• Homegrown program for sea turtles achieved landmark feats: 1,923 sea turtle hatchlings released and 41 sea turtles rescued
  • The multi-stakeholder approach created a positive behavioral shift and increased awareness on sea turtle conservation and research
  • Marking the conservation program’s 10th year, ACEN will ramp up and expand its marine biodiversity efforts through awareness campaigns in schools and the establishment of a Pawikan Information Center

31 March 2023 – In Ilocos Norte, ACEN’s host communities along the coastlines of Bangui and Pagudpud towns continue to be a sanctuary for endangered sea turtles through its strengthened Sea Turtle “Pawikan” Conservation Action Plan.

Led by its pioneering wind farms in the province, NorthWind and North Luzon Renewables (NLR), ACEN’s sea turtle conservation efforts have been driving the coastal communities, local government units, and environmental groups to work together in protecting these marine creatures and their eggs, which have been constantly under threat from poachers and predators.

Since 2013, the Ayala group’s listed energy company has released to the ocean a total of 1,923 sea turtle hatchlings from 2,672 eggs it monitored and protected, with a hatching rate of over 73%. ACEN has also rescued a total of 41 adult sea turtles that accidentally got entangled in fishermen’s nets.

Most recently, ACEN’s NorthWind team released 54 hatchlings – the last from the five clutches it monitored and protected during the latest nesting season along Bangui Bay, where three out of five sea turtle species found in the Philippines were recorded to have bred in its 9-kilometer shoreline: the endangered olive ridley turtle, the green turtle, and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.

With the help of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP), ACEN continues to conduct trainings not just for the communities but also for various authorities such as the local government units of Pagudpud and Bangui, Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to equip them with the principles and procedures on marine turtle conservation and research, including nesting beach and hatchery management.

ACEN also strengthened its sea turtle conservation approach by retrofitting sea turtle hatcheries and replacing concrete and metal with indigenous materials so as not to affect the hatchlings’ navigation as they begin their journey to the ocean.

These information and education campaigns have created a sense of awareness on the importance of sea turtles among the locals, empowering them to become guardians of the elusive marine animal.

Irene Maranan, ACEN vice president and head of corporate communications and sustainability, said: “While we scale up our renewables development, we also commit to protecting and conserving biodiversity in the communities where we operate. We develop a biodiversity plan, not just to mitigate potentially significant impacts, but most importantly to enhance biodiversity that will also create a meaningful impact to our host communities.”

“Our Pawikan Conservation initiative won’t be possible without our collaboration and cooperation with different stakeholders such as the local government, community, and environmental experts,” she added.

In 2023, ACEN plans to strengthen its multi-stakeholder approach for sea turtle conservation by conducting more information and educational campaigns in schools, fisherfolk communities, tourism souvenir merchants, and other local stakeholders. It is also looking at creating a Pawikan Information Center and partnering with more environmental groups in its other host communities in Zambales and La Union.