Performance payment conservation approaches are based on a willing buyer–willing seller model. Sellers deliver conservation outcomes in exchange for a negotiated payment in cash or in kind. The use of performance payments to achieve conservation outcomes is increasingly being used as an alternative to traditional regulatory and development-based approaches in low-income nations. Although payments are increasingly common in terrestrial species and ecosystem conservation initiatives, they are rare in marine conservation efforts such as sea turtle protection. This paper describes sea turtle incentive payment initiatives taking place around the world, most of which are found in projects focusing on nesting beach protection. We find that many of these initiatives have achieved substantial results for a very low annual cost. The potential for expanding payment incentive schemes beyond nest protection to reduce bycatch and hunting pressures on juvenile and adult turtles is unknown but should be further explored.

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