UFDC Home  |  dLOC  

Proceedings of the regional meeting : Marine turtle conservation in the wider Caribbean region : a dialogue for effectiv...

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Proceedings of the regional meeting : Marine turtle conservation in the wider Caribbean region : a dialogue for effective regional management
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Eckert, Karen L.
Grobois, F. Alberto Abreu
WIDECAST
Publisher:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network ( WIDECAST )
Place of Publication:
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network
Holding Location:
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier:
System ID:
AA00000380:00001


This item has the following downloads:


Table of Contents
    Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Dedication
        Page i
        Page ii
    Santo Domingo Declaration
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Preface
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Acknowledgement
        Page xv
    Table of Contents
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
    Welcome
        Page xviii
    Statement of purpose
        Page xix
        Page xx
    Section I: Sea turtles of the Wider Caribbean Region
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Section II: Sea turtle management goals and criteria
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Section III: International cooperation
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Sessions IV and V: Meeting management goals
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Session VI: Working group results and recommendations
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
    Annexes
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
Full Text




Marine Turtle Conservation
in the Wider Caribbean Region:
A Dialogue for Effective
Regional Management

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
16-18 November 1999

PROCEEDINGS
















o Karen L. Eckert
F. Alberto Abreu Grobois
Editors


March 2001













For bibliographic purposes this document may be cited as:


Eckert, K.L. and F. A. Abreu Grobois (eds.) 2001. T .. .i;, of the Regional Meeting: i- Turtle
Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management," Santo
Domingo, 16-18 November 1999. WIDECAST, IUCN-MTSG, WWF, and UNEP-CEP xx + 154 pp

Copies of this document may be obtained free of charge, in English or in Spanish from:

Information Officer
WIDECAST Conservation Materials Distribution Center
PO. Box 486, Kingshill
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands 00851
e-mail: widecast@ix.netcom.com






























About the cover

The designs for the cover were extracted from various Mexican pre-Columbian codices. The human fig-
ures, footprints, and the speech symbols were taken from the Codice Boturini, also known as Tira de la Pere-
grinaci6n, which depicts the migration of the Mexicas (ancient .\ 1, .) towards the Valley of Mexico. The
turtle figure in the center comes from an ancient Mayan codex. We felt that this symbolism, taken from pre-
Colombian art, well reflected the nature and purposes of the people attending the workshop bringing
together many people, traveling from far and wide, to dialogue about marine turtles.









Marine Turtle Conservation
in the Wider Caribbean Region:
A Dialogue for Effective
Regional Management


Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
16-18 November 1999


PROCEEDINGS


Karen L. Eckert
F. Alberto Abreu Grobois
Editors


WIDECAST MTSG


UNEP


March 2001





















It's been said that a civilization is a conversation over time.

We dedicate these chapters,
and the conversation they represent,
with much appreciation
to the memory of

Elvira Carrillo

friend,
colleague,
pure heart,
one of those indiUi',iaIu
who really knew
that "...there is no path.
The path is made as one walks."
















SANTO DOMINGO
DECLARA TION


Resolution of the meeting,
.11 rint- Turtle Conservation in
the WiT -Jir Caribbean Region A Dialogue for
Effective Regional .- l, m! l. .Ci.j i t

16-18 November 1999
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Forty-eight resource managers and scientists from
29 states and territories in the Wider Caribbean
Region discussed a variety of, -1,i. relevant to the
n.i.i,. !!!.. n of marine turtles and their habitats.
These participants of this meeting have produced this
declaration to provide recommendations on the
conservation of marine turtles and their habitats in
the WCR for consideration by governments,
international organizations, non-governmental
organizations, academic institutions, and other
sectors of society.

The p.,rti.il..nl- note that for the purposes of this
Declaration:

The term \% id.. i Caribbean Region" (WCR) refers
to the description established by the Parties to the
Convention for the Protection and Development of
the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean
Region (Cartagena Convention, UNEP 1983);

The term "conservation" refers to the management
of human use of .--.-Ii 11 or ecosystems to ensure
such use is sustainable. Besides sustainable use,
conservation includes protection, maintenance,
rehabilitation, restoration, and enhancement of
1-,, 4 1.1-ii.n and ecosystems; and


The term "marine turtle" refers to any stage in the
life cycle of the six species found in the WCR:
Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys
coriacea, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys
kempii and Lepidochelys olivacea.


RECOGNIZING that marine turtles comprise a unique
part of the biological diversity of the WCR and an


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



DECLARATION DE
SANTO DOMINGO


Resolucion de la reunion,
Conservacin de Tortugas Marinas en
la Region del Gran Caribe Un Didlogo para
el Manejo Regional Efectivo

16-18 de noviembre de 1999
Santo Domingo, Reptiblica Dominicana


Cuarenta y ocho administradores de recursos
naturales y -).. nf,,-,-,.. de 29 unidades geopoliticas
en la Region Gran Caribe discutieron sobre .'i' *..
relevantes para el manejo de las tortugas marinas y
sus habitats. Los I.'i-ti,-ii,.,",k- han generado esta
declaracion para proveer recomendaciones sobre la
conservaci6n de las tortugas marinas y sus habitats
en la RGC y someterla a la consideration de los
gobiernos, organizaciones internacionales,
(-c.. -; --1-,-1-.1. no-guberamentales, instituciones
academicas y otros sectors de la sociedad civil.

Los i,.,r!ipirik para fines de esta Declaraci6n
aclaran que:

El termino "Region del Gran Caribe" (RGC) se re-
fiere a la descripci6n establecida por las Partes en el
Convenio para la Protecci6n y el Desarrollo del
Medio Marino en la Regi6n del Gran Caribe
(Convenio de Ca.!i.l. a.. PNUMA 1983);

El termino "conservaci6n" se entiende como el
manejo del uso human de organismos y ecosistemas
que asegure la sustentabilidad de dicho uso. Ademas
de uso sustentable, la conservacion incluye
proteccion, mantenimiento, rehabilitaci6n,
restauraci6n y .h.i,. i'. ,,'tI de p1.,1 i ; .,i y
ecosistemas; y

El termino "tortuga marina" se refiere a cualesquiera
de los estadios del ciclo de vida, de las seis species
que se encuentran en la RGC: Caretta caretta,
Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea,
Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii y
Lepidochelys olivacea.

RECONOCIENDo que las tortugas marinas son un
component mnico de la diversidad biologica en la







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



integral part of the cultural, economic, and social
"r I. t. of the societies found therein;


CONSIDERING that all marine turtles are characterized
by the fll.- -- i..- specific biological aspects: slow
growth, late maturity, long life, and high rates of
mortality during early life stages, and that
understanding Ti -,.. aspects is fundamental to the
.1, 1 1, 1.1. I of management I" 1 .- ""


RECOGNIZING that marine turtles occupy unique
positions in marine food webs, are fundamental to
the health and structure of important marine
ecosystems, and have complex life cycles which
depend on a tI ;. I.i, of environments, including
terrestrial, coastal, and i 1. i.I (open ocean)
zones;

RECOGNIZING that marine turtles have both
,. *,n Il-'t .and non-consumptive use values to the
nations and peoples of the WCR;

CoN ii i i ri -r iiiii.. turtles, atvarious life stages,
. 1- I.. and migrate over vast distances, including
on to the high seas and dr._.nllc the jurisdictional
waters of nilipli Range 'i.. -.


RECOGNIZING that in the WCR, in -.. .. .i1 marine
turtles are less abundant than ih.. were in former
times as indicated by historic and -t ri. evidence,
and furthermore both historic and scientific
information shows that many populations of marine
turtles in the WCR have declined while at the same
time both Tii ,, -.--, and pressures on marine turtles have
generally increased;

CONCERNED that in general there is insufficient
scientific information available for management
purposes, I .1'. ;.i11 from long-term monitoring of
marine turtles and their habitats in the WCR;


CONSIDERING 11.1 i I.I ;i:i.: turtles are recognized in the
respective national legislation of the majority of
Si. .. of the WCR as requiring special attention for
fisheries and wildlife management and conservation
activities;


RGC asi como parte integral de los aspects
culturales, econ6micos y sociales de las sociedades
de la region;

CONSIDERANDO que todas las species de tortugas
marinas en la region se caracterizan por los siguientes
.rln,,..ii. biol6gicos especificos: lento crecimiento
y madurez tardia, larga vida, alta tasa de mortalidad
durante las primeras etapas del ciclo de vida y, que
es fundamental comprender estas peculiaridades para
el desarrollo de programs para su manejo;

RECONOCIENDO que las tortugas marinas ocupan sitios
unicos en las tramas tr6ficas, son fundamentals para
la salud y estructura de importantes ecosistemas
marino-costeros y, por su complejo ciclo de vida
dependent de una diversidad de ambientes, tanto
terrestres, costeros, como epipelagico Zonaa
oceanica);

RECONOCIENDO que existen valores de usos
consuntivos y no-consuntivos de las tortugas marinas
en los paises y para los pueblos de la RGC;

CONSIDERANDO que las tortugas marinas, durante
varias etapas de su ciclo vital, se 11 I1 .i efectuian
extensas migraciones en alta mar y dentro de los
limits de aguas de jurisdicci6n national de
diferentes Estados del area de su distribuci6n;

F' i. o queenlaRGCen_. ..,.i.i1 lastortugas
marinas son menos abundantes que anteriormente,
evidenciado por datos hist6ricos y de otras fuentes,
y que ademas tanto informaci6n hist6rica como
cientifica muestran que muchas de las poblaciones
de tortugas marinas han declinado, mientras que en
paralelo se han incrementado las amenazas y las
presiones sobre las tortugas marinas en lo general;

PREOCUPADOS porque en general hay poca
informaci6n cientifica disponible para fines de
manejo, en i..,ni, ni1.i dei"' 1. I, ,. de seguimiento a
largo plazo sobre tortugas marinas y sus habitats en
la RGC;

CONSIDERANDO que en la mayoria de las legislaciones
nacionales de los Estados de la RGC se establece
que las tortugas marinas son species con
requerimientos de atenci6n especial para los fines
de su manejo y conservation;













CONSIDERING that all species of marine turtles that
occur in the WCR are specifically included under
special conservation categories (such as threatened,
endangered and ciiti...ill endangered) in diverse
international and regional agreements, including the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), Cartagena
Convention ., ,th. ih it its SPAW Protocol, Inter-
American Convention on the Protection and
Conservation of Sea Turtles, and the Convention on
the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild
Animals (CMS);


CONSIDERING that the habitats of marine turtles are
protected by numerous international agreements,
including the United Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea, International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL),
Cartagena Convention and its various Protocols,
Inter-American Convention on the Protection and
Conservation of Sea Turtles, and Convention on
Biological Diversity;


RECOGNIZING I11i. 11 i i nations and peoples ofthe WCR
exhibit environmental, historical, cultural, social,
economic and political diversity;

RECOGNIZING i 1.1i throughout the WCR there are
historical and cultural traditions of consumptive use
of marine turtles, as well as other well- established
forms of exploitation tl-hrl legal and illegal) such as
for sources of food and commodities used in trade;


RECOGNIZING that, in addition to direct exploitation,
mortality occurs as a result of numerous human
activities which result in the incidental capture of
marine turtles and the destruction of critical habitats;
and

RECOGNIZING that despite limited resources,
government agencies, international organizations,
non-governmental organizations and other
stakeholders have endeavored to advance the
conservation of marine turtles and their habitats at
the local, national and regional levels;

RECOGN: I t1.lit .li.:greathir .. I II insocialand
economic development levels in the WCR, there are
many initiatives nationally and internationally to


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


CONSIDERANDO que todas las species de tortugas
marinas de la RGC estan especificamente incluidas
bajo categories especiales de conservaci6n (como
amenazadas, en p.li.'l y en p..li.l., critic) en
diversos acuerdos internacionales y regionales,
incluyendo la Convenci6n sobre el Comercio
Intemacional de Especies Amenazadas de Fauna y
Flora Silvestres (CITES), el Convenio de Cartagena
y su Protocolo SPAW, la Convenci6n Interamericana
para la Protecci6n y Conservaci6n de las Tortugas
Marinas, asi como la Convenci6n sobre la
Conservaci6n de Especies Migratorias de Animales
Silvestres (CMS);

CONSIDERANDO que los habitats de las tortugas
marinas estan protegidos por numerosos acuerdos
intemacionales, incluyendo: la Convenci6n de las
Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar, el
Convenio Intemacional para la Prevenci6n de la
Contaminaci6n por los Buques, la Convenci6n de
Cartagena y sus Protocolos, la Convenci6n
Interamericana para la Protecci6n y Conservaci6n
de las Tortugas Marinas y la Convenci6n de
Diversidad Biologica;

RECONOCIENDO que en las naciones y pueblos de la
RGC es manifiesta una diversidad ambiental,
historic, cultural, social, econ6mica y political;

RECONOCIENDO que a lo largo de la RGC existen
tradiciones culturales e hist6ricas del uso de tortugas
marinas para consume, asi como otras formas de
explotaci6n bien establecidas (tanto legales como
ilegales) tales como fuentes de alimentaci6n y
products para el comercio;

RECONOCIENDO que, aunado a la capture direct,
existen otras fuentes de mortalidad I'"l' tI, de
numerosas actividades humans que ocasionan la
capture incidental de las tortugas marinas asi como
la destrucci6n de habitats critics; y

RECONOCIENDO que a pesar de los recursos limitados
las agencies gubernamentales, organizaciones
intemacionales, organizaciones no-gubemamentales
y otros actors claves, se han esforzado para avanzar
en la conservaci6n de las tortugas marinas y sus
habitats a nivel local, national y regional;

RECONOCIENDO que a pesar de la gran diversidad en
niveles de desarrollo social y econ6mico en la
RGC. existen muchas iniciativas nacionales e







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



conserve marine turtles and their habitats in the
region; and

WISHING to congratulate the governmental
authorities, intergovernmental agencies, non-
governmental organizations, civil groups and
individuals from diverse countries and sectors of
society in the WCR for their efforts, investment and
advances made to develop programs and actions to
conserve marine turtles and their habitats;


WE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMEND that appropriate
authorities, organizations, civic groups and other
stakeholders:


1. Identify, strengthen, promote, develop and
maintain mechanisms for enhancing dialogue,
collaboration, information-sharing, and
technology exchange among diverse agencies,
organizations, researchers and other stakeholders in
the WCR;

2. Promote greater community participation in
the identification of management priorities and
actions, as well as in the development,
implementation and evaluation of activities directed
at the conservation of marine turtles and their
habitats;

3. Promote scientific research, assessment and
monitoring of marine turtles and their habitats, and
standardize methods of data collection and
analysis;

4. Develop and implement national and regional
management plans based on the best available
scientific information, and designed to restore and
stabilize marine turtle p" 'i '1. i. ,i and their habitats
to .. % Il provide broad social, cultural, economic
and environmental i.ii.. fis-. to the peoples of the
WCR;

5. Promote the harmonization of national policies
and legislation concerning the conservation of
marine Trl .s *-I i their habitats throughout the WCR,
and support efforts to improve the implementation
of relevant national, regional and global
commitments;


intemacionales para conservar las tortugas marinas
y sus habitats en la region; y

DESEANDO felicitar a las autoridades
gubemamentales, agencies inter-gubemamentales,
organizaciones no-gubemamentales, grupos
civilies e individuos de d.i I .. paises y sectors
de la sociedad en la RGC por sus esfuerzos,
inversiones, advances logrados para desarrollar
programs y acciones para conservar las tortugas
marinas y sus habitats;

RECOMENDAMOS UNANIMEMENTE que las autoridades
con las atribuciones pertinentes, organizaciones,
grupos civiles y otros actors clave realicen las
siguientes acciones:

1. Identificar, fortalecer, promoter, .1 ...ii..ll ., y
mantener mecanismos para mejorar el diAlogo, la
colaboraci6n, intercambio de informaci6n y
tecnologia entire las diversas agencies,
organizaciones, investigadores y otros actors claves
en la RGC;

2. Promover una mayor participaci6n ciudadana
en la identificaci6n de prioridades y acciones de
manejo, asi como en el desarrollo, "......;.l y
evaluaci6n de actividades dirigidas a la conservaci6n
de las tortugas marinas y sus ii -lr t -,.


3. Promover la investigaci6n cientifica, la
evaluaci6n y el seguimiento de las tortugas marinas
y sus habitats, y la estandarizaci6n de m6todos de
colecta y anAlisis de informaci6n;

4. Desarrollar y Ilevar a cabo planes de manejo
nacionales y regionales basados en la mejor
informaci6n cientifica disponible y orientados a
recuperar y estabilizar las poblaciones de tortugas
marinas y sus habitats a niveles capaces de proveer
amplios beneficios sociales, culturales, econ6micos
y ambientales para los pueblos de la RGC;

5. Promover la armonizaci6n de las political y
legislaci6n nacionales relacionadas con la
conservaci6n de las tortugas marinas y sus habitats
en la RGC, asi como apoyar los esfuerzos de los
paises de la RGC para mejorar la aplicaci6n
adecuada de los compromises nacionales,
regionales y globales;













6. Identify, strengthen, develop and maintain
mechanisms for providing the resources required
to design and implement 1.. activities, including
human, financial, logistic, and political resources;


7. Based on the recommendations of the Working
Group, "Determining Population Distribution and
Status":
* Identify (locate), characterize, and rank (as to
intensity of use and in.i ,_i..i!!i... for n.i .i. ,.-
ment) marine turtle iI. hi-_. and foraging sites,

* Select Index Sites (p i 111 nesting and forag-
ing sites) for intensive iii-.,;t,-.,; I

* Determine the genetic identity of primary nest-
ing and foraging assemblages,

* Identify (locate), characterize, and rank (as to
intensity of use and importance for manage-
ment) migratory corridors, mating sites, and
"developmental" (juvenile) habitats,

* Identify, evaluate and rank threats to marine
turtles and their habitats both domestic and,
to the extent practicable, throughout their
ranges,
* Determine .1... I .. !il, trends for each popu-
lation using statistically robust procedures over
ecologically relevant time frames, and t.-,1 ..
regional and global species-specific trends into
consideration,

* Deduce .lh.n .. in local population abundance
from historical records (e.g., historical litera-
ture, early surveys, 1i .i.i.,. or trade statistics),
and place these in the context of similar assess-
ments conducted elsewhere in the I--..l.-,t; -.i .'
range,
* Derive population "status" (as distinct from
population "trends" which are evaluated over
shorter periods of time) from trend measure-
ments (whether observed, estimated or in-
ferred) taken from the .uil.-i..n's full range
for a period of at least two generations; thus
"status" becomes a biologically meaningful


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



6. Identificar, fortalecer, desarrollar y mantener
mecanismos para proveer los recursos requeridos
para el ..l... ._ y ejecuci6n de estas actividades,
incluyendo recursos humans, financieros, logisticos
y politicos.

7. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo
de Trabajo, "Determinaci6n de la Distribuci6n de
las Poblaciones y su Estado de Conservaci6n":
Identificar (localizar), caracterizar y
jerarquizar (de acuerdo a la intensidad de uso e
importancia para el manejo) sitios de anidaci6n
y alimentacion,
Seleccionar Sitios Indice (sitios de anidaci6n y
de alimentaci6n de primer orden) para fines de
seguimiento intensive,
Determinar la identidad genetica de las
tortugas en sitios de anidaci6n y alimentaci6n
de primer orden,
Identificar (localizar), caracterizar y
ja.,.,,1; .0 (de acuerdo a la intensidad de uso e
importancia para el manejo) corredores
migratorios, sitios de reproducci6n y habitats
de "desarrollo"(de juveniles),
Identificar, evaluar y jerarquizar amenazas a
las tortugas marinas y sus habitats en el ambito
local, asi como -dentro de lo posible- en toda
su area de ,.!i i.m:,. i.i,
Determinar tendencies demograficas 11.. cada
poblaci6n aplicando procedimientos
estadisticos robustos a traves de series de
tiempo de relevancia ecol6gica y tomando en
cuenta las tendencies regionales y globales de
cada especie,
Deducir cambios en la abundancia de la
poblacion local a partir de registros hist6ricos
(p. ej. p1." "'' i,... p 1.1l . estadisticas de
capture o del comercio), y situarlas en el
context de evaluaciones similares en otros
sitios del area de distribuci6n de esa poblaci6n,
Derivar el "estado de conservaci6n" la de la
poblaci6n i,. ll. I.. in,. ii.li. esta de la "tendencia"
poblacional que se evalia sobre series de
tiempo mas cortas) a partir de determinaciones
de tendencies (ya sea observadas, estimadas o
inferidas) deducidas de la distribuci6n
complete de la poblaci6n a lo largo de por lo







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWE
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



classification congruent with criteria used in-
ternationally (i.e., IUCN).





8. Based on the recommendations of the Working
Group, "Monitoring Population Trends":

* Select Index Beaches and F,. .,._i ,_ Sites (1! i.
mary nesting and foraging sites) for intensive


* Collect baseline data by determining Absolute
Abundance or by utilizing Indices of Abun-
dance,
* Continue to collect data at Index Foraging
Sites, using standardized collection and report-
ing protocols, for a minimum of 5 years,

* Continue to collect data at Index Nesting
Beaches, using standardized collection and
reporting protocols, for 5-10 years (,.1. fil!. .I as
5 years or a minimum of 3 multiples of the
average emigration interval [1-3 years, de-
p!".lin"' on species], whichever is longer),


* Continue monitoring until a statistically sig-
nificant change in abundance is detected or
until population stability is demonstrated with
statistical i.!...;i. i remembering that mini-
mum monitoring intervals are il ,. I. to be in-
sufficient to generate statistically i;iI,. .I,
results if populations are small,


* Recognize that trends are not predictive, but
rather they demonstrate with a selected degree
of mathematical pi.... i. ;,. that there has been a
change in abundance over time and that its di-
rection is negative or p.. i t; I,.


menos dos _... i.. ;.. asegurando asi que el
"estado de conservation" sea una clasificacion
con significado biol6gico y en congruencia con
los criterios internacionales en uso (p.ej.,
IUCN).

8. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo
de Trabajo, "Seguimiento de Tendencias
Poblacionales":
* Seleccionar Playas Indice de Anidaci6n y
Sitios Indice de Alimentaci6n (sitios de
anidaci6n y de alimentaci6n de primer orden)
para un seguimiento intensive,
* Recabar datos basicos de referencia por medio
de la determination de Abundancia Absoluta o
el uso de Indices de Abundancia,
* Desarrollar el acopio de datos en Sitios Indice
de Alimentaci6n, utilizando metodos
normalizados de colecta y de protocolos de
informed, por un minimo de 5 afios,
* Desarrollar y en algunos casos continuar el
acopio de datos en Playas Indice de Anidaci6n,
utilizando metodos normalizados de colecta y
de protocolos de informes, a lo largo de 5-10
afios periodo definido como el period mas
largo de 5 aios o un minimo de 3 veces el
intervalo promedio de remigraci6n [1-3 afios,
dependiendo de la. :- I-; i),
* Continuar el seguimiento hasta detectar un
cambio estadisticamente significativo en la
abundancia o hasta que se detected una
estabilidad poblacional demostrable con
precision estadistica, recordando que es
p' .'.I,1.1. que los intervalos minimos de
seguimiento sean insuficientes para general
resultados estadisticamente ,.,, -,n..,--: si las
poblaciones son p.. -pq I' I-"
* Reconocer que si bien las tendencies no tienen
capacidad predicativa, en cambio demuestran
con un grado determinable de p... I.;,i, que ha
ocurrido un cambio en la abundancia sobre un
tiempo dado y que la direcci6n del cambio es
negative o positive













9. Based on the recommendations of the Working
Group, "Promoting Public Awareness and Par-
ticipation":
* Clearly ik it, target and stakeholder groups,
and stakes,
* Determine the socio-economic importance or
value of the resource to the various stakehold-
ers, including communities and nations,

* Identify economic alternatives (. -1, -n' ) in a
collaborative manner (such alternatives might
include activities totally divorced from the re-
source), as well as those involving non-con-
sumptive or more sustainable consumptive use
of the resource,
* Develop comprehensive medium- and long-
term marine turtle public awareness programs
focused on the respective stakeholder _, i.,. 1

* Coordinate and harmonize policies and activi-
ties of the relevant sectors, including Govern-
mental and non-governmental,

* Incorporate marine turtle (and general marine)
education into the school curriculum,

* ii t, iir nL. 1, establish, and maintain
mechanisms for the exchange of, I" .. )*. -'
information and collaboration (including the
Internet and field visits) using various sectors
of society,
* Determine ways in which program success can
be measured and evaluated,
* Identify funding sources and .1 ,. 1, -p funding
strategies consistent with specific I .. i ,111 ob-
jectives.

10. Based on the recommendations of the Working
Gi up. "Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds
and Inter-nesting Habitats":

* Determine past and p,.. ,. t quantitative and
qualitative status and extent of foraging and
;It. ,-,, :t;.n- habitats,
* Develop criteria to rank threats to foraging
grounds and inter-nesting habitats, and to
turtles utilizing th. -. habitats,


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



9. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo
de Trabajo, "Promoci6n de la Concientizaci6n y
Participaci6n Piblica":
Identificar de manera p.,--:, -.. ,v-- -objetivo y
de interns, asi como los intereses involucrados,
Determinar la importancia socioecon6mica o el
valor de los recursos para los diversos grupos
de interest, incluyendo las comunidades y las
naciones,
Identificar, a traves de un process
i'."1I, i;I l ... las altemativas (opciones)
econ6micas (que pueden incluir actividades
totalmente ajenas al recurso en si, asi como
aquellas que involucren un consume no
extractivo o mas sustentable del recurso,
Desarrollar programs integrales de
concientizaci6n public a median y largo
plazo, con tematicas sobre tortugas marinas y
enfocados a cada . ; I de interest,
Coordinar y armonizar political y actividades
de los sectors relevantes, incluyendo las del
gobiemo y organizaciones no-
gubemamentales,
Incorporar pj-..i.1. educativos sobre
tortugas marinas (y temas marines en _.. .. i
a la curricula escolar,
Identificar, fortalecer, establecer y mantener
mecanismos para el intercambio de
experiencias, infomnaci6n y colaboraci6n
1(i.lii. .- id, el Intemet y visits de campo) con
los diferentes sectors de la sociedad,
Determinar formas y maneras para poder medir
y evaluar el exito de los programs,
Identificar fuentes y desarrollar estrategias de
financiamiento acordes con los objetivos
I :" j t ,-,-, d el p ,-. -, n( .,

10. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del
Grupo de Trabajo, "Reducci6n de Amenazas en
Sitios de Alimentaci6n y Habitats
Interanidatorios":
Determinar la condici6n cuali- y cuantitativa,
hist6rica y reciente y, la extension de los
habitats de alimentaci6n e inter-anidatorio,
D.. i -i.-,.l -. criterios para jerarquizar las
amenazas a los sitios de alimentaci6n y
habitats inter-anidatorios, y a las tortugas que
utilizan estos habitats,







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



* Identify, characterize and rank (as to their im-
pact on local ,, ..i l.,it. i }) 1'- ','t and potential
dii .I. .to each f.i..i i,. area, as .. 11 as to ma-
rine turtles utilizing these habitats,

* Develop and incorporate marine turtle habitat
management plans as part of national Inte-
grated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
plans,
* D esign and ;i pl, I.i t iiil. ,., .i i1. 1, .t ., .-
ment *.ln as necessary, to mitigate priority
threats to marine turtles,

* Assemble and review existing information,
identify gaps, and initiate efforts to acquire
necessary data,

* Design and ;ipldm..iit monitoring pi .... to
evaluate the r, .nl( i of management actions,

* Review legislation and law enforcement for
adequacy and gaps,
* Promote regional cooperation in managing
critical habitats.

11. Based on the recommendations of the Working
CG,, ii "Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches":

* Identify TII', -a,. through assessments, research,
and the exchange of information,
* C, n i.. rlii..it not only to nesting beaches
(habitat), but also to nests (eggs), !d.ilill;.
and in females,

* Identify, characterize, and rank threats (,,,,,
of which are described below), giving priority
management attention to Ti.-- :. with the great-
est potential to exert a negative effect on the
status of local breeding assemblages,

* Review existing legislation for adequacy, em-
phasize consistent law enforcement, ;mpi.,, ,
inter ..i. ,. ., collaboration, and promote public
awareness of and stakeholder --i t;,- ;I.-t; -.n in
management program planning and implemen-
tation.


* Identificar, caracterizar y jerarquizar (de
acuerdo a su impact sobre poblaciones
locales) amenazas actuales y 1p. i.iI .. para
cada sitio de alimentaci6n, asi como a las
tortugas marinas que utilizan estos habitats,
* Desarrollar e incorporar planes de manejo para
el habitat de tortugas marinas a los planes
nacionales de Manejo Integral de la Zona
Costera (MIZC),
* Di .I-i., e imql,.',,.In planes de manejo
indepen-dientes, conforme sea necesario, para
mitigar las amenazas prioritarias a las tortugas
marinas,
* Compilar y revisar informaci6n existente,
identificar vacios de informaci6n e iniciar
esfuerzos para adquirir la informaci6n
necesara,
* D i ; i.ii e im q ,l..,n. iI, i, ',.' ,1, de
seguimiento para evaluar el/los r ll.l'. de
las acciones de manejo,
* Revisar la legislaci6n y su observancia,
buscando vacios e identificando deficiencies,
* Promover cooperaci6n regional en el manejo
de habitats critics.

11. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del
Grupo de Trabajo, "Reducci6n de Amenazas en
Playas de Anidaci6n":
* Identificar amenazas a traves de la evaluaci6n,
investigaci6n y el intercambio de informaci6n,
* Considerar ademas de las amenazas a las
playas de anidaci6n s!i.ifli.tt b aquellas que
afectan las nidadas (huevos), crias y hembras

* Identificar, caracterizar y jerarquizar las
amenazas entiree otras, las que se described a
continuaci6n), dando atenci6n prioritaria para
su manejo, aquellas con el mayor potential de
ejercer un .1.. I.. ... negative sobre la condici6n
de las poblaciones reproductoras locales,
* Revisar la legislaci6n existente para detectar
deficiencies, enfatizar la aplicaci6n consistent
de la ley, mejorar colaboraci6n entire agencies
y promover la concientizaci6n puiblica y la
participaci6n de los grupos de interns en la
planificaci6n del program de m.1n. i, y su
aplicaci6n,













* Eliminate illegal poaching of eggs and nesting
females,
* Minimize egg depredation (using the least ma-
nipulative strategy),

* Control beach sand mining,
* Eliminate (or reduce to n.ii-l,. iit.11. in levels)
artificial beachfront lighting during peak nest-
ing and hatching seasons,

* Prohibit irreparable damage to sandy beaches
due to stabilization structures, such as :n ..-,l I
or groynes
* Manage p ..mi.ill; threatening human com-
mercial and recreational activities during nest-
ing seasons,
* Prevent degradation to the incubating environs
of known 11. Iir-,. beaches due to beach re-
building and renourishment activities,

* Prevent irreparable damage to sandy beaches
due to coastal construction of buildings and
Hl!. -- ill,. i tl( ,
* Reduce beach debris,
* Control pollution, including chemical, sewage
and oil contamination, at known turtle i,, .11,_.
beaches
* Reduce, to the extent tI-- ":;1 the negative
effects of natural disasters and phenomena.

12. Based on the recommendations of the Working
Group, "Strengthening the Regulatory Frame-
work":
* With regard to the regional (international)
framework: stimulate and promote, on a practi-
cal level, cooperation among nations; harmo-
nize national regulatory frameworks for the
protection and management of natural re-
sources, in particular marine itu -, and ensure
that national obligations under international
treaties and agreements are met on a timely
and ongoing basis,
* With regard to the national regulatory frame-
work: review existing legislation and regula-
tions for gaps; .:t,.. irjl.. i the national legisla-
tive framework by using the best available sci-
entific knowledge and taking into consider-
ation stakeholders, i. !. i[.. !!!. capacity, pub-


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Eliminar el saqueo de huevos y hembras
anidadoras,
Minimizar la depredaci6n de huevos
(aplicando la estrategia con menor
manipulaci6n),
Controlar la extraccion de arena de las p; .; -
Eliminar (o reducir a niveles que no iip.I. 1.. ii)
la iluminacion artificial de frentes de playa
durante la temporada de maxima anidacion y
eclosion,
Prohibir construcciones de estabilizaci6n,
como las paredes de playa y los tbi.-. que
ocasionan dafios irreparables a la playas,
Manejar actividades comerciales y de recreo
que signifiquen una amenaza potential durante
la temporada de anidacion,
Prevenir la degradaci6n de playas por
actividades de reconstrucci6n o relleno en
areas aledafias a playas de anidaci6n
conocidas,
Prevenir el dafio irreparable a il-,-. -v.-. arenosas
por la construction de edificios e
mtl .!,. -ulu. !ii. costera,
Reducir la basura en playa,
Controlar la contaminaci6n, incluyendo aquella
por sustancias quimicas, aguas residuales y por
petr6leo, en 1.1- .. de anidaci6n conocidas,
Reducir, en lo possible, el efecto negative de
desastres y fen6menos naturales.

12. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del
Grupo de Trabajo, "Fortalecimiento del Marco
Juridico":
En relaci6n a las estructuras legales regionales
(intemacionales): promover y estimular, a
niveles factibles, la colaboraci6n entire
naciones; armonizar esquemas de nornatividad
national para la protection y manejo de los
recursos naturales, en particular las tortugas
marinas; y asegurar que las obligaciones
nacionales bajo tratados y convenios
intemacionales se cumplan en ti,.1'pi i y forma,
Con relaci6n al marco juridico national:
revisar la legislaci6n y reglamentos vigentes y
detectar vacios; fortalecer el cuerpo nomnativo
incorporando el mejor conocimiento cientifico
disponible y tomando en consideracion a los
grupos de interest, capacidad de ejecuci6n,







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



lic education, international and regional obliga-
tions, financial mechanisms, and existing laws
1" i.iinII.. to the conservation and management
of marine turtles,

S With regard to public participation in the regu-
latory process: design and implement public
education _..il.i.ti -. and ensure continuous
education to all sectors and stakeholders, rela-
tive to the 1p.., .i ii and obligations of envi-
ronmental legislation.


educaci6n public, obligaciones
internacionales y regionales, mecanismos de
financiamiento y la legislaci6n vigente que
atafie a la conservation y manejo de las
tortugas marinas,
S Con respect a la participacion ciudadana en el
process normativo: di-,. ii. e implementar
..-. li.li.i.. de education para el public en
general; asegurar la educaci6n continue de
todos los sectors y .,si 1 ... de interest en la
tematica relacionada con las i;111., i. .I .. y
-.11;.. -,-,- ... :. que en material ambiental se
contemplan en el marco legal.







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for I- t ...... Regional I t ... I r
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Preface


Six species of sea turtle (leatherback, green, log-
gerhead, hawksbill, olive ridley, Kemp's ridley) are
found in the Wider Caribbean I'-. i defined by
the UNEP Caribbean Environment Pi. ..,I !.111: to
be "the marine environment of the Gulf i ,.
the Caribbean Sea and the areas of the Atlantic
Ocean adjacent thereto, south of 30 degrees north
latitude and within '-", nautical miles of the
Atlantic coasts of the States referred to in article 25
of the Convention" [1983 Convention for the Pro-
tection and Development of the Marine Environ-
ment of the '";* Caribbean Region, or Cartagena
Convention].
Caribbean sea turtles have cultural, ecological
and economic value. The indigenous people of the
region, as well as more recent settlers, use turtles for
meat, eggs, shell, leather and oil. Archeological
studies indicate more than 1,000 years of harvest.
The negative effects of unregulated historical har-
vests are exacerbated by late 20*t century sources of
mortality that include high volume commercial
trade and incidental capture in fishing gear, as well
as the widespread loss or degradation of coastal
habitats. All six species are now classified as Endan-
gered or ( ... ..:; f ...? by IUCN (World Con-
servation Union) and, with a few notable
exceptions, most populations are considered deplet-
ed or declining.
Caribbean stakeholders are committed to re-
versing population declines and to ensuring that sea
turtles once again fulfill their ecological roles and
economic potential. Two decades ago the Wider
Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network
(WIDECAST) established a network of scientists,
managers, conservationists, educators, and policy-
makers to draft comprehensive national recovery
plans, facilitate local participation in research and
conservation, promote effective conservation and
management policy, and educate people throughout
the region about sea turtles. Fisheries personnel and
resource managers gathered in 1''.- and again in
1987 to participate in the Western Atlantic Turtle
Symposium (WATS) to discuss shared management


concerns and to assemble a sea turtle database.
'i .. .. initiatives set the stage for new levels of
cooperation and collaboration.
During the last decade, two important binding
agreements have been negotiated in the region. In
1990, the Protocol to the Cartagena Convention
concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife
(SPAW) was adopted in Kingston. Its annexes, list-
ing species (including all Caribbean sea turtles) that
require protection measures, were adopted in 1991.
The SPAW Protocol came into force in 2000. Sec-
ondly the Inter-American Convention for the Pro-
tection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) was
concluded after four rounds of negotiations in the
region in 1996. Like the SPAW Protocol, the IAC is
expected to enter into force soon. Marine 'Trtle Con-
servation in the Wider Caribbean: A Dialoguefor Region-
al Management continues the Caribbean tradition of
innovative leadership in sea turtle conservation.
The time has now come to begin the process of
review and evaluation, and to ask whether our cur-
rent national and international sea turtle manage-
ment regimes are sufficient to promote population
stabilization and species recovery. As evidenced by
Marine 'urtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean: A
D ;...!-.. for .'.:T.......2 ........, .... it is increasingly
clear that the realities of sea turtle biology, especial-
ly delayed maturity and migratory habits, will
require a long-term and sustained commitment to
population n.. -.i'. -,;.. conservation and manage-
ment training, and information exchange. Equally
clear is the need to develop guidelines for effective
regional (international) management, in addition to
national policy 1i !.. ... i
PT, ..11, I management requires at the very least
that parties conduct consistent and comparable data
collection in monitoring locally occurring popula-
tions. -t n management and law enforcement
also present a great challenge that must be met.
While basic population monitoring and resource
management capacity provide the underpinning of
any successful national program, we must still rec-
ognize the multinational character of these species.







