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Marine turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands: remnant rookeries, regionally significant foraging areas and a major turtle fishery

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Steven Newman


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This study reviews the status of marine turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI)using data gathered during a multidisciplinary study involving field surveys, questionnaire-basedinterviews, and molecular genetics between 2002 and 2006. Large aggregations of foraging turtlesin the archipelago’s waters are dominated by juvenile green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbillturtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), with provisional mixed-stock analysis of these species suggestingthat the aggregations originate predominantly from larger and relatively proximate sourcerookeries in the Wider Caribbean region. This study also suggests that the islands host remnantnesting populations of turtles, with hawksbill turtle nests recorded more frequently than greenand loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nests. The TCI islanders retain a culture of turtle use, withthe current regulated and legitimate harvest likely to be one of the largest among the CaribbeanIslands. This study suggests that historic and current harvest of turtles and their eggs in the TCImay have contributed to the apparent decline in the country’s nesting populations. In order toaddress this conservation concern, changes to the regulation and management of the TCI’s turtlefishery are necessary, but further research is needed to inform these changes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richardson PB, Broderick AC, Bruford M, Calosso M, Clerveaux W, Formia A, Henderson A, McClellan K, Newman SP, Parsons K, Pepper M, Ranger S, Silver JJ, Slade L, Godley BJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chelonian Conservation and Biology

Year: 2009

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Pages: 192-207

ISSN (print): 1071-8443

ISSN (electronic): 1943-3956

Publisher: Chelonian Research Foundation


DOI: 10.2744/CCB-0871.1


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