Marine Reflection

882 Words4 Pages
Growing up in Egypt, I was exposed to the mesmerizing beauty of reefs and mangroves, one of the richest known species diversity of any marine ecosystem, in the Red Sea. When I was twelve years old, I regarded my fish tank as my lab and delved in understanding the interaction among fish, breeding, and health. However, my views evolved when I investigated an illegal sea turtle trade case in Alexandria, Egypt. It exposed me to the impact of the social, economic and cultural status of the indigenous people in my hometown. My focus shifted to look at the big picture, which is understanding the coherence of socioecological systems. It all started when I witnessed sea turtles kept alive emaciating until slaughter in a public market in Alexandria, Egypt. I directly contacted the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET), an international NGO, to document this illegal trade from boat to buyer. In my attempt to expose the practices by two major turtle traders, one chased me with his slaughtering sword, the other kicked me out of the public market. However, I secretly took the photos that documented their violation on another occasion. The interviews with the fishing community shaped my perception of the deep-rooted economic, social, and health problems of the community. I concluded that the inclusion of such marginalized local community in marine conservation projects will dramatically ameliorate the situation and empower them. This experience pinpointed the
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