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



Herein lies our greatest challenge: maximizing
benefits while sharing costs and responsibilities
among range states for restoring the populations
of Caribbean sea turtles.
Share encouraged by the results of this meet-
ing, including the "Santo Domingo Declaration",
and the fact that it has clearly laid the foundation
for future work and a renewed commitment to
resolving these issues. P....T,- ,..ln1 .:i. .ii. en-
dorsed by the participants, comprised of thirty-
three delegates from twenty-seven governments
and invited experts from eleven nations, empha-
sized the need to strengthen collaboration among
stakeholders; promote greater community partici-


pation; support scientific research as well as ii'
lation and habitat r....; I;,, and develop and
implement national and regional management
guidelines based on the best available science. As
progress continues to be made in sorting out the
complexities of regional management, the dedicat-
ed interest of Governments, intergovernmental
bodies, NGOs and specialists throughout the
-i.1. i Caribbean Region ensures that effective
solutions will be found.

Karen L. Eckert
J :' .. -Abreu G.
Fditors







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for I- i ... . Regional I t .. .. I
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Acknowledgements


We are grateful to our gracious host, the Gov-
ernment of the Dominican P i: 1. for its ti,. :I
assistance and support. Jos6 Miguel Martinez Guri-
ty Undersecretary of Natural P ....!. (Depart-
ment of Agriculture), was especially helpful in
organizing the meeting.
The meeting sponsors, World Wildlife Fund
(WWF), the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conserva-
tion Network (WIDECAST), IUCN/ SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group, and UNEP Caribbean
Environment P i..h ,1 ~:, deserve enormous cred-
it for bringing the meeting to fruition. Special
thanks are due Miguel Jorge (WWF), Alessandra
Vanzella-Khouri (UNEP/ CAR-RCU), and Nancy
Daves (U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service) for
their contributions during the planning stages.


We are also in debt to Yvonne Arias from Grupo
Jaragua in Santo Domingo for her talent, enthusi-
asm and hard work both before and during the
event. Ms. Arias, Laura Perdomo, and their team of
dedicated I<.. -., .. handled a myriad of tasks with
patience, style and good humor. We thank our
translators, Robert McCollum and Agnes Boone-
faes, for their patience and skill, Verna Sybesma
(Curacao) for transcribing the notes taken during
the lively Plenary sessions, and Marydele Donnelly
for assisting with finalizing these proceedings.
Finally, we offer our sincere appreciation to our
invited experts for their professional presentations
and assistance with Working Groups, and to our
participants for their significant contributions in
making this landmark meeting so .. i i







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme




Table of Contents


Dedication i

"Santo Domingo Declaration" iii
Preface xiii

Acknowledgements xv
Table of Contents xvi
Welcome xviii

Statement of Purpose xix
Session I: Sea Turtles of the Wider Caribbean Region 1
General Natural History of Marine Turtles :,' G. Frazier 3
Cultural and Economic Roles of Sea Turtles Didiher Chac6n C. 18
Status and Distribution of Dermochelys coriacea Karen L. Eckert 24
Status and Distribution of Chelonia mydas Cynthia Lanueux 32
Status and Distribution of Caretta caretta Flix Moncada Gavildn 36
Status and Distribution of Eretmochelys imbricata Diego E Amorocho 41
Status and Distribution of Lepidochelys kempii Rene Mdrquez M. 46
Status and Distribution of Lepidochelys olivacea Maria. 1'_-. ,i Marcovaldi 52

Session II: Sea Turtle Management Goals and Criteria 57
Management Planning for Long-Lived Species -John A. Musick 59
Management and Conservation Goals for Caribbean Sea Turtles Nat B. Frazer 69
Open Forum: Criteria and Benchmarks for Sustainable Management of Caribbean
Sea Turtles MiguelJorge .,' "... .:. .-) 75

Session III: International Cooperation 81
Caribbean Sea Turtles and International Law Nelson Andrade Colmenares 83
Open Forum: Strengthening International Co-operation -
Nelson Andrade Colmenares; 1 1.,.. .:) 86
Session Conclusions and Recommendations of the Meeting 92







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for I- i ...... Regional I . I r
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Sessions IV and V: Meeting Management Goals 93
Determining Population Distribution and Status F. .'.. Abreu G. 95
Monitoring Population Trends Rhema H. Kerr Bjorkland 107
Promoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement Crispin d'A'., .: .. 111
Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches Barbara A. Schroeder 115
Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds -Julia A. Horrocks 121
Strengthening the Regulatory Framework -i/.l. ; Sybesma 127
Open Forum: Meeting Management Goals E A;i.. Abreu G. ;'... .,. : 131

Session VI: Working Group Results and Recommendations 133
Determining Population D,' i: l' ..:... and Status 135
Monitoring Population Trends 137
Promoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement 139
P. I'I. i.. TI1I. t. at Nesting Beaches 140
' -I._L i.- TI1i.- i. on Foraging Grounds and Inter-Nesting Habitats 143
Strengthening the Regulatory Framework 144

Annexes
Annex I: Agenda 145
Annex II: List of P :. :T .ni 149


XVll







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Welcome


Jose I 'I :... Martinez Guridy
Subsecretario de Estado de Recursos Naturales
V'., 1 :i.:, ., Dominicana

First of all, I congratulate you for coming to the
Dominican Republic because we have been
threatened by the arrival of a hurricane! The Gov-
ernment of the Dominican Republic is excited to
be the host of this historic meeting. We are also
pleased to have this c. .!r!...;rii to collaborate
with Nelson Andrade of the United Nations
Environment )'i ..,1 and with Miguel Jorg6
ofWorld ".''liiU- Fund, who is well known in our
country.
The Dominican T'i ntil;. still has problems
with marine turtle utilization, but we are trying
hard to address this issue. Today we have estab-
lished a decree to adjust the boundaries for four
marine protected areas, which include habitat for
sea turtles. We also have challenges to overcome
with regard to legislation for marine turtles. To


solve this, we want to establish a special Ministry
to address the issues of environmental protection.
This is an important meeting with representa-
tives from twenty-seven countries in attendance.
It is the Dominican Republic's position that we
will respect consensus, and that we will support
the outcome of this meeting. It is our desire that
these discussions on regional management be
open discussions.
While you are here, we hope that you will
enjoy our hospitality. Tomorrow night the govern-
ment invites you to a special reception. We do not
know what will happen outside in the next few
days, but on the inside we look forward to the ses-
sions ahead and to working with you on these
issues which are so important to all of us.


XV111







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for I- i .. .. Regional I t ... ;.. ..
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Statement of Purpose

F Alberto Abreu C.
Institute de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de iexico
Mixico


It is a dream come true to be participating in this
meeting with old and new colleagues. I. excel-
lent response and healthy participation shown by
the governments in this meeting 11, ., : their 11
ingness to engage in a regional approach to marine
turtle conservation and management. Nonetheless,
we need to point out that this workshop is not an
inter-governmental meeting it is a dialogue.
Coupled with the region's readiness to discuss
important issues, we now have scientific and tech-
nological advances that allow new insights into the
behavior and population dynamics of marine tur-
tles, and provide tools that foster scientifically-
based management of these migratory species.
Much like the region we represent, our group of
some 50 participants is diverse. But, while our lev-
els of experience are very different, we are alike in
being committed to ensuring that marine turtles
remain an important component of Caribbean bio-
diversity.
This meeting was conceived some months ago
as a means to address issues raised in recent years,
and continue the interest and momentum generat-
ed at government levels by the SPAW Protocol and
the Inter-American Convention for the Protection
and Conservation of Sea Turtles. For the first time
in marine turtle conservation, countries are
embracing the notion of working together as a cor-
nerstone of any international agreement.
We should all be proud of the fact that, once
again, the Caribbean region is at the "cutting edge"
with regard to marine turtles. For this meeting we
have brought together specialists who will provide
their expertise on various themes and national par-
ticipants who will provide a wealth of knowledge
on their countries and the marine turtles found
there.


We are here to begin I .. ....! ., about develop-
ing recommendations for regional management
and working methodology. We expect this to be the
first in a series of regional meetings and workshops
that should take place before we can reach our final
goal.
ask all participants to contribute fully and to
share your experiences) and local information. We
need to identify areas where future efforts should
focus, thereby promoting collaboration between
countries and achieving the recovery of marine tur-
tle populations. Quite simply, we need to transcend
working in isolation and emphasize working
together.
This meeting is specifically designed to aid man-
agers and researchers to identify the basic require-
ments in the '"li. Caribbean I'. 1. for the
!., 1.!. management and recovery of marine tur-
tle populations. We hope to achieve wide ranging
discussions among participants in the following
areas that will be major elements ofa future region-
al management plan:
Criteria for determining the status of marine
turtle species;
Minimal requirements for adequate monitor-
ing and information-sharing for management pur-
poses;
1.1. i, monitoring, and mitigating
threats, both to marine turtles and to the habitats
upon which they depend;
Special problems involved in managing long-
lived and highly migratory marine turtles; and
Available national and international legislative
instruments, and ways in which they can be used to
conserve and manage marine turtles.
And so, our work begins.









"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Session I

Marine Turtles of the Wider Caribbean Region


General Natural History of Marine Turtles
John G. Frazier, Presenter

Cultural and Economic Roles of Marine Turtles
Didiher Chac6n C., Presenter

Status and Distribution of Dermochelvs coriacea
Karen L. Eckert, Presenter

Status and Distribution of Chelonia mydas
Cynthia Lagueux, Presenter

Status and Distribution of Caretta caretta
Felix Mancada Gavilan, Presenter

Status and Distribution of Eretmochelys imbricata
Diego F. Amorocho, Presenter

Status and Distribution of Lepidochelys kempii
Rene Marquez M., Presenter

Status and Distribution of Lepidochelvs olivacea
Maria Angela Marcovaldi, Presenter










"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Reginal Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


General Natural History of Marine Turtles

J. G. Frazier
Conservation and Research Center
Smithsonian Institution
USA


Introduction
Marine turtles have captivated the human
imagination for millennia, for many and diverse
reasons. Providing nutritional, economic and
spiritual sustenance to human societies around
the globe, they are part of the cultural fabric of
many coastal communities (Molina, 1981). For
example, archaeological research in the Ca-
ribbean reveals marine turtle relicts associated
with human sites in scores of localities, both
continental and insular, that date from 1380 BC
to 1715 AD. Marine turtles were clearly an
important part of the diet and culture of many
of these past societies (Wing and Reitz, 1982;
Versteeg and Effert, 1987). In recent years, these
animals have been a cause c~labre for numerous
issues fundamental to modern societies, iim-
pinging on the ways in which humans view and
interact with their environment. Marine turtles
serve as test cases ill ri '6;"n the complexities
involved in (1 1.. .I. UniII :- and pro-
moting programs for biological conservation
and environmental protection. These reptiles
have by no design of their own been in the
forefront of highly charged issues such as inter-
national disputes about trade and environment
(Frazier and Bache, in press).
To better understand the relationships be-
tween people and marine turtles, it is necessary
to first understand some basic characteristics
about these charismatic animals. The purpose of
this paper is to provide a background of basic in-
formation on marine turtles, upon which more
specific details and discussions can be construct-
ed. The paper is structured using a series of cen-
tral questions, which build sequentially on each
other. The intention is to provide an overview
of biological facts non-negotiable issues that


must be adequately addressed in any considera-
tions and negotiations that deal with marine tur-
tles and their habitats. It is important to
emphasize that the approach here is to general-
ize, so that the summaries presented are not
necessarily meant to apply to all turtles at all
times, but rather to provide a simplified frame-
work into which more detail can be assembled.
For this reason, many references cited herein
are review articles and not primary sources. For
example, review articles (chapters) in The Biolo-
gy and Conservation of Sea 'Irtles (Bjorndal, 1982,
reprinted in 1995) and The Biology of Sea lTrtles
(Lutz and Musick, 1997) have been drawn upon
repeatedly throughout this paper.

Taxonomy and Paleontology:
How many kinds of marine
turtles are there?
Marine turtle fossils date back to the Jurassic,
some 201 ,",',' 11 years ago. In addition to two
taxonomic families (Pleurosternidae and Tha-
lassemyidae) from the Jurassic that included
some species of marine turtles, paleontologists
have described four taxonomic families in
which all the species are characterized by clear
adaptations for marine life: Cheloniidae, Der-
mochelyidae, Toxochelyidae, and Protostegidae.
Over the span of eons, more than 50 genera of
marine turtles have been described, with a total
of over 100 species (see Pritchard, 1997).
Hence, over millions of years, marine turtles
have been a diverse and widespread group of an-
imals.
Surviving today, we have what are referred to
as "the living species of marine turtles" these
comprise seven species, .. ui .1 into six gen-







Karen L. Eckert and F. II.-. .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



era, and two taxonomic families. One family,
Cheloniidae, includes six of the seven living spe-
cies of marine turtle: Caretta caretta (Linnaeus),
Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus), Eretmochelys imbricata
(Linnaeus), L.;'.'.?I. !., kempii (Garman),
L..; :.. 1,..1, olivacea (Eschscholtz), and Natator
depressus (Garman). Some people recognize an
additional species, Chelonia agassizii (Bocourt),
but this is not consistently accepted (Karl and
Bowen, 1999). The other family, Dermochelyi-
dae, includes just one living species of marine tur-
tle, D.. .. I..', coriacea (Vandelli). It is this
last-named species, the "leatherback," that is often
the exception to the generalizations that apply to
the rest of the marine turtles.

Systematics: What makes
a turtle a turtle?
The classification of turtles, from generalized
to specific characteristics, can be summarized as
follows:

Kingdom Animalia
has nuclear envelope, mitochondria,
no chloroplasts nor cell wall,
has fertilization and meiosis,
internal digestion, and a nervous
system
Phylum Chordata
has a dorsal spinal chord
Sub-Phylum Vertebrata has a backbone
Super-Class Tetrapoda has four limbs
Class Reptilia
lays cleidoic eggs that develop
independently of water in the
surrounding environment
has lungs and breathes air
the body is covered in scales

Order Testudines
lives inside a bony shell
ribs are "inside- ...." (outside the
body, rather than inside)
backbone is shortened
has no teeth, but instead a beak
made of keratin


Morphology: What makes
a turtle a marine turtle?
Numerous characteristics, genetic and mor-
phological, distinguish marine turtles from other
types of turtles; several of these are relatively con-
spicuous. By far the most distinctive is the body
shape, and particularly the front limbs, which are
modified into flippers, relatively large in size,
with the elongated finger bones forming a 1 i ',
part of the limb. The flippers provide strong
"power strokes" with which the turtles "fly"
through the water when swimming. This mor-
phological adaptation is reflected in distinctive
behavioral and physiological characteristics, giv-
ing marine turtles a remarkable ability to migrate
over long distances, through water (Wyneken,
1997). As in freshwater turtles, the back limbs are
modified into p.iJlll.. with a membrane that
spreads between the toe bones (although in
marine turtles the hind limbs are often, mistak-
enly, called 1I,1. i ."). The shell, with the cara-
pace above and plastron below, is dorsally
flattened so that it is hydrodynamically stream-
lined. Unlike as in other kinds of turtles, the head
is relatively large, and, like the limbs, cannot be
withdrawn into the shell. Hence, marine turtles
have lost the ability to protect the head and limbs
by yllli. them inside the shell, but they have
gained more efficient hydrodynamic design. The
"crutching" gait, in which all four limbs thrust
simultaneously, is used by the larger marine tur-
tles when they are on land, and is virtually unique
to marine turtles (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997;
Wyneken, 1997).

Development: What are the life
stages of marine turtles?
The life of a marine turtle can be categorized
into distinct phases as it grows and develops.
Starting at the beginning of the reproductive
process,follicles are ovulated from the ovary into
the infundibulum of the oviduct, and passing far-
ther down, they are fertilized by sperm stored in
the upper oviduct. Fertilized ova develop to the
mid-gastrula stage (a hollow sac) while within the
mother's oviduct. It takes at least a week for the
egg to develop inside the oviduct, forming the













completed structure with yolk, alliin1n and
eggshell. The egg is nearly spherical resembling a
Ping-Pong ball, and has a flexible parchment-like
calcareous shell. Depending on the species, indi-
vidual eggs weigh between 25 and 80 g, and are
from 3.9 to 5.4 cm in diameter. Eggs hatch into
baby turtles, or "hatchlings," which have average
carapace lengths for each species between 4.1 and
6.0 cm, and weigh between 14 and 50 g, Eret-
mochelys -. ;. 1I. the least and Dernmochelys, the
most. It takes from 6 to 13 weeks for the eggs to
hatch, the period determined mainly by the tem-
perature of incubation (Van Buskirk and Crow-
der, 1994; Miller, 1997; Pritchard and Mortimer,
1999).
The hatchlings become juvenile turtles, and
those that survive develop into adults. The aver-
age carapace lengths of adult females vary by spe-
cies, from about 65 to 180 cm and the total range
of body weights for adults is from about 25 to 900
kg (Morgan, 1',.'"; NRC, 1990; Mirquez, 1994;
Van Buskirk and Crowder, 19"'11 Hence, the
adult weight can be some 5,000 times the egg
weight, and as much as 11,000 greater in the case
of Dermochelys coriacea. It is estimated that,
i1, p .. >1;,. on the species, population, and envi-
ronmental variables, it takes from 10 to 60 years
for a marine turtle to pass through these stages
and to grow from fertilized ova into a mature
adult (Bjorndal and Zug, 1995; CIh ,i.,_pl, and
Musick, 1997).
Although it might seem simple to determine
which animals are adults, in fact the term "adult"
is frequently misused when applied to marine
turtles. Correctly, it refers to animals that are sex-
ually mature, a state that can be determined by
either internal examination of the gonads or by
knowing the history of an individual. However,
these details are rarely available, and usually the
decision to classify an adult is made on the basis
of the turtle's body size. Nevertheless, identifying
adult marine turtles by comparing them to some
minimal size of known breeders is misleading,
for individuals that are sexually immature can be
larger than the smallest, or average, recorded
breeding size (Limpus et al., 1994a, b).


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Natural History:
What is the life cycle?
Not only are marine turtles characterized by
having long generation times, and delayed matu-
rity, but their life cycles are remarkably complex.
Each of the various growth phases (egg, embryo,
hatchling,juvenile, and adult) has certain distinc-
tive characteristics.
Eggs: Eggs are laid in a nest in the beach, above
high tide. 7 11i is fundamental to understand is
that marine turtles must nest in a terrestrial envi-
ronment. Depending on the species, an average
of about 50 to 140 eggs are laid in one nest,
increasing in number from Natator depressus to
Eretmochelys imbricata (Miller, 1997). On occasion,
clutch size can be only 1 egg (Hirth, I''. ), or as
many as 250 eggs (.' ii, 1983).
Embryios: The eggs of a clutch incubate in the
high beach, within the egg chamber dug by the
female, between about 10 and 110 cm below the
surface; the chamber is shallowest in E. imbricata
and deepest in D. coriacea (Witzell, 1983; Benabib
and Hernindez, 1' '":4,. Incubation, which occurs
without any parental care, lasts from 6 to 13
weeks, depending mainly on nest temperature.
Embryos incubated at a constant temperature will
survive and successfully develop within about a
100C range, which has been reported variously as
between 23-33C ( ilI. ., 1997), or alternatively
between 25-27C and 33-35'C (Ackerman,
1997). Outside this tolerance range embryos are
not likely to survive.
During the second third of incubation, the
incubation temperature determines the sex of the
embryo. The temperature at which there is an
equal proportion of males and females is known
as the "pivotal temperature." .Mi1..1i..1 pivotal
temperatures vary between species, and to a less-
er extent between populations, they are generally
close to 29C. With all species, increasing propor-
tions of males are produced the farther critical
incubation temperatures fall below the pivotal;
increasing proportions of females are produced
the more temperatures rise above the pivotal
(Mrosovsky 1l'" Ackerman, 1997).
Hatchlings: Hatching success can be highly
variable, with nearly all or none of the eggs in a







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



clutch 1 c11, ii, I overall it has been estimated that
some 80% of most clutches hatch successfully
under natural conditions. Hatching occurs while
the eggs are buried in the sand, and it takes from
1 to 7 days for the hatchlings to leave the nest.
The process of .1;__i i_. out of the nest often
involves "social facilitation," in which the move-
ments of actively digging hatchlings stimulate
others to become active and also dig; from with-
in the underground nest chamber, they scrape the
sand at the top, trample it down and I .I, Jill.;
raise the chamber upwards in the beach (Miller,
1997). Emergence from the nest is usually at
night, which helps hatchlings avoid a variety of
diurnal predators, as well as hot and p.,..f n l ii
fatal beach temperatures that may occur during
the day (Lohmann et al., 1997; Miller, 1997).
Clearly, hatchlings must contend with nocturnal
predators if they emerge at night, but it is thought
that these present less of a risk.
The term "incubation period" is generally
used to refer to the period between egg laying and
hatching (the true incubation period) plus the
period between hatching and emergence from
the nest (the "emergence period"). Emergence
success (the portion of the clutch that hatches
and survives to reach the surface of the beach) is
highly variable; in some cases nearly all of the
hatchlings make it out of the nest and in other
cases they may all die within the nest, before
emerging. Emergence success is commonly
lower than hatching success, and.. .i ll it may be
C '".. or less.
Upon reaching the surface of the beach the
hatchlings :.. m...11 run toward the sea. During
the emergence from the nest and race to the sea,
hatchlings li. numerous unlearned ("in-
nate") responses to several different stimuli and
conditions; for example: gravity (negative geot-
axis); temperature (reduced activity with high
temperatures); light intensity (positive pho-
totropotaxis); light color (attraction to lower
wave wavelengths); light direction (sensitive to
light less than 30' above the horizon); and object
shapes (aversion to elevated Iih'... i.. and cer-
tain shapes) (Lohmann et al., 1997). In other
words, simplifying several complex behaviors:
without previous experience, hatchlings dig up


(against gravity), become inactive in the top lay-
ers of the nest when they encounter warm tem-
peratures, and orient on the beach moving
toward that part of the horizon (not above :.' )
with the greatest light intensity and usually with
light of the shortest wavelength; at the same time,
they move away from objects and certain kinds of
shapes on the horizon.
When they reach the water, hatchlings enter
the beach surf, immediately diving through it.
Once outside the surf, they swim offshore, usu-
ally heading into the waves. Hatchlings can evi-
dently detect orbital movements, which allows
them to orient into waves both on the surface and
underwater; this may explain how they can main-
tain their seaward Ji'.;,in as they swim away
from the beach, even in total darkness. After dis-
tancing themselves from the shore, hatchlings
usually continue to maintain the same seaward
heading that they took leaving the beach, even if
the angle into the waves is not the same as it was
when leaving the shore. Experiments show that
in the initial stages of swimming away from the
beach hatchlings can orient to the magnetic field
of the earth, and that their magnetic compasses
are sensitive to inclination, rather than polarity.
The compass 11. lil that they select after arriv-
ing well offshore is apparently influenced by the
heading that they take when leaving the nest and
swimming out to sea, while orienting to light
cues and/or waves (Lohmann et al., 1997).
On arriving offshore, the hatchlings are dis-
persed in oceanic currents, at which point light
and wave cues are of little use to them. Once out
to sea, at least some hatchlings seem to have pre-
determined and not learned responses to
two components of the Earth's magnetic field:
inclination angle and field intensity. This would
allow them to approximate latitude and global
position, respectively (Lohmann et al., 1997;
1999). In contrast to these generalities, hatchlings
of Natator depressus apparently do not become
., 1-.ii; (Walker and Parmenter, 1' '"), and it is
not known what behaviors these hatchlings
exhibit when leaving the beach and entering the
ocean.
During the first few days after leaving the nest,
it appears that several critical innate behaviors













help the hatchlings to survive. They have prede-
termined responses to light, wave wash ("gravi-
ty"), and waves (orbital movements -gravity). In
addition, immediately after leaving the nest they
acquire an ability to orient to the Earth's magnet-
ic field (Lohmann et al., 1997). Survival of the
animals is intimately tied to their making the
"correct" responses to the right stimulus at the
right time, and just slight "mistakes," which
could be caused by even small modifications to
their environment, can prove fatal to the young
turtles.
Emergence from the nest marks the beginning
of the hatchlingg frenzy" or "swimming frenzy,"
a period of high and continuous activity, or
1, i .i... ;" that lasts for at least a day. During
this period, hatchlings can swim as fast as 1.57
I in ,which if maintained would yield nearly 40
km per day. During the "frenzy" phase, hatchling
marine turtles show much more stamina than
other reptiles. Activity during the "post-frenzy"
period is also sustained, although not as intensely
as during the swimming frenzy. Unlike other
species, hatchlings of D .... ?:.11 coriacea may
swim actively at night during the post-frenzy
period (Wyneken, 1997).
Recently hatched turtles rely on stored yolk as
an energy source for the first few days, which
enables them to swim continuously, without
feeding. The hatchling phase lasts from hatching
to the time when the animal begins to feed inde-
pendently, and no longer relies primarily on the
energy stores of the internal yolk sac (Musick and
Limpus, 1997).
The hyperactivity of hatchlings appears to be a
mechanism to get them from the beach to the
open ocean in the shortest possible time, thereby
reducing their chances of being attacked in
coastal areas, where predators are relatively dense
(Musick and Limpus, 1997). There are few sys-
tematic studies on hatchling mortality during the
brief period from the beach to the open ocean,
and although it is variable from beach to beach
and season to season, in general mortality during
the first few hours can be extremely high.
Juveniles: On entering the open ocean, the
hatchling marine turtle begins the juvenile phase
of its life cycle. This phase can be divided into


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



two parts: first an oceanic and then a coastal
phase. The respective areas where the turtles are
found have been called "early juvenile nursery
habitats" and "later juvenile developmental habi-
tats." The former corresponds to what was once
called the "lost year", but recent studies show that
much more than a year is involved, and the pelag-
ic phase may last 10 years or more, depending on
species and populations (Chaloupka and Musick,
1997; Musick and Limpus, 1997). There is grow-
ing evidence that certain populations of juvenile
turtles are dispersed in specific ocean gyres, and
that the animals maintain the ability to use the
Earth's magnetic field for orientation, as seems to
be the case for hatchlings. This would enable
them to adjust their position and stay within the
gyres to which they pertain and thereby avoid
straying into cold waters or being lost from the
normal geographic distribution on which their
life cycle depends (Lohmann et al., 1997, 1 ''-).
Very little is known about the V.._ ._-i- phase of
juvenile marine turtles, but it is clear that the ani-
mals are capable of dispersing across ocean basins
during the normal course of the life cycle.
Oceanic areas of .II' 11;, and convergence are
characterized by having high rates of biological
production, with tremendous richness and diver-
sity of life; and these are likely to be prime feed-
ing areas for pelagic juveniles (:.i, i and
Limpus, 1997). Small juveniles of some species
are known to associate with rafts of Sargassumn and
other flotsam, where they can hide, as well as find
concentrations of prey. Food items for turtles in
this life phase include gelatinous organisms and
larvae of a wide variety of invertebrates, as well as
terrestrial insects. Although some plant matter
(mainly Sargassum parts) has been documented in
their diet, pelagic i i. are essentially carni-
vores (Bjorndal, 1' '-).
In general, during the oceanic phase the i'-.:-
niles are dispersed passively in oceanic currents.
Ahhld. ..--! they have been characterized as "swim-
ming drift bottles", having no specific destination
goals and depending on current regimes (Wy-
neken, 1997), recent work (Lohmann et al., 1997,
1'' .' indicates that turtles on the high seas may
not be completely passive, but have the ability to
orient with directed swimming to stay within







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


certain ocean gyres. This phase, while they are
developing on the high seas, may involve travels
of tens of thousands of kilometers, carrying an
individual turtle into and out of the territorial
waters of many nations, as well as across the high
seas. Little is known of rates of mortality during
the pelagic phase; different demographic models
indicate that it may vary between 20 and 60% per
year (Crouse et al., 1987; Heppell et al., 1996).
After several years, most species of juvenile
marine turtles leave the pelagic, open-ocean envi-
ronment and enter coastal environments. In con-
trast to the earlyjuvenile phase, the second part of
the juvenile phase occurs in benthic (bottom)
neritic (coastal) environments. The age and size
(expressed in carapace length) at which this major
transition occurs varies according to species, pop-
ulations and environmental factors. For example,
in the western Atlantic, juvenile Caretta caretta
enter coastal environments when they reach 25-
30 cm in carapace length, but in Australia the
transition more typically occurs at 70 cm. Gener-
ally, for most species the transition from pelagic
to neritic life style occurs when juveniles are
between 20 and 50 cm long, with Eretmochelys
imbricata and Lepidochelys kempii arriving at much
smaller sizes than the other species. However,
there is no consensus about sizes ofjuveniles that
first take up residence in coastal habitats (Bjorn-
dal, 1997; Musick and Limpus, 1997).
Three species present exceptions to these gen-
eralizations. Natator depressus evidently never takes
up a pelagic existence, so there is no return to
coastal environments from which it never depart-
ed. Once having left the beach, Dermochelys cori-
acea stays in the open ocean except for nesting;
and although foraging often occurs seasonally in
certain coastal areas, mainly in the temperate
zone, there is no evidence of this species taking
up residency in coastal areas. Some populations
of Lepidochelys olivacea also seem to stay in pelagic
environments, except for breeding (Pitman,
1990; Plotkin et al., 1995).
The juvenile turtles that do take up coastal
residence in certain inshore areas seem to estab-
lish "home ranges." It appears that the smallest
juveniles make use of relatively shallow environ-
ments, or those with structures, such as reefs,


which allows them to hide from large predators.
Once a juvenile has taken up coastal residence, it
can exhibit considerable site tenacity to feeding
areas, and some individuals may stay within the
same few square kilometers for 8 to 20 years
while they are maturing. In at least one popula-
tion Caretta caretta in eastern Australia -juve-
niles establish feeding sites that are maintained
into adulthood. Juveniles and adults occur
together in foraging areas of some populations of
some species. There are differences, of varying
degrees, between the species in the types of envi-
ronments used for developmental habitats
(Musick and Limpus, 1997).
Where seasonal variation in water temperature
is strong, juveniles may make seasonal migra-
tions, either north-south or inshore-offshore, to
avoid cold temperatures, which can cause physi-
ological stunning and death. Contrary to popular
opinion, marine turtles are not restricted to trop-
ical waters, but often occur in sub-tropical or
temperate areas, at least seasonally. Once estab-
lished in coastal environments, juveniles of most
species reside in a series of different environ-
ments, or "developmental habitats," moving
sequentially through them while maturing
(Musick and Limpus, 1997). Hence, the develop-
mental habitats for a single individual may take it
through several different geopolitical units or
countries, as well as through wide ranging lati-
tudes, perhaps even to both northern and south-
ern hemispheres. Little is known about rates of
mortality of juveniles in coastal habitats, and dif-
ferent demographic models predict that about
30% per year may die (Crouse et al., 1987; Crow-
der et al., 1994; Heppell et al., 1996).
When juveniles transmute from a pelagic to a
benthic life style, dramatic changes in diet occur.
The variety of food items eaten by marine turtles
in coastal environments is tremendous. Not only
algae and marine angiosperms are consumed, but
animals from virtually all phyla and classes of
invertebrates are ingested, with truly astonishing
examples such as sea horses, sea cucumbers,
thick-shelled mollusks, and whip corals. The
diets vary between species, but also between
growth phase, locality, season, and behavioral and
ecological factors. Nevertheless, on taking up res-













idence along the coast, juveniles develop dietary
specializations typical of each species. Th. can
be generalized as follows: Caretta caretta ben-
thic mollusks; C; . ". mydas algae and marine
angiosperms; Eretmochelys imbricata sponges;
and Lepidochelys kempii benthic crabs. The spe-
cies that are exceptions to the oceanic-coastal
transition . i I ll. have less defined diets: Lepi-
dochelys olivacea diverse items from both the sur-
face and bottom; Natator .?. ;. surface and
benthic invertebrates; Dernmochelys coriacea pel-
agic soft-bodied invertebrates, including ij hj
ctenophores and salps, from both the surface and
deep scattering layer (DSL). Hence, there are not
likely to be marked dietary shifts in juveniles of
these last three species as they mature (Bjorndal,
1997).
Feeding can include several remarkable be-
haviors. In Australia, Caretta caretta are document-
ed excavating depressions in the substrate,
.::i ... ii- burrowing invertebrates on which the
turtles prey. Chelonia i',.. in some areas graze
repeatedly on specific swatches of seagrass pas-
tures, keeping them in a state of high productivi-
tyand ,1;.., ;1.;1I Dietary preferences of marine
turtles may be influenced by early experience.
However, the relative abundance of food items
also affects feeding behavior, but there is no
doubt that marine turtles can be very selective
about what they eat. Feeding can be tied to tidal
cycles, and may show diurnal peaks in activity.
Each species is very efficient at living off its spe-
cialized food, and at least in some cases this is
directly related to specialized microbial commu-
nities in the gut (Bjorndal, 1997). The shape and
form of the beak gives an indication of what the
turtles eat as large juveniles and adults: Chelonia
mydas has a relatively broad beak, effective in
grazing; Eretmochelys imbricata has a relatively nar-
row beak, effective at selecting items from within
nooks and crannies in a coral reef; . .'.1 . has
a strong, sharp-edged beak that can fracture hard-
shelled invertebrates; Caretta caretta has a heavily
fortified beak, effective at crushing thick-shelled
prey; and Dermochelys coriacea has sharp cusps, one
on either side of the mandible, that are useful in
tearing soft-bodied prey.
Adults: After : 11; -1(, and growing into


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



breeding condition, adults migrate from their
feeding area to a nesting area, which is usually at
or near their l~Il1 l.o . The distance between
feeding and breeding grounds can be thousands
of kilometers. Marine turtles are famous for not
only making lengthy migrations, but for their
ability to return to specific beaches to mate and
nest. It appears that turtles can return to, or near
to, the beach on which they hatched, even after
spending decades on the open ocean and in
diverse environments thousands of kilometers
from their natal beach. This phenomenon is
known as "natal beach homing," but the mecha-
nisms that are used to accomplish these incredi-
ble feats are not well understood. '1 i i.. -l
abilities were once thought to rely on chemical
cues, but studies of the routes taken during
migration indicate that chemical stimuli could
not be used. Several studies using satellite trans-
mitters have shown that turtles can head straight
toward a relatively small target, from hundreds of
kilometers away, and that they can reorient to a
destination after being ( .. nii'. w, ill- displaced.
There is i.. i"1 evidence that marine turtles
have a "map sense" and that the Earth's magnetic
field provides critical information for their navi-
gational feats. Nonetheless, chemical cues may be
important for the recognition of the natal beach,
especially during the last leg of a trans-oceanic
migration. Ahl. .n;1I the turtles seem to have no
trouble finding their way home from across
oceans, despite decades of study scientists still do
not understand how (or why) they do this
(Lohmann et al., 1997; 1999).
Most populations reproduce at specific places
and certain times of the year, often during dis-
tinct breeding seasons. Hence, during breeding,
marine turtles are concentrated in both time and
space. In general, it is thought that the males
arrive first, there is a peak in courtship and mat-
ing, and then the females begin nesting. One
female usually nests several times during a single
nesting season: the average number of clutches
per female for each species varies from nearly 2 to
6, with the least in Lepidochelys kenipii and most in
Dermochelys coriacea (Miller, 1997). There are
records of Chelonia mydas in Malaysia laying 10
nests in one season (Liew and Chan, in press) and







Karen L. Eckert and EF 1I.. Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



Dennochelys coriacea in Costa Rica 1 ;IM 13 nests
in one season (R. Reina, pers. comm.). The aver-
age interval between subsequent nestings varies
from 9 to 30 days, depending on the species. A
single excursion onto the nesting beach j. 1. I ill.
lasts from 1 to 3 hours, again depending on the
species, although there are extreme cases of nest-
ing being completed in less than 1 hour, and on
the other extreme, some females may spend more
than 7 hours on the beach. Nesting females cus-
tomarily return to the same beach for each subse-
quent nest (:\% lii. i 1999).
Most nesting occurs during the night; studies
of the thermal biology of marine turtles indicate
that if they nested during the day, the females
would become heat stressed and could die.
Exceptions to this are turtles with the .ii.all...
body sizes, E L..:.' .. imbricata, Lepidochelys kem-
pii, and L. . ..:, which can nest during the day
and not be heat stressed, evidently because their
smaller bodies are more efficient at losing heat
(Spotila et al., 1997).
When finished reproducing, the adults mi-
grate back to their respective feeding areas; males
may depart earlier in the season than females.
Based on tag returns, the distance of "post-nest-
ing" migrations is often more than 2,000 knm;
these studies involved relatively short periods,
rarely more than 2 or 3 months, between leaving
the nesting grounds and recapture, as well as the
calculation of straight-line distances between
point of release and point of recapture (Meylan,
1982), so the values are certain to be underesti-
mates. In satellite tracking studies of Dermochelys
coriacea, post-nesting movements of more than
11,000 km over the course of one year have been
reported (Eckert, 1''::; Capture-recapture data
of tagged females Inl,.-;E.- that post-nesting
migrations can begin with remarkable rates of
movement, of more than 82 km per day (i !, i i ,
1982), which translates to an average of more
than 3.4 km per hour sustained for a period of
weeks. Examples of rapid, long distance displace-
ments of turtles after they leave the nesting
grounds are becoming more frequent as research
efforts increase. For example, a female Dermo-
chelys coriacea tagged in French Guiana was recov-
ered in Newfoundland, having traveled no less


than 5,000 km in no more than 128 days; this rep-
resents a direct straight line (minimum) move-
ment of 39 km/day (Goff et al., 1' 4;. What makes
these rates even more remarkable is that migra-
tion routes of adults may involve extended dis-
tances moving across, or even against, ocean
currents, as the animals head for their destina-
tions (Wyneken, 1997). Nevertheless, it is impor-
tant to distinguish between rates of displacement,
or movement, and actual swimming speeds, be-
cause currents can have a major impact on rates of
displacement, especially over long periods of time.
On returning to the feeding ground, turtles
may take up the same home range and feeding
site they occupied prior to embarking on their
breeding migration. In some cases there are sea-
sonal migrations, from one feeding area to anoth-
er (Musick and Limpus, 1997). Most species do
not nest every year, but every 2 or 3 years (Miller,
1997), l .l..l... there is considerable variation,
and close to a decade between nesting seasons
may pass in some cases (Hirth, 1 -). As a result,
the composition of the I....... Ii population" is
unique each year; there will be animals that are
breeding for the first time in their lives, together
with other animals that have bred previously, but
with no fixed interval between breeding seasons.
Marine turtles have the capacity to continue
migrating and breeding for at least 21 years (Pan-
dav and Kar, L, a Based on demographic stud-
ies, it has been concluded that once marine
turtles reach adulthood, they potentially have
high rates (over 90%) of annual survivorship (Fra-
zer, 1984; Richardson et al., 1999; Kendall and
Kerr, in press). Nonetheless, large numbers of
adult turtles have been killed in directed harvests
at nesting beaches all over the world, and this has
resulted in unnaturally high adult mortality
which has been devastating to diverse popula-
tions (King, 1982; Ross, 1982; Groombridge and
Luxmoore, 1989; NRC, 1'"' ;. In today's "hu-
man-dominated world," mortality of adult turtles
also occurs in hard-to-document high seas fish-
eries, and the impacts of these "out-of-sight"
activities may be even more insidious than
slaughtering nesting females on beaches (Eckert
and Sarti, !'"' Crouse, 1999, 2~II,, Musick,
1999).













The most convenient and reliable way to esti-
mate numbers of turtles in a population is to
count nesting females during a nesting season.
Yet even this apparently straightforward proce-
dure is fraught with basic problems (Gerrodette
and Taylor, 1999). In addition to the fact that each
season there is a completely unique assemblage of
individuals, there can be large and rapid varia-
tions from year to year, with no clear long-term
trends. Further complications arise when trying
to understand which animals are part of the same
population (Chaloupka and Musick, 1997). It has
been known for years that the individuals living
together on a foraging ground often derive from
very, I .rr. -. nesting beaches. At the same time,
the turtles that converge on a single nesting beach
may arrive from divergent feeding areas. This
mixing on feeding and nesting grounds is being
deciphered with studies of genetic markers
(Bowen and Karl, 1997), but it continues to com-
plicate the identification of marine turtle popula-
tions. Because of the great distances traversed
during their miigrations, individual marine turtles
routinely pass through the territorial waters of
several different countries, as well as across the
high seas. This obviously further complicates un-
derstanding about them, to say nothing of devel-
oping and implementing conservation programs
(Frazier, 2'"1-' 1

Other distinctive adaptations and
characteristics of marine turtles
Marine turtles have remarkable capabilities for
diving; among air-breathing vertebrates they have
some of the longest and deepest dives. Routine
dives may last for nearly an hour, and some vol-
untary dives have persisted for as much as 5 h
(Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). Dives as deep as
1,300 m are reported for Dermochelys coriacea (Eck-
ert et al., 1989). Not only do the turtles breath-
hold during dives, but usually they are also
exercising. Marine turtles have several morpho-
logical and physiological adaptations that give
them this tremendous capacity for diving and
breath-holding. They have very efficient oxygen
transport systems. The lungs are relatively large
and provided with internal structures to facilitate
efficient ventilation; hence, tidal volumes are very


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



large. Blood transport systems for oxygen are
extraordinary. Hemoglobin and myoglobin levels
in DL... ,..,. coriacea are nearly as high as in
mammals; not surprisingly, these turtles have the
highest rate of oxygen consumption of any rep-
tile. Just as remarkable is the fact that at least in
one species, Caretta caretta, the brain can survive
under anoxic conditions. Nevertheless, apparent-
ly marine turtles only enter an anaerobic state
under emergency conditions, and it may take
hours for them to fully recover i.i ..i.. ,. ii
Ti. .. are, however, considerable differences be-
tween species, both in terms of diving capability
and diving adaptations (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997).
Marine turtles spend varying amounts of time
at the surface, engaged in activities that include
basking, feeding, mating and orienting. Reported
dive routines are highly variable, but i. i ll
turtles seem to spend at least 80% of the time
submerged. Although they appear to have all the
..n i.E,, ....~;. il adaptations required for diving,
hatchlings have limited capacity to submerge, and
need several months to develop buoyancy control
(Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997).
At least two species of marine turtle, Caretta
caretta and (i, ;i :.. mydas, (and possibly also Lep-
idochelys kempii) can become torpid with cold
temperatures and may dig into the seabed, a phe-
nomenon known as "brumation" (also called
lih,.. i'ii.ui .ii") (Ogren and McVae, 1982; Musick
and Limpus, 1997). However, cold temperature
alone does not explain how this state is initiated,
for the same temperatures in other cases are asso-
ciated with some level of activity or with season-
al emigrations, in which the turtles move away to
warmer waters (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). Low
temperature has several effects on turtles, partic-
ularly on their blood physiology. It is not known
how brumation affects the physiological state of
marine turtles, but there are certain to be a num-
ber of specialized adaptations to deal with diverse
problems that arise from prolonged breath hold
and its many implications on the osmotic and
ionic .-.*.,ii, ... of blood. Temperature-related
differences in the physiology of different species
of turtles may explain latitudinal differences in
their .... i .11. ranges (Lutz, 1997).
Marine turtles live most of their lives in sea-







Karen L. Eckert and EF 1 I.-. .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



water, and must deal with continual and heavy
salt loads. During the normal course of both
feeding and drinking, they will take in large
amounts of seawater, which could have adverse,
or fatal, effects on the osmotic and ionic condi-
tion of the body. The most notable adaptation is
the highly modified lachrymal gland, which can
produce tears with osmotic concentrations that
are six times that of blood, and twice that of sea-
water. Marine turtle tears are more concentrated
than the salt gland excretions of both sharks and
marine birds. Their lachrymal gland is highly
convoluted, with structures that enable the turtle
to concentrate not only salt, but also bicarbonate,
bromine, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
At the same time, the tears have relatively low
concentrations of glucose and protein. The gland
is relatively large, twice the size of the brain in
Dermochelys coriacea. In hatchlings the lachrymal
gland is relatively 1 .. than in adults: it is 0.4%
of total body weight in hatchling Chelonia mydas.
The tears, except in D .:... '. 1. coriacea, may not
be constant, but increase in both flow and con-
centration when the gland is stimulated, for
example by a heavy salt load in the blood. Inter-
estingly, the left and right salt glands may produce
different rates and concentrations of tears. How-
ever, although marine turtles have the capacity to
maintain the osmotic and ionic concentration of
plasma relatively constant, if the animals are kept
for several months in fresh water, there is a
marked reduction in plasma sodium, so there is
some flexibility in their physiological responses
(Lutz, 1997).
Although they spend the vast majority of their
lives in the ocean, marine turtles do come out
onto dry land. Adult females come onto beaches
to dig nests and lay eggs. In addition, at least one,
and p'.. .. ibl two, species will haul out on isolat-
ed beaches to bask (Wyneken, 1997). The best
studied cases are from Hawaii, where juveniles
and adults of both sexes of Chelonia mydas will
haul out onto remote beaches ('l,,, and Bal-
azs, 1982). This behavior is thought to be a form
of thermoregulation, which allows the basking
animals to increase their body temperature, and
thereby enhance certain metabolic processes
(Spotila et al., 1997). In some cases turtles may


leave the sea to avoid large sharks, and females
may crawl out onto beaches to get away from
aggressive, courting males.
Marine turtles have the capability to maintain
their body temperatures above the temperature of
the surrounding water. A Chelonia mydas that was
actively swimming had a body temperature 7C
above water temperature. More remarkable, Der-
mochelys coriacea are often found in boreal zones,
with water temperatures as cold as 0C; and there
is a record of one animal with a body temperature
17C above water temperature. The large body
size results in considerable thermal inertia, but
other features that allow body temperatures to be
above the environment are: thick outer insula-
tion, circulatory shunts that conserve body heat,
and high rate of metabolism. Small-sized marine
turtles, however, are liable to cold stunning when
water temperature drops to 8C and below
(Spotila et al., 1'' ).
Marine turtles may be important in structur-
ing some marine environments. Feeding on sea-
grass, or in algal beds, and selective predation on
certain sponges living on coral reefs can alter the
distribution and abundance of prey species, as
well as the respective roles that they play in the
ecosystem. This topic is poorly understood, and
now that many marine turtle populations have
been decimated, their ecological roles and
impacts are even more difficult to decipher
(Bjorndal, 1997; Jackson, 1997).

Summary of life history
characteristics of marine turtles
Each of the living species of marine turtles has
a remarkably complex and specialized life cycle.
Individuals require a wide diversity of environ-
ments in order to mature, reach adulthood and
complete the life cycle. Except Natator depressus,
which seems to lack the pelagic phase, the envi-
ronments on which all marine turtles depend in-
clude: terrestrial beaches, open ocean, and coastal
and estuarine waters. Individual turtles disperse
and migrate over vast distances, often tens of
thousands of kilometers, during the normal
course of life. These vast distances routinely take
them across the high seas, as well as through the
territorial waters of different countries. They take













decades to mature: the time from egg until re-
turning to the same beach to breed requires 10 to
50 or more years. Marine turtles are capable of
living and reproducing for decades. Typically,
they have a very high reproductive output: some
80 to 200 eggs are laid in one nest, as many as 14
nests may be laid in one season, and an individual
may continue nesting for more than 20 years. In
many ways, a female is an "egg machine." On the
other hand, marine turtles have extremely high
mortality during early phases of the life cycle.
Many eggs do not survive to hatch, many hatch-
lings do not make it to the sea, and many hatch-
lings in the sea do not live more than a day. From
one phase to another, fewer and fewer turtles
remain in the population, and in the end, less
than one out of 1,000, possibly less than one out
of 10,000, eggs survive to produce an adult turtle.
In many ways the survival of a marine turtle
depends on it making the right responses at the
right times, and encountering adequate condi-
tions in specific environments. This may involve
a specific response to light on the horizon and the
successful run from the beach to the sea, the
avoidance of a certain body of water on the high
seas, the selection of a specific type of environ-
ment for feeding and refuge, or the response to
certain cues emanating from a particular nesting
beach.

Relevance of life
history characteristics
to conservation actions
The diversity of environments on which a sin-
gle marine turtle depends during the course of its
life cycle means that to be effective, conservation
efforts for these animals must be relevant not
only to nesting beaches, but also to many coastal
and near-shore environments, as well as to cer-
tain areas of the high seas. The immensity of the
spatial scale involved is emphasized even further
by the fact that these animals range across ocean
basins, routinely passing through the jurisdic-
tional waters of different nations. Thus, in addi-
tion to many environments and large areas,
conservation efforts must include international
cooperation.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Adding to the ecological, spatial and political
complexity, are other characteristics typical of
marine turtles that invoke tremendous time
scales. For example, these animals may require
decades perhaps half a century to reach
maturity, and they have the potential to live and
continue breeding for decades. The high repro-
ductive output, with a single female potentially
producing more than a thousand eggs in a single
season and reproducing for more than two
decades, often deceive people into thinking that
the remarkable fecundity of marine turtles allows
them to sustain high rates of mortality. But in
fact, very few of the eggs survive to be adults, so
the survival of adults and large juveniles, in par-
ticular, is critical to the status of a marine turtle
population. Any significant source of mortality to
adults and large juveniles is likely to pose a seri-
ous threat; if the problem is unseen such as on
the high seas from fishing activities it can be
especially insidious, because it will most likely be
undocumented and unknown. I i._ factors, par-
ticularly the slow rate of maturation and long life,
mean that conservation actions must be faithful-
ly maintained and regularly evaluated persistent-
ly and patiently for decades, if not for centuries.
Furthermore, many basic aspects of marine
turtle biology are poorly understood, making it
impossible to predict accurately even simple phe-
nomena from year to year. Dramatic variations in
the numbers of turtles that nest annually are
common, and moreover, each year the nesting
"population" is made up of a unique pool of indi-
viduals, some of which are nesting for the first
time, and others of which have survived and
returned after previous breeding seasons. 1 i.-; .
is as yet no way to predict either the composition
or the size of a nesting "population" from year to
year; and the numbers of nesters or nests record-
ed in certain years may belie the effort and effi-
ciency in beach p-u. -.ll' i and other conservation
actions. For these reasons it is essential to evalu-
ate long-term trends, and regard short-term
observations as only tentative indicators.
Total population estimates are a ii..i chal-
lenge because there is little systematic informa-
tion on juveniles, males, or non-breeding
females. Hence, despite the many problems and







Karen L. Eckert and E t I.-. .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



shortcomings, the least inaccessible segment of the
population that is least .i ;. ..'. to estimate is the
"annual nesting population," and often this is
approximated indirectly by estimating annual
production of clutches, eggs, nests or nesting
signs. Rarely are accurate numbers of nesting
females available (even for a single nesting sea-
son), much less reliable estimates of the other
sectors of the population. This means that many
decisions about conservation and management
must be made with information that is grossly
insufficient.
The fact that the sex of a marine turtle is
determined by the temperature of incubation,
means that management practices involving the
embryonic phase must take into account sand
temperature, shading and other details that are
often not attended to. Because the survival of a
marine turtle depends on it making the right
responses at the right times often relying on
innate behaviors and encountering adequate
environments, it is not just the turtles that need
to be protected. Even seemingly slight modifica-
tions to the environment can have devastating
E.t : to large numbers of marine turtles, so that
successful marine turtle conservation depends
intimately on environmental protection.
It must be recognized that the biological
requirements of the species involved are non-
negotiable, just as much as the fact that there is
gravity on planet Earth. Consequently, the effec-
tiveness of conservation activities is directly relat-
ed to the degree to which they are able to meet
these biological requirements. However, deci-
sions about the design, implementation and
maintenance of conservation t .. are made
within the political arena, and reflect the complex
interplay between societies and their cultural,
political and economic activities not necessarily
scientific opinion or expert recommendations.
Hence, to be successful, conservation actions
must be relevant to the societies in which they are
carried out, for in the end biological conservation
depends on political decisions made within social
and economic contexts (Frazier, 1999).
In short, because of their biological character-
istics, marine turtle conservation is highly com-
plex, difficult to predict accurately, and requires


long-term commitments. In many ways the sta-
tus of these charismatic animals serves as a bar-
ometer of how well modern societies are taking
care of the environment upon which we all
depend.
Author's note: Unfortunately, there are no uni-
form standards in reporting the sizes of marine
turtles after they pass the hatchling phase: some
studies use measurements taken over the curve
of the shell, while others report point-to-point
values taken with calipers; and in many cases it
is not explained how measurements were taken
(Chaloupka and Musick, 1997; Music and Lim-
pus, 1997). This is to say ... lj1n. of the unre-
ported (Bolton, 1999) sometimes significant
(Frazier, 1998) error in marine turtle mea-
surements. Hence, for the purposes of this gen-
eral paper, to avoid detailed deliberations and
endless conversions from one measurement type
to another, only broad generalities have been
referred to assuming curved carapace length
(CCL).

Acknowledgements
Preparation of this presentation benefited
from valuable comments by S. Bache, D. Crouse,
K. Eckert and L. Sarti M., as well as support from
the World Wildlife Fund.
Literature Cited
Ackerman, R. A. 1997. The nest environment and the
embryonic development of sea turtles, p.83-106. In: P. L.
Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea turtles .
CRC Press, New York.
Benabib N., M. and J. A. Hernindez. 1984. Conser-
vaci6n de las tortugas marinas en la playa de ....i.-.!l!
Michoacan. Informe final de Biologfa de Campo, Facul-
tad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Aut6noma de
Mexico, Mexico D. F.
Bjorndal, K. A. (ed.) 1982 The i.; i and Conservation
of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washing-
ton, D C. 569 pp (reprinted in 1995, with new final sec-
tion "Recent Advances in sea turtle biology and
conservation", 615 pp.)
Bjorndal, K. A. 1997. Foraging ecology and nutrition of
sea turtles, p.199-231. In: P L. Lutz andJ. A. Musick (eds.),
The ;E 1 of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York.
Bjorndal, K. A. and G. R. Zug. 1995 (rev. ed.). Growth















and age of sea turtles, p.599-600. In: K. A. Bjorndal (ed.),
The r,, and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithson-
ian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
Bolton, A. B. 1999. Techniques for measuring sea turtles,
p.110-114. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-
Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Manage-
ment 'Iechniques for the Conservation of Sea turtles .
IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4.
Bowen, B. W and S. A. Karl. 1997. Population genetics,
phylogeography, and molecular evolution, p. 29-50. In: P
L. Lutz andJ. A. Musick (eds.), The I.. i of Sea Tur-
tles. CRC Press, New York.
Chaloupka, M. Y. and J. A. Musick. 1997. Age, growth
and population dynamics, p.233-276. In: P L. Lutz and J.
A. Musick (eds.), The P.; .1. of Sea Turtles. CRC Press,
New York.
Crowder, L. B., D. T. Crouse. S. S. I1., 1..11 and T. I.
Martin. 1994. Predicting the impact of turtle excluder de-
vices on loggerhead sea turtle populations. Ecological Ap-
plications 4(3): 437-445.
Crouse. D. 1999. The Consequences of Delayed Maturi-
ty in a Human-Dominated World. American Fisheries
Society Symposium 23: 195-202.
Crouse, D. 2000. After TEDs: What's next?, p. 105-106.
In: F. A. Abreu-Grobois, R. Briserno-Duenas, R. Mar-
p!. i1ii n and L. Sarti-Martinez (compilers). Proc.
18th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Con-
servation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-436.
U.S. Dept. Commerce.
Crouse, D. T., L. B. Crowder and H. Caswell. 1987. A
stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles
and implications for conservation. Ecology 68(5):1412-
1423.
Eckert, S. A. 1998. Perspectives on the use of satellite
telemetry and other electronic technologies for the study
of marine turtles, with reference to the first year-long
tracking of leatherback sea turtles, p.44-46. In: S. P
Epperly and J. Braun (eds.), Proc. 17th Annual, *: -
sium on Sea Turtle i:' .1 and Conservation. NOAA
Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-415. U.S. Dept. Com-
merce.
Eckert, S. A. and L. Sarti M. 1997. Distant fisheries impli-
cated in the loss of the world's largest leatherback nesting
population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7.
Eckert, S. A., K. L. Eckert. P Ponganis and G. L. Kooy-
man. 1989. Diving and foraging behavior of leather back
sea turtles Dermochelys coriacea. Canadian Journal of Zool-
ogy 67: 2834-2840.
Frazer, N. 1984. Survivorship of adult female loggerhead


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999




sea turtles, Caretta caretta, nesting on Little Cumberland
Island. Georgia, USA. HIerpetologica 39: 436-447.
Frazier, J. 1998. Measurement error: The great chelonian
taboo, p.47-49. In: R. Byles and Y. Fernandez (compil-
ers), Proc. 16th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biolo-
gy and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFSC-412. U.S. Dept. Commerce.
Frazier, J. 1999. Community based conservation, p.15-
18. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. l .. .1.1 F. A. Abreu-Grobois
and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management
Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.
IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4.
Frazier, J. 2000. Building support for regional sea turtle
conservation in ASEAN and the Asian region: Learning
from the Inter-American Convention for the Protection
and Conservation of Sea Turtles, p. 277-303. In: N.
Pilcher and G. Ismail (eds.) Sea Turtles of the Indo-Pacif-
ic: Research, Management and Conservation. ASEAN
Academic Press. London.
Frazier, J. and S. J. Bache. In press. Sea turtle conserva-
tion and the "big stick": the effects of unilateral U.S.
embargoes on international fishing activities. In: A.
Mosier and M. Coyne .. ,i i.' 1., Proc. 20th Annual
Symposium on Sea Turtle ; .i-- and Conservation.
NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx. U.S. Dept.
Commerce.
Gerrodette, T. and B. L. 1aylor. 1999. Estimating popula-
tion size, p.67-71. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. T1j .,..j I F. A.
Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. IUC i Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publ. No. 4.
Goff G. P, J. Lien, G. B. Stenson andJ. Fretey 1994. The
migration of a tagged leatherback turtle, Dernochelys cori-
acea, from French Guiana, South America, to Newfound-
land, Canada in 128 days. Canadian Field Naturalist 108
(1): 72-73.
Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green
Turtle and Hawksbill i i :-1.. Cheloniidae): World Sta-
tus, Exploitation and Triade. CITES Secretariat, Lau-
sanne, Switzerland. 601 pp.
l. 1-. 11 S. S., L. B. Crowder and D. T. Crouse. 1996.
Models to evaluate headstarting as a management tool for
long-lived turtles. Ecological Applications 6(2): 556-565.
IHirth, II. F. 1997. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the
Green Turtle Chelonia mnydas (Linnaeus 1758). Biological
Report 97(1):1-120. U.S. Dept. Interior, Fish and
Wildlife Service. Washington, D. C.
Jackson, J. B. C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Coral
Reefs. 16 Supl.: 823-832.








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



Karl, S. A. and B. W Bowen. 1999. Evolutionary signifi-
cant units versus geopolitical taxonomy: Molecular sys-
tematics of an endangered sea turtle (genus Chelonia).
Conservation 1:: .1 13(5): 990-999.
Kendall, W and R. Kerr. In press. Estimating probability
of breeding for sea turtle populations based on capture-
recapture data. In: A. Mosier and M. Coyne (compilers),
Proc. 20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle :: .1 and
Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-
xxx. U.S. Dept. Commerce.
King, F. W 1982. Historic review of the decline of the
green turtle and the hawksbill, p.183-188. In: K. A.
Bjorndal (ed.), The rp; 1. and Conservation of Sea
Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.
C. (reprinted in 1995).
Liew H.-C. and E.-I. Chan. In press. Assessment of the
population of green turtles nesting at Redang Island,
Malaysia, through long-term tagging analysis. In: A.
Mosier and M. Coyne (compilers), Proc. 20th Annual
Symposium on Sea Turtle .: .1 and Conservation.
NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx. U.S. Dept.
Commerce.
Limpus C. J., P J. Couper and M. A. Read. 1994a. The
green turtle, Chelonia mydas, in Queensland: population
structure in a warm temperate feeding area. Mem.
Queensland Museum 37(1):139-154.
Limpus, C. J., P J. Couper and M. A. Read. 1994b. The
loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta, in Queensland: popula-
tion structure in a warm temperate feeding area. Mem.
Queensland Museum 37(1):195-204.
Lohmann, K. J., B. E. Witherington, C. M. F. Lohmann
and M. Salmon. 1997, p.107-135. In: P L. Lutz andJ. A.
Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press,
New York.
Lohmann, K. J., J. T. Hester and C. M. F. Lohmann.
1999. Long-distance navigation in sea turtles. i. i.
Ecology and Evolution 11: 1-23.
ILutcavage, M. E. and P L. Lutz. 1997. Diving physiology,
p. 277-296. In: P L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The
I, I of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York.
Lutz, P L. 1997. Salt, water, and pIH balance in sea turtles,
p. 343-361. In: P L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The
I; .'. of Sea Thrtles. CRC Press, New York.
Lutz, P L. andJ. A. Musick (eds.). 1997. The I. i of
Sea Turtles. CRC Press. New York. 432 pp.
Marquez M., R. 1994. Synopsis of Biological Data on the
Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempi (Garman, 1880).
NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-343. U.S. Dept.
Commerce. 91 pp.


Meylan, A. 1982. Sea turtle migration Evidence from
tag returns, p.91-100. In: K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), The Biol-
ogy and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Insti-
tution Press, Washington, D. C. (reprinted in 1995).
Miller, J. D. 1997. Reproduction in sea turtles, p.51-81.
In: P L. Lutz andJ. A. Musick (eds.), The F.; 1 ._ of Sea
T'rtles. CRC Press, New York.
Molina, S. 1981. Leyendo en la tortuga (recopilaci6n).
Martin Casillas Editores; Mexico. 173 pp.
Morgan, P. J. 1989. Occurrence of leatherback turtles
(Dermochelys coriacea) in the British Isles in 1988, with ref-
erence to a record specimen, p.119-120. In: S. A. Eckert,
K. L. Eckert and T. t. Richardson (compilers), Proc. 9th
Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Biology and Conserva-
tion. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U.S.
Dept. Commerce.
Mrosovsky, N. 1994. Sex ratios of sea turtles. Journal of
Experimental Zoology 270: 16-27.
Musick, J. A. 1999. Ecology and conservation of long-
lived marine animals. American Fisheries Society Sym-
posium 23: 1-10.
Music, J. A. and C. J. Limpus. 1997. Habitat utilization
and migration in juvenile sea turtles, p.137-163. In: P L.
Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea T rtles.
CRC Press, New York.
NRC (National Research Council). 1990. Decline of the
Sea Turtles: Causes and Prevention. National Academy
Press, Washington, D. C. xv + 259 pp.
Cgren, L. and C. McVae, Jr. 1982. Apparent hibernation
by sea turtles in North American waters, p.127-132. In:
K. Bjomdal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Tur-
tles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
(reprinted in 1995).
Pandav, B. and C. S. Kar. 2000. Reproductive span of
olive ridley turtles at Gahirmatha rookery, Orissa, India.
Marine Turtle Newsletter 87: 8-9.
Pitman, R. L. 1990. Pelagic distribution and biology of
sea turtles in the eastern tropical Pacific, p.143-148. In: T.
H. Richardson, J. 1. Richardson and M. Donnelly (com-
pilers), Proc. 10th Annual- :.. 1! on the Biology and
Conservation of Sea Turtles. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFC-278. U.S. Dept. Commerce.
Plotkin, P T., R. A. Byles, D. C. Rostal and D. W Owens.
1995. Independent vs. -... i facilitated migrations of
the olive '.11. Lepidochelys olivacea. Marine I
122:137-143.
Pritchard, P C. H. 1997. Evolution, phylogeny, and cur-
rent status, p.1-28. In: P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.),
The r.; i .-. of Sea Turtles. CRC Press. New York.















Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy
external morphology, and species identification, p. 21-38.
In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and
M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Tech-
niques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC
Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4.
Richardson, J. I., R. Bell and T. H. Richardson. 1999.
Population ecology and demographic implications drawn
from an 11-year study of nesting hawksbill turtles,
Eretmochelys imbricata, at Jumby Bay, Long Island, Antigua,
West Indies. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):
244-250.
Ross,J. P 1982. Historic decline of the loggerhead, ridley,
and leatherback sea turtles, p.189-195. In: K. A. Bjorndal
(ed.). The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
(reprinted in 1995).
Spotila, J. R., M. P O'Connor and F. V Paladino. 1997.
Thermal biology, p.297-314. In: P L. Lutz and J. A.
Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press,
New York.
Van Buskirk, J. and L. B. Crowder. 1994. Life-history


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



variation in marine turtles. Copeia 1994: 66-81.
Versteeg, A. H. and F. R. Effert. 1987. Golden Rock: The
first Indian village on St. Eustatius. St. Eustatius Histori-
cal Foundation No. 1. 21 pp.
Walker, T. A. and C. J. Parmenter. 1990. Absence of a
pelagic phase in the life cycle or the flatback turtle, Nata-
tor depressus (Garman). Journal Biogeography 17:275-278.
Whittow, G. C. and G. H. Balazs. 1982. Basking behavior
of the Hawaiian green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Pacific Sci-
ence 36(2):129-139.
Wing, E. S. and E. J. Reitz. 1982. Prehistoric fishing
economies of the Caribbean. New World Archaeology
5(2): 13-22.
Witzell, W N. 1983. Synopsis of Biological Data on the
Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766).
FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 137, Rome. iv + 78 pp.
Wyneken, J. 1997. Sea turtle locomotion: Mechanisms,
behavior and energetic, p.165-198. In: P L. Lutz andJ. A.
Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press,
New York.







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWI,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Cultural and Economic Roles of Marine Turtles

Didiher Chacn Chaverri
P -. .. Marino
Asociacion ANAI
Costa Rica


Dr. Archie Carr once wrote "...the green turtle
population under study [at Tortuguero, Costa Rica]
has seemed to embody most of the problems and
complexities that plague any effort to intervene on
behalf of a migratory animal that is at once eco-
nomically valuable, prone to cross international
boundaries in its reproductive travel, and heavily
exploited on both its breeding and feeding
grounds." (Carr, 1971). I hope that by the end of
this meeting, we will see the wisdom of his words.
All of us present at this meeting are part of a
bioregion where the common factors are ocean
resources. The Wider Caribbean Region unites the
biological influences of both North and South, giv-
ing us a magnificent biodiversity in continental and
marine areas. convergence is also reflected in
our cultural heritage. Archaeological remains show
that the native peoples of the Caribbean have been
using biological resources, such as sea turtles, since
the third millennium BC.
Mosseri (1' '. refers to the relationship be-
tween ancient cultures and sea turtles as follows:
I n.. nature seems to have given them in one sin-
gle gift the way to satisfy many needs, since one and
the same animal is nourishment, container, house
and vessel." Sea turtles also play an important role
as mystic elements in different cultures. It was
undoubtedly a special relationship between the abo-
rigines and their environment that led them to wor-
ship natural deities. Sea turtles were chosen as the
subject for legends, to embody the spirit of the good
as well as the bad. They were also messengers of the
gods (Chac6n et al., *
Pottery, stone sculpture, and valuable jewelry are
proof that indigenous peoples used sea turtles as
part of their cultural heritage. The early inhabitants
of the tropical area of the Americas were definitely
attracted by and valued these reptiles. Today this
rich cultural heritage in which sea turtles play a very
important role resides mostly in the stories, fables,


and legends which are transmitted orally from one
generation to another.
While the artistic and mystic usage of sea turtles
is not measured by economic values, from a nutri-
tional standpoint the situation is quite different.
Indigenous groups (e.g., Caribs, Wayui. Kunas,
Miskito, Guajiros, Ramas, Garifunas, Nobes, and
others) have long relied upon sea turtles as an
important source of protein in their diet. Upon the
arrival of Europeans to the Americas at the end of
the 141'1 the only documented use of sea turtles
was that practiced by native peoples. The record
shows that in some places this use was intensive,
and in others it occurred on a less intensive subsis-
tence basis.
The emphasis on using sea turtles for nutrition
changed with advances in transportation and stor-
age. In the late 16th century, commercial trade in
meat began. Settlements along some coastal com-
munities reflect human migration to sea turtle nest-
ing areas. Stories abound of the Miskito moving
throughout Central America looking for sea turtles.
By the 17th century, indigenous groups were li! i
green turtles (Chelonia mydas) to the British who
kept them alive on their voyages to Europe in order
to feed sailors, settlers, slaves, and European con-
sumers.
Turtle use patterns by indigenous peoples
changed with the arrival of European settlers to the
Caribbean region (use pattens became more com-
merical), but today there are indigenous groups that
still survive by using sea turtles on a subsistence
basis. What will happen to local indigenous econ-
omies with turtle-eating customs if the turtles dis-
appear?
With the expansion of European colonization in
the Caribbean, changes in the environment and the
displacement and eradication of many indigenous
cultures was a rapid and profound process. The new
inhabitants placed an increased demand on the en-














vironment, including larger quantities of sea turtles.
The English, French, African, Meztizo and Indige-
nous use of the environment commingled, and in
this process not only the native use patterns but the
individuals themselves were exposed to foreign in-
fluence.
In the middle of the 18th century a mix of Euro-
pean and African cultures flourished in our region.
New economies developed, some based on sea tur-
tles. Whereas indigenous peoples had once used and
eaten substantial quantities of turtles, they were
considered only a source of nourishment and not an
important source of revenue. New cash economies
placed a high value on sea turtles, and encouraged
greater exploitation. As a result, sea turtle popula-
tions declined. By this time the populations of Ber-
muda and Grand Cayman were intensely exploited.
According to anthropologist Paula Palmer, "The
Miskito and Afro-Caribbean turtle hunters visited
several sites in Central America and the Caribbean
from the beginning of the second half of the 17th
century, rowing or sailing from Bocas del Toro
(Panama) and from the coast of Nicaragua, and
would arrive in March and stay until September
catching sea turtles with harpoons. They worked
the whole turtle through: they collected the shells
and sold them in Bocas del Toro, to be exported to
Germany to be made into combs and buttons."
(Palmer, 1986)
As I interpret these facts, turtle use for subsis-
tence was not a threat when compared to more
modern commercial exploitation. Moreover, the
preservation and protection of contemporary in-
digenous cultures requires the conservation of their
natural systems, particularly those related to the
species they eat. Besides their mystical significance
and their artistic and gastronomic importance, sea
turtles have been a main attraction for the migration
of people who, in search of such a precious animal,
have moved along the coasts and islands to harvest
turtles thus giving them a unique historical value.
From this perspective, turtle eggs and meat are
not only important in terms of nutrition, they also
play an important role in the coastal communities
because turtle hunting (tortuguear) is a way of life, a
lifestyle, a culture beyond protein intake. According
to Nietschman (1982), the green turtle has been the
most exploited species in the Caribbean and, for


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



example, is responsible for 70 percent of the animal
protein intake of the Miskito in Nicaragua.
Subsistence and commercial hunting together
with egg harvesting are common activities in the
Caribbean, and have led to significant declines in
sea turtle populations over the last two centuries.
Indiscriminate and uncontrolled exploitation has
reduced important populations to critical levels, and
has altered and destroyed habitats that are vital to
these species.
We have heard and we will continue to hear
about the importance of these reptiles within their
ecological systems, as a source of animal protein for
human consumption, and, more recently, for their
role in other commercial markets. This is why I
wish to discuss the two perspectives in which the
use of sea turtles has been framed. The first is an
ethical perspective; the second, a pragmatic per-
spective.
The ethical debate is based in simple terms on
whether man should adopt homo- or bio- centric
positions. Do we, as human beings, have the "j ',,"
to use sea turtles for our own purpose or benefit, or
do these reptiles have their own particular rights,
such as that of species-level survival?
The pragmatic debate thrives in the dichotomy
between the use of sea turtles and their conserva-
tion. I must admit that sea turtles were used, are
used, and will continue to be used by people, and
this should lead us to conservation efforts that
involve human communities.
At this moment we should ask ourselves: How
intensive is their use? What is the level of sustain-
able use? The major issue will be how to balance a
sustainable biological community in the face of
human use. Exploitation requires control in order
to avoid a situation where declining resources
increase the purchasing price and thus higher mar-
ket prices, resulting in more intensive exploitation,
and so on.
We must also ask ourselves: How important are
sea turtles for people? What is the impact of their
use on societies? The use of sea turtles can be cate-
gorized as consumptive or non-consumptive. Peo-
ple may value sea turtles for commercial,
recreational, scientific, aesthetic and spiritual rea-
sons.
Debate over the use of sea turtles must not be







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



confused with an economic justification of the use
of sea turtles. We must accept the use itself as one of
the topics in the subject of conservation, and
acknowledge all values currently attributed to sea
turtles. We can assign a value to a certain use, but
not all values can be measured with economic
terms. Because sea turtle products are found in
markets, they have been given an economic value.
Frequently this results in confusion among terms
such as "value", "use" and "commerce". Clearly if
sea turtles are being used for some purpose, they
have value, but it can be a tangible or an intangible
(e.g., mystical, spiritual) value (see also Frazer, this
volume).
Unfortunately, when use is associated with eco-
nomic value we enter the economic sphere where
economic considerations prevail, although in my
opinion the current value of these species cannot be
described solely in economic terms since the value
of sea turtles transcends mercantile descriptions.
The various economic uses of sea turtles in the
Caribbean region might be described as follows:
Subsistence restricted to individuals collect-
ing or hunting for their own consumption, with
distribution to the immediate social and . .. 1;.
area. This is the economy of the gatherer and his
dependents.
Local markets restricted to low-scale sale,
within the boundaries of the immediate town or
county, limited by minimal investment and the
intent of increasing family revenues.
Ranching or farming refers to raising tur-
tles in captivity for scientific reasons, tourism, or
gastronomical or consumer purposes, all commer-
cial. It is characterized by significant capital invest-
ment.
Commercial differs from the local market
category in that it has a larger scale and higher
investment. It is a group or corporate effort.
Recreation, image and fashion use is
defined directly or indirectly by tourism. Turtles are
photographed or filmed, and profits are made from
their image (e.g., currency, postal stamps, T-shirts,
magazines, logos, advertisement).
Obviously the boundaries between categories
are, in many cases, hazy, but I have made an attempt
to categorize all types of sea turtle use by the inhab-
itants of the Caribbean region. Tables 1 and 2 sum-


marize both historical and contemporary uses of sea
turtles.
Of all reptiles, turtles' eggs are the most im-
portant source for industrial and nutritional use.
Oil production and the belief that they have medi-
cinal and aphrodisiac properties cause their high
exploitation. Before fully entering the task of quan-
tifying the use of eggs, as well as other turtle prod-
ucts, I must acknowledge that records of the
economic role of sea turtles are scant, disperse and
inconsistent. Nevertheless, the record indicates the
following:
The price of eggs varies from US$ 0.02-US$
5.00 per unit in the region. Most eggs are collected
for domestic use and local markets, though there is
also evidence of transborder commerce. There is
proof that there is a black market for eggs from
Central America into the United States, and it is
possible that Caribbean turtles are being brought
into this murky commerce.
Berry (1''- ) wrote that between 80-1( of
leatherback turtles in the Caribbean coast of Costa
Rica were being harvested for human consumption.
The same thing is happening today from the shores
ofTrujillo in Honduras, Playa Negra in Costa Rica,
and Changuinola and San San in Panama. In the last
example, the harvest accounts for US$ 1:. ""l-
20,000 in the black market of Changuinola and
Puerto Almirante.
In 1'' Guatemala reported : 1- i hawksbill
nests, 50-90 green turtle nests, and 25-50 leather-
back nests in its small Caribbean coast, all exploited
for consumption. Now, ten years later, hawksbill
nesting rates do not exceed 100 [nests per year], and
reports for other species are rare.
Turtles have also been exploited in the region for
the production of leather. According to Redford and
Robinson (1991) sea turtle leather comes primarily
from the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and green
turtles. Historically the trade has been significant
from Eastern Pacific colonies, but olive ..i0 in
the Wider Caribbean Region have not been harvest-
ed for their skins (Reichart, 1993). Turtle leather
utilization in the region has been restricted to the
sale and export of green turtle skins from the Cay-
man Turtle Farm since its establishment in 1968.
Carapace exploitation, focusing on hawksbill
(Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles, represents another







