Five Minutes With: Sea turtle biologist, Six Senses Zighy Bay

Jane Lloyd tells us about her role, work with the local community and how guests visiting the resort can get involved

Jane Lloyd
Jane Lloyd

What made you want to join the team at Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman?
There is a multifaceted approach from Six Senses to sustainability, which began from day one; its architecture using traditional Omani construction methods with optimal energy efficiency for a naturally cool interior climate in the summer and for warmth during the winter.

Furthermore, Six Senses is committed to giving back to the local community with its excellent outreach for educational, health and social projects. The resort has a great sustainability program which integrates the Olive Ridley Project; the approach to sustainability is continually evolving and expanding, I feel it is a very exciting time to be joining the sustainability team and I am excited for the future developments.

Have you always been passionate about marine conservation?
Very much so, as a natural swimmer and engaging with scuba diving as a child, I have always felt at ease in the water. The Blue Planet documentary series in 2000 fascinated me and planted the seed to explore our planets natural wonders specifically the unexplored depths of our marine environment.
I had a strong desire to find a meaningful career that was beneficial to global conservation efforts so pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of Gloucestershire and Universidad de Alcalá. While living in Ibiza, I connected to island life, the sea and gained my first scuba diving qualifications; ecology and marine biology were the primary focus of my studies.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I conduct daily snorkel surveys in Zighy Bay itself specifically looking for sea turtles, although I include all species of note that I encounter, maintaining the Olive Ridley Project databases, including identifying individual turtles encountered using photo identification methods.

Whenever possible I join guests on their scuba dive excursions so as to provide additional information about the marine life encountered on those dives. I also provide outreach education to our guests of all ages, with story time and games for our younger guests, interactive presentations for teens and adults. I am readily available for any questions guests may have about the local marine environment. In addition to this I am working with the sustainability department engaging with government officials to support our work with ghost fishing equipment removal from the coral reef.

What’s your favourite thing about working at the resort?
My background in hospitality (which supported me financially during my studies) means I very much feel at home in a hotel environment providing first class customer service. The information which I have studied becomes truly beneficial once it is communicated to a wider audience through outreach and education programs.

The guests that are attracted to stay with Six Senses are already very engaged with the natural environment and sustainable living solutions; this provides a wonderful opportunity to further develop their understanding of the natural environment and how we can protect, restore and conserve it for our future generations.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
Zoe Cox the first marine biologist at the resort has done a wonderful job in developing a network of contacts and implementing initial surveys of the sea turtles and mega-fauna creating baseline data for the region.

It is my job now to build on these initial steps with a focus on the ghost fishing equipment legislation, which is essential for us to remove abandoned or lost equipment from the coral reefs with much greater regularity. To develop biodegradable fishing trap doors by working directly with the fishing community, respecting the history of their fishing practices while making beneficial adjustments to the equipment they deploy.

Tell us a bit about the resort’s partnership with the Olive Ridley project?
The overarching aim of the Olive Ridley Project is to protect sea turtles and their habitats in the Indian Ocean. This is achieved through rehabilitation, research, education and outreach. Specifically in Oman we are looking at estimating the population dynamics in Zighy Bay and surrounding area. To work with relevant stakeholders to minimise the issues with ghost fishing gear.

How are you working with the local community?
In addition to the governmental work for ghost net recovery legislation and the development of biodegradable trap doors with the local fishing community of Zighy Bay and guest education at the resort. There will be further outreach education work with the boy’s school and girls school located in Dibba. The sustainability department has a number of exciting outreach projects planned including village visits for World Turtle Day, combating desertification through seed distribution with a focus on plants native to Oman to name a few of the forthcoming events.

How can guests get involved in marine conservation?
I am hosting weekly beach cleans for guest and host participation information for the hosts is available through their personal Guest Experience Manager. All underwater photography contributions are gladly received, this contributes directly to the Olive Ridley Projects sea turtle photo ID program, there is also a database for other marine megafauna such as dolphins, whale sharks and rays.

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