Project & Objectives
- Raise the awareness of marine turtle conservation needs at regional levels;
- Understand the post-nesting migrations and biology of marine turtles using satellite tracking;
- Identify the foraging grounds of endangered marine turtles and linkages between nesting and feeding population assemblages;
- Share tracking data and findings to relevant authorities and contribute to the development of a regional marine turtle conservation plan;
- Integrate these conservation initiatives within international conservation agreements on marine turtles and national programmes.
Marine turtle populations around the globe are threatened with extinction, having been heavily over-harvested and having their habitat increasingly destroyed by mankind. With increased coastal development, urbanisation and industrialisation, the global population of the turtles is in decline. Nowadays, critical measures are urgently needed to safeguard the few remaining turtle nesting sites, their feeding and breeding sites at sea, and their migratory pathways.
Two out of the seven species of marine turtles, the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), occur in Gulf waters. Worldwide, the IUCN Red List (IUCN2008) lists the hawksbill turtle as critically endangered and the green turtle as endangered. At the local and regional level the stocks of these species are threatened and the number of foraging habitats and nesting grounds are continually declining.
Hope for Gulf Marine Turtles
Around the world, conservation programmes aim to prevent further decline of their population and protect turtles by ensuring viable nesting and feeding populations of these magnificent ancient creatures. Education programmes have now spread through key turtle regions; nesting beaches are protected in many countries; laws have been enacted and enforced in several locations which protect turtles; and for certain turtle species, previously declining, the populations are again on the rise. Now is the time to ensure that actions and conservation efforts such as these prevail for marine turtles in the Gulf region.