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


source of revenue. During the second half of the
20th century (1970-1992) approximately 754 metric
tons of carapaces were exported to Japan from
around the world at an average rate of 33 tons per
year, requiring the death of some 71_/ "" turtles
during that period (53% of which came from Latin
America and the Caribbean). Some .," I shells were
collected and marketed between 1' ,, and 1987 from
Honduras and Nicaragua. More specific still, Japan-
ese Customs Statistics report that 14,519 kg of
hawksbill scutes (carapace plates) were imported
from Nicaragua between 1970 and 1986, the equiva-
lent of some 1 *'**. turtles (Milliken and Tokunaga,
1987).
Nowadays many countries of the region, for
which I can .... i, attest, such as Costa Rica,
" iI .I Honduras and Panama, have domestic
exploitation of sea turtle shell, including green turtle
shell. Despite the fact that it is .11 .1 in several
places, it is readily available, especially to tourists.
Tourists, in the urge to take souvenirs home for fam-
ily and friends, buy and transport shell products
across borders.
Turtle hunting is another important aspect of
some coastal Caribbean communities. Lagueux
(1998) reported that in Nicaragua slightly over
1(, "" i green turtles are harvested each year. From
1969 to 1976, three green turtle packing plants local-
ly consumed and exported close to 1l, "" sea turtles
in Nicaragua; 44 ,' kg were exported to the Unit-
ed States (Nietschmann, 1C );
In Costa Rica, between 1985 and 1'' 1,800 tur-
tles were legally exploited each year, t. : 1 11:: in
1998 alone, to a minimum income of US$ 271,, .
and up to U1. i. li', '" (if illegal catch is included).
That is a value of US$ 150 per live (fresh) turtle.
Non-consumptive use can also be characterized
by high profits. One of the most .. i1 activities of
ecotourism is to observe nature. It gives ecotourists
great satisfaction when they have a high probability
of observing wildlife. Thus many sea turtle nesting
grounds have been plagued by tourists anxious to
observe the egg-laying and hatching process. The
full economic value of such activities has been only
slightly studied.
At many sites, sea turtle nesting is a predictable
process. Furthermore, the same beach can be visited
by several species of sea turtles at different times of


the year, facilitating mulitple tours for tourists. Gutic
(1994) estimated that in Playa Grande (Costa Rica)
the recreational capitalized value was US$ 31 million
for the sea turtles and the estuary near the beach. He
estimated a capitalized value of US$ 34,910 for each
leatherback sea turtle nesting during the 1992-1993
season. In this endeavor 288 locals are employed by
tourism, although 72% of the revenue remains in the
hotel industry 1 . I held by non-locals).
In 1991 and 1992, 14, .1-:-', ) visitors arrived
to the small town of Tortuguero (Costa Rica) per
year, precisely during the nesting months for the
green turtle. I !.- .- tourists provide some US$ 4 mil-
lion in annual income to the town. Another indica-
tor of the non-consumptive economic value of sea
turtles is that in '- Tortuguero had two hotels and
60 hotel beds. Today Tortuguero has more than 300
beds in nine hotels. The trend clearly shows the
financial boom, including immigration, develop-
ment and employment opportunities, that a nesting
beach can generate.
The economic valuation of the income generated
by sea turtles in Playa Grande and Tortuguero are
good examples of the commercial value of sea turtles
in ecotourism. Furthermore, some communities


Table 1. Sea turtle use, by species,
in the Wider Caribbean Region

Green Meat
Eggs
Calipee
Flippers
Loggerhead turtle Eggs
Meat
Leatherback Eggs
Meat
Oil
Hawksbills Meat
Eggs
Shell
Kemp's II. Eggs
Meat
Olive Ridley Eggs
Meat







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Table 2. Historical and present day uses of sea turtles and their products
in the Wider Caribbean Region


Product Type
Eggs




Meat


Oil
Skin


Calipee


Bones


Shell


Use
Human consumption, direct or
indirect (such as in baking)
Animal consumption
Oil
Human consumption
Animal consumption
Cooking oil
Cosmetics
Medicinal purposes
Leather (e.g., shoes, handbags,
wallets, belts, handicrafts, home
ornaments)
Human consumption (soup)


Human consumption


Arts and crafts
Jewelry
Fertilizer
Home ornaments
Jewelry
General handicrafts
Miscellaneous (e.g., buttons,
combs, glasses, and others)


Values
Eggs are widely believed to have
medicinal and aphrodisiac
properties

Meat is widely believed to have
aphrodisiac and dermatological
properties


Associated with good nourishment
and improving intelligence
Fin soup is believed to have
special nutritional powers




The shell is associated with good
luck charms and mystically taking
something from the depths of the
sea


have also attributed a charismatic value to this group
of animals, and this value must also be quantified.
It is paramount that governments include the real
income that sea turtles and their associated micro-
economies generate. Only in this way can we under-
stand the economic role these ancient creatures play,
not only in family incomes but also in other seg-
ments and different market scales.
Even if the turtles have not asked us for payment
for the use of their image, other economic areas
where they are involved include:

Promotional and educational films
Clothing


Postcards, almanacs, calendars and other
printed materials
Corporate, government, and other logos

As you have heard in this hurried and general
description, ranging from before the arrival of Euro-
peans to the Americas and up to the present time;
from fins to and all along and around the
Caribbean Sea, sea turtles have left their mark in the
social and economic history of this region. But, will
this history continue?
For additional information on this sulbect, the
reader is referred to Chacdn et al. 2_') and Rebel
(1974).















Literature Cited
Pt i! F. 1987. Aerial and ground surveys of Dermochelys
coriacea nesting in Caribbean Costa Rica, p.305-310. In: L.
Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proceedings of the Second
Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech.
Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S. Dept. Commerce,
Miami.
Carr, A. 1971. Research and conservation problems in
Costa Rica, p.29-33. In: Marine Turtles: Proceedings of
the 2nd Working Meeting of Marine Turtle '" .:. i 8-
10 March 1971, Morges, Switzerland. IUCN, Morges.
Chac6n C., D., N. Valerin, M. Cajiao, II. Gamboa and G.
Marfn. 2000. Manual de Mejores PrActicas de Conser-
vaci6n de las tortugas marinas en Centroam6rica.
PROARCA-Costas, PROARCA-CAPAS, USAID-
G/CAP CCAD. SanJos6, Costa Rica. 130 pp.
Gutic, J. 1994. Ecoturismo basado en tortugas marinas
brinda beneficios econ6micos para la comunidad.
Noticiero de Tortugas Marinas 64:10-11.
Lagueux, C. 1998. Demography of marine turtles har-
vested by Miskitu Indians of Atlantic, Nicaragua, p.26-
27. In: R. Byles and Y. Fenmndez (eds.), Proceedings of
the 16th Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conser-
vation. NOAA lech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-412. U. S.
Dept. Commerce, Miami.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999




Milliken, T. and H. 'lbkunaga. 1987. The Japanese Sea
Turtle Trade 1970-1986. A Special Report by TRAFFIC-
JAPAN for the Center for Environmental Education
Washington, D.C. 171 pp.
Mosseri, C. 1998. Explotaci6n de Tortugas Marinas
durante la Edad de Bronce en Omin. Noticiero de Tor-
tugas Marinas 81:7-9.
Nietchmann, B. 1982. The cultural context of sea turtle
subsistence hunting in the Caribbean and problems
caused by commercial exploitation, p.439-445. In: K. A.
Bjorndal (ed.), i": .1 .. and Conservation of Sea ulrtles.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.
Palmer, P 1986. "Wa happen man": la historic de la costa
talamanquefna de Costa Rica, segdn sus protagonists.
San Jose. Institute del libro. 402 pp.
Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea Turtles and the Turtle Industry of
the West Indies, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico, Revised
edition. University of Miami Press, Miami. 250 pp.
Redford, K. and J. Robinson. 1991. Subsistence and
Commercial Uses of Wildlife in Latin America, p.6-24.
In: Neotropical Wildlife Use and Conservation. Univ.
Chicago Press, Chicago.
Reichart, II. A. 1993. Synopsis of Biological Data on the
Olive Ridley Sea lurtle Lepidochelys olivacea (Esch Scholtz,
1829) in the Western Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-336. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 78 pp.







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Status and Distribution of the Leatherback Turtle,

Dermochelys coriacea, in the Wider Caribbean Region

Karen L. Eckert
Wider Caribbean Sea 'lrtle Conservation Network (WIIECAS'T)
USA


Identity and Description
The generic name Dermochelys was introduced
by Blainville (1816). The specific name coriacea was
first used by Vandelli (1761) and adopted by Lin-
neaus (1766) (Rhodin and Smith, 1982). The bino-
mial refers to the distinctive leathery, scaleless skin
of the adult turtle. The people of the Wider Carib-
bean know Dermochelys by a variety of common
names, the most prevalent being leatherback in
English, lald (or tora) in i ....; .1., tortue luth in
French, and tartaruga de couro in Portuguese.
The leatherback turtle is the sole member of the
monophyletic family Dermochelyidae. It is filrther
unique in being the largest (Morgan, 1'' ';, deepest
diving (Eckert et al., 1' and most widely distrib-
uted (710N to 470S; Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984)
sea turtle. Caribbean-nesting females typically
weigh .-500 kg. A record male specimen, weigh-
ing nearly i .1 kg, died from net-entanglement in
Wales, U.K., a decade ago i .. 1989). Leather-
backs lack a bony shell. The smooth black skin is
spotted with white; the proportion of light to dark
pigment is variable.' i,. somewhat flexible carapace
is strongly tapered, typically measures 130-175 cm
(along the curve), and is raised into seven promi-
nent ridges. Deep cusps form tooth-like projections
on the upperjaw.
Hatchlings are covered with small polygonal
scales and are predominately black with mottled
undersides. Fli ; .. are margined in white, with
the forelimbs extending nearly the length of the
body. T 1. are no claws. Rows of white scales ap-
pear as stripes along the length of the back. Typical
carapace length is 60 mm. Typical (yolked) egg
diameter ranges from 51-55 mm.
For additional information, the reader is referred
to Pritchard and Trebbau (1(' 1;, NMFS/ FWS
(1992), Eckert (1995), Boulon et al. (1996), Giron-


dot and Fretey (1996), and Pritchard and Mortimer


Ecology and Reproduction
Adult leatherbacks exhibit broad thermal toler-
ances. I h. are commonly reported in New Eng-
land waters and northward into eastern Canada.
Core body temperature in cold water has been
shown to be several degrees C above ambient. This
may be due to several features, including the ther-
mal inertia of a large body mass, an insulating layer
of subepidermal fat, counter-current heat exchang-
ers in the flippers, potentially heat-generating
brown adipose tissue, and a relatively low freezing
point for lipids.
Stomach contents from animals killed in various
parts of the world indicate that the diet is mostly
cnidarians (jellyfish, siphonophores) and tunicates
(salps, pyrosomas). Surface feeding onjellyfish has
been observed at several locales around the world.
Foraging on vertically migrating zooplankton in the
water column has been proposed based on the div-
ing behavior of Caribbean-nesting females (Eckert
et al., 1'-', The specialized medusae diet places
the leatherback atop a distinctive marine food chain
based on nannoplankton, and largely independent
of the more commonly recognized trophic systems
supporting whales or tuna, for example (Hendrick-
son, 1' ).
Nesting grounds are distributed circumglobally
(approximately 400N to 350S). Gravid females are
seasonal visitors to the Wider Caribbean region
(males are rarely encountered) and observations are
largely confined to peak breeding months of March
to July. Mating is believed to occur prior to or dur-
ing migration to the nesting ground (Eckert and
Eckert, 1'". Females generally nest at 9-10 days
intervals, deposit an average of 5-7 nests per year,














and remigrate at 2-3+ year intervals. As many as 11
nests per year have been observed to be deposited
by a single female in the Caribbean Sea (St. Croix:
Boulon et al., 1996) and as many as 13 per year in
the Eastern Pacific (Costa Rica: R. Reina, pers.
comm. in Frazier, this volume). Because relatively
large numbers of nests are made by each turtle, and
not all crawls result in a nest (that is, not all crawls
result in the successful deposition of eggs), a tally of
100 crawls may translate into 70-.':! nests or the
sum reproductive effort of only 10-15 females.
Females prefer to nest on beaches with deep,
unobstructed access; contact with abrasive coral and
rock is avoided. Nesting typically occurs at night.
Approximately 70-90 yolked eggs are laid in each
nest, along with a variable number of smaller yolk-
less eggs. Sex determination in leatherback hatch-
lings is temperature dependent and the "pivotal
temperature" (approximately 1:1 sex ratio) has been
estimated to be 29.25-29.50C in Suriname and
French Guiana (Mrosovsky et al., 19 1;
Rimblot-Baly et al., 1986-1987). As is the case with
all sea turtle species, warmer incubations favor
females.
Research has shown that females engage in vir-
tually continuous deep diving in the general vicini-
ty of the nesting ground, traversing inshore waters
only to and from the beach. Dives become progres-
sively deeper as dawn approaches. Typical dives are
12-15 minutes in duration and rarely extend
beyond 200 m in depth, but dives exceeding 1,I ""'
m have been documented in the Caribbean Sea
(Eckert et al., 1' 'l. 1 '.. *; Leatherbacks swim con-
stantly, traveling 45-65 km per day during inter-
nesting intervals and 30-50 km per day during long
distance post-nesting migration (S. Eckert, HSWRI,
pers. comm.). After nesting, females leave the
Caribbean basin. This is known from tag returns
(e.g., leatherbacks tagged whilst nesting in French
Guiana have been recaptured in North America,
Europe and Africa: Pritchard, 1973; Girondot and
Fretey, 1996), post-nesting satellite-tracking studies
from Trinidad (Eckert, 1998) and French Guiana
(Ferraroli et al., in press), and studies of barnacle
colonization on females nesting in St. Croix (Eckert
and Eckert, 1988).
Neither the dispersal patterns of hatchlings nor
the behavior and movements of juveniles are


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



known. Preliminary evidence, based on a global
assessment of sightings records, suggests that juve-
niles may remain in tropical latitudes until they
reach approximately 100 cm in carapace length
(Eckert, 1999). Survivability, growth rate, age at
maturity and longevity in the wild have not been
determined for this species.

Distribution and Trends

The largest colony in the Wider Caribbean
Region is at Vi, lin : French Guiana, near the
border with Suriname. As is typical of long-term
databases at well-studied nesting beaches, the
French Guiana database demonstrates strong fluc-
tuations in the number of nests laid each year, rang-
ing (since 1978) from more than -',; "" nests to
fewer than 1 ) (Girondot and Fretey, 1996). The
number of nests laid at Ya:lima:po since 1992 has
been steadily declining (Chevalier and Girondot,
.:. i- ;. While the nature and extent of the decline is
difficult to interpret (due to the highly dynamic
nature of the beaches and the shifting pattern of
nesting that results), the trend is clear. By averaging
data across years (reducing the effects of annual
fluctuations), we can see that the mean number of
nests laid per year between 1987 and 1992 was
40,950 and the mean number of nests laid per year
between 1993 and 1998 was 18,100, a decline of
more than 50%. Drift/gillnet fishing in the Marconi
Estuary is implicated in the population's demise (J.
Chevalier, DIREN, pers. comm.).
As erosion has degraded nesting beaches in
French Guiana, the colony there has spilled over
into Suriname where sandy beach habitat is expand-
ing due to coastal processes. There were fewer than
100 leatherback nests laid in Suriname in 1967, but
annual numbers have risen steadily to a peak of
12,401 nests in 1985 and have fluctuated widely
since (Reichart and Fretey, 1993). A minimum of
4;, .-! nests were laid in Suriname in 1999, of which
about 50% were lost to poaching (STINASU,
unpubl. data).
Nesting on a more moderate scale is reported
from Guyana, Venezuela, and Colombia. Sea turtles
have been heavily utilized on the nesting beaches in
Guyana for many generations. The most important
nesting area is the North-West District, -. :'I..:-!!
Almond Beach. Aerial surveys in 1982 indicated







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



that "most of the turtles nesting on this beach are
being slaughtered by fishermen and probably all
eggs are harvested" (Hart, 1 .":r. Pritchard (1'-..)
estimated that 80% of females were killed each year
as they attempted to nest. In 1" an intensive tag-
ging program began in collaboration with local
communities, and rates of mortality have since de-
clined. The number of nests laid at Almond Beach
fluctuates among years and ranged from 90-247
between 1'. --1994; the populations appears to be
stable (P Pritchard, Chelonian Research Inst.,
unpubl. data). There are no historical data for Ven-
ezuela, but the Paria Peninsula appears to be the
most important nesting site at the present time.
Current information suggests that Querepare and
Cipara (believed to be the most important of the
Paria Peninsula's seven known nesting beaches), are
each visited by perhaps _'- 10 females per year (H.
Guada, WIDECAST-Venezuela, pers. comm.).
The Acandi region (Gulf of Urabi), :... .;..11-
Playona F. ', is the most important nesting site
(for leatherbacks) in Colombia. During 11 weeks of
monitoring 3 km of nesting beach at Playona in
1998, 71 females were tagged and 162 nests con-
firmed (Duque et al., 1 -). In 1999, 180 females
were tagged and 193 nests confirmed (Higuita and
Piez, 1999). The status of the colony is unknown,
but these .. records roughly confirm previous
estimates of 100 (Ross, 1982) and :-'1-250
(USFWS, 1981) females nesting per year. Current
threats to the colony are considered serious, and
include direct harvest, incidental catch by fisheries,
pollution, upland deforestation, and coastal devel-
opment (D. Amorocho, WIDECAST-Colombia,
pers. comm.).
In Panama, "concentrated nesting" [nests/yr was
not reported] occurs both in the western sector in
Bocas del Toro Province (principally on Playa
Chiriqui and Changuinola) and also in eastern
Panama at Playa Pito and Bahfa Aglatomate (!\ I.- -
lan et al., 1985; Pritchard, 1 -.' .;, More recent sur-
veys have confirmed 150-1; 1 nests per year on
Colon Island (D. Chac6n, Asoc. ANAI, pers.
comm.). Local experts characterize leatherback
nesting in Panama as declining; surveys are needed
to confirm the speculation. Between Costa Rica and
Escudo de Veraguas (Bocas del Toro Province),
some 35-100 gravid females are killed each year and


egg poaching is estimated at 85%. Most of the
leatherbacks are killed in the vicinity of the
Changuinola River, where the meat is later sold in
C1 .1.j;.i., I. and the banana plantations for US$
0.25 per lb (D. Chac6n, pers. comm.).
Costa Rica has seen dramatic declines in some
areas (Hirth and Ogren, 1987) due largely to egg
poaching, which still approaches (1- outside of
protected areas. An estimated' ' of all leatherback
nesting in Caribbean Costa Rica occurs within the
protected areas of (1. 0i, ..:. ., .
Refuge, Pacuare Nature Reserve, and Tortuguero
National Park, -where the combined number of
nesting females per year is -' ,- .: making it the
third largest known breeding assemblage in the
Wider Caribbean Region. The population at Gan-
doca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is increasing, with
the number of nests per year ranging from _:11 to
more than 1,100 between 1990-1999 (D. Chac6n,
unpubl. data). Similar increases are not reported
from Tortuguero, however, where nesting contin-
ues to decline (Campbell et al., 1996).
In Honduras there is a small rookery (25-75
nests/yr) at Plapaya Beach which has been protect-
ed by MOPAWI and the Garifuna community
since 1995 (D. Chac6n, pers. comm.). Nesting is
not known to occur in Belize (Smith et al., 1992).
Nesting is described as "rare" in Mexico, where
perhaps fewer than 20 nests are laid along the entire
Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coastline each year
(L. Sarti, INP, pers. comm.).
With the exception of Trinidad (and perhaps the
Dominican Republic, for which I have no data),
nesting in the insular Caribbean is predictable but
occurs nowhere in large numbers, by which I mean
more than 1, ".I nests (or approximately 150
females) per year. There is considerable anecdotal
evidence that nesting has dramatically declined
throughout the eastern Caribbean. In the British
Virgin Islands, for example, six or more females
nested per night on beaches on the northeast coast of
Tortola in the 1920's. The turtles were harvested
primarily for oil, which was (and is) used medici-
nally. In 1988 a single nest was recorded in Tortola;
in 1989 there were none (Cambers and Lima,
1'' "' ). Recently nesting appears to be on the rise,
presumably benefiting from a local moratorium
enacted in 1993 and long-standing protection in the














neighboring U. S. Virgin Islands. There were 28
crawls (successful and unsuccessful nesting events,
combined) on Tortola in 1997, 10 in 1' -. and 39 in
1999, suggesting a local nesting assemblage of 2-6
turtles per year (M. Hastings, BVI Ministry of Nat-
ural Resources, pers. comm.).
Where there is little protection, declining trends
persist. The theft of eggs and the I 11;.1 of egg-
bearing females have combined to diminish once
thriving colonies in St. Kitts and Nevis (Eckert and
Honebrink, 1992), St. Lucia (d'Auvergne and Eck-
ert, 1993), Tobago (W. Herron, Environment Toba-
go, pers. comm.) and elsewhere in the insular
Caribbean. In Grenada, for example, despite a
closed season that embraces most of the nesting sea-
son, information dating back nearly two decades
documents the killing of a significant number of
nesting females each year and an ll--. ol egg harvest
that local observers describe as near l',, (Finlay,
1984, 1987; Eckert and Eckert 1'' -- On islands
where nesting appears to have been historically rare
or occasional (e.g., Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados,
Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles), present trends
are impossible to estimate.
The news is better in some areas where protec-
tion measures have been strong. Nesting at the
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, USVI,
where leatherbacks have been protected for nearly
three decades, is showing a clearly upward trend.
An average of 26 females nested (with an average of
133 nests laid) each year between 1982-1986 [1982
being the first year of full beach coverage and tag-
ging] and an average of 70 females nested (with an
average of 423 nests laid) each year between 1995-
1999, a near tripling over the course of two decades
(R. Boulon, USNPS, pers. comm.). Similar trends
are seen at Culebra National '' I1. 1: i. Refuge (Playa
Resaca and Playa Brava), Puerto Rico, where an
average of 19 females nested (with an average of 142
nests -,..i each year between 1' '- 1-1 and an
average of 76 females nested (with an average of 375
nests laid) each year between 1997-1999 (M. Rivera
and T. Tallevast, USFWS, pers. comm.).
The two primary nesting sites in Trinidad,
Matura Beach (east coast) and Grande Riviere
(north coast), were declared protected areas in 1990
and 1997, respectively. Systematic tagging began at
Matura in 1999 and 862 females were tagged, but


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



beach coverage was incomplete and it is likely that
somewhat more than 1,' "I females nested on near-
ly 10 km of beach that year (Sammy, 1999). A simi-
lar number of females (. '-1/ .. per year) are
believed to nest at Grande Riviere (S. Eckert,
HSWRI, pers. comm.). The status of the nesting
colony in Trinidad is unknown. Community-based
beach patrols have reduced the number of females
killed each year to near zero (down from an esti-
mated 30- per year on the east coast and near
11. on the north coast in the 1960's and 1970's),
but high levels of incidental catch offshore have the
potential to decimate the colony (see Conclusions).

Threats

In some Wider Caribbean countries, gravid
leatherbacks are killed for meat, oil, and/or eggs
during nesting. In some cases (e.g., Tortola [BVI],
Grenada, Guyana), long-term local harvests have
had dire population consequences for local nesting
assemblages. In other cases the harvest occurs in a
range state, as is the case between Costa Rica and
Panama. Since only adult females are encountered,
there is no harvest of juveniles. The oily meat is not
widely favored and is t, ; 1". prepared by sun-dry-
ing or stewing. The oil is used for medicinal pur-
poses, generally in cases of respiratory congestion,
and is believed by some to have aphrodisiac quali-
ties. The harvest of eggs seems nearly ubiquitous in
unprotected colonies.
A serious threat to this species in the Wider
Caribbean region and greater Atlantic ecosystem is
incidental capture and mortality at sea. The fisheries
most likely to unintentionally ensnare leatherback
turtles are longlines and tangle nets (setnets, i,1
nets, driftnets). Published accounts are scarce, but
the capture of leatherbacks by longlines, for exam-
ple, is documented in the northeastern Caribbean
Sea (Cambers and Lima, 1990; Tobias, 1991; Fuller
et al., 1992), Gulf of Mexico (Hildebrand, 1987),
and the eastern U.S. and Canada (NMFS, 2 ,
Witzell, 1 :). In the southern latitudes of the
Wider Caribbean Region the world's largest
leatherback colonies are clearly threatened by inci-
dental capture in gillnets. Eckert and Lien (1'I .')
estimate that more than a 1, ,,l leatherbacks are
captured each year (logically including multiple
captures of the same individual) offshore the nest-







Karen L. Eckert and F. 1 I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



ing beaches in Trinidad; all indications are that mor-
tality rates are high. Drift/gillnets are also consid-
ered a serious threat in the Guianas.
The ingestion of persistent ocean debris, notably
plastic bags which are often mistaken for jellyfish
and ingested, is a pervasive threat throughout the
species' global range (Balazs, 1985; Witzell and Teas,
1''- -;. As is the case with other sea turtle species,
habitat loss in the form of increasingly developed
coastal areas (i ...***- ,d sandy beaches which
would otherwise contribute important nesting
habitat) is also a threat to species survival.

Conservation Status
'i leatherback is classified as Endangered by
the J. i1.1 Conservation Union (Baillie and
Groombridge, 1' .. ). They are included in Annex II
of the Protocol to the Cartagena Convention con-
cerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife
(SPAW); Appendix I of the Convention on Interna-
tional Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES); ", ,: I and II of the Con-
vention on the Conservation of -. Species
(Bonn Convention); and Appendix II of the Con-
vention on European Wildlife and Natural Habitats
(Bern Convention) (Hykle, 1''. ; The species is
also listed in the annexes to the Convention on
Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the
Western Hemisphere, a designation intended to
convey that their protection is of "special urgency
and importance". Only one Wider Caribbean coun-
try, Suriname, maintains a CITES reservation on
Dermochelys, but "the exemption is mostly a matter
of principle", there being no international trade in
leatherback turtles or their products (Reichart and
Fretey, 1993).

Conclusions

Based on information compiled for this presen-
tation it is clear that leatherbacks nesting in the
Eastern Caribbean have, on balance, experienced
dramatic declines since World War II (WWII). The
situation in Central and South America is less clear;
some populations are rising, some are declining.
Potentially important sites in Colombia, Panama
and the Dominican Republic have not been ade-
quately surveyed. The largest colony in the region


(Ya:lima:po, French Guiana) is widely characterized
as declining ( i i, levels of incidental catch offshore
have been implicated); however, it is not possible to
accurately assess this population until nesting
trends from related colonies in eastern French Gui-
ana and '..... ..~..: are taken into account. The sta-
tus of the nesting colony in Trinidad is unknown;
tagging for the purpose of population assessment
has only just begun. It is obvious that killings on the
nesting beach have dramatically declined (in Trin-
i.li ,1 in recent years, but, again, high levels of inci-
dental catch offshore are a serious concern. In Costa
Rica the trends are mixed, with the most serious
threats being egg poaching and the i l. -,! killing of
adult females in neighboring Panama.
What is very clear is that the ';. i. i Tropical
Atlantic, including the Caribbean Sea, is the prima-
ry nursery ground for this species in the greater
Atlantic ecosystem. The pivotal role that the Wider
Caribbean Region plays in reproduction em-
phasizes the urgency with which Caribbean gov-
ernments should approach the challenges of
management and conservation. Hunting of this
species in Caribbean waters is perilous to its long-
term survival since by definition only egg-bearing
females are killed (males and juveniles apparently
being so rare in the region that they are virtually
never encountered). Uncontrolled egg poaching on
shore and undocumented but almost surely unsus-
tainable levels of incidental capture at sea combine
to warn us that while rising trends are a welcome
sign in some areas, historical declines are still the
norm in most countries. With fewer than five
known I colonies (>1, "1 nests/ yr), and the
two largest colonies experiencing high levels of
mortality at sea, it is not unimaginable that we could
loose this species in the Caribbean basin.
Why such grave concern? We need only look at
the rookeries that, until recently, were among the
largest leatherback nesting colonies in the world.
Terengganu Beach, Malaysia, incubated more than
10,000 nests in 1956, in contrast to fewer than 100
nests per year, on average, during the decade of the
1990's. Major causes of decline are mortality associ-
ated with fisheries operations in the high seas as
well as within the territorial waters of Malaysia, and
a long history of sanctioned egg collection involving
nearly 1" of all eggs laid (Chan and Liew, 1996).














The rookery now supports less than .05% of post-
WW'II nesting levels.
Eastern Pacific rookeries have experienced dev-
astation on a comparable scale, but over a much
shorter time. In the early lc-' 's, the beaches of
Pacific Mexico were visited by more than .- I
gravid females per year, laying uncounted hundreds
of thousands of nests. Mexico was assumed to sup-
port more than half of all leatherback nesting on
Earth. By 1999, in less than 20 years, the population
was reduced to 250 turtles nesting per year (Sarti et
al., 1'. ). What happened, and why so quickly? In
an effort to support a 1 ...i.. fishing industry,
Chile, and later Peru, instituted an artisanal gillnet
fleet which grew . '; :.') until the early
1'd *. 's. One estimate suggests that this fishery killed
as many as 3/ ".. large juvenile and adult
leatherbacks each year on their southeastern Pacific
foraging grounds (Eckert and Sarti, 1997). As a
result, nesting in the Mexico (and other Eastern
Pacific sites) declined at a staggering rate of some
20% per year during the 1 -' 's (Sarti et al., 1''
Spotila et al., 1' ::' ).
The lessons of Mexico are that (i) what seem to
be almost infinitely large populations can be
destroyed so quickly as to preclude intervention by
the relevant resource agencies and (ii) such threats
can take place so far away that they are unknown to
local resource managers. Mexico invested millions
of Pesos in protecting leatherback sea turtles at their
nesting beaches, and it was all for naught because of
the management decisions of a distant Range State.
Recognizing these essential linkages is what this
meeting is all about. I consider it a great privilege to
be here.
Literature Cited
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Balazs, G. H. 1985. Impact of ocean debris on marine
turtles: entanglement and ingestion, -^~--_. In: R. S.
Shomura and H. 0. Yoshida (eds.), Proc. Workshop on
Fate and Impact of Marine Debris. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SWFC-54. U. S. Department of Commerce.
Boulon, R. H., Jr., P H. Dutton and D. L. McDonald.
1996. Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) on St.
Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands: Fifteen years of conservation.
Chelonian Conservation and T.. _- 2(2):141-147.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Cambers, G. and II. Lima. 1990. Leatherback turtles dis-
appearing from the BVI. Marine Turtle Newsletter
49:4-7.
Campbell, C. L., C.J. Lagueux andJ. A. Mortimer. 1996.
Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, nesting at Tor-
tuguero, Costa Rica, in 1995. Chelonian Conservation
and; ri _.:..- i69-172.
Chan, E. II. and H. C. Liew. 1996. Decline of the
leatherback population in Terengganu, Malaysia, 1956-
1995. Chelonian Conversation and Biology 2(2):196-
203.
Chevalier, J. and M. Girondot. 2000. Recent population
trend for Dermochelys coriacea in French Guiana, p.56-57.
In: F. A. Abreu-G. et al. (compilers), Proc. 18th Interna-
tional Sea 'urtle Symposium. NOAA T'ch. Memo.
NMFS-SEFSC-436. U. S. Department of Commerce.
d'Auvergne, C. and K. L. Eckert. 1993. WIDECAST Sea
Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Lucia (K. L. Eckert,
Editor). CEP Technical Report No. 26. UNEP
Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica.
xiv + 66 pp.
Duque, V, V P. Paez and J. Patifo. 1998. Ecologfa de
anidaci6n de la tortuga cana (Dermochelys coriacea), en la
Playona, Golfo de UrabA chocoano, Colombia, en 1998.
Unpubl. ms.
Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria
for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine
Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/
CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the
3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical
Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston,
11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Pro-
gramme, Kingston. 95 pp.
Eckert, K. L. and S. A. Eckert. 1988. Pre-reproductive
movements of leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys cori-
acea) nesting in the Caribbean. Copeia 1988:400-406.
Eckert, K. L. and S. A. Eckert. 1990. Leatherback sea tur-
tles in Grenada, West Indies: A survey of nesting beaches
and socio-economic status. Prepared for the Foundation
for Field Research, and the Grenada Ministry ofAgricul-
ture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries. St. George's, Grena-
da. 28 pp. +appendices.
Eckert, K. L. and T. D. Honebrink. 1992. WIDECAST
Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Kitts and Nevis.
CEP Technical Report No. 17. UNEP Caribbean Envi-
ronment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiii + 116 pp.
Eckert, S. A. 1998. Perspectives on the use of satellite
telemetry and other electronic technologies for the study
of marine turtles, with reference to the first year long
tracking of leatherback sea turtles, p.294. In: S. P Epper-








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme




ly, and J. Braun (eds), Proc. 17th Annual Symposium on
Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech.
Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-415. U. S. Dept. Commerce.
Eckert, S. A. 1999. Global distribution of juvenile
leatherback sea turtles. lubbs-SeaWorld Research Insti-
tute Tech. P'. i1 99-294:1-13.
Eckert, S. A. and J. Lien. 1999. Recommendations for
Eliminating Incidental Capture and Mortality of
Leatherback Turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, by Commercial
Fisheries in Trinidad and Tobago: A Report to the Wider
Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDE-
CAST). Hubbs-Sea World Research Inst. Tech. Rept.
2000-310:1-7.
Eckert, S. A., and L. M. Sarti. 1997. Distant fisheries
implicated in the loss of the world's largest leatherback
nesting population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7.
Eckert, S. A., K. L. Eckert. P Ponganis and G. L. Kooy-
man. 1989. Diving and foraging behavior of leatherback
sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea). Canadian Journal of
Zoology 67:2834-2840.
Eckert, S. A., D. W. Nellis, K. L. Eckert and G. L. Kooy-
man. 1986. Diving patterns of two leatherback sea turtles
(Dermochelys coriacea) during interesting intervals at
Sandy Point, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Herpetolog-
ica 42(3):381-388.
Ferraroli, S S. Eckert, J. Chevalier, M. Girondot, L.
Kelle and Y. Le Maho. in press. Marine behavior of
leatherback turtles nesting in French Guiana. In: Proc.
20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Con-
servation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx.
U.S. Dept. Commerce.
Finlay, J. 1984. National Report for the Country of
Grenada, p.184-196 (Vol. 3). In: R. Bacon et al. (eds.),
Proc. Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 17-22 July
1983, Costa Rica. Univ Miami Press.
Finlay, J. 1987. National Report for the Country of
Grenada. Presented to the Second Western Atlantic lur-
tle Symposium, 12-16 October 1987, Puerto Rico. 16 pp.
Unpubl.
Fuller, J. E., K. L. Eckert, and J. I. Richardson. 1992.
WIDECAST Sea Tiurtle Recovery Action Plan for
Antigua and Barbuda. CEP Technical Report No. 16.
UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston,
Jamaica. xii + 88 pp.
Girondot, M. and J. Fretey. 1996. Leatherback turtles,
Dermochelys coriacea, nesting in French Guiana, 1978-
1995. Chelonian Conservation and P.; .. 2(2):204-
208.
Hart, S. 1984. The National Report for the Country of


Guyana to the Western Atlantic lurtle Symposium,
p.209-215. In: P. Bacon et al. (eds.). Proc. Western
Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 17-22 July 1983, San Jose,
Costa Rica. Vol. 3, Appendix 7. Univ. Miami Press,
Miami, Florida.
Hendrickson, J. R. 1980. The ecological strategies of sea
turtles. American Zoologist 20:597-608.
Iliguita, A. M. and V P Paez. 1999. Proporciones sexu-
ales neonatales y demografia de la poblaci6n de tortuga
cani (Dermochelys coriacea) anidante en la Playona, Choc6
durante la temporada de 1999. Unpubl. ms.
Hildebrand, H. 1987. A reconnaissance of beaches and
coastal waters from the border of Belize to the Mississip-
pi River as habitats for marine turtles. Final Report,
NOAA/NMFS/SEFC Panama City Lab (purchase order
i :.-84-CF-A-- 1; 63 pp.
Hirth, H. F. and L. H. Ogren. 1987. Some aspects of the
ecology of the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, at
Laguna Jalova, Costa Rica. NOAA Tech. Report NMFS
56:1-14.
Hykle, D. 1999. International conservation treaties,
p.228-231. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G.
and M. A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management
Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.
IU( : ' Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4.
Washington, D.C.
Meylan, A., P Meylan and A. Ruiz. 1985. Nesting ofDer-
mochelys coriacea in Caribbean Panama. J. Herpetol.
19(2):293-297.
Morgan, P J. 1989. Occurrence of leatherback turtles
(Dermochelys coriacea) in the British Islands in 1988 with
reference to a record specimen, p.119-120. In: S. A. Eck-
ert, K. L. Eckert, and T. H. Richardson (compilers), Proc.
9th Annual Conference on Sea Turtle Conservation and
r ... NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U.S.
Department of Commerce.
Mrosovsky, N., P H. Dutton and C. P Whitmore. 1984.
Sex ratios of two species of sea turtles nesting in Suri-
name. Can. J. Zool. 62:2227-2239.
NMFS. 2000. Reinitiation of consultation on the Atlantic
pelagic fisheries for Swordfish, Tuna, Shark and Billfish
in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ): proposed
rule to implement a regulatory amendment to the High-
ly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; reduc-
tion ofbycatch and incidental catch in the .' 1 1 i. i.
longline fishery. National Marine Fisheries Service, Sil-
ver Spring. U. S. Dept. Commerce. 113 pp.
NMFS / FWS. 1992. Recovery Plan for Leatherback Tur-
tles, Dermochelys coriacea, in the U.S. Caribbean, Atlantic,
and Gulf of Mexico. NOAA National Marine Fisheries















Service, Washington, D.C. 65 pp.
Pritchard, P C. H. 1973. International migrations of
South American sea turtles (Cheloniidae and Der-
mochelyidae). Anim. Behav 21:18-27.
Pritchard, P C. H. 1986. Sea turtles in Guyana, 1986.
Florida Audubon Society. 14 pp. Unpubl. ms.
Pritchard, P. C. H. 1989. Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys
coriacea): status report, p.145-152. In: L. Ogren (Editor-
in-C:l. 0, Proc. Second Western Atlantic Turtle Sympo-
sium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-
226. U. S. Dept. Commerce.
Pritchard, P C. H. andJ. A. Mortimer. 1999. 'axonomy,
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G. and M.
A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management t&ch-
niques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUC i ,
Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington,
D.C.
Pritchard, P C. H. and P Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of
Venezuela. Society for the Study ofAmphibians and Rep-
tiles. Contrib. Herpetol. No. 2.
Reichart, H. A. andJ. Fretey. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Tur-
tle Recovery Action Plan for Suriname (K. L. Eckert, Edi-
tor). CEP Tech. Rept. No. 24. UNEP Caribbean
Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiv + 65
pp.
Rhodin, A. G. J. and H. M. Smith. 1982. The original
authorship and type specimen of Derochelys coriacea. J.
Herpetol. 16:316-317.
)'...i I I., F., J. Lescure, J. Fretey, and C. Pieau.
1986-1987. Sensibility a la temperature de la diff6rencia-
tion sexuelle chez la tortue luth, Dermochelys coriacea (Van-
delli 1761); application des donne6s de l'incubation
artificielle a l'6tude de la sex-ratio dans la nature. Ann.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999




Sci. Nat., Zool., Paris 13e S6rie, 1986-1987(8):277-290.
Ross, J. E 1982. Historical decline of loggerhead, ridley
and leatherback sea turtles, p.189-209. In: K. A. Bjomdal
(ed.), r; .1. and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smith-
sonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C.
Sammy, D. 1999. Final Tagging Project Report: Matura
Beach 1999. Submitted to the Canadian High Commis-
sion, Port of Spain. 19 pp. + appendices.
Sarti, L. M., S. A. Eckert, N. T. Garcia, and A. R. Barra-
gan. 1996. Decline of the world's largest nesting assem-
blage of leatherback turtles. Marine ETurtle Newsletter
74:2-5.
Smith, G. W, K. L. Eckert andJ. P Gibson. 1992. WIDE-
CAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Belize. CEP
Technical Report No. 18. UNEP Caribbean Environ-
ment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiii + 86 pp.
Spotila.J. R., R. D. Reina, A. C. Steyermark, P T. Plotkin
and F. V. Paladino. 2000. Pacific leatherback turtles face
extinction: Fisheries can help avert the alarming decline
in population of these ancient reptiles. Nature 405:529-
530.
Tobias, W 1991. Turtles caught in Caribbean swordfish
fishery. Marine Turtle Newsletter 53:10-12.
USFWS. 1981. Recovery Plan for St. Croix Population of
the Leatherback Turtle, Dernochelys coriacea. Region 4, U.
S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Witzell, W N. 1984. The incidental capture of sea turtles
in the Atlantic U. S. Fishery Conservation Zone by the
Japanese Tuna Longline Fleet, 1978-1981. Marine Fish-
eries Review 46(3):56-58.
Witzell, W N. and W G. Teas. 1994. The impacts of
anthropogenic debris on marine turtles in the Western
North Atlantic Ocean. NOAA tlch. Memo. NMFS-
SEFSC-355. U. S. Department of Commerce.







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Status and Distribution of the Green Turtle,

Chelonia mydas, in the Wider Caribbean Region

CynthiaJ. Lagueux
SI :,'.;j. Conservation Society
USA


Identity and Description

The generic name Chelonia was introduced by
Brongniart (1' ). The specific name mydas was
first used by Linnaeus (1758). Common Caribbean
vernacular names include green (or green-back)
turtle in English, tortuga verde in Spanish, tortue
verte in French, and tartaruga verde in Portuguese
(Eckert, 1995), referring to the predominately green
color of its body fat.
The green turtle is the largest of the hard-
shelled sea turtles and is the second largest (after
Dermochelys) of the seven species. Adults commonly
attain weights of 150 kg and generally measure from
95 to 120 cm in carapace length. The color of the
broadly oval carapace is light to dark brown, some-
times shaded with olive, with radiating streaks of
-. l.. browns, greens, and black. The plastron or
belly is whitish cream to a light yellow in color.
I i. are five vertebral scutes and four pairs of
costal (lateral) scutes on the carapace which do not
overlap one another. There is a single claw on each
flipper. The anteriorly rounded head is character-
ized by a blunt beak with serrated cutting edges and
a single pair of enlarged scales between the eyes.
Green turtle hatchlings weigh about 26 g and are
about 5 cm in shell length. Hatchlings are uniquely
marked with a blue-black color above and white
margins on the trailing edge of the flippers and
around the carapace. The plastron of hatchlings is
t-pi:ll; a creamy white color. The hatchling gait
on land is asymmetrical (alternating flipper move-
ments), as opposed to the symmetrical gait of the
adult.
For additional information, the reader is referred
to Parsons (1962), Carr et al. (1978), Groombridge
and Luxmoore (1''. -', NMFS/FWS (1991), Eckert
(1995), Hirth (1997), and Pritchard and Mortimer
(1' '',


Ecology and Reproduction

The green turtle is a circumglobal species found
in tropical and sub-tropical waters. After leaving
their natal beaches, individuals spend several years
in the open ocean becoming widely dispersed by
ocean currents. During this period they are omniv-
orous, feeding opportunistically at the ocean surface
(Carr and Meylan, 1 '. Carr, 1 .). In the
Caribbean, once juveniles reach approximately
20-25 cm in carapace length they move to coastal
waters where they shift to an herbivorous diet
(Lj... .l- and Bolten, 1988). The benthic vegetari-
an feeding habit of juvenile and adult green turtles
is unique among the sea turtles. The principal food
item of Caribbean populations is Thalassia tes-
tudinum, commonly known as turtle grass (Mor-
timer, 1976).
Green turtles are estimated to take 27-50 years
to reach sexual maturity (Limpus and Walter, 1' '. ",
Balazs, 1982; Frazer and Ehrhart, 1985; Frazer and
Ladner, 1986), the longest age to maturity estimate
for any sea turtle species. During the decades prior
to adulthood, juveniles move long distances
between areas of developmental habitat. Genetic
studies show that mature females return to their
natal beach to nest throughout their reproductive
life (Meylan et al., 1 ''"*'). Both males and females
make long seasonal migrations between foraging
and nesting sites, migrations that often span thou-
sands of kilometers. Thus, during the life cycle of
green turtles, animals from a single population can
traverse an entire ocean basin, making them a truly
international resource.
Gravid females typically spend two and one-half
hours on the beach for nesting. Individuals return
to nest at 2-4 year intervals, depositing an average
of three clutches of eggs (and as many as nine) at
12-14 day intervals throughout the nesting season














(which at most Wider Caribbean localities peaks in
June, July and August). Clutch size varies widely,
and there is a relationship between clutch size and
carapace length (summarized by Hirth, 1997). The
average clutch size at the well-studied rookery at
Tortuguero, Costa Rica is 112 eggs (range: 3-219)
(PT. 1..1 1 and Carr, 1989). Eggs average 44 mm in
diameter. After 55-60 days of incubation, hatchlings
emerge from the sand and orient toward the open
horizon of the sea.
For decades female green turtles have been flip-
per tagged on the nesting beach. Tag returns provide
us with information about the distribution of
mature females away from the nesting beach, as
well as documenting their highly migratory habits
(see Hirth, 1997, for a review). Females tagged
while nesting at Tortuguero, Costa Rica have been
recovered from foraging grounds and along migra-
tory pathways in Belize, Colombia, Cuba, USA
(Florida), Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique,
Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Colombia (San
Andres), Venezuela, and Mexico (Yucatin), with the
majority of tag returns coming from the foraging
ground off the coast of Nicaragua (Carr et al.,
1978). Similarly, females tagged while nesting at
Aves Island, Venezuela have been recaptured in
Brazil, Carriacou, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti,
Martinique, Mexico, Nevis, T' .. .. Puerto
Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Venezuela, with the
majority of these tag returns coming from the coasts
of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic (Sol,

More recently, immature and adult green turtles
have been tagged in developmental and foraging
habitats, as well as along migratory pathways.
Immature and adult green turtles tagged in
Caribbean Panama, a developmental habitat and
migratory pathway, have been recovered predomi-
nantly in :.-:., -. _. .- (Meylan and Meylan, unpubl.
data). Immatures tagged in developmental habitat
in II i.. i... 1 have been recaptured from throughout
the Caribbean, with the majority from Nicaragua
(i ,i.i et al., in prep.). The accumulation of
recovered tags from an area can indicate the impor-
tance of that area to different life stages of green tur-
tles. The coastal waters of Caribbean Nicaragua are
clearly important to the survival of this species,


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



since immature and adult green turtles tagged in
nearly a dozen countries throughout the Wider
Caribbean Region have been recaptured there
(Lagueux and Campbell, unpubl. data).

Distribution and Historical
Considerations

Throughout history, the green turtle has been
prized for its meat and calipee, the cartilagenous
material found on the inside of the plastron. Green
turtle meat and eggs sustained the crews of ships
during the period of exploration, expansion, and
settlement of the New World (Carr, 1954; Parsons,
1962). Because of unsustainable use, all Wider
Caribbean green turtle populations are depleted and
some nesting populations are locally extinct. I h, ..
are several examples throughout the world of green
turtle populations that have been destroyed due to
over-harvesting, two examples are given below
i. first example is from Bermuda where there
was once a large assembly of nesting and foraging
green turtles (Ingle and Smith, 1949; Parsons,
19C'_. However, in spite of legislation adopted in
1620 to protect against the taking of juveniles, by
the end of the 1 .-. the green turtle population was
so reduced that a commercial harvest was no longer
profitable (Garman, 1. II cited in Carr, 1952; Par-
sons, 1962), and the nesting population was
destroyed. Even today there are no green turtles
nesting in Bermuda.
The second example is from the Cayman
Islands. The Caymans were once known for what
was probably the largest green turtle rookery in the
Atlantic system. In 1503, during Columbus' final
voyage to America, he named these islands Islas
Tortugas. At one time, there were so many turtles
migrating towards the Cayman Islands during the
nesting season that lost ships could navigate
towards the islands by the sound of swimming tur-
tles (Long, 1774 cited in Lewis, 1940). For almost
`"' years boats from many nations arrived at the
Cayman Islands to harvest nesting females (Par-
sons, 1962). By the early 1 -'"' the population had
become so depleted that Cayman turtlers sailed to
the south of Cuba, then to the Gulf of Honduras
and finally to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua in
search of ever-decreasing stocks of turtles to harvest
(Lewis, 1940; Carr, 1954; Parsons, 1962; King,







Karen L. Eckert and F. 1 I.-, .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



1 _2 Today, there is no longer a viable wild nest-
ing green turtle population in the Cayman Islands.
It has been over 1 "1 years since the demise of
the nesting populations in Bermuda and the Cay-
man Islands and still they have not recovered. Is
there anything we can learn from these examples? If
we agree that it is important to maintain biological-
ly healthy green turtle populations, can we learn
from the mistakes of our ancestors and implement
the actions necessary to halt the continued decline
of Caribbean green turtle populations?
Today the largest green turtle nesting colonies in
the Wider Caribbean Region occur at Tortuguero,
Costa Rica and Aves Island, Venezuela, with the
Tortuguero rookery by far the largest (Carr et al.,
1982). Much smaller nesting rookeries are scattered
throughout the region. I- include Florida,
Mexico (Tamaulipas, Veracruz and the Yucatin
Peninsula), F. 1; Panama, the coastline of north-
ern South America, and at selected sites in the East-
ern Caribbean (Carr et al., 1982).
The largest f6 1i .. i;. :, of juveniles and
adults is found on the extensive seagrass beds along
the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Smaller foraging
:, .i : i. have been documented in Florida, the
Yucatin Peninsula, Panama, the Guajira Peninsula
of Colombia, the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico,
Cuba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Bermuda and the
southern Bahamas (Carr et al., 1982).

Conservation Status

Green turtles are classified as Endangered by the
World Conservation Union (Baillie and Groom-
bridge, 1996) and are protected by various interna-
tional agreements. They are listed in Annex II of the
SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention (a
Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and
Wildlife), Appendix I of CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Flora and Fauna), and Appendices I and II of the
Convention on i i _,. v Species (CMS). The
species is also included in the annexes to the West-
ern Hemisphere Convention, a designation intend-
ed to convey that their protection is of "special
urgency and importance" (Eckert, 1995). Recently,
the governments of Costa Rica and Panama signed
a cooperative agreement toward the conservation of


marine turtles on their Caribbean coasts.
International laws, classifications, and agree-
ments, however, do not adequately protect nesting
and foraging green turtle populations and their
habitats. Both legal and illegal green turtle fisheries
and egg harvesting still continue.

Conclusions

Tag recoveries from females tagged on their
nesting beaches, and adult and immature turtles
tagged on their foraging grounds or along migrato-
ry pathways make it evident that regional coopera-
tion is not only important but imperative for the
conservation of green turtles. Because of the highly
migratory nature of this species, conservation
efforts of one nation can be negated by the lack of,
or ineffective actions of other nations. Thus, we
must work together, within countries, between
nations, and on a regional level to ensure our con-
servation efforts are the most effective for the
recovery of green turtle populations throughout the
wider Caribbean.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Anne Meylan and Blair
Witherington for allowing me to use their unpub-
lished data, and Karen Eckert and Anne Meylan for
the use of their slides for the presentation. I am
grateful for the review and comments of Cathi
Campbell in the preparation of the presentation and
text.
Literature Cited
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Balazs, G. H. 1982. Growth rates of immature green tur-
tles in the Hawaiian Archipelago, pp. 117-125. In: K.A.
Bjomdal (ed.), I, : and Conservation of Sea Turtles.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 583 pp.
Bjomdal, K. A. and A. B. Bolten. 1988. Growth rates of
immature green turtles, Chelonia mydas, on feeding
grounds in the southern Bahamas. Copeia 1988 (3):555-
564.
Bjorndal, K. A. and A. Carr. 1989. Variation in clutch size
and egg size in the green turtle nesting population at Tor-
tuguero, Costa Rica. Ilerpetologica 45-1. i-189.
Carr, A. 1952. Handbook of Turtles: The Turtles of the















United States, Canada, and Baja California. Cornell Uni-
versity Press. New York. 542 pp.
Carr, A. 1986. New perspectives on the pelagic stage of
sea turtle development. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-
SEFC-190. U.S. Dept. Commerce. 36 pp.
Carr, A. and A. B. Meylan. 1980. Evidence of passive
migration of green turtle hatchlings in Sargassum. Copeia
1980(2):366-368.
Carr, A., M. H. Carr and A. B. Meylan. 1978. The ecolo-
gy and migrations of sea turtles, 7. The West Caribbean
green turtle colony. Bulletin of the American Museum of
Natural History 162(1):1-46.
Carr, A., A. Meylan, J. Mortimer, K. Bjorndal and T.
Carr. 1982. Surveys of sea turtle populations and habitats
in the Western Atlantic. U. S. Department of Commerce
NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-91. 91 pp.
Carr Jr., A. F. 1954. The passing of the fleet. AIBS Bul-
leting 4:17-19.
Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria
for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine
lirtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/
CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST and
adopted by the Third Meeting of the Interim Scientific
and technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Proto-
col. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations
Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp.
Frazer, N. B. and L. M. Ehrhart. 1985. Preliminary
growth models for green, Chelonia mydas, and loggerhead,
Caretta caretta, turtles in the wild. Copeia 1985(1):73-79.
Frazer, N. B. and R. C. Ladner. 1986. A growth curve for
green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, in the U.S. Virgin
Islands, 1913-14. Copeia : :. -.):798-802.
Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green
Turtle and Hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World Sta-
tus, Exploitation and Trade. CITES Secretariat, Lau-
sanne, Switzerland. 601 pp.
Hirth, II. F. 1997. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the
Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758). Biological
Report 97(1):1-129. U. S. Department of Interior.
Ingle, R. M. and F W. Smith. 1949. Sea Turtles and the
Turtle Industry of the West Indies, Florida and the Gulf
of Mexico, with Annotated Bibliography. University of


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Miami Press, Florida. 107 pp.
King, F. W 1982. Historical review of the decline of the
green turtle and the hawksbill, pp. 183-188. In: K.A.
Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 583 pp.
Lewis, C. B. 1940. The Cayman Islands and marine tur-
tles. Bull. Inst. ofJamaica Sci. Ser. 2:56-65.
Limpus. C. J. and D. G. Walter. 1980. The growth of
immature green turtles (Chelonia mydas) under natural
conditions. Herpetologica 36(2):162-165.
Meylan, A. B., B. W Bowen and J. C. Avise. 1990. A
genetic test of the natal homing versus social facilitation
models for green turtle migration. Science 248:724-727.
Meylan, P, A. B. Meylan andJ. A. Gray-Conklin. in prep.
The ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 8. 'Ists of the
developmental habitat hypothesis.
Mortimer, J. A. 1976. Observations on the feeding ecolo-
gy of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, in the western
Caribbean. Masters thesis, University of Florida,
Gainesville. 100 pp.
NMFS/FWS. 1991. Recovery Plan for U. S. Populations
of the Atlantic Green Turtle. U. S. Department of Com-
merce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington
D. C. 52 pp.
Parsons, J. J. 1962. The Green Turtle and Man. Univer-
sity of Florida Press, Gainesville. 126 pp.
Pritchard, P C. I. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy,
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto
Abreu G. and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
u'irtles. IU( 1 l C' Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C.
Sole, G. 1994. Migration of the Chelonia mydas population
from Aves Island, pp. 283-286. In: K. A. Bjorndal, A. B.
Bolten, D. A. Johnson and P J. Eliazar (compilers), Pro-
ceedings of the 14th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle
1... i and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFSC-351. 323 pp.







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Status and Distribution of the Loggerhead Turtle,

Caretta caretta, in the Wider Caribbean Region

Felix Moncada Gavildn
Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras
S.. .. de la Industria Pesquera
(iba


Identity and Description
The generic name Caretta was introduced by
Rafinesque (1814). The specific name caretta was
first used by Linnaeus (I ) The name Caretta is a
Latinized version of the French word carett",
meaning turtle, tortoise, or sea turtle (Smith and
Smith, 1 -' ;. Smith and Smith (1'. ;,, suggested
that the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic populations were
differentiated at the subspecific level, but this con-
clusion has been challenged by Hughes (1974) and
Pritchard and Trebbau (1984). In recent synopses of
the biological data available on this species, Dodd
(1988, 1' "' considered C. caretta to be monotypic.
In the Wider Caribbean, the species is referred to as
loggerhead in English, cabezon and caguama in
Spanish, and caouanne in French (excerpted from
Eckert, 1'' -'.).
The loggerhead turtle is identifiable by the rela-
tively large size of its head, thick carapace (often
encrusted with barnacles and other epifauna), and
reddish-brown pigmentation of the skin and cara-
pace. In general there are five vertebral scutes and
five pairs of non-overlapping costal (lateral) scutes
on the carapace. There are two claws on each flip-
per. Adults can reach a size of 120 cm (straight cara-
pace length) and weigh up to -' kg (Pritchard et
al., 1983), but more typical is an adult of 105 cm in
straight carapace length and about 180 kg (Pritchard
and Mortimer, 1999). The species is widely distrib-
uted in the subtropical and tropical waters of the
Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Atlantic sight-
ings are documented as far north as Terranova
Island (Squires, 1954) and northern Europe
(Brongersma, 1972), and as far south as Argentina
(Frazier, 1984).
Hatchlings are uniformly reddish- or grayish-
brown with a scute pattern identical to the adult.


The typical straight carapace length is 45 mm, rang-
ing from about 38-50 mm. Egg diameter ranges
from 39-43 mm, with about 100-130 eggs laid per
nest (see Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999).

Distribution

The most important nesting grounds for this
species in the Wider Caribbean Region are mainly
located along the southeastern coast of the USA,
principally in the state of Florida which hosts the
second greatest nesting aggregation of this species
in the world, surpassed only by the most important,
located in Masirah Island, Oman, in the Indian
Ocean. Of the total number of nestings document-
ed in the USA each year, 93% are in Florida (FL),
5% in South Carolina (SC), and about 1% in each
of Georgia (GA) and North Carolina (NC) (Figure
1). Nesting declined in these areas during the
1"'''''s (Ehrhart, I''- ';. Today the south Florida
population is considered to be stable or improving.
Witherington and Koeppel (1999) reported that the
number of nests laid in Florida rose from 49,422 in
1989 to 85,985 in 1998. Based on 4.1 nests/
female/yr (: I 'i I,-and Hopkins, 19' I this annual
nesting population has increased from 12,054 to
20,972 females. In contrast, the northern popula-
tion (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina) is
considered to be stable or declining, and the status
of the Florida panhandle population cannot be
determined at this time (TEWC,: -../).
Other important nesting grounds are located on
the Yucatan Peninsula (particularly along the coast
of Quintana Roo in the Caribbean Sea), the islands
and keys of the Cuban Archipelago, and Colombia's
Caribbean coast. '-.,..!.- for the Quintana Roo
beaches in the early 1' 's suggested annual nest-
ings of 1,300- .* (Zurita et al., 1993), with a







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Figure 1. Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting trends in the USA by state, based on Index
Beach data. Index Beaches account for about 70% of all nesting in Florida, about 53% in North Car-
olina, 50% in South Carolina, and over 90% in GA. Source: E. Possardt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser-
vice.


slightly increasing trend (R. Mirquez, INP-M6xi-
co, pers. comm.). About 2,000 loggerhead nests per
season were once known at beaches near Santa
Marta in Colombia (Mirquez, 1990), where Kauf-
mann (1975) estimated an annual population of 400
to 600 nesting females. By the mid-1980's only
eight nesting females were reported in the same
region (D. Amorocho, WIDECAST-Colombia,
pers. comm., 1999), evidence of a drastic decrease
in this population.
In the Cuban Archipelago (Figure 2), logger-
heads nest mainly in the southwestern region,
specifically in the Guahanacabibes Peninsula and on
the islands and keys of the Canarreos Archipelago.
The most important area is "El Guanal" beach
(south of Pinos Island); other important areas are
the San Felipe Keys, Largo del Sur Key and Rosario
Key. Together these areas host about 70% (approxi-
mately 250 nests) of the annual nesting for this
species in the entire Cuban Archipelago. Some
additional nesting occurs in the northern coast of
the island and in some keys of the Sabana-Cam-


agiey Archipelago (e.g., Cruz Key). Isolated nesting
has been recorded in the southeastern region in the
Doce Leguas keys.
Rare and isolated nesting is reported in the Less-
er Antilles, along the Mexican Gulf (Tamaulipas
and Veracruz), in Central America (Belize and
Guatemala), and along the Atlantic coast of South
America from Venezuela to Brazil (summarized by
Dodd, 1988). More recent evidence suggests that
low levels of nesting also occur in Honduras where,
for example, the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
protects approximately 10 loggerhead nests each
year (E. Possardt, U.S. FWS, pers, comm.).

Ecology

Loggerhead turtles are highly migratory, un-
dertaking transoceanic journeys as young juveniles
and routinely moving between nesting and foraging
grounds as adults. It is widely held that hatchlings
emerging from nests laid along the southeastern
coast of the USA leave their native beaches to take
shelter in open sea accumulations of Sargassum


"MOM aim 64teit
ROMb
2-M

uo



kim



IB W s
' IJID
H M Ht kK t If*

rr -- f--------~


WbChi Ru*I5WlN


U ~ W aI61W WI


___ __


Z;


=doo

mn
mmr
" nnn







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWf
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Gulf of
Mexico


Los Canarreos Archipiel





Caribbean


0 50 100km
0 50 1OOmi


BAHAMAS\
Straits of Florida





o.,,
a _




% N Manzanillo

Sea ,
B Cayman
Islands
(U.K.)


HAI T I


Figure 2. Major loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting areas in Cuba (see text).


weed. The young turtles are transported passively
by a branch of the Gulf Stream that carries them to
the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Later they
move south with the North Atlantic Gyre, to the
Azores and Canary Islands, and ultimately return as
large juveniles with the Northern Equatorial Cur-
rent to western Atlantic foraging grounds where
they specialize on mollusks and crustaceans in
nearshore habitats (Figure 3).
Tagging and recapture studies conducted in
Florida, Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico)
have demonstrated that this species can travel long
distances in relatively short periods of time, travel-
ing either with or against ocean currents. For exam-
ple, nesting females tagged while nesting in Florida
have been recaptured on the Cuban ocean platform,
mainly along the north coast of Pinar del Rio, an
area rich in species of benthic invertebrates (Muri-
na et al., 1969) known to be part of the diet for this
species (cf Bjorndal, 1985). Nesting females tagged
in Cuba ("El Guanal" beach, south of Pinos Island)
have been reported in foraging areas near Nicaragua
(Moncada, 1998); and loggerheads tagged in
Yucatan have been recaptured in Cuba and other
areas of the region (Moncada, 1998; R. Mirquez,
INP-M6xico, pers. comm., 1999).


Conservation Status

The loggerhead turtle is included in Annex II of
the SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention in
the Caribbean Region. It is classified as "Endan-
gered" by IUCN (the World Conservation Union;
Baillie and Groombridge, 1996) and is included in
Appendix I of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and
Fauna (CITES), which prohibits international com-
merce. The species is also included in Appendices I
and II of the Convention on Conservation of
Migratory Species and in the annexes to the Con-
vention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preser-
vation in the Western Hemisphere.
Literature Cited
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Bjorndal, K. 1985. Nutritional ecology of sea turtles.
Copeia 1985:736-751.
Brongersma, L. D. 1972. European Atlantic Turtles. Zool.
Vert. (Leiden) No. 121.
Carr, A. 1987. New perspectives on the pelagic stage of
sea turtle development. Conserv. Biol. 1(2): 103-121.
Dodd, C. K. 1988. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the








"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Figure 3. Oceanic transport routes for juvenile loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta. Source: Musick
and Limpus, 1997 (adapted from Carr, 1987).


Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta caretta (Linnaeus 1758).
U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Biological Report 88 (14):1-110.
Dodd, C. K., Jr. 1990. Reptilia: Testudines: Cheloniidae:
Caretta caretta, p.483.1-483.7. In: C. H. Ernst (ed.), Cata-
logue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. Soc. Study
Amphibians and Reptiles publication.
Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria
for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine
Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region.
UNEP(OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDE-
CAST and adopted by the Third Meeting of the Interim
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the
SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United
Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp.
Ehrhart, L. 1989. Status Report of the Loggerhead Turtle,
p.122-139. In: L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proc. Second
Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 12-16 October
1987, Mayagiiez, Puerto Rico. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS- SEFC-226. U. S. Dept. Commerce, Miami.
Frazier, J. 1984. Las tortugas marinas en el Oc6ano Atlin-
tico Sur Occidental. Asoc. Herpetol. Argentina.
Hughes, G. R. 1974. The sea turtles of south-east Africa.
I. Status, morphology and distribution. Oceanogr. Res.
Inst. Invest. Rept. No. 35. Durban, South Africa. 144 pp.


Kaufman, R., 1975. Studies on the loggerhead sea turtle
Caretta caretta caretta (Linnd), in Colombia, South Ameri-
ca. Herpetologica 31(3):323-6
Mirquez M., R. 1990. FAO Species Catalogue, Vol. 11.
Sea Turtles of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated
Catalogue of Sea Turtle Species Known to Date. FAO
Fisheries Synopsis, 125 (11):1-81.
Moncada G., F. 1998. Migraciones de la Tortuga verde
(Chelonia mydas), la caguama (Caretta caretta) y el carey
(Eretmochelys imbricata) en aguas cubanas y ireas adya-
centes. Tesis de Maestria defendida en el Centro de
Investigaciones Marinas. Universidad de la Habana.
Murphy, T. M. and S. R. Hopkins. 1984. Aerial and
ground surveys of marine turtle nesting beaches in the
southeast region, United States. Final Report to NMFS-
SEFC. 73 pp.
Murina, V, D. Chujchin, O. G6mez and G. Suarez.
(1969). Distribuci6n cuantitativa de la macrofauna ben-
t6nica del sublitoral superior de la plataforma cubana
(Regi6n suroccidental). Acad. Cien. Cuba. Serie Oceano-
16gica 6:1-14.
Musick, J. A. and C. Limpus. 1997. Habitat utilization
and migration in juvenile sea turtles, p.137-163. In: P L.
Lutz and J. A. Musick (Eds.) The Biology of Sea Turtles.








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



CRC Press, New York.
Pritchard, P C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy,
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: Karen L. Eckert. Karen A. 1j .1 F. Alberto
Abreu-Grobois and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research
and Management Techniques for the Conservation of
Sea turtles. IU( i : .' C Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C.
Pritchard, P C. H. and P Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of
Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Rep-
tiles, Contrib. Herpetol. No. 2.
Pritchard, P., P Bacon, F. I .- A. Carr, J. Fletemeyer, R.
Gallager, S. Hopkins, R. Lankford, R. M;rquez, L.
Ogren, W. Pringle, Jr., H. Reichart and R. Witham. 1983.
Manual of Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Tech-
niques (' ... .. Edition), K. Bjomdal and G. Balazs
(eds.). Center for Environmental Education, Washington
D.C.
Smith, H. M. and R. B. Smith. 1980. Synopsis of the
I erpetofauna of Mexico. Vol. 6: Guide to Mexican tur-
tles. Bibliographic addendum III. John Johnson, North


Bennington, Vermont. 1044 pp.
Squires, H. J. 1954. Records of marine turtles in the
Newfoundland area. Copeia 1954: 68.
TEWG [Turtle Expert Working Group]. 2000. Assess-
ment Update for the Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead Sea
'lrtle Populations in the Western North Atlantic. N OAA
Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-444. U.S. Department of
Commerce.
Witherington. B. and C. M. Koeppel. 1999. Sea turtle
nesting in Florida, USA, during the decade 1989-1998:
an analysis of trends. p. 94-96. In: II. J. Kalb and T.
Wibbels (compilers), Proceedings of the Nineteenth An-
nual Symposium on Sea Turtle .i .-1. and Conserva-
tion. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Tech.
Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-443, 291 pp.
Zurita, J., R. Herrera and B. Prezas, 1993. Tortugas mari-
nas del Caribe, p.735-751. In: Biodiverdidad Marina y
Costera de Medxco. -1, ,.-' -,!..j. S.I y N.E. Gonzdlez
(Eds.). Com. Nal. Biodiversidad y CIQRO, M6xico. 865
pp.







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Status and Distribution of the Hawksbill Turtle,

Eretmochelys imbricata, in the Wider Caribbean Region

Diego F Amorocho
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIIDECAST)
Colombia


Identity and Description
The generic name Eretmiochelys was introduced
by Fitzinger (1843). The specific name imbricata is
attributed to Linnaeus (1766) and refers to the
over-lapping nature of the carapace scutes (see Eck-
ert, 1' .,; Common Caribbean vernacular names
include hawksbill (English), carey ('1 .... tar-
taruga de pente (Portuguese), and tortue imbriquee
(French).
The genus is currently considered to be mono-
typic. Two subspecies, E. i. imbricata in the Atlantic
Ocean and E. i. squamata in the Pacific Ocean, have
been described on the basis of differences in col-
oration and carapace shape (see Witzell, 1 for
review). However, the criteria have proven unreli-
able in distinguishing the two forms and subspecif-
ic designations are rarely used (' i,., 1984;
Pritchard and Trebbau, 19'" 1
The following combination of characteristics
distinguishes the hawksbill from other sea turtles:
two pairs of prefrontal scales between the eyes;
thick, posteriorly overlapping scutes on the cara-
pace; five vertebral scutes and four pairs of costal
(lateral) scutes on the carapace; two claws on each
flipper; and an alternating (asymmetrical) terrestrial
gait. The head is relatively narrow and elongate.
The beak tapers to a point, giving the animal a
"bird-like" -,i*.: ....
'i !. carapace is heart-shaped in the youngest
turtles and becomes more elongated (oval) as the
turtle matures. I I. sides and rear portions of the
carapace are typically serrated in all but very old ani-
mals. The epidermal scutes that overlay the cara-
pace bone are commonly referred to as
"t r !,.!! or "bekko" and are prized in com-
merce. These scutes are often richly patterned with
irregularly radiating streaks of brown and black on


an amber background. The scutes of the plastron
are usually clear yellow, with little or no dark pig-
mentation.
The hawksbill is a small to medium sized turtle.
The average size of a nesting female typically does
not exceed 95 cm (straight carapace length, SCL)
for Caribbean nesting assemblages, and often this
average value is closer to 85-90 cm SCL. i 1.:
data are uncommon, but it appears that adults aver-
age 80-85 kg in the Caribbean Sea. Hatchlings are
uniform in color, usually gray or brown. They aver-
age 42 mm SCL (range: 39-46 mm) and range in
weight from about 14-20 g.
For informative summaries and greater detail,
see Carr et al. (10P'.., Witzell (1983), Pritchard and
Trebbau (1(.- ;, Meylan (1 1), Groombridge and
Luxmoore (1' '-, NMFS/ FWS (1993), Eckert
(1995a, b), Van Dam (1997), and Pritchard and
Mortimer (1999).

Ecology
Hawksbills utilize different habitats at different
stages of their life cycle. It is widely believed, based
on sightings, strandings and gut content analyses,
that post-hatchling hawksbills are pelagic and find
shelter in weedlines associated with convergence
zones. Sargassum and floating debris, such as Styro-
foam, tar balls and plastic bits (common compo-
nents of weedlines), are consistently found in the
stomachs of young turtles. Hawksbills reenter
coastal waters when they reach about 20-25 cm
carapace length.
Coral reefs provide foraging grounds for young
juveniles, as well as subadults and adults. Reef
ledges and caves provide shelter during periods of
rest and refuge from predators. Hawksbills are also
found around rocky outcrops and high-energy







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



shoals, as well as mangrove-fringed bays and estuar-
ies (NMFS/ FWS, 1993). Sponges are the principal
diet of hawksbills once they take up residence in
coastal waters. A high density turtle population may
play a significant role in maintaining sponge species
diversity in nearshore benthic communities in the
Caribbean (van Dam and Diez, 1997).
Meylan (1'".:/ found that sponges contributed
95.3% of the total dry mass of all food items in the
digestive tract samples from 61 animals from seven
Wider Caribbean countries (19 sites in the Lesser
Antilles, the Dominican Republic and Caribbean
Panama). Investigators have also found an almost
exclusive dietary preference for sponges by hawks-
bills feeding on the Cuban coastal shelf (Anderes
Alvarez and Uchida, 1'-- I;. The predominance of
specific taxa in the digesta suggests a degree of selec-
tivity, perhaps related to distinctive properties of the
sponges with respect to spongin and collagen (Mey-
lan, 1985). This highly specific diet, with prey
species dependent on filter-feeding in hard-bottom
communities, makes the turtle vulnerable to deteri-
orating conditions on coral reefs.

Reproduction
Data from tag returns, satellite telemetry, and
genetic analyses indicate that adult Caribbean
hawksbills can travel long distances between forag-
ing and nesting grounds (e.g., Meylan, 1999; Bass,
1999a). Hawksbills typically nest on low- and high-
energy beaches in tropical latitudes. Females may
select small pocket beaches and, because of their
small body size and agility, they can cross fringing
reefs that limit access by other species. There is a
wide tolerance for nesting substrate and nests are
t rF: -ill- placed under woody vegetation.
Hawksbills exhibit strong site fidelity to specific
breeding grounds, returning at 2-5 year intervals
throughout their reproductive years. A period of
courtship and mating is followed by a nesting sea-
son that occurs mainly between July and October;
in some locations nesting is recorded year-around.
Egg-laying is principally nocturnal, although rare
daytime nesting does occur. Only gravid females
emerge from the sea. The entire nesting process
(including emergence from and return to the sea)
lasts 1-3 hours (NMFS/FWS, 1993).
In Antigua, West Indies, the region's most com-


prehensive long-term demographic study of nesting
hawksbills, individuals deposit an average of five
nests per nesting season at intervals of 14-16 days.
Tagged females have been observed to lay as many
as 12 clutches of eggs per season (Melucci et al.,
1992). Clutch size is variable, averaging 155 eggs in
Antigua (Richardson et al., 1' *', 137 eggs in Mex-
ico (Isla Aguada, Yucatin) (Frazier, 1991), and I.
eggs in Brazil (:'. ,valdi et al., 'I '.".'. Eggs are
approximately 40 mm in diameter. Incubation is
variable depending on ambient temperature, but
generally lasts about 60 days.
As in other sea turtles, sex determination is
largely temperature-dependent with cooler temper-
atures favoring males and warmer temperatures
favoring females (. >vsky et al., 1995). Hatch
success is relatively high, with typically greater than
75% of the eggs producing hatchlings that reach the
sea. mtDNA analysis has shown that Caribbean
nesting populations can be distinguished genetical-
ly, and that foraging "populations" are mixed assem-
blages consisting of individuals drawn from
multiple nesting grounds (Bass, 1999; Diaz-Fer-
nindez et al., 1999).

Threats

Hawksbills face the same threats that endanger
all sea turtles, including marine debris and pollu-
tion, the I. i harvest of eggs and turtles, increased
use and development of the coastal zone, beach-
front lighting, incidental catch, etc. (Eckert, 1995b,
c). Sadly, they are also singled out for their own spe-
cial threat: humans find their shells highly attrac-
tive. Experts believe that the killing of hundreds of
thousands of wild hawksbills in recent decades to
service the shell trade has contributed substantively
to population declines in the Caribbean and world-
wide (Milliken and Tokunaga, 1'. -; Canin, 1991;
WIDECAST, 1992; Meylan and Donnelly, 1''- .

Conservation Status

The hawksbill is listed as Critically Endangered
by the World Conservation Union (Baillie and
Groombridge, 1996). The species is listed on Annex
II of the Protocol to the 'Cartagena Convention'
concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife
(SPAW Protocol), Appendix I of the Convention on














International Trade in Endangered '-1.:-'.. of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Appendices I and II
of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
The species is also included in the annexes to the
Western Hemisphere Convention, a designation
intended to convey that their protection is of "spe-
cial urgency and importance."
A global status review by IUCN concluded that
the hawksbill was suspected or known to be declin-
ing in 56 of 65 geopolitical units where information
was available (Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1989).
The review stated, "the entire Western Atlantic-Ca-
ribbean region is greatly depleted." Despite evidence
of population increases at some sites supporting
long-term demographic studies, such as the
increases in the Yucatin Peninsula of Mexico (Gar-
duno et al., 1' "' ;, current levels of nesting may be
far lower than previously estimated. Meylan
(1' 1 i ) recently reported declining populations in
22 of 26 geopolitical units for which "some status
and trend information is available."
Despite widespread protective legislation, an un-
sustainable and virtually unregulated level of legal
and illegal take (for meat, eggs, i'. 11) continues
unabated in many countries and poses a significant
threat to the survival of the species in the region.
Hawksbills also are especially vulnerable to habitat
loss because they rely upon coral reefs, one of the
most endangered marine habitats (Meylan and
Donnelly, 1999). Nearly all countries in the Ca-
ribbean host fewer than 100 nesting females per
year (Meylan, 1989, 1999). The most recent federal
status review of the hawksbill turtle in the United
States recognized that numerous threats still exist,
despite two decades of protection by the U.S.
Endangered Species Act (Eckert, 1995b); hawksbills
in other countries face many of these same threats,
though they are less comprehensively documented.

Conclusions

Priority actions need to be undertaken at nation-
al and international levels if Caribbean populations
of hawksbill sea turtles are to be conserved for the
future. These include the identification, protection
and long-term monitoring of essential feeding, rest-
ing and nesting areas; the identification, status
assessment and long-term monitoring of critical life
stages; identification, quantification and mitigation


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



of important sources of mortality; support for law
enforcement; an emphasis on international cooper-
ation and the sharing of information; and increased
public awareness and participation in sea turtle (and
general marine) conservation and management ini-
tiatives (Eckert, 1995a; WIDECAST, 1998).
Literature Cited
Anderes Alvarez, B. L. and I. Uchida. 1994. Study of the
hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) stomach contents
in Cuban waters, p.27-40. In: Study of the hawksbill tur-
tle in Cuba I. Ministry of Fishing Industry, Havana.
Bass, A. L. 1999. Genetic analysis to elucidate the natural
history and behavior of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys
imbricata) in the Wider Caribbean: a review and re-analy-
sis. Chelonian Conservation and TF.. 1. 3(2):195-199.
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Canin,J. 1991. International trade aspects of the Japanese
1-..- I-1. shell ("bekko") industry. Marine Turtle
Newsletter 54:17-21.
Carr, A. F, II. Iirth and L. Ogren. 1966. The Ecology
and Migrations of Sea Turtles, 6: The Hawksbill in the
Caribbean Sea. American Museum Novitates 2248:1-29.
Dfaz-Fernandez, R., T. Okayama, T. Uchiyama, E. Car-
rillo, G. Espinosa, R. MArquez, C. Diez and II. Koike.
1999. Genetic sourcing for the hawksbill turtle,
Eretmochelys imbricata, in the Northern Caribbean Region.
Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 296-300.
Eckert, K. L 1995a. Draft General Guidelines and Crite-
ria for Management of Threatened and Endangered
Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP
(OC( '; AR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST
for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Techni-
cal Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol.
Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environ-
ment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp.
Eckert, K. L. 1995b. Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Eretmochelys
inbricata, p.76-108. In: Pamela T. Plotkin (ed.), Status
Reviews of Sea Turtles Listed Under the Endangered
Species Act of 1973. NOAA/ Natl. Marine Fisheries Ser-
vice, Silver Spring, Maryland. U. S. Dept. Commerce,
Miami. 139 pp.
Eckert, K. L. 1995c T-. . .1 ed.). Anthropogenic threats
to sea turtles, p.611-612. In: Karen A. Tj ....1! (ed.).
Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian
Institution Press, Washington, D.C.
Frazier, J. 1991. Una evaluaci6n del manejo de nido de
tortugas marinas en la Peninsula de Yucatin, p.37-76. In:








"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective ,.;.... I Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


J. Frazier, R. Vdzquez, E. Galicia, R. Duran and L.
Capurro (eds), Memorias del IV Taller Regional sobre
Programs de Conservaci6n de 'brtugas Marinas en la
Peninsula de Yucatin. Universidad Aut6noma de
Yucatan; M6rida, M6xico.
Gardunno-Andrade, M., V Guzmmn, E. Miranda, R.
Briseflo-Duefias and F. A. Abreu-Grobois. 1999. Increas-
es in hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nestings in
the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, 1977-1996: data in sup-
port of conservation? Chelonian Conservation and Biol-
ogy 3 1 - 295.
Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green
Turtle and Hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World Sta-
tus, Exploitation and Trade. CITES Secretariat, Lau-
sanne, Switzerland. 601 pp.
Marcovaldi, M. A., C. F. Vieitas and M. H. Godfrey.
1999. Nesting and Conservation Management of Hawks-
bill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Northern Bahia,
Brazil. Chelonian Conservation and T:. 1 3(2):301-
307.
Melucci, C., J. 1. Richardson, R. Bell and L. A. Corliss.
1992. Nest site preference and site fixity ofhawksbills on
Long Island, Antigua, p.171-174. In: M. Salmon and J.
Wyneken (eds.), Proc. 11th Annual Symposium on Sea
Turtle P.; .1. and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFSC-302. U. S. Department of Commerce,
Miami.
Meylan, A. 1984. Biological Synopsis of the Hawksbill
Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, p.112-117. In: Peter Bacon et
al. (eds.), Proceedings of the Western Atlantic Turtle
Symposium. Volume 1. RSMAS Printing, Miami, Flori-
da.
Meylan, A. 1985. The role of sponge collagens in the diet
of the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, p.191-196.
In: A. Bairati and R. Garrone (eds.), ,:* .1 of the Inver-
tebrate and Lower Vertebrate Collagens. Plenum Publ.
Corp. New York.
Meylan, A. 1988. Spongivory in hawksbill turtles: a diet
of glass. Science 239:393-395.
Meylan, A. 1989. Status I..; ,1 of the Htawksbill Turtle,
p.101-115. In: L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proc. 2nd
Western Atlantic iurtle Symposium. NOAA Iech.
Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S. Department of Com-
merce. 401 pp.
Meylan, A. B. 1999a. International movements of imma-
ture and adult hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in
the Caribbean region, Chelonian Conservation and Biol-
ogyS i. 177-184.
Meylan, A. B. 1999b. Status of the hawksbill turtle (Eret-
mochelys imbricata) in the Caribbean Region. Chelonian


Conservation and Biology :' :77-184.
Meylan, A. and M. U ..... i.' 1999. Status justification
for listing the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) as
Critically Endangered on the 1996 IUCN Red List of
Threatened Animals. Chelonian Conservation and Biol-
ogy 3(2):200-224.
Milliken, T. and H. obkunaga. 1987. The Japanese Sea
iTurtle Trade 1970-1986. Prepared by TRAFFIC (JAPAN)
for the Center for Environmental Education, Wash. D.C.
171 pp.
Mrosovsky, N., A. Bass, L. A. Corliss and J. I. Richard-
son. 1995. Pivotal and beach temperatures for hawksbill
turtles nesting in Antigua, p.87. In: J. I. Richardson and
T. It. Richardson (compilers), Proc. 12th Annual Sym-
posium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA
Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-361. U. S. Department of
Commerce, Miami. 274 pp.
NMFS/FWS. 1993. Recovery Plan for the Hawksbill
Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, in the U.S. Caribbean Sea,
Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. National Marine
Fisheries Service, St. 1P .. 1i :. Florida. U. S. Depart-
ment of Commerce. 52 pp.
Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy,
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G. and M.
A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Tech-
niques for the Conservation of Sea lurtles. IUCN/SSC
Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington,
D.C.
Pritchard, P C. H. and P Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of
Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Rep-
tiles.
Richardson, J. I., R. Bell and T. H. Richardson. 1999.
Population ecology and demographic implications drawn
from an 11-year study of nesting hawksbill turtles,
Eretmochelys imbricata, atJumby P. Long Island, Antigua,
West Indies. Chelonian Conservation and Biology
3(2):244-250.
Van Dam, R. P 1997. Ecology of Hawksbill Turtles on
Feeding Grounds at Mona and Monito Islands, Puerto
Rico. Dissertation. University of Amsterdam. 118 pp.
Van Dam, R. P. and C. E. Diez. 1997. Predation by
hawksbill turtles on sponges at Mona Island, Puerto
Rico, p.1421-1426. In: H. A. Lessios and Ian G. Macin-
tyre (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Coral
Reef Symposium, 24-29 June 1996, Panami. Volume 2.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa,
Panami.
WIDECAST. 1992. An introduction to the international
trade in endangered sea turtles and their products in the















Wider Caribbean Region, and a plea for all countries to
join CITES. P:.- ... i for the CITES Implementation
Training Seminar, Port of Spain, 14-18 i ..i 1992.
Unpubl. 19 pp.
WIDECAST. 1998. General Criteria for a l*. .....i Man-
agement Plan for Sea Turtles. Pi. .. .I for the 14th


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee Meeting,
Caracas, 25-29 May 1998. Unpubl. 8 pp.
Witzell, W. N. 1983. Synopsis of Biological Data on the
Hawksbill Tlrtle, Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766).
FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 137. United Nations,
Rome. 78 pp.







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Status and Distribution of the Kemp's Ridley Turtle,

Lepidochelys kempii, in the Wider Caribbean Region

Rend Mdrquez M.
Program Nacional de Investigacidn de Tbrtugas Marinas
SEMARNAP / INP
Mixico


Description
Family Cheloniidae, Lepidochelys kemp ii
Garman (1 '-)

Common names: tortuga lora, bastarda,
Kemp's ridley, tartaruga bastarda, tortue de
Kemp

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is the smallest of
the sea turtles. An adult weighs between 30-50 kg,
with a straight carapace length (SCL) of 50-78 cm.
The color of the carapace in an adult is olive green;
the underside (plastron) is yellowish white. The
form of the carapace is semicircular. The head is tri-
angular, with a thick and somewhat hooked beak,
not serrated. There is a pore in each inframarginal
scute of the bridge.
'i ,. spherical, white-shelled eggs measure 34-
45 mm in diameter and weigh 24-40 g. Hatchlings
are uniformly black in color, averaging 44 mm SCL
and approximately 17.2 g in weight. I I. hatchlings
show three dorsal longitudinal ridges and four in
the plastron, with a small sharp protrusion or spine
on each scute (with age these protrusions disap-
pear). In immature stages, the turtles have an almost
black dorsal surface and a white underside.
For additional information beyond that provid-
ed in this brief overview, the reader is referred to
Wibbels (1'- I Ross et al. (1'". ';, Mirquez (1 ',
1990, 1994), Caillouet and Landry (1' .- *;, Chfvez
et al. (1990), Byles (1993), Eckert et al. (1' **. ;, and
Pritchard and Mortimer (1'''''

Biology
The species occurs mainly in the Gulf of MCxi-
co and adults can be found throughout the conti-
nental shelf (Figure 1).
It is not known where the hatchlings go imme-


diately upon entering the water, but they can be
observed moving along the coast. I: .. on docu-
mented sightings in oceanic waters, we assume that
the first migration of these immatures is directed
toward pelagic areas, and I believe that the young
turtles stay within the Gulf Stream for two or three
years. A large number of immatures are carried out
of the Gulf of M6xico by the Gulf Stream and dis-
tributed along the eastern seaboard of the USA
(Figure 1). Quite a few continue their trip to Euro-
pean coasts; it is uncertain whether these turtles can
or will ever return to their place of origin.
It is believed that when turtles reach approxi-
mately 25 cm SCL, they begin their return to the
Gulf of M6xico. Seasonal migrations along the east-
ern seaboard of the USA are known to occur. If
individuals remain too long in their northern feed-
ing zones as temperatures decrease during the fall
and winter months, they may experience "cold-
stunning" and wash ashore dead or dying on beach-
es along Cape Cod, Long Island Sound, Chesapeake
Bay, Carolina Sound, etc. (Richard Byles, in litt.
1999).

Reproduction
Most marine turtles nest during the night but,
for some reasons of adaptation, this species nests
during daylight hours (Hildebrand, 1963). Nesting
occurs mainly along the long sandy coastal strip
around Rancho Nuevo in Tamaulipas, M6xico (Fig-
ure 2), and especially when strong winds blow.
Nesting occurs from April to July and the hatch-
lings appear from May to August or September.
Females reach sexual maturity at 10 to 12 years
of age and at a minimum size of 55 cm SCL. The
maximum observed size among breeders is 78 cm
SCL. It is interesting to mention that while the
average annual size (SCL) has remained constant at








"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Z .. -'-


ARPA


U.S.A.




FORAGlMG MFOGRAGIP4
AREA .. O AREA

S .-- ., '-". I '. .

-t -.U-+ 7 -.

"---, / /I -
--



S ULF OF MEXICO -
ESTING AREA IN
RANeBCHO NutVO. ItMAULUM'S a





t G"CA

MEXICO FOAGING n< O
-. '


I. I


I
~ JVim tE


RMABEAN
URIEMT


.. -.. e.-..>sCU o -




GULF STREAM








ATLANTIC
OCEAN









1-
"----- ,


N -.


Figure 1. Kemp's ridley distribution to and from the main nesting beach at Rancho Nuevo, M6xico, with nesting areas
and possible migration routes. Source: Adapted from R. MWrquez and USA Today, 1996.


63-66 cm, the average number of eggs per clutch
has decreased- in the 1960s the average clutch size
was 110-112 eggs, while in the 1990s this has fallen
to an average of 90-95 eggs (Mirquez, 1994). This
observation may reflect the presence now of a
greater proportion of young turtles within the
breeding population than in the past.


Secondary Nesting Grounds

As a result of conservation initiatives begun in
1966, the breeding population of Kemp's ridley is
beginning to show signs of recovery after years of
decline in the second half of the 20th century. As a
result, small breeding colonies have reappeared in


,'"
..c--- .. --.----







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



locations where they had disappeared, such as Ver-
acruz (e.g., Lechuguillas, El Raudal, Tecolutla)
where an average total of more than 100 nests are
now laid per year. Smaller numbers of nests are also
reported from other beaches in Veracruz and
Campeche. Furthermore, there are few but fre-
quent nestings in the USA (e.g., Florida, South
Carolina). As a result of consistent field conserva-
tion efforts in M6xico, several years of an imprint-
ing and headstart experiment in the USA (Johnson
et al., 1999), and the mandatory use of Turtle
Excluder Devices (TEDs) in the Gulf of M6xico, a
very small population has apparently re-established
itself on Padre Island, Texas, as well (Shaver and
Caillouet, 1998).

Population Status
In the first years that turtles were protected
(1966), Rancho Nuevo (between bars of El Tordo
and El Carrizo) witnessed the arrival of over 2,000
females (Mirquez, 1994, 1996). In spite of conser-
vation activities, nesting reached its lowest levels
between 1985 and 1987, with an annual average of
750 nests laid. However, as of 1988 there has been a
steady increase in the number of nests which trans-
lates to an overall 8% annual increase (Figure 3) in
Rancho Nuevo alone. If we take into consideration
all other monitored nesting grounds in the state of
Tamaulipas, the increase is even greater (12%;
Mirquez et al., 1999) (Figure 4). At the present
time, Kemp's ridley is classified as "Endangered" by
law in M6xico and the USA, and is classified as
"Critically Endangered" by IUCN (Baillie and
Groombridge, 1996). The species is included in
Appendix I of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) and Appendices I and II of the Con-
vention on the Conversation of Migratory Animals.

Conservation Program

The beach at Rancho Nuevo became known to
the scientific community in 1963 through a docu-
mentary filmed made in 1947 by Ing. Herrera
(Hildebrand, 1963). Based on that film, an estimat-
ed 40,000 gravid females were on the beach nesting
on that day in May 1947. In 1966, three years after
the film was made public, the government of M6x-


ico established the first sea turtle camp at Rancho
Nuevo. The camp was responsible for research and
monitoring activities along 20 km of beach. With
the advent of a bi-national (M6xico-USA) program,
activities were extended to 45 km of beach between
1978-1988; between 1989-1990, as nesting
increased outside of the protected area, the size of
the protected area was doubled again. From 1991-
1996, several temporary campsites were added in
Tamaulipas, thus enlarging the site to more than
120 km of beach. Since 1997 the effort has official-
ly expanded to the state ofVeracruz, and with it over
200 km of nesting sites came under protection.

Other Conservation Measures
Rancho Nuevo was declared a "Natural
Reserve" in 1977, ensuring continuity to research
and conservation activities. In 1978, Kemp's ridley
was included in the MEXUS-GulfProgram, which
is a scientific collaboration program between M6xi-
co and the USA, and this brought an improvement
in research, conservation, and facilities.
The joint program also included experimental
activities with Kemp's ridley hatchlings. In 1978 an
experimental "imprinting and headstart" program
began with an annual shipment of 2000 eggs, which
were transferred from Rancho Nuevo to Padre
Island (Texas) for incubation. A smaller number of
hatchlings was also sent. Both the hatchlings
obtained in Padre Island and those from eggs
hatched in M6xico were sent directly to the Nation-
al Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) laboratory in
Galveston, Texas. Survival rates were high and
immatures were released into the Gulf of M6xico at
9-10 months of age. The last year of the experiment
(i.e., the transfer of eggs to the USA) was in 1992,
when the program was characterized as "very
expensive with dubious results." Despite this, it was
deemed important to continue the cooperative pro-
gram, although the annual donation from M6xico
to the USA was reduced to 200 hatchlings.
Due to the high turtle mortality rate as a result
of shrimping fleets from both countries, at the end
of the 1980s the use of Turtle Excluder Devices
(TEDs) was recommended. The devices became
mandatory in 1992 for the USA shrimp fleet, and in
April 1994 for the Mexican fleet. The use of TEDs
also became mandatory (under U.S. law) for all







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


TAMAUUPAS

Tmphua m


Saw RAfl


Aldam a


a anvrg


2r 4 N


TROPC OF CANCER
------N*M~-----------


B. Cafrio
B. Apar
H. Swn Vkb*
B. cabIt NATURAL RESERVE
8 COMA
B. BrWsl

B- Tordo
23 N


Punra Jar


GULF OF

MEXICO


2r Is5'N


r W


Figure 2. Main nesting area for the Kemp's ridley sea turtle in Tamaulipas, M6xico (Marquez, 1994).
49







Karen L. Eckert and F Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWf
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


6000
O Protected H Observed
5000

4000

3000

2000

1000 .
0 oOoorlliMnnnnnnnl ULIU


66 69 72 75 78 81 84 87 90 93 96 99
YEARS
Figure 3. Progress of Kemp's ridley nestings in the beach at Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, M6xico.


countries wishing to export their shrimp harvest
into the USA.

Acknowledgements
I am especially grateful to my collaborators: Juan
Diaz F., Miguel A. Carrasco, M. Carmen Jim6nez,
Rafael Bravo, Manuel Gardufio D., Manuel
Sinchez P and Alma Leo P from INP/CRIP-Man-
zanillo, as well as Patrick Burchfield and Jaime Pefia
from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas.
Since 1966, many researchers, students and vol-
unteers have contributed their invaluable support to
this unique program. In M6xico, the National Insti-
tute of Ecology, universities, NGOs, state agencies,
the Department of the Navy, Federal Office of
Environmental Protection, PEMEX, Federation of
Fishing Cooperatives of Tamaulipas and Texas, and
others have contributed to these activities. The
community of Rancho Nuevo was paramount in
the achievements of this endeavor. Recognition
must also be given to institutions in the USA,
including the Fish and Wildlife Service, National
Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service,


and the Gladys Porter Zoo (Brownsville, Texas) for
their continuous support. A special mention goes
out to our fellow workers in the campsites. Finally,
we thank the Organizing Committee of this meet-
ing for their support, as well as WIDECAST,
IUCN, and the Government of the Dominican
Republic for their help in the presentation of these
updates.
Literature Cited
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Byles, R. 1993. Head-Start experiment no longer rearing
Kemp's ridleys. Marine Turtle Newsletter 63:1-3.
Caillouet, C. W and A. M. Landry (Editors). 1989. Pro-
ceedings of the First International Symposium on
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Biology, Conservation and
Management. TAMU-SG-89-105. Texas A&M Univer-
sity Sea Grant College Program, Galveston, Texas. 260
pp.
ChAvez, H., M. Contreras G. and T. P E. Hernindez D.
1990. Aspectos biologicos y protection de la Tortuga
Lora, Lepidochelys kempi (Garman), en la costa de


E
U)
I-
z







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


* Tepehuuaje
I B. Trdo


1800

1600
1400

1200

1000

800

600

400

200
~DD


88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00
YEARS

Figure 4. Increases in Kemp's ridley nestings in the beaches of Tepehuajes and Barra del Tordo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.


Tamaulipas, M6xico. 1990. Inst. Nacional de la Pesca
Serie: Documentos de Trabajo Afio 11, No. 19. 40 pp.
Eckert, S. A., D. Crouse, L. A. Crowder, M. Maceina and
A. Shah. 1994. Review of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Headstart Program. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-OPR-
3. U.S. Dept. Commerce. 11 pp.
Hildebrand, H. H. 1963. Hallazgo del area de anidaci6n
de la tortuga "lora" Lepidochelys kempi (Garman), en la
costa occidental del Golfo de M6xico (Rept., Chel.).
Ciencia, M6xico 22(4):105-112.
Johnson, S. A., A. L. Bass, B. Libert, M. Marshall and D.
Fulk. 1999. Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempi) nesting in
Florida. Florida Scientist 62(3-4):194-204.
Mirquez M., R. 1989. Status Report of the Kemp's Rid-
ley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempi, p.159-168. In: L. Ogren
(Editor-in-Chief), Proceedings of the Second Western
Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFC-226. U.S. Dept. Commerce.
Mirquez M., R. 1990. FAO SPECIES CATALOGUE.
Vol. 11. Sea Turtles of the World. An Annotated and Illus-
trated Catalogue of Sea Turtles Species Known to Date.
FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 11: 81pp.
Mirquez M., R. 1994. Sinopsis de datos biol6gicos sobre
la tortuga lora, Lepidochelys kempi (Garman, 1880). Insti-


tuto Nacional de la Pesca. M6xico FAO. SAST-Tortuga
Lora. 5.31(07)016.02, INP/S152:141pp.
Mirquez M., R., J. Diaz, M. Sinchez, P Burchfield, A.
Leo, M. Carrasco, J. Pefia, C. Jimenez and R. Bravo.
1999. Results of the Kemp's ridley Nesting Beach Con-
servation Efforts in M6xico. Marine Turtle Newsletter
85:2-4.
Pritchard, P C. H. andJ. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy,
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto
Abreu-Grobois and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research
and Management Techniques for the Conservation of
Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C.
Ross, J. P, S. Beavers, D. Mundell and M. Airth-Kindree.
1989. The Status of Kemp's Ridley Center for Marine
Conservation, Washington. D.C. 51 pp.
Shaver, D. J. and C. W Caillouet. 1998. More Kemp's
ridley turtles return to south Texas to nest. Marine Turtle
Newsletter 82:1-5.
Wibbels, T. A. 1984. Orientation characteristics of imma-
ture Kemp's ridley sea turtles, Lepidochelys kempi. NOAA
Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-131. U.S. Dept. Com-
merce. 67 pp.


I &LLLLL


I-
m

IJ
z


U


I







Karen L. Eckert and E tF .-. .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Status and Distribution of the Olive Ridley Turtle,

Lepidochelys olivacea, in the Western Atlantic Ocean

Maria 1. t. Marcovaldi
F -... ~Pr6-TAMAR
Brazil


Identity and Description

The generic name Lepidochelys was introduced
by Fitzinger (1843). The specific name olivacea was
first used by Eschscholtz (1 *, but in conjunction
with the genus Chelonia. Soon thereafter the bino-
mial Caretta olivacea was published (t'.l i ii 1835),
and there were subsequent modifications as well
(summarized by 1 ..i... 1c .' Today two species
are recognized, L. olivacea and L. kempii. L. olivacea is
rare in the Western Atlantic, but large i ,,1 .i ..
inhabit the Indo-Pacific; hence, the common litera-
ture misnomer 'Pacific ridley' (see Eckert, 1995).
The preferred English name is olive ridley. In Span-
ish it is known as golfina; in French, tortue olivatre;
in Portuguese, tartaruga oliva.
The olive Ii.li. is one of the smallest of the
marine turtles, rarely exceeding 45 kg, with average
weights around 35 kg (Schulz, 1975). The basic
morphological differences between L. olivacea and
L. kempii include a smaller head in the olive II.
and differences in jaw structure. The carapace of
the olive ridley is distinctive in having a variable and
often uneven number of lateral scutes, between 6
and 10 pairs. The genus is unique in having four
pairs of pores in the inframarginal scutes of the
plastron (Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999). The func-
tion of these pores is unknown.
Adults are generally olive colored; hatchlings are
uniformly dark brown. Hatchlings average 42 mm
in carapace length and -. '. 11 ; 1. 16-19 g. The
costal and vertebral scutes are keeled in hatchlings.
Carapace scutes are slightly imbricate (overlapping)
in hatchlings andyoungjuveniles, but non-overlap-
ping in adults. For a more in-depth review of the
description and/or ecology of this species, the read-
er is referred to Pritchard (1'- *;,, Schulz (1975),
Reichart (1989, 1993), Eckert (1995), Pritchard and
Plotkin (1995), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).


Ecology and Reproduction
Olive ridley turtles are distributed in all tropical
and subtropical ocean basins. On a global scale, the
olive ridley is probably the most abundant species
of marine turtle, with some nesting beaches receiv-
ing more than halfa million turtles during a nesting
season (up to : .' I on Gahirmatha beach, in
Orissa, India Anonymous, 1994; more than
'"-' .. ) on Playa Escobilla on the Pacific coast of
Mexico Mirquez et al., 1 ', .). Ironically, it is also
the least abundant marine turtle in the Western
Atlantic region.
Olive ridleys exist in distinct populations in pri-
marily coastal habitats, but captures far offshore
indicate that at least some individuals may be pelag-
ic.' i. species is carnivorous, generally eating crus-
taceans and invertebrates, and prefers foraging areas
that are near biologically rich bays and estuaries
(P'. I: :,.t, 1993). Migrations and movements are
known to exist (based on tag returns) along the
coasts of Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil, but
very little is known about the behavior of the
species at sea, including migratory paths. I .. .. are
no reliable data on age to sexual reproduction or
maximal longevity (P. : 1: it, 1993).
Olive ridleys lay 2-3 nests per year, and often
nest in consecutive years. In Suriname, clutch size
ranges from 30-168 eggs (average: 116) (Schulz,
1975). Some populations in the Indo-Pacific nest en
masse, a phenomenon which used to occur in Suri-
name but has not be witnessed for over' years in
the Western Atlantic. During these events, known
as "arribadas", from tens to hundreds of thousands
of turtles emerge from the ocean to nest on the
same beach over a period of a few days. The stimuli
which precipitate the beginning of an arribada may
include environmental factors such as wind speed
and direction and phases of the tide and moon, and
gravid females apparently can delay nesting for sev-














eral weeks, despite the presence of fully shelled
eggs. Arribada nesting continues during daylight
hours also, in contrast to most other marine turtle
species that prefer to lay their eggs under the cover
of darkness.
The arribada behavior is not fully understood. It
has been suggested that this is a form of predator
saturation which may increase the 1. i i . I of sur-
vival of the hatchlings produced (Pritchard, 1969).
Evidence from Pacific Costa Rica suggests that, on
average, a nest laid during an arribada is less likely
to suffer predation than a nest laid by a solitary
female (Eckrich and Owens, 1995). However, gains
made in terms of predation rates may be negated by
losses in hatching rates: typically, the hatching suc-
cess of nests laid during arribadas is terribly small;
for example, only around 5% of the eggs laid on
Nancite beach, in Costa Rica actually produce
viable hatchling (Cornelius, 1''.: ). This is thought
to be due largely to turtles digging into previously
laid nests, and the high levels of bacteria and other
microorganisms present in the sand.
After the arribada, individual turtles migrate to
other areas independently, rather than in flotillas or
groups. This is based on data collected while track-
ing individual turtles with satellite transmitters, fol-
lowing nesting during an arribada in Costa Rica
(Plotkin et al., 1995).

Distribution and Trends

In the western Atlantic there are only three
countries in which significant numbers of olive
ridley nests (totaling about 1,400-1 I, nests) are
made each year:
Suriname: Principally Eilanti beach, and sec-
ondarily Matapica beach
French Guiana: Ya:lima:po beach and others,
both east and west of Cayenne
Brazil: the beaches of Pirambu, Abais, and
Ponta dos Mangues in the state of Sergipe, in north-
ern Brazil
There are few, if any, records of olive ridley nests
outside these areas in the western Atlantic. Inciden-
tal capture of olive ridley turtles has been recorded
mostly near the Guianas and in northern Brazil,
although there are records of animals caught in the
waters of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and
Brazil (Schulz, 1975; Marcovaldi et al., in press).


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Suriname: In Suriname, the local name for olive
ridley is warana. The yearly total of warana nests laid
each year in Suriname has been declining (see
"Threats") for the past 30 years from a high of. ,
in 1968 to fewer than --- in 1999 (Figure 1). The
principal nesting beach for olive ridleys in Suri-
name is Eilanti beach, close to the border with
French Guiana. Small-scale arribadas were seen in
the late 1960s and 1970s on Eilanti beach, but have
not occurred since.
French Guiana: i. local name for olive : i. in
French Guiana is torture olivatre. Until recently the
focus of monitoring in French Guiana was Ya:lima:
po beach, which is frequented by enormous num-
bers of leatherback turtles each year (Girondot and
Fretey, 1996). i.. .. are numerous beaches in the
western half of the country, from the border with
Suriname to Cayenne, and some with as many as 25
olive ridley nests laid per night; an estimated 500
nests were laid in 1999 (Johan Chevalier, pers.
comm.). East of Cayenne to the border with Brazil,
the beaches were regularly monitored for the first
time in 1999; an estimated :.' nests were encoun-
tered in this region (Jean-Christophe ViW, pers.
comm.).
Due to the lack of consistent data, it is not
known if these relatively large numbers of nests are
the result of (i) true population increases, (ii) dis-
placement of females from '... ...., or (iii) the
increased monitoring and reporting effort. Indeed,
all these factors may be at play in this situation. Cer-
tainly regular monitoring is needed in French
Guiana in order to better characterize the status of
the population.
Brazil: In Sergipe, on the northern coast of
Brazil, regular monitoring was begun in 1982 at
Pirambu beach, the principal nesting site of olive
ridleys in Brazil. Since 1989, nests have been pro-
tected in three areas in Sergipe: Abafs, -' ... 1 and
Ponta dos Mangues. Despite fluctuations in the
annual numbers of nests, the overall pattern seems
to be steady, with a yearly mean of 200-40! i nests
(Figure 2). There is no evidence that arribadas pre-
viously existed in Sergipe. Indeed, the lack of a
common name for this species in Brazil suggests
that its relative scarcity has been long-term.







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Nesting season

Figure 1. Annual number of olive ridley nests laid per nesting season, in all of Suriname. Data are not available for 1990-
1993. Source: Reichart (1993) and Kris Mohadin, STINASU/ LBB, Suriname (pers. comm.).


Threats
The principle threat to olive ridleys is incidental
capture by both artisanal and industrial fisheries,
with the largest number of incidental captures
occurring off the coast of the Guianas. Indeed,
Reichart and Fretey (1993) wrote that incidental
capture is the "largest unaddressed problem in tur-
tle conservation" in these countries. Other threats
include natural erosion cycles, habitat destruction,
predation byjaguars, and poaching.

Conservation Status

Olive ridleys are classified as Endangered by the
World Conservation Union (IUCN) (Baillie and


Groombridge, 1996). They are included in Annex II
of the SPAW Protocol [Protocol concerning Spe-
cially Protected Areas and Wildlife] to the Cartage-
na Convention, Appendix I of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Appendices I and II
of the Convention on the Conservation of Migrato-
ry Species (the Bonn Convention). Since Japan rat-
ified CITES with a reservation on Lepidochelys
olivacea, the import of olive ridley products (mostly
skins, and all of them originating from Pacific pop-
ulations) into that country continued until 1992
when the reservation was withdrawn. No nation
currently holds a CITES exemption for this species
(Eckert, 1995).







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


100


State of Sergipe, Brazil


89/90 90/91 91/92 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99


Nesting season
Figure 2. Annual numbers of olive ridley nests laid per nesting season in the state of Sergipe, in Brazil. The monitoring
effort was reduced in the 1998/99 nesting season. Scattered nesting of this species also occurs in the states of Bahia and
Espirito Santo, but in low numbers (<50 per year). Source: Projeto TAMAR-IBAMA.


Conclusions
The overall situation of olive ridleys in the west-
ern Atlantic is mixed. In Suriname, historically the
primary nesting ground for the Western Atlantic
population, the numbers of nests laid per year have
declined more than 90% in the last three decades.
The good news is that increased attention to moni-
toring in French Guiana and Brazil has resulted in a
surprising number of reported nests, perhaps 1000
or more in French Guiana alone. Whether these
females represent displaced members of the Suri-
name population or an indigenous but previously
unknown population in French Guiana is
unknown. In Brazil, the population is small but
apparently stable.
Reasons for the dramatic decline of the Surinam


population are unknown. All nests laid by olive rid-
leys are excluded from the legal egg harvest pro-
gram in Suriname (Reichart, 1993). The natural
erosion cycle of Eilanti Beach is probably one cause
of the decline, and in recent years it is likely that at-
sea mortality due to incidental capture has under-
mined all other conservation initiatives aimed at
this depleted population. Incidental catch and asso-
ciated mortality is a serious problem that must be
addressed if we hope to stabilize populations of L.
olivacea in the Western Atlantic Region.

Acknowledgements
I would like to thank several people for provid-
ing unpublished information on short notice, par-
ticularly Kris Mohadin of STINASU in Suriname,








Karen L. Eckert and F. 1 I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWI,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme




Jeroen Swinkels of BIOTOPIC,Johan Chevalier of
ONC, Laurent Kelle of WWF-France, and Jean-
Christophe Vie of the Kwata Project in French
Guiana. Thanks to Jaqueline C. de Castilho and
Augusto C6sar C. Dias da Silva of the Projeto
TAMAR-IBAMA bases in Sergipe for their dedica-
tion over the years in conserving the olive ridleys in
Brazil, and thanks to Matthew Godfrey for help
with organizing the data.
Literature Cited
Anonymous. 1994. Concern rises over threat to Indian
turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 64: 1-3.
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union
(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes.
Cornelius, S. 1986. The Sea Turtles of Santa Rosa
National Park. Fundaci6n de Parques Nacionales, Costa
Rica. 64 pp.
Eckert, K. L. 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Crite-
ria for Management of i :.. **. I and Endangered
Marine turtless in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP
(OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Pi..- *....1 by WIDECAST
for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Techni-
cal Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol.
Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environ-
ment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp.
Eckrich. C. E. and D. Wm. Owens. 1995. Solitary versus
arribada nesting in the olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys
olivacea): a test of the predator-satiation hypothesis. Her-
petologica 51: 349-354.
Girondot, M. and Fretey, J. 1996. Leatherback turtles,
Dermochelys coriacea, nesting in French Guiana, 1978-
1995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2(2): 204-
208.
Marcovaldi, M. A., B. G. Gallo, E. H. S. M. Lima and M.
II. Godfrey. In press. Nein tudo que cai na rede 6 peixe: an
environmental education initiative to reduce mortality of
marine turtles caught in artisanal fishing nets in Brazil.
Ocean Yearbook.
Marquez M., R. 1990. Sea Turtles of the World. FAO


Species Catalogue Vol. 11. Food and Agricultural Organi-
zation of the United Nations. Rome. 81 pp.
Marquez M., R., Penaflores, C., and Vasconcelos,J. 1996.
Olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) show signs of
recovery at Escobilla, Oaxaca. Marine lurtle Newsletter
73: 5-7.
Plotkin, P T, R. A. Byles, D. C. Rostal and D. Wm.
Owens. 1995. Independent versus socially facilitated
oceanic migrations of the olive ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea.
Marine Biology 122: 137-143.
Pritchard, P C. H. 1969. Sea Turtles of the Guianas. Bul-
letin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Series 13:
85-140.
Pritchard, P C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. T.:. .
External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.21-
38. In: Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjomdal, F. Alberto
Abreu G. and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C.
Pritchard, P. C. H. and P T. Plotkin. 1995. Olive ridley
sea turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea, p.123-139. In: P T Plotkin
(ed.), National Marine Fisheries Service and U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service Status Reviews for Sea turtless List-
ed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. National
Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, Maryland.
Reichart, H. A. 1989. Status report on the olive ridley sea
turtle, p.175-188. In: L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Pro-
ceedings of the Second Western Atlantic Turtle Sympo-
sium. NOAA 'Ich. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S.
Department of Commerce. 401 pp.
Reichart, II. A. 1993. Synopsis of Biological Data on the
Olive Ridley Sea liurtle Lepidochelys olivacea (Eschscholtz
1829) in the western Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SEFSC-336. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 78 pp.
Reichart, 1. A. andJ. Fretey. 1993. WIDECAST Sea lur-
tle Recovery Action Plan for Suriname (K. L. Eckert, ed.).
CEP Technical Report No. 24. UNEP Caribbean Envi-
ronment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. 65 pp.
Schulz, J. P. 1975. Sea turtles nesting in Surinam. Zoolo-
gische Verhandelingen 143:1-143.






"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Session II

Marine Turtle Management Goals
and Criteria


Management Planning for Long-Lived Species
John A. Musick, Presenter

Management and Conservation Goals for Marine Turtles
Nat B. Frazer, Presenter

Open Forum
Miguel Jorge, Moderator










"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Reginal Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Management Planning for Long-Lived Species

John A. Music'
Department of lisleries Science
Virginia Institute ofMarine Science
C .:. :oj 1 : ... and M ary
USA

Presented by:
Nat B. Frazer
Department of l i .. .: Ecology and Conservation
Institute of Food and. 1 ': Sciences
University of Florida
USA


Abstract

Long-lived marine animals generally grow slow-
ly and mature at a late age. In addition, many long-
lived species have low fecundity or variable and
infrequent recruitment. Long-lived marine animals
are particularly vulnerable to excessive mortalities
and rapid population .11 q' after which recovery
may take decades. The von Bertalanffy growth coef-
ficient (k) is a useful index in addressing the poten-
tial vulnerability of populations to excessive
mortality. Groups that have k coefficients < .0.10
are particularly vulnerable and include most elas-
mobranchs (for example, sharks), all sturgeons,
many large teleosts (bony fish), and all the cheloni-
id sea turtles (among others).
Another useful index in assessing the vulnerabil-
ity of populations to excessive mortality is the
intrinsic rate of increase (r). Vulnerability is inverse-
ly proportional to r, with groups that have annual
increase rates < 10% being particularly at risk.
I I. include most elasmobranchs, all sturgeons,
many teleosts, all sea turtles, many sea birds, and
large cetaceans.
Traditional surplus production models may be
inappropriate for most long-lived marine animals
because of the long lag-time in population response
to harvesting. Rather, demographic models based
on life-history parameters have provided useful
recently in assessing impacts of mortality on long-
lived species such as sharks and sea turtles. The
greatest threats to long-lived marine animals come


from mixed species fisheries in which long-lived
species are taken ancillary to more abundant, pro-
ductive species. Such fisheries may drive long-lived
species to extirpation while the more productive
species sustain catches.
Resource managers need to be aware of the crit-
ical management requirements of long-lived
species. In most instances such species can sustain
only limited excess harvesting. To ignore the special
nature of the population dynamics of long-lived
species leads inevitably to population collapse or
even extirpation.

Introduction

Life history traits have proven valuable in pre-
dicting the responses of populations to various per-
turbations (Begon et al., 1986; Gadgil and Bossert,
1970; Southwood, et al., 1974). Adams (1''")
pointed out that fishes which grow fast and mature
at an early age, and have short life spans, have high-
er maximum sustainable yields and recover relative-
ly v- i."; from over-fishing, whereas slower
growing, later maturing, long-lived species provide
low maximum sustainable yields and recover slow-
ly from over-fishing. Jennings et al. (1998) showed
that in 18 intensively exploited fish stocks, those
fishes that had the highest declines, mature later, are
larger, and had lower potential rates of population
increase compared with their nearest taxonomic
relatives. Parent and Schrimi (1995) evaluated a
matrix of 51 variables that could contribute to







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



increased risk of extinction in 117 species of fresh-
water fishes in the Great Lakes of the U.S. They
found age at maturity to be one of the most impor-
tant predictors of extinction risk, and that long-
lived species were the most vulnerable. Crouse et al.
(1987) showed that the loggerhead sea turtle (Caret-
ta caretta), a slow growing, long-lived species, had a
very low potential for recovery after severe popula-
tion reduction. In a paper dealing with demograph-
ics and management of long-lived turtles, Congdon
et al. (1993) stated "The concept of sustainable har-
vest of already-reduced populations of long-lived
organisms appears to be an oxymoron." Landa
(1997) examined the relevance of life history theo-
ry to harvest and conservation and noted that cer-
tain life history traits such as low intrinsic rate of
increase and large body weight were interrelated in
a predictive way. He also noted that these and other
life history traits, such as low fecundity, could be
used to predict the potential effects of harvest on
populations.
Thus, life history traits have been used by work-
ers to better understand the effects of excessive
anthropogenic mortalities on specific groups of
long-lived animals and to predict population recov-
ery trajectories. Until recently, very little work has
been done to compare life history parameters across
major taxonomic boundaries. Musick (1999a)
introduced the notion that several higher taxa of
long-lived marine vertebrates share quantitative life
history parameters that are useful in predicting vul-
nerability and in formulating conservation strate-
gies across taxonomic boundaries. The present
paper will explore that notion further.

Growth Rates

The relative rate of growth is a critical compo-
nent of every species' life history strategy. Growth
rate of a species may define size or age at maturity,
maximum size or age, and potential production
(Chaloupka and Musick, 1997). Growth may be
defined in quantitative terms in many ways
(Hilborn and Walters, 1992), but among the most
useful are the von Bertalanffy, Logistic, and Gom-
pertz mathematical models (Beverton and Holt,
1957; Ricker, 1958). The von Bertalanffy model has
had most widespread application, although statisti-
cal computer programs are available that easily pro-


duce all three models from the same input parame-
ters (Parham and Zug, 1997). In its simplest form
(von Bertalanffy, 1' :), the model may be
expressed thusly:

L = L. (1 e-k -
where: L = length at age t; L_ = asymptotic
length; k = growth coefficient; to = age when
length is theoretically zero.

Among the parameters provided by the model,
the growth coefficient k is especially useful in com-
paring life history strategies and limitations among
species. Among the fishes (where much research on
growth has been done), values of k may vary from
I '. to 1.40 in a i;l.1 growing anchovy (1..
haniltoni) (Hoedt, 1992); 0.17 to 0.25 in a spanish
mackeral (Scomberomorns commersoni), a species with
moderate growth (!\ I.: I'.._ i,, 1' '. 0.09-0.19 for
swordfish (Xiphias gladius) (Berkeley and Houde,
1983); and 0.04 to 0.07 in some of the slowest grow-
ing galeoid sharks (Branstetter, 1' (Table 1).
Slow growth is associated with late maturity and
long life span (Hoenig and Gruber, 1990; Smith et
al., 1"' ... Within the carcharhiniform sharks, small
species such as Mustelus henlei and Rhizoprionodon
terraenovae tend to have much faster growth, earlier
maturity and shorter life spans than large species
such as Carcharhinus plumbeus and Carcharhinus
obscurns (Camhi et al., 1'.''-, Yudin and Cailliet,
1990; Cort6s, 1995; Sminkey and Musick, 1I-'',
Natanson et al., 1995). Most shark species are at
extreme risk of over-harvesting because of their
conservative life history traits (Musick et al., '""' .
Beverton and Holt (1959) compared 69 stocks of
fish and showed a general inverse relationship
between k (growth rate) and Lo (asymptotic size);
i.e., large fishes grow relatively slowly compared to
small fishes. However, caution is advised in making
generalizations about size-growth rate relationships
outside of limited taxonomic boundaries. For
instance, another small shark, Squalus acanthias,
comparable in size to Mustelus and 2'
but in a different Order (Squaliformes), has very
slow growth which is comparable to that of large
Carcharhinformes (Jones and Geen, 1977; Ketchen,
1975; Nammack et al., 1985). Stevens (1999) com-
pared the history of the fisheries of two small triakid
sharks, Galeorhinus galeus and Mustelus antarcticus, off







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Table 1. Von Bertalanffy Growth Coefficient (k) (after Musick 1999b)


Species
Thryssa hamiltoni
anchovy (IndoPacific)

Thunnus albacares
yellowfin tuna

i' . I .... dentatus
summer flounder

Dermochelys coriacea
leatherback sea turtle

Scomberomorus commerson
Spanish mackerel

Mycteroperca sp.
groupers

Epinephelus sp.
groupers

Xiphias gladius
swordfish

Acipenser oxyrinchus
Atlantic sturgeon

Galeoid sharks
(Carcharhindae)

Cheloniid sea turtles
(all sea turtles, excluding
Dermochelys)


k coefficient
0.80-1.40


0.45


0.32-0.40


0.27


0.17-0.25


0.06-0.17


0.05-0.18


0.09-0.19


0.03-0.16


0.04-0.07


-0.08


Source
Hoedt, 1992


Moore, 1951


Desfosse, 1995


Parham and Zug, 1'' '


McPherson, 1992


Ault et al., 1998


Ault et al., 1998


Berkley and Houde, 1983


Kahnle et al., 1'-:


Branstetter, 1990


Chaloupka and Musick, 1997


Australia. The slow growing G. galeus had become
overfished, whereas the more productive M.
antarcticus was being harvested sustainable even
though both had been under management for sev-
eral years.
Among the osteichthyans the Chondrostei
(sturgeons) are large anadromous or fresh water
species. Most sturgeon species in the world have
become severely depleted, or extirpated (Birstein,
1993). All sturgeons have relatively slow growth
and, in addition, they are particularly vulnerable to


spawning and nursery habitat destruction because
of their anadromous behavior. Atlantic sturgeon
(Acipenser oxyrinchus) stocks in Delaware Bay
(USA) were I, ,11 extirpated by over-fishing in
the late 19th century in little more than a decade,
and have shown little recovery since ,'- r and
Waldman, 1999). This species has very slow
growth (Table 1) and has undergone similar
declines in the Chesapeake Bay and in New Eng-
land (Musick et al., 1994; Musick, in press).
Myers et al. (1997) related growth rate to age at







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



maturity and intrinsic rate of increase (r) in Atlantic
cod (Gadis morima). They noted that northern
stocks of cod off Canada had slower growth, later
maturity, and lower r values, than southern stocks.
Consequently, it was the northern stocks that were
most severely depleted (some to the point of extir-
pation) by gross over-fishing. Likewise, Casey and
Myers (1'''.) showed that the northern-most
r i..--- ..i!:.l-i..l stocks of the barndoor skate (Raja
laevis) had been extirpated by severe over-fishing,
whereas the southern stocks off New England still
persisted although at a severely depleted level.
Groupers \I ; sp. and Epinephelus sp.)
are a group of tropical percomorph reef fishes,
many of which are large and slow growing. Ault et
al. (1998) recorded k coefficients for this group of
0.05-0.18, with the larger species having the lower
growth rates. It is these larger, slower growing
species such as Nassau grouper (E. striatus) andjew-
fish (E. itajara) that have been severely depleted or
1 .11 extirpated by a multi-species line fishery off
the southeastern United States (Coleman et al.,
1999; Huntsman et al., 1999). Some of these species
form large local seasonal spawning aggregations that
are particularly vulnerable to fisheries. In addition,
groupers and several other groups of reef-dwelling
percomorphs are protogynous. Individuals mature
first as females, then switch both morphologically
and behaviorally into males when they are larger
and older (larger territorial males have a strong
advantage over smaller males in breeding). Over-
fishing may cull out the larger males at a faster rate
than the rate of sex reversal, and severely skew the
sex ratio toward an even larger proportion of
females than is natural (Vincent and Sadovy, 1998).
There is evidence that, for some heavily-fished pro-
togynous reef fishes off the southeastern U.S., the
number of males has been so reduced as to severe-
ly compromise the reproductive capacity of the
populations (Coleman et al., *: ', Huntsman et al.,
1999). This is an example of population depensa-
tion, where the recruitment drops suddenly below
that predicted from the normal stock-recruitment
relationship, and where the i' i .1.i:..: suddenly
crashes (Musick, 1999b).
A comparison of k coefficient values from fishes
with those estimated for different sea turtle species
may provide insights into the ecology and vulnera-


ability of both groups. Among the sea turtles, the
growth coefficient (k) for the Kemp's ridley (Lepi-
dochelys kempii) (Zug et al., 1997), the western
Atlantic loggerhead (Klinger and Musick, 1995),
and the Atlantic green turtle ((-. :. . mnydas)
(Bjorndal et al, 1''-'' Frazer and Ladner, 1 -'. ) is
0.08. This value is similar to that found in the slow-
est growing osteichthyans and in large sharks.
Comparisons of growth coefficients among chon-
drosteans, teleosts, elasmobranchs and sea turtles
are enlightening because they suggest that the slow-
er growing members of these groups have similar
growth patterns, and thus share similar life history
limitations and extreme vulnerability to anthro-
. !i..' mortality. Animals with k coefficients <
0.10 seem to be particularly at risk ( : I 1999a).

Demographic Analyses

Stage-based population models have been used
to study terrestrial animal populations for many
years (Krebs, 1978). These models utilize popula-
tion data on age specific fecundity, survivorship, age
at maturity, life span, and growth rates to estimate
the net reproductive rate per generation (Ro), gen-
eration time (G), and intrinsic rate of population
increase (r) (Caswell, 1 ') (Table 2). The method
has not been used much by workers studying
marine animals. Rather, in the study of marine fish-
es, an extensive population modeling methodology
has evolved based on sampling the catches of fish-
eries (11! !l-. i and Walters, 1992) and related tech-
niques. One widely applied group of models are
stock production or biomass dynamic models.
These provide estimates of surplus production
which approximate the intrinsic rates of increase of
the population under study. Stock production mod-
els have proven valuable in managing many groups
of teleosts (Hilborn and .'..!. I 1992), but are
inappropriate for long-lived species because of their
long lag period in the reaction of surplus produc-
tion to stock density (Ricker, 1958). Unfortunately,
such models have been used in fishery management
plans (F: IP for long-lived sharks, and have failed
because they grossly overestimated r ('i. .
1 -'' Hoff (1 '..... had cautioned that traditional
fisheries population models were inappropriate for
long-lived species such as sharks, and suggested that
demographic models would provide more accurate













estimates of the population responses under differ-
ing levels of fishery mortality.
Agardy (1''. emphasized the importance of
having information about the intrinsic rate of in-
crease (r) before a comprehensive management
plan could be developed for sea turtles. Crouse et al.
(1987) used a stage-based matrix model to study the
demographics of the loggerhead sea turtle in the
western Atlantic. This species has been listed as
Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Data pre-
sented in Crouse et al. (1'" ) and from Frazer
(1'' ) suggest that the loggerhead has a low intrin-
sic rate of increase (r=0.06). Sensitivity analysis to
simulate different levels of mortality at various
stages in the species' life history determined that
survivorship of large juveniles was critical to popu-
lation maintenance or recovery (Crouse et al.,
1987). Crowder et al. (1' '. ; further refined this
model to predict the impact of trawl Turtle Exclud-
er Devices (TEDs) on l1 .,. ...1 population
recovery. Bonfil (1990) used a similar stage based
matrix model and sensitivity analysis to study the
demographics of the long-lived .I shark (Car-
charhinus jaldformes) off Campeche, Mexico. His
conclusions were similar to those of Crouse et al.
(1987), survivorship of larger juveniles was critical
for population maintenance. Cort6s (1999) came to
similar conclusions regarding the sandbar shark (C.
plumbeus), and Heppell et al., (1' -) using elasticity
analysis came to similar conclusions for two species
of sharks in other Families (Triakidae, Squatinidae),
for the Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii),
and for the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans).
Many sea birds, particularly the diomedid albatross-
es and procellarid petrels and shearwaters, are late-
maturing (6-10 years) and .. -i!; all seabirds have
very low fecundity (clutches of 1-2 eggs) (Russell,
1999). Most cetaceans, particularly the bal-
aenopterid whales, have very low intrinsic rates of
increase (Best, 1993). Table 3 compares life history
parameters and increase rates for several cetaceans
and sharks, the loggerhead turtle, the royal alba-
tross, and, for perspective, the African elephant.
Species that have annual intrinsic increase rates <
10% seem to be particularly vulnerable to excessive
mortalities (Musick, 1 ......' I


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999





Table 2. Demographic
Parameter
(after Musick 1999b)

s. = survivorship at age or stage i

tma = age-at-maturity

t-.x = longevity

mx = fecundity

G = generation time = mean period
between birth of parents and birth
of all (ff r ;.

R, = net reproductive rate =
j. . ... 1 .1 .... i . . II . .-I 1
no. females born in I li ..i t

r = intrinsic rate of population increase


G



Management

Some long-lived species, such as the African ele-
phant, sea turtles and balaenopterid whales, have
been protected from international trade by the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES), and some species of seabirds and
sharks have been listed on the IUCN Red List of
Threatened Animals (Baillie and Groombridge,
1996). The precarious conservation status and
intrinsic vulnerability of elephants, -whales, and sea
turtles has been recognized for many years, yet the
vulnerability of seabirds and sharks has only recent-
ly been recognized by conservationists and resource
managers. Recent consultations sponsored by the
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organiza-
tion are focused on assessing and reducing the high
mortalities ofseabirds in pelagic long-line and drift-
net fisheries and on assessing the global status of
shark populations. This effort is better late than
never, but many seabird and shark populations have
already been severely impacted (Russell, 1999;
Camhi et al., 1'' '. ).








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF,
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


Table 3. Demographics of Selected Vertebrates (after Musick 1999b)


Loxodonta africana
african elephant


Orcinus orca
killer whale


humpback whale
Balaenopteridae
baleen whales
(maximum rates after
severe depeltion)
Diomedea ,; ... ....
Royal II.:...
Caretta caretta
loggerhead sea turtle
Carcharhinus plumbeus
sandbar shark

Squalus ancanthias
spiny dogfish
(North Atlantic
population)


Age to
Maturity
(yrs)
8-13


Life
Span
(yrs)
55-60


Litter Reproductive
Size Periodicity
(yrs)
1 2.5-9


5-9 57-61


60 1


6-11


-300


8-10


13-16


6-12


35-40 2-15


Annual Rate ol
Population
Increase
(%)
4.0-7.0
(favorable
conditions)


Source


(Larsen and
Bekoff, 1978)


2.5 (Brault and
Caswell, 1993)
3.9-11.8 (Anon., 1991)


3.0-14.4 (Best, 1993)




"very low" (Gales, 1993)


- 2.0-6.0 (Estimated from
Crouse et al., 1987)
2.5-11.9 :,.... 7 and
Music, 1996)


2.3%


(ones and
Geen, 1997)


Selachei
(Hexanchidae, Squalidae,
Squatinidae, Lamnidae,
Alopiidae, Carcharhinidae),
sharks (rate calculated when
population at MSY)


1.7-6.9 (Smith et al.,
1998)


Managers continue to be ignorant of, or choose
to ignore the vulnerable nature of long-lived ani-
mals. Lessons learned by the conservation commu-
nity from past histories of long-lived species seem
to be lost on those who manage the world's fisheries
which remain the single greatest source of mortali-
ty for long-lived marine animal populations
(Musick, 1999a; Musick et al., 7. '.. I. Sharks con-


tinue to be killed in large numbers worldwide for
the Asian fin market with no management. Only a
few countries have implemented management
plans for their shark populations (Camhi et al.,
1'' ). Even in shark fisheries that are managed,
more common species with greater rebound poten-
tials continue to support the fisheries while less
resilient species taken in the same fisheries may














continue to decline (Musick, 1995, 1999b). Sea tur-
tle mortalities remain high because of by-catch in
fisheries and egg harvesting in many areas. Precipi-
tous declines have been recorded recently in some
of the largest remaining leatherback (Dermochelys
coriacea) nesting populations in the world, including
the Pacific coast of Mexico where mortality to
adults in distant long-line and gillnet fisheries is the
major threat (Sarti et al., 1996; Eckert and Sarti,
1997; Crouse, 1' ; Nassau grouper (E. striatus)
and jewfish (E. itajara) continue to be taken in a
mixed species line fishery off the southeastern
United States, even though both species are deplet-
ed and locally extirpated in places. Both species
have been afforded protection from harvest by the
regional Fisheries Management Council, but to no
avail as these groupers are captured as by-catch in
the fishery which operates in deep-water where
most of the fish caught are dead or moribund when
they come on board (Huntsman et al., 1' V..; Two
principal management solutions appear to be avail-
able for this problem. Close the fishery or establish
large marine refugia where no harvest is allowed
(Huntsman et al., 1999; Coleman et al., 2-'.. /.
Reserve systems are being considered to con-
serve Pacific rockfishes (Sebastinae) off the west
coast of the U.S. (Yoklavich, 1 '". ,. Rockfishes are
another group of slow ;1. long-lived teleosts
with ages to maturity of 6-12 years and life spans of
50-140 years (Archibald et al., 1981; Wyllie, 1987).
Some of these rockfishes, such as boccaccio
(Sebastes paucispinis), have undergone >90% popula-
tion declines with little sign of recruitment for
decades (Ralston, 1' -' Parker et al., 1.. ).
Long life span in the boccaccio and most other
long-lived marine animals may be an evolutionary
adaptation to promote iteroparity (Parker et al.,
Musick, 1 ''' Spawning or breeding in
multiple years may be necessary to maintain stable
populations for groups like the rockfishes or
groupers or even sea turtles with relatively high
fecundity, but very low egg and/or larval or hatch-
ling survivorship. Likewise, iteroparity may be nec-
essary to maintain stable populations for animals
with very low fecundity such as seabirds, whales
and sharks. Heavily exploited fisheries whether
directed or bycatch not only reduce the biomass of
marine populations, but constrict the age structure


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



(Hillborn and Walters, 1992) while severely reduc-
ing iteroparity in long-lived species. The result
must be lowered fitness (. !ii I, 1999a). There-
fore, where several species or stocks are harvested
together (i.e., on feeding grounds) management
must be based on protecting the most vulnerable
stocks. To do otherwise risks the extirpation of these
stocks (Musick, 1'"'-

Conclusions

Long-lived marine species usually have slow-
growth and late maturity and are much more vul-
nerable to over-harvesting or even extirpation than
more resilient species.
Because long-lived species have low intrinsic
rates of increase, population recovery after deple-
tion may take decades and may not occur even
under strict regulation.
Many population models appropriate for more
highly productive species are inappropriate for
long-lived species that have low population
response times.
The greatest threats to long-lived species are
from mixed-species fisheries where long-lived
species are taken as directed catch or by-catch. Such
fisheries can continue to operate and be economi-
cally viable, driven by more productive species,
while long-lived populations become depleted or
extirpated.
Where several stocks or species are harvested
together (i.e., on feeding grounds) management
should be aimed to protect the most vulnerable
stock. In mixed stock harvesting regimes where
some stocks have been depleted and others are
healthy, harvesting at rates that are sustainable for
healthy stocks will prevent recovery of depleted
stocks or may even lead to extirpation.
'Virginia Institute of Marine Science Contribution
Number 2353.

Literature Cited
Adams, P B. 1980. Life history patterns and their conse-
quences for fisheries management. Fish. Bull. 7 -. t):1-12.
Agardy, M. J. 1989. What scientific information is critical
for management and why? p.3. In: S. A. Eckert, K. L.
Eckert and T. H. Richardson (eds.), Proceedings of the
Ninth Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Conservation and
Vi .1 _-. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U. S.








"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective _' ,; .... I Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Department of Commerce.
Archibald, C. P, W Shaw, and B. M. Leaman. 1981.
Growth and mortality estimates of rockfishes (Scor-
paenidae) from B. C. coastal waters, 1977-1979. Can.
'Ich. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1048:1-57.
Ault, J. S., B. A. Bohnsack, and G. A. Meester. 1998. A
retrospective (1979-1996) multispecies assessment of
coral reef fish stocks in the Florida Keys. Fish. Bull.
96(3): 395-414.
Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. IUCN Red List of
Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland: 368
pp.
Begon, M., J. L. Harper, and C. R. Townsend. 1986.
Ecology, individuals, populations and communities. Sin-
auer Assoc., Sunderland, Massachusetts. 876 pp.
1,. .i i i S. A. and E. D. Houde. 1983. Age determina-
tion of broadbill swordfish, .", ..." : gladius from the
Straits of Florida using anal fin spine sections, p.137-144.
In: E. D. Prince and L. M. Pulos (eds.), Proceedings of
the International Workshop on Age Determination of
Oceanic Pelagic Fishes: 'unas, Billfishes, and Sharks.
NOAA Technical Report, NMFS 8. U.S. Dept. Com-
merce.
Best, P B. 1993. Increase rates in severely depleted stocks
of baleen whales. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 50:169-186.
Beverton, R. J. H. and S. J. Holt. 1957. The dynamics of
exploited fish populations. U.K. Min. Agr. and Fish.,
Fish. Invest., Ser. _2 ',. -''
Beverton, R. J. H. and S. J. Holt. 1959. A review of the
lifespan and mortality rates of fish in nature, and their
relation to growth and other physiological characteristics.
CIBA Foundation Colloquia on Ageing, 5: 142-180.
Birstein, V J. 1993. Sturgeons and paddlefishes: I 1..- .,
ened fishes in need of conservation. Conservation Biolo-
gy 7(4): 773-787.
Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten, A. L. Coan, and P Kleiber.
1995. Estimation of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) growth
rates from length-frequency analysis. Copeia (1):71-77.
Bonfil-Saunders, R. 1990. Contributions to the fisheries
biology of the silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, from
Yucatan, Mexico. Thesis, Univ. ofWales, Bangor. 77 pp.
Branstetter, S. 1990. Early life-history implications of
selected carcharhinoid and lamnoid sharks of the north-
western Atlantic. NOAA technical Report, NMFS
90:17-28.
Camhi, M. S. Fowler, J. Musick, A. Brautigam, and S.
Si Ii..11. 1998. Sharks and their relatives: Ecology and
Conservation. IUCN/SSC Occasional Papers No. 20: 1-
39.


Casey, J. M. and R. A. Myers. 1998. Near extinction of a
large, widely distributed fish. Science 281: 690 '-
Caswell, II. 1989. Matrix population models: Construc-
tion, analysis and interpretation. Sinauer, Sunderland,
Massachusetts.
Chaloupka, M. and Musick, J. A. 1997. Age, growth and
population dynamics of sea turtles, p.233-276. In: P. Lutz
and J. A. Musick (eds), Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC
Press, Florida.
Coleman, F. C., C. C. Koenig, A. L. Eklund, and C. B.
Grimes. 1999. Management and conservation of temper-
ate reef fishes in the grouper-snapper complex of the
southeastern United States, p.233-242. In: J. A. Musick
(ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of
Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society
Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Coleman, F. C., C. C. Koenig, G. R. Iluntsman, J. A.
Musick, A. M. Eklund, J. C. McGovern, R. W Chapman,
G. R. .. II-. , and C. B. Grimes. 2000. Long-lived Reef
Fishes: The Grouper- . Complex. Fisheries 25(3):
14-21.
Congdon, J. P, A. E. Dunham and R. C. Van Loben Sels.
1993. Delayed sexual maturity and demographics of
Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea i:...... : Implications for
conservation and management of I i: I organisms.
Conservation r.- ._ 7(-4; 1.-833.
Cort6s, E. 1995. Demographic analysis of the Atlantic
sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terranovae, in the Gulf of
Mexico. Fish. Bull. 93(1): 57-66.
Cort6s, E. 1999. A stochastic stage-based population
model of the sandbar shark in the western North
Atlantic, p.115-136. In: J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the
Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived
Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium
23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Crouse, D. T. 1999. The Consequences of Delayed
Maturity in a Human-Dominated World, p.195-202. In:
J. A. Musick (ed.), life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and
Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American
Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Crouse, D. T., L. B. Crowder, and H. Caswell. 1987. A
stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles
and implications for conservation. Ecology. 68:1412-
1423.
Crowder, L. B., D. T. Crouse, S. S. Heppell and T. H.
Martin. 1994. Predicting the effect of excluder devices on
loggerhead sea turtle populations. Ecol. Applications
4:437-445.
Desfosse, J. C. 1995. Movements and ecology of summer















flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) tagged in the southern
mid-Atlantic Bight. Doctoral dissertation College of
William and Mary : .... ,,. VA.
Eckert, S. A. and L. Sarti M. 1997. Distant fisheries impli-
cated in the loss of the world's largest leatherback nesting
population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7.
Frazer, N. B. 1983. Demography and life history evalua-
tion of the Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta.
Ph.D. dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens.
Frazer, N. B. and R. C. Ladner. 1986. A growth curve for
green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the U.S. Virgin Is-
lands, 1913-14. Copeia (1986):798-802.
Gadgil, M. and W H. Bossert. 1970. Life historical con-
sequences of natural selection. American Naturalist
104:1-24.
I I Ii, S., L. B. Crowder, and T. R. Menzel. 1999. Life
table analysis of long-lived marine species with implica-
tions for conservation and management, p.137-148. In: J.
A. Musick (ed), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Con-
servation of Long-Lived Marine Animals. American
Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
I illborn, R. and C. J. Walters. 1992. Quantitative fish-
eries stock assessment: Choice, dynamics and uncertain-
ity. Chapman and Hall, New York. 570 pp.
I oedt, F. E. 1992. Age and growth of a large tropical
,, '* 1 I: : hamiltoni (Gray): a comparison of ageing
techniques, p.81-100. In: D. C. Smith (ed.), Age Deter-
mination and Growth in Fish and Other Aquatic Ani-
mals. CSIRO, Australia.
Hoenig, J. M. and S. H. Gruber. 1990. life history pat-
terns in the elasmobranchs, p.1-16. In: H. L. Pratt, Jr., S.
H. Gruber and T Taniuchi (eds.), Elasmobranchs as liv-
ing resources: advances in the biology, ecology, systemat-
ics, and the status of the fisheries. NOAA Technical
Report NMFS 90.
IHoff T. B. 1990. Conservation and Management of the
western North Atlantic Shark Resource based on the Life
History Strategy Limitations of -.. i:- ., Sharks. Ph.D.
dissertation. University of Delaware, Newark. 282 pp.
I untsman, G. R., S. Iluntsman, J. Potts, R. W. Mays and
D. Vaughn. 1999. Groupers (Serranidae, Epinephalinae):
endangered apex predators of reef communities, p.217-
231. In: J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecolo-
gy and Conservation of I i. I Marine Animals.
American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda,
Maryland.
Jennings, S., J. D. Reynolds, and S. C. 1.11 1998. Life
history correlates of responses to fisheries exploitation.
Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 265: 333-337.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



Jones, B. C. and G. 1. Geen. 1977. Age and growth of
spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias L.) in the Strait of Geor-
gia. British Columbia. Fish. Mar. Serv. Res. Dev. Tech.
Rep. 669:1-16.
Kahnle, A. W et al. 1998. Stock status ofAtlantic sturgeon
of Atlantic coast estuaries. Atlantic States Marine Fish-
eries Conunission.
Ketchen, K.S. 1975. Age and growth of the dogfish
Squalus acanthias in British Columbia waters. J. Fish. Res.
Bd. Canada 32: 43-59.
Klinger, R. C. andJ. A. Musick. 1995. Age and growth of
loggerhead turtles from Chesapeake Bay. Copeia (1):
204-209.
Krebs, C. J. 1978. Ecology: The experimental analysis of
distribution and abundance. Second Edition. Harper and
Row, New York. 678 pp.
Landa, A. 1997. The relevance of life history theory to
harvest and conservation. Fauna Norvegica. Ser. A. 18:
43-55.
McPherson. G. R. 1992. Age and growth of narrow-
barred spanish mackeral (Scomberomorus commerson: Lace-
pede, 1800) in northeastern Queensland waters,
p.397-410. In: D. C. Smith (ed.), Age Determination and
Growth in Fish and Other Aquatic Animals. CSIRO,
Australia.
Moore, 1951. Estimation of age and growth of yellowfin
tuna (Neothunnus macropterus) in Ilawaiian waters by size
frequencies. Fishery Bulletin 52:131-149.
Musick, J. A. In Press. The Sturgeons. (Acipensenidae).
In: B. B. Collette (ed.), Fishes of the Gulf of Maine.
Smithsonian Press, Washington, DC.
Musick, J. 1995. Critically endangered large coastal
sharks, a case study: the sandbar shark, Carcharhinus
plumbers (Nardo. 1827). Shark \News (Newsletter of the
IUCN Shark Specialist Group) 5: 6-7.
Musick, J. A. 1999a. Criteria to Define Extinction Risk in
Marine Fishes. Fisheries 24(12): 6-14.
Musick, J. A. 1999b. Ecology and Conservation of Long-
Lived Marine Animals, p.1-10. In:J. A. Musick (ed.), Life
in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-
Lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Sym-
posium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Musick, J. A., R. Jenkins and N. Burkhead. 1994. The
Sturgeons (Acipenseridae), p.183-190. In: R. E. Jenkins
and N. Burkhead (eds.), The Freshwater Fishes of Vir-
ginia. American Fisheries Society. Washington, D. C.
1079 pp.
Music, J. A., S.A. Berkeley, G. M. Cailliet, M. Camhi,
G. Huntsman, M. Nammack and M. L. Warren, Jr.








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



2000b. Protection of Marine Fish Stocks at Risk of
Extinction. Fisheries 25 (3): 6-8.
Musick, J. A., G. Burgess, G. Cailliet, M. Camhi and S.
i. I.. .. 2000a. Management of Sharks and Their Rel-
atives (Elasmobranchii). Fisheries 25 (3): 9-13.
Myers, R. A., G. Mertz, and R. S. Farlow. 1997. Maxi-
mum population growth rates and recovery times for
Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. Fish. Bull. 95: 762-772.
Nammack, M. F., J. A. Musick and J. A. Colvocoresses.
1985. Life history of spiny dogfish off the Northeastern
United States. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 114: 367-396.
Natanson, L. J., J. G. Casey and N. E. Kohler. 1995. Age
and growth estimates for the dusky shark, arcarcharhinus
obscurus, in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Fish. Bull.
93:116-126.
Parent, S. and L. M. Schrimi. 1995. A model for the
determination of fish species at risk based upon life-his-
tory traits and ecological data. Can.J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 52:
1768-1781.
Parker, S. J., S. A. Berkeley, J. T. Golden, D. R. Gunder-
son, J. Heifetz, M. A. Ilixon, R. Larson, B. M. Leaman,
M. S. Love,J. A. Musick, V M. O'Connell, S. Ralston, II.
J. Weeks and M. M. Yoklavich. 2000. Management of
Pacific Rockfish. Fisheries 25 (3): 22-30.
Ralston, S. 1998. The status of federally managed rock-
fish in the U.S. West Coast, p.6-16. In: M. Yoklavich
(ed.). Marine harvest refugia for west coast rockfish: a
workshop. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFSC-255.
U.S. Dept. Commerce. 255 pp.
Ricker, W. E. 1958. t t ... i- I of Computations for Bio-
logical Statistics of Fish Populations. Fish. Res. Bd.
Canada Bull. 119:1-300.
Russell, R. W 1999. Comparative demography and life-
history tactics of seabirds: implications for conservation
and marine monitoring, p.51-76. In: J. A. Musick (ed.),
Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of
Long-Lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society
Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Sarti M., S. A. Eckert, N. T. Garcia and A. R. Barragan.
1996. Decline of the world's largest nesting assemblage of
leatherback turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 74:2-5.
Secor, D. H. and J. R. Waldman. 1999. Historical abun-
dance of Delaware Bay Atlantic sturgeon and potential


rate of recovery, p.203-215. In: J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in
the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived
Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium
23. Bethesda, Maryland.
nn..i T. R. and J. A. Musick. 1996. Demographic
analysis of sandbar sharks in the western North Atlantic.
Fishery Bulletin 94:341-347.
Smith, S. E., D. W Au and C. Show. 1998. Intrinsic
rebound potentials of 26 species of Pacific sharks. Marine
and Freshwater Research 41: 663-678.
Southwood, T. R. E., R. M. '.i, M. P II 1i and G. R.
Conway. 1974. Ecological strategies and population para-
meters. Am. Nat. 108:791-804.
Stevens, J. D. 1999. Variable resilience to fishing pressure
in two sharks: the significance of different ecological and
life history parameters, p.11-15. In: J. A. Musick (ed.),
Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of
Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society
Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland.
Vincent, A. and Y. Sadovy. 1998. Reproductive ecology in
the conservation and management of fishes, p.209-245.
In: J. Caro (ed.), Behavioral Ecology and Conservation
Biology. Oxford University Press. Oxford.
von :.. .1 1in:: L. 1938. A quantitative theory of organic
growth. Human Biology. 19(2): 181-213.
Wyllie, E. T. 1987. Thirty-four species of California rock-
fishes: maturity and seasonality of reproduction. Fish.
Bull. 85: 229-250.
Yoklavich, M. M. 1998. Marine harvest refugia for west
coast rockfish: a workshop. NOAA Tech. Memo.
NMFS-SWFSC-255. U. S. Dept. Commerce. 159 pp.
Yudin, K. G. and G. M. Cailliet. 1990. Age and growth of
the gray smoothhound, Mustelus californicus, and the
brown smoothhound, M. henlei, sharks from central Cal-
ifornia. Copeia: 191-204.
Zug, G. R., H. J. Kalb and S. J. Luzar. 1997. Age and
growth in wild Kemp's ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys
', from skeletochronological data. Biol. Conserv
80: 261-268.
Zug, G. R. and J. F. Parham. 1996. Age and growth in
leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea (Testudines: Der-
mochelyidae): a skeletochronological analysis. Chelonian
Conversation and 1; -. 2(2): 244-249.







