the Peruvian government and private groups to create a network of instructors willing to teach other fishing communities about good practices for handling and releasing turtles accidentally captured in fishing gear.
Recently, during the 41st International Sea Turtle Symposium, held in Cartagena, Colombia in March 2023, David was able to share his experiences in environmental education and behavior change with the global marine turtle research community. Also, as a member of the Red Laúd OPO and established expert in best handling and release practices, he was pictured on the cover of the recently released Action Plan for the recovery of the Eastern Pacific Leatherback.
Link to video: