Sea Turtle In-water Monitoring Survey 2011

Seven sea turtles species inhabit the world’s oceans today and have a unique evolutionary lineage that dates back at least 110 million years.Sea turtle populations are declining worldwide due to different factors such as destruction and/or modification of habitats, nesting beaches being degraded by sand mining as well as commercial and tourist development, foraging grounds have been altered or destroyed, pollution, increased shipping traffic and recreational activities. Changes in the populations of juveniles and sub-adults are a early indicator for assessing the future of the sea turtle population as a whole. In-water surveys of sea turtle foraging grounds are a good tool to monitor population changes
A total of 35 in-water transects were made, two tour dives, one in day time and one at night and observations from the boat were made during the transect time by the captain. The in-water turtle survey was conducted between February and July 2011 within St.Eustatius National Marine Park boundaries.
A total of 16 sea turtles (11 greens sea turtles and five hawksbills) were observed during 25 hours and 20 minutes of dive time that includes transect dives, two tour dives and turtles observed from the boat during the transect time, yielding a Catch Per Unit E ffort of 0.63 within the marine park boundaries. During the 35 transect dives, seven sea turtles were recorded, four of them were green sea turtles and three were hawksbills. During the two tour dives seven sea turtles were recorded, six of them were green sea turtles and one was a hawksbill. The total number of observed turtles by the captain on the boat was two sea turtles, one green sea turtle and one hawksbill.

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