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Management and Conservation Goals for Marine Turtles

Nat B. Frazer
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Institute of Food and A -.' '. Sciences
University of Florida
USA


I agree with Karen Eckert's (1999) statement
that: '. h i. :I=. one defines conservation as 'preser-
vation' or as 'management for sustained utilization,'
there can be little doubt that sea turtles are in need
of stringent conservation measures." What is also
clear to most of us is that sea turtles have developed
this need only very recently in their history on the
planet. As Jack Frazier (1999) has pointed out,
. turtles have persisted for eons, prospering
without protected areas, conservation laws, action
plans, research manuals, and other accouterments
of conservation programs." In fact, sea turtles have
been on this planet at least 25 times longer than we
have. We know that sea turtles have been around for
over 100 million years in one form or another
(Meylan and Meylan 1999), and humans have been
here only about 4 million years in one form or
another. So for well over 90 million years, sea tur-
tles certainly did not need any help from us at all. It
was not until they encountered modern humans in
the last two or three hundred years that sea turtles
developed this stringent need for conservation mea-
sures.
But even if turtles did not need us for millions
of years, we certainly do need them now. Let us
make no mistake about why we have decided to
hold this regional meeting. We are not really here to
help sea turtles; we are here to help ourselves. We
are not here to meet the needs of sea turtles; we are
here to meet the needs of people. Sea turtles do not
need stringent conservation measures for sea tur-
tles; it is we who need stringent conservation mea-
sures for sea turtles. Whether we want to consume
them, trade in them, or just watch them .. we need
to ensure their survival.
Jack Frazier (1'"' -- wrote, ". iili. manage-
ment and conservation are as much managing peo-
ple as managing wildlife: in the end, they are
politics not biology." We are not trying to solve a


sea turtle problem; rather, we are trying to solve a
human problem, a problem that begins as an eco-
nomic problem. A problem in the valuation of sea
turtles.
As Issacs (1998) has said, in to place an
economic value on a natural resource...involve an
intellectual concession to anthropomorphism..."
And so I will begin by discussing the total value of
sea turtles in human economic terms.
As pointed out by Isaacs (1998) for other natur-
al resources, the total value of sea turtles includes
both use value and non-use value (Figure 1). First, let
us consider use value. We exploit sea turtles for
many purposes, both consumptive (e.g., meat, eggs,
tortoiseshell, oil) and non-consumptive (e.g., eco-
tourism). Both use categories contribute important-
ly to the total economic value of sea turtles. Sea
turtles also have "option value"; that is, we may
have uses for turtles in the future that we do not yet
know about. For example, there may be medicinal
uses discovered at some future date. So it might not
be wise to exploit the resource to extinction, but to
keep our options open.
As an aside, let me say that it is possible for econ-
omists to conduct analyses that lead to the conclu-
sion that it is logical to exploit a potentially
renewable resource to extinction. If it can be
demonstrated that turtle meat will never bring a
higher price that it does today, it could be logical -
in a strictly economic sense to harvest them all,
sell the meat, and invest the money in some more
lucrative venture with a higher rate of return. How-
ever, such analyses are based on two faulty assump-
tions. One is that there will always be some future
resource to exploit when we have eaten all the tur-
tles, we can eat iguanas, until they're gone, then we
can eat rats, then cockroaches, and then . .well,
you get the idea. The other assumption is that we
already know all the things that can be done with







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



turtles or all the products they have to offer. In
other words, such analyses are based only on
presently known consumptive uses. The concept of
option value is that we recognize the possibility of
future uses for turtles that are unknown to us now.
It may surprise you that there is also economic
value in not using resources (i.e., non-use value).
Economists have spent a lot of effort on the concept
of contingent valuation for natural resources,
including the issues of passive use (Randall, 1993).
Contingent valuation has been used to determine
the value of resources destroyed or damaged by
events such as the Exxon Ihaldez oil spill so that the
courts can calculate penalty fines. But many people
think that nature has an actual economic value "just
because it's there." They are willing to assign mon-
etary value to a mountain range or a clear river even
if they never intend to go see them. For these peo-
ple, natural resources have what is called an "exis-
tence value" (Issacs, 1998). And economists are
beginning to understand that we should not wait
until a resource is destroyed or damaged to recog-
nize this economic value. People are -..!!,: to
incur real economic costs in order to go on living in


a world that has sea turtles in it. Similarly, many
people want to leave their children a planet that has
sea turtles and other natural wonders; and they're
willing to pay an economic price for this privilege.
This is known as I 1 ,:i value" (Issacs, 1998).
. we speak purely of the economic value of
sea turtles, we must be careful to take into account
all aspects of their total value consumptive value,
non-consumptive value, option value, existence
value, and bequeath value (Figure 1).
Certainly everyone attending this meeting wants
our relationship with sea turtles to be sustainable.
We need for sea turtles to be economically sustain-
able, so we must ensure that our use of them is sus-
tainable both for consumptive use and for
non-consumptive use. And we must not reduce our
potentially sustainable future options. Furthermore,
we must not reduce their populations to the point
that we interfere with either their existence value or
their bequeath value.
For turtles to be sustainable economically, they
also must be sustainable biologically. They must be
able to regenerate their populations. But we can
choose to sustain large populations or we can choose


Figure 1. Total Economic Value of Sea Turtles (after Isaacs, 1998).


. . I j. L.. . . . . .



jr, MIji, i U=


X














to sustain smaller ones. However, if we keep popu-
lations at too low a level, we may interfere with
non-consumptive use for example, if there are
very few turtles, the chances of seeing one on an
eco-tour may be so small that the non-consumptive
use value is essentially zero. Similarly, bequeathing
our children a world with small turtle populations
is not as valuable as one with large turtle popula-
tions.
We also want sea turtles to be ecologically sus-
tainable. Karen Bjorndal (1999) asked the question,
"Are sea turtle species central to and essential for
healthy ecosystem processes or are they relict
species whose passing would have little effect on
ecosystem function?" My honest answer is: "I don't
know. And neither do .., We do not know exact-
ly how many turtles it takes to sustain an ecosystem.
No one knows how many Caribbean green turtles
(Chelonia mydas) there were before Columbus "dis-
covered" the Antilles. Jackson (1997) estimated 33-
39 million adults. Bjorndal et al. ( *~" ) estimated
something between 38-( million, including
adults and juveniles. Surely that many turtles must
have had an important role in ecosystem dynamics.
Bouchard and Bjorndal ** *. ; recently deter-
mined that only between 25- of the matter and
energy that loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta)
deposit on a beach as eggs may actually return to the
ocean in the form of hatchlings. Here is what
14,305 loggerhead turtle nests contributed to a 21
km beach in Florida (Bouchard and Bjorndal,
... 9, *" kg of organic matter; __' kg oflipids;
1030 kg of Nitrogen; 93 kg of Phosphorus; and
.. ., .. ) kilojoules of energy.
Now imagine this. If there were 17,' .'. 1.
adult female green turtles in the Caribbean Sea,
they would lay -, . I, nests per year (34 million
turtles x 0.5 [assuming a 1:1 ratio of females to
males] x 4.2 nests per female /3yr average remigra-
tion ;ii. ,i1 Assuming their nest contents are sim-
ilar to that of loggerhead turtles, they would
contribute 1.. -,; kg of organic matter; 3( .
kg of lipids; 171 !1kg of Nitrogen; 1 -., i kg of
PI: 1.. and 44,.","" !.. i kJ of energy to the
beach. It may be more than this, because green tur-
tles lay their nests higher up on the beach than do
loggerhead turtles (Bouchard and Bjorndal, '_'! *:,:.
It is clear that sea turtles used to make substan-


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



tial nutrient and energy contributions to beaches,
promoting plant growth that stabilized the beach,
enhancing and protecting the nesting environment.
I I, / also may have served as ecosystem engineers.
Hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) may have played
a major role in maintaining reef dynamics by eating
sponges that otherwise would engulf and smother
the reefs. And when green turtles graze on seagrass
beds, they actually increase the productivity of those
areas, just as large mammals do on land (I! I-7. et
al. 1' 1; McNaughton 1985). While we cannot
know the full extent of their former impact, we can
only hope that the ecosystem is sustainable with the
smaller number of turtles we have today.
Envision this with me...millions of sea turtles
pulsing ashore onto the beaches...fertilizing the
rims of thousands of islands and two continents.
And after this wave of nutrients enters the rims, it is
pulsed on up and into the interior lands in succes-
sive waves of biological transport. Year after year -
tons of nutrients and billions ofkiloJoules of energy
in a predictable, regular cycle for tens of millions
of years.
Envision this with me...millions of turtles graz-
ing on seagrass beds, stimulating primary produc-
tivity at the base of the ocean's food chain. And this
surge of increased productivity works its way up the
food chain, nourishing shrimp, mollusks, lobsters,
and fish as well as :... i pulsing onto the
shore in the annual ballet of nesting activity.
Envision this with me...millions of sea turtles
nibbling on sponges trimming back the invading
poriferans that otherwise would overgrow and shut
down the coral reef machine. A constant system of
checks and balances that also contributes to the gift
of energy that sea turtles offer to the land each year
in the form of nests and eggs. Year after year, for
tens of million of years, the ecosystem engineers,
these hawksbill and green and loggerhead and rid-
ley and leatherback turtles, shape and improve and
fine-tune the complex and mysterious and mar-
velous cybernetic machines of the oceans.
How many turtles does this cosmic dance
require for a successful performance? I tell you
honestly, I do not know. What are the consequences
to long-term functioning of the ocean's food chains
if there are too few turtles to subsidize the nutrient
and energy requirements of ocean life-support sys-







Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



teams? Again, I do not know. Do the services previ-
ously provided by millions of turtles have any eco-
nomic value to us? Of course they do but in ways
that we cannot even begin to imagine, since we
assume that they are provided for free by inexplica-
ble means that are too complex for economists to
figure out or to measure.
We also want our relationships with sea turtles to
be culturally sustainable. Sea turtles hold an impor-
tant place in the traditions of many societies (Fra-
zier 1999). But do our modern uses allow these
traditions to be sustained? In many cases, the
answer is "No."
The existence value and bequeath value of sea
turtles underscore their importance to us in an eco-
logical and cultural sense, but also in a spiritual
sense. The attempt to place a spiritual value on
them stems from a deep-seated feeling that their
100 .,.1ll.. ,. existence has made them far wiser
than we are in the fundamental mysteries by which
the planet operates. Will our modern consumptive
and non-consumptive uses of sea turtles be com-
patible with their spiritual sustainability? I am not
sure.
And so, the task is before us: We must set our
goals and develop benchmarks to measure our suc-
cess at using sea turtles sustainable. It seems so sim-
ple an idea but, as I hope you can see from my
suggestions, it is not!
We must pledge as our first goal not to permit
any further decline in the numbers of sea turtles.
We must decide how many we need for sustainable
consumptive economic use. We also must define
the densities we need for ecotourism and other
non-consumptive uses. And we must ensure that
those numbers allow for unanticipated future uses.
Then, if we truly believe that present numbers of
turtles are insufficient for economic, biological,
ecological, cultural or spiritual sustainability, we
must find a way to increase their populations up to
sustainable levels. Then, once we decide how many
we want and how many we have, we must monitor,
monitor, and monitor their numbers to detect any
future declines!
As Gerrodette and Taylor have said (1999),
"Because of sea turtle life history characteristics, it is
nearly impossible to estimate total population size
for any sea turtle population." So we must monitor


them at the places and times we can reliably
encounter them. In this long-term monitoring
effort, we must ensure that all users of sea turtles -
fishermen, government workers, eco-tour guides,
coastal villagers and scientific researchers become
master naturalists who can report numbers of tur-
tles accurately.
On selected benchmark nesting beaches we
must monitor the number of adult females, the
number of nests and eggs, and the number of
hatchlings as indicated in the IUCN/SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group's recently published "tech-
niques manual" (e.g., Schroeder and Murphy 1' .;
Valverde and Gates 1999; Miller 1'* ** ). We must
closely monitor stranding data for any trends that
are apparent (Shaver and Teas, 1999). In foraging
habitats we must conduct transect surveys and
mark-recapture studies to monitor the numbers of
juveniles and males (Ehrhart and Ogren, 1999;
Henwood and Epperly, 1999; Gerrodette and Tay-
lor, 1999). Careful records must be kept in local
marketplaces (Tambiah, 1999) and on board vessels
concerning the number of turtles harvested (both
directly and incidentally), as well as changes in
catch per unit effort.
While we use sea turtles, we must understand
that the users have a vested interest in keeping sea
turtle populations viable. Since every turtle has
value to our users, we probably cannot afford to lose
any "extra" turtles. So we must reduce the threats
that take them from us outside our intended uses.
We must protect the nesting habitats for these valu-
able commodities (i!1 .. l.1: .', i'' .. We must
also protect the foraging habitat (Gibson and Smith,
1999) and reduce incidental catch (Oravetz, 1999).
We must benchmark and monitor the nesting
habitats and quantify any changes in rates of erosion
and accretion, beach armoring, artificial beach
nourishment, sand mining, and beach lighting as
well as changes in the activity levels of vehicles, foot
traffic, livestock, obstacles (debris) and oil spills on
the beach (Witherington, 1' -'' We must also
benchmark and quantify changes in the foraging
habitat with information on water quality, the num-
ber of boats anchoring in these areas, the amount of
oil pollution and marine debris, dynamiting and
chemical fishing, and other threats (Gibson and
Smith, 1999).














If we want to catch turtles for consumptive use,
we must benchmark and quantify changes in the
level of incidental catch from t, li1, pelagic long-
lines, bottom longlines, gill and entanglement nets,
seins, purse seins and pound nets, buoy and trap
lines, and hook and line gear (Oravetz, 1'"" ', For
we cannot allow incidental catch to destroy the sus-
tainability of directed turtle fisheries.
So these are the fundamental questions, assum-
ing that we have the collective will to answer them:

How many sea turtles do we need?
How many sea turtles do we want?
What sacrifices are we willing to make to get
and keep that number of turtles?

In 1. ii I'd like to offer one last considera-
tion. Recalling Jack Frazier's (1'" ; point of view
that, "Wildlife management and conservation are as
much managing people as managing- ;1.i.: "
Let's remember that it is people's behavior we will
be changing, not the behavior of sea turtles. So
there must be one final set of benchmarks to con-
sider. As Marcovaldi and Thomr (1999) have
reminded us, "In establishing a conservation pro-
gram, it is essential to evaluate all pertinent socio-
cultural issues." We must ascertain how our
program affects local people. Does it result in their
economic improvement? Does it enhance and
enrich their cultural traditions? Does it contribute
to spiritual growth? Does it nurture the soul
(Moore, 1' ** _,
Literature Cited
Bjorndal, K. A. 1999. Priorities for research in foraging
habitats, p.12-14. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A.
Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. IUC J : Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten and M. Y. Chaloupka. 2000.
Green turtle somatic growth model: evidence for density
dependence. Ecological Applications 10:269-282.
Bouchard, S. S. and K. A. Bjorndal. 2000. Sea turtles as
biological transporters of nutrients and energy from
marine to terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology 81:2305-2313.
Eckert, K. L. 1999. Designing a conservation program,
p.6-8. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-
Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Manage-
ment Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.


"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999



TUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication
No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Ehrhart, L. M. and L. H. Ogren. 1999. Studies in forag-
ing habitats: capturing and i: -.!..!, turtles, p.61-64. In:
K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M.
Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques
for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington,
D.C. 235 pp.
Frazier, J. G. 1999. Community-based conservation, p.
15-18. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-
Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Manage-
ment Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.
IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication
No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Gerrodette, T. and B. L. Taylor. 1999. Estimating popula-
tion size, p.67-71. in: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A.
Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. TUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Gibson, J. and G. Smith. 1999. Reducing threats to for-
aging habitats, p.184-188. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. T~ j ., .1.1
F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research
and Management Techniques for the Conservation of
Sea Turtles. IUCN .2 Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Henwood, T. A. and S. P Epperly. 1999. Aerial surveys in
foraging habitats, p.65-66. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A.
Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.),
Research and Management 'Tchniques for the Conser-
vation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Special-
ist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Isaacs, J. C. 1998. A Conceptual and Empirical Approach
for Valuaing Biodiversity: An Estimate of the Benefits of
Plant and Wildlife Htabitat Preservation in the 'Tensas
River Basin. Doctoral Dissertation, Louisiana State Uni-
versity. Baton Rouge. 239 pp.
Jackson, J. B. C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Coral
Reefs 16, ",i i .... S23-S33.
Marcovaldi, M. A. G. andJ. C. A. Thome. 1999. Reduc-
ing threats to turtles, p.165-168. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A.
Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.),
Research and Management Techniques for the Conser-
vation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Special-
ist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
McNaughton, S.J. 1985. Ecology of a grazing ecosystem:
the Serengeti. Ecological Monographs 55:259-294.
Meylan, A. B. and P A. Meylan. 1999. Introduction to the
evolution, life history, and biology of sea turtles, p.3-5. In:








Karen L. Eckert and E 1I.., .: Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001)
Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WW
and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme



K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M.
Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques
for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington,
D.C. 235 pp.
!,:. J. D. 1999. Determining clutch size and hatching
success, p.124-129. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A.
Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Moore, T. 1992. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivat-
ing Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Harper-
Collins, New York. 312 pp.
Oravetz, C. 1999. Reducing incidental catch, p.189-193.
In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and
M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Tech-
niques for the Conservation of Sea lurtles. U( 1 ,' C
Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4.,
Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Randall. 1993. Passive use values and contingent valua-
tion. Choices (Second Quarter): 12-15.
Shaver, D.J. and W G. Teas. 1999. Stranding and salvage
networks, p.152-155. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F.
A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. TUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.


Schroeder, B. and S. Murphy. 1999. Population surveys
(ground and aerial) on nesting beaches, p.45-55. In: K. L.
Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Don-
nelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for
the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine
Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington,
D.C. 235 pp.
Tambiah, C. 1999. Interviews and market surveys, p.156-
161. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. I . i i. F. A. Abreu-Grobois
and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management
Techniques for the Conservation of Sea 'Turtles.
IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication
No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Thayer, G. W, K. A. Bjomdal, J. C. Ogden, S. L. Williams
andJ. C. Aieman. 1984. Role of larger herbivores in sea-
grass communities. Estuaries 7:351-376.
Valverde, R. A. and C. E. Gates. 1999. Population surveys
on mass nesting beaches, p.56-60. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A.
Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.),
Research and Management Techniques for the Conser-
vation of Sea Turtles. IU( i i' '.C Marine 'urtle Special-
ist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.
Witherington, B. E. 1999. Reducing threats to nesting
habitat, p.179-183. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A.
Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea
Turtles. IU( : I C Marine Turtle Specialist Group
Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialoguefor Effective Regional Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


Open Forum: Criteria and Benchmarks for Sustainable

Management of Caribbean Marine Turtles

\ .... Jorge Moderator
Latin America and Caribbean P, ,...
World I : .;. -Fund


M. Jorge (WWF) opened the discussion by ask-
ing the participants why they have come to this
meeting. He reminded participants to remember
Dr. Frazer's suggestion that the "value" of sea tur-
tles should be the basis of conservation planning
and the framework for management. He asked,
'' I. -.r do sea turtles mean to us and the people we
represent?"'

R. Mirquez (i' 1. .. ) responded that in M6xico
there are five species of sea turtles that inhabit the
Gulf and Caribbean coasts. Some populations are
recovering, some are declining, some are stable.
Economic needs are different in each area of the
country: in the North the economy is booming,
while in the South (C1.; ', the economic needs
are so high that people have few resources. Each
country has its own problems, and we have to solve
them within our own countries.

M. E. Herrera (Costa Rica) explained that, with
regard to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, efforts
similar to those suggested by Dr. Frazer should be
undertaken. Specifically, there must be a commit-
ment to offering alternatives [to sea turtles] in order
to provide income. At present, eco-tourism brings
tourists and this provides alternative income.
Recently Costa Rica abolished the law that allowed
for a legal harvest of sea turtles. 1i1. harvest con-
tinues, but there is an interest by others to learn
about eco-tourism activities in Tortuguero and else-
where and to emphasize non-consumptive values
and uses for sea turtles.

E. Carillo (Cuba) stated that use exists in the
region, and the important issue is how to manage
this use preferably with joint planning and man-
agement in order to achieve sustainable utiliza-
tion. She noted that her purpose in attending the
meeting was to learn more about management. She
said that improvements had been made in Cuba in


the area of national management planning, as well
as research of nesting and migration patterns. She
suggested that the nations of the Caribbean "do
something together" in order to protect sea turtles
in domestic and international waters. She also
shared information about a program in Cuba that
involves training personnel (including fishermen
and students) to participate in data collection.

S. Poon (Trinidad) described a co-management
program in Trinidad where Government works in
partnership with local NGOs to protect nesting
leatherback turtles at some of the most important
nesting beaches (for that species) in the Wider
Caribbean Region. The challenge is to expand these
programs to include mitigation for threats at sea
(mainly incidental catch) and to eliminate contra-
dictions in the national regulatory framework
(specifically between fisheries and wildlife legisla-
tion).

M. Jorge (Moderator) asked why leatherbacks
have declined in [Pacific] Mexico. Are these high-
profile population collapses the result of misman-
agement at the local level, or do we all need to look
beyond our own waters and forge partnerships to
protect shared stocks?

R. Mirquez (M6xico) responded that each
species has its own peculiarities. Mexico has had
conservation and management programs in place
for leatherbacks for 20 years... but leatherbacks
tagged on M6xican nesting beaches are routinely
killed in Chile by pelagic fisheries. We have to reach
international agreements on conservation of these
species.

M. Jorge (. i ..1..) asked whether there are
any additional remarks on the domestic capture of
turtles.

R. Kerr (Hope Zoo) stated that more resources







"Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region -
A Dialogue for Effective ',.; .... I Management"
Santo Domingo, 16-18 November 1999


are needed for local communities. In Jamaica, it is
not possible to enforce existing laws without sup-
port from local communities. Therefore, we must
get local people more involved. A national network
of community members, land owners, divers, stu-
dents, fishermen and interested citizens was formed
in Jamaica with assistance from WIDECAST sever-
al years ago, and this has provided a model for
involving communities in population monitoring
and record-keeping.

N. Frazer (UFL) noted that M6xico had been
successful in increasing the numbers of Kemp's rid-
leys in recent years, and he wondered what would
happen if the government were to pull out of that
long-term conservation program.

R. Mirquez (M6xico) explained that 30 years
ago sea turtle biologists had to defend themselves
from the community in Rancho Nuevo. But today
the community supports the conservation efforts.
Even if the government pulled out, the activities
would continue. Poachers are captured with the
help of the local people.

M. Jorge (Moderator) concluded that there had
been a change of attitude and perspective because of
local I., in."

R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
described the situation in St. Vincent where the
government has adopted a policy of sustainable use
for all marine resources. He explained that his
country was willing to cooperate with nations in the
region in the management and/or conservation of
sea turtles, given the limited financial and technical
resources. To this end, a number of states recently
formed a group called the "Caribbean Turtle Man-
agement and Research Group" (CTMRG), whose
purpose is facilitate collaboration on research and
management issues.

M.Jorge (M. !. .i I.r i) asked for additional infor-
mation on the program in St. Vincent. Why had the
policy of sustainable use been implemented?

R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
responded that the policy was based partly on a tra-
dition of consumptive use and the revenues that
come from it.

R. Connor ( i..11 informed the meeting


that, prior to : ''., Anguilla had open and closed
seasons for sea turtles. Now a five-year (1'' '--_ .""
moratorium is in place in order to give local biolo-
gists and policy-makers a chance to evaluate the sta-
tus of sea turtles and make recommendations to
government about their long-term management.
With assistance from WIDECAST, a national man-
agement plan is under development. Some fisher-
men would like to see the moratorium lifted, as
they feel that turtle stocks have increased. He noted
that his purpose in attending the meeting was to
learn more about how to monitor local sea turtle
stocks.

J. Horrocks (UWI) asked whether anyone knew
the countries that had joined the CTMRG.

R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) res-
ponded that the CTMRG countries are St. Vincent
and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua
and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Colombia,
Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba. Fish-
eries institutions within each country are the partic-
ipants [B. Mora from Venezuela later clarified that
Venezuela was still evaluating the CTMRG and
hadn't made any decision on whether or not to
join].

N. Frazer (UFL) asked, "What happens to fish-
ing livelihoods when moratoria are :. :- -.-... insti-
tuted and then lifted? Who can benefit from that
kind of cycle?"

R. Mirquez (M6xico) explained that prior to
1973, M6xico had a moratorium. His country's
experience with lifting moratoria was quite nega-
tive. After 1973, turtle fisheries were opened again
only for cooperative organizations, but the industri-
al organizations got involved and over-exploitation
began. The moratorium was re-instated in 1990.
Now there is pressure to open the market once
again for olive ridleys in the Pacific. He noted that
the government will do it differently this time (if
the moratorium is lifted once again), and will pro-
vide for better protection. He also noted that the
conditions are not the same today as in the past. He
agreed that cycling on and off moratoria does not
allow fishermen to survive.

S. George (St. Lucia) said that in islands like St.
Lucia fishermen have come a long way in the last 6-




Full Text

PAGE 1

Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional ManagementSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic 16-18 November 1999PROCEEDINGSKaren L. Eckert F. Alberto Abreu Grobois EditorsMarch 2001

PAGE 2

!!"#$%&'&( )*+)%,$$$*%&-. ,"/0"12*"333+4,).(45)20&(.++52#0)#667"89 )$$$.$ 4$:$$ +4,).()*&,) #:;691/ .)65.<4!!18" 0=>6 ($*=6$*&60)($0 $=$ = =$&6?=<$&6( $$&6+$$0 )=$$=@ *$$=

PAGE 3

Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional ManagementSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic 16-18 November 1999PROCEEDINGSKaren L. Eckert F. Alberto Abreu Grobois EditorsMarch 2001

PAGE 5

!"

PAGE 7

“Conservacin de Tortugas Marinas en la Regin del Gran Caribe – Un Dilogo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo” Santo Domingo, 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 DECLARACI"N DE SANTO DOMINGOResolucin de la reunin, Conservacin de Tortugas Marinas en la Regin del Gran Caribe Un Dilogo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 Santo Domingo, Repblica DominicanaCuarenta y ocho administradores de recursos naturales y cientficos de 29 unidades geopolticas en la Regin Gran Caribe discutieron sobre tpicos relevantes para el manejo de las tortugas marinas y sus hbitats. Los participantes han generado esta declaracin para proveer recomendaciones sobre la conservacin de las tortugas marinas y sus hbitats en la RGC y someterla a la consideracin de los gobiernos, organizaciones internacionales, organizaciones no-gubernamentales, instituciones acadmicas y otros sectores de la sociedad civil. Los participantes, para fines de esta Declaracin aclaran que: El trmino “Regin del Gran Caribe” (RGC) se refiere a la descripcin establecida por las Partes en el Convenio para la Proteccin y el Desarrollo del Medio Marino en la Regin del Gran Caribe (Convenio de Cartagena, PNUMA 1983); El trmino “conservacin” se entiende como el manejo del uso humano de organismos y ecosistemas que asegure la sustentabilidad de dicho uso. Adems de uso sustentable, la conservacin incluye proteccin, mantenimiento, rehabilitacin, restauracin y mejoramiento de poblaciones y ecosistemas; y El trmino “tortuga marina” se refiere a cualesquiera de los estadios del ciclo de vida, de las seis especies que se encuentran en la RGC: Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii y Lepidochelys olivacea. RECONOCIENDO que las tortugas marinas son un componente nico de la diversidad biolgica en laSANTO DOMINGO DECLARATIONResolution of the meeting, Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management 16-18 November 1999 Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicForty-eight resource managers and scientists from 29 states and territories in the Wider Caribbean Region discussed a variety of topics relevant to the management of marine turtles and their habitats. These participants of this meeting have produced this declaration to provide recommendations on the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats in the WCR for consideration by governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and other sectors of society. The participants note that for the purposes of this Declaration: The term “Wider Caribbean Region” (WCR) refers to the description established by the Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention, UNEP 1983); The term “conservation” refers to the management of human use of organisms or ecosystems to ensure such use is sustainable. Besides sustainable use, conservation includes protection, maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration, and enhancement of populations and ecosystems; and The term “marine turtle” refers to any stage in the life cycle of the six species found in the WCR: Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea, Eretmochelys imbricata, Lepidochelys kempii and Lepidochelys olivacea RECOGNIZING that marine turtles comprise a unique part of the biological diversity of the WCR and an #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)...

PAGE 8

* Karen L. Eckert y F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editores (2001) Patrocinado por WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, y el Programa Ambiental del Caribe del PNUMA integral part of the cultural, economic, and social aspects of the societies found therein; CONSIDERING that all marine turtles are characterized by the following specific biological aspects: slow growth, late maturity, long life, and high rates of mortality during early life stages, and that understanding these aspects is fundamental to the development of management programs; RECOGNIZING that marine turtles occupy unique positions in marine food webs, are fundamental to the health and structure of important marine ecosystems, and have complex life cycles which depend on a diversity of environments, including terrestrial, coastal, and epipelagic (open ocean) zones; RECOGNIZING that marine turtles have both consumptive and non-consumptive use values to the nations and peoples of the WCR; CONSIDERING that marine turtles, at various life stages, disperse and migrate over vast distances, including on to the high seas and through the jurisdictional waters of multiple Range States; RECOGNIZING that in the WCR, in general, marine turtles are less abundant than they were in former times as indicated by historic and other evidence, and furthermore both historic and scientific information shows that many populations of marine turtles in the WCR have declined while at the same time both threats and pressures on marine turtles have generally increased; CONCERNED that in general there is insufficient scientific information available for management purposes, especially from long-term monitoring of marine turtles and their habitats in the WCR; CONSIDERING that marine turtles are recognized in the respective national legislations of the majority of States of the WCR as requiring special attention for fisheries and wildlife management and conservation activities; RGC as como parte integral de los aspectos culturales, econ micos y sociales de las sociedades de la regi n; CONSIDERANDO que todas las especies de tortugas marinas en la regi n se caracterizan por los siguientes atributos biol gicos espec ficos: lento crecimiento y madurez tard a, larga vida, alta tasa de mortalidad durante las primeras etapas del ciclo de vida y, que es fundamental comprender estas peculiaridades para el desarrollo de programas para su manejo; RECONOCIENDO que las tortugas marinas ocupan sitios nicos en las tramas tr ficas, son fundamentales para la salud y estructura de importantes ecosistemas marino-costeros y, por su complejo ciclo de vida dependen de una diversidad de ambientes, tanto terrestres, costeros, como epipel gico (zona oce nica); RECONOCIENDO que existen valores de usos consuntivos y no-consuntivos de las tortugas marinas en los pa ses y para los pueblos de la RGC; CONSIDERANDO que las tortugas marinas, durante varias etapas de su ciclo vital, se dispersan, efect an extensas migraciones en alta mar y dentro de los l mites de aguas de jurisdicci n nacional de diferentes Estados del rea de su distribuci n; RECONOCIENDO que en la RGC en general, las tortugas marinas son menos abundantes que anteriormente, evidenciado por datos hist ricos y de otras fuentes, y que adem s tanto informaci n hist rica como cient fica muestran que muchas de las poblaciones de tortugas marinas han declinado, mientras que en paralelo se han incrementado las amenazas y las presiones sobre las tortugas marinas en lo general ; PREOCUPADOS porque en general hay poca informaci n cient fica disponible para fines de manejo, en particular de proyectos de seguimiento a largo plazo sobre tortugas marinas y sus h bitats en la RGC; CONSIDERANDO que en la mayor a de las legislaciones nacionales de los Estados de la RGC se establece que las tortugas marinas son especies con requerimientos de atenci n especial para los fines de su manejo y conservaci n; /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 9

* “ Conservaci n de Tortugas Marinas en la Regi n del Gran Caribe – Un Di logo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo ” Santo Domingo, 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 CONSIDERING that all species of marine turtles that occur in the WCR are specifically included under special conservation categories (such as threatened, endangered and critically endangered) in diverse international and regional agreements, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), Cartagena Convention together with its SPAW Protocol, InterAmerican Convention on the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS); CONSIDERING that the habitats of marine turtles are protected by numerous international agreements, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), Cartagena Convention and its various Protocols, Inter-American Convention on the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, and Convention on Biological Diversity; RECOGNIZING that the nations and peoples of the WCR exhibit environmental, historical, cultural, social, economic and political diversity; RECOGNIZING that throughout the WCR there are historical and cultural traditions of consumptive use of marine turtles, as well as other wellestablished forms of exploitation (both legal and illegal) such as for sources of food and commodities used in trade; RECOGNIZING that, in addition to direct exploitation, mortality occurs as a result of numerous human activities which result in the incidental capture of marine turtles and the destruction of critical habitats; and RECOGNIZING that despite limited resources, government agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders have endeavored to advance the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats at the local, national and regional levels; RECOGNIZING that despite great diversity in social and economic development levels in the WCR, there are many initiatives nationally and internationally to CONSIDERANDO que todas las especies de tortugas marinas de la RGC est n espec ficamente incluidas bajo categor as especiales de conservaci n (como amenazadas, en peligro y en peligro cr tico) en diversos acuerdos internacionales y regionales, incluyendo la Convenci n sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Amenazadas de Fauna y Flora Silvestres (CITES), el Convenio de Cartagena y su Protocolo SPAW, la Convenci n Interamericana para la Protecci n y Conservaci n de las Tortugas Marinas, as como la Convenci n sobre la Conservaci n de Especies Migratorias de Animales Silvestres (CMS); CONSIDERANDO que los h bitats de las tortugas marinas est n protegidos por numerosos acuerdos internacionales, incluyendo: la Convenci n de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho del Mar, el Convenio Internacional para la Prevenci n de la Contaminaci n por los Buques, la Convenci n de Cartagena y sus Protocolos, la Convenci n Interamericana para la Protecci n y Conservaci n de las Tortugas Marinas y la Convenci n de Diversidad Biol gica; RECONOCIENDO que en las naciones y pueblos de la RGC es manifiesta una diversidad ambiental, hist rica, cultural, social, econ mica y pol tica; RECONOCIENDO que a lo largo de la RGC existen tradiciones culturales e hist ricas del uso de tortugas marinas para consumo, as como otras formas de explotaci n bien establecidas (tanto legales como ilegales) tales como fuentes de alimentaci n y productos para el comercio; RECONOCIENDO que, aunado a la captura directa, existen otras fuentes de mortalidad producto de numerosas actividades humanas que ocasionan la captura incidental de las tortugas marinas as como la destrucci n de h bitats cr ticos; y RECONOCIENDO que a pesar de los recursos limitados las agencias gubernamentales, organizaciones internacionales, organizaciones no-gubernamentales y otros actores claves, se han esforzado para avanzar en la conservaci n de las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats a nivel local, nacional y regional; RECONOCIENDO que a pesar de la gran diversidad en niveles de desarrollo social y econ mico en la RGC, existen muchas iniciativas nacionales e #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)...

PAGE 10

* Karen L. Eckert y F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editores (2001) Patrocinado por WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, y el Programa Ambiental del Caribe del PNUMA conserve marine turtles and their habitats in the region; and WISHING to congratulate the governmental authorities, intergovernmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civil groups and individuals from diverse countries and sectors of society in the WCR for their efforts, investment and advances made to develop programs and actions to conserve marine turtles and their habitats; WE UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMEND that appropriate authorities, organizations, civic groups and other stakeholders: 1. Identify, strengthen, promote, develop and maintain mechanisms for enhancing dialogue, collaboration, information-sharing, and technology exchange among diverse agencies, organizations, researchers and other stakeholders in the WCR; 2. Promote greater community participation in the identification of management priorities and actions, as well as in the development, implementation and evaluation of activities directed at the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats; 3. Promote scientific research, assessment and monitoring of marine turtles and their habitats, and standardize methods of data collection and analysis ; 4. Develop and implement national and regional management plans based on the best available scientific information, and designed to restore and stabilize marine turtle populations and their habitats to levels that provide broad social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits to the peoples of the WCR; 5. Promote the harmonization of national policies and legislation concerning the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats throughout the WCR, and support efforts to improve the implementation of relevant national, regional and global commitments ; internacionales para conservar las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats en la regi n; y DESEANDO felicitar a las autoridades gubernamentales, agencias inter-gubernamentales, organizaciones no-gubernamentales, grupos civilies e individuos de diversos pa ses y sectores de la sociedad en la RGC por sus esfuerzos, inversiones, avances logrados para desarrollar programas y acciones para conservar las tortugas marinas y sus habitats; RECOMENDAMOS UN NIMEMENTE que las autoridades con las atribuciones pertinentes, organizaciones, grupos civiles y otros actores clave realicen las siguientes acciones: 1. Identificar, fortalecer, promover, desarrollar y mantener mecanismos para mejorar el dilogo, la colaboracin, intercambio de informacin y tecnologa entre las diversas agencias, organizaciones, investigadores y otros actores claves en la RGC; 2. Promover una mayor participacin ciudadana en la identificaci n de prioridades y acciones de manejo, as como en el desarrollo, ejecuci n y evaluaci n de actividades dirigidas a la conservaci n de las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats; 3. Promover la investigacin cientfica, la evaluacin y el seguimiento de las