What is CTAP?
The CERTIFIED TURTLE APPROVED Program (CTAP) is a voluntary certification program aiming to educate and encourage business in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis to operate using sea turtle-friendly practices. St. Kitts and Nevis hosts four species of sea turtles in two distinct groups: resident juvenile foraging turtles and visiting nesting adult female turtles. Green, hawksbill, and the occasional loggerhead turtles can be found foraging in the waters surrounding St. Kitts and Nevis, while leatherback, green, and hawksbill turtles migrate long distances to nest on its beaches. CTAP encompasses three distinct categories of certification (Beachfront, Water Sports, and Inland) which provide criteria specific to the type of interaction the business may have with sea turtles.
Beachfront businesses focus on ensuring that their beaches remain safe and accessible to nesting and hatching sea turtles. Water Sports businesses focus on patron behavior and interactions with sea turtles while snorkeling, diving, boating, sailing, or any other activity that might encounter sea turtles at sea. Inland businesses are unlikely to encounter sea turtles and, thus, focus on supporting ongoing sea turtle conservation efforts. While the program focuses specifically on sea turtles, the hope is that certified businesses will become stewards of all the natural resources in the Federation.
CTAP is a means of encouraging national sea turtle stewardship while minimizing the negative impacts of tourism in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The program encourages a grass roots stewardship movement with certified businesses leading by example and serving as centers for the dissemination of knowledge about the importance of protecting the nation’s natural resources. With businesses and their staff acting as ambassadors for sea turtle stewardship, the potential for impact on local and visiting patrons is significant. We hope that CTAP and St. Kitts and Nevis can become leaders in sustainable development and tourism which protects and supports sea turtles and the Federation’s natural resources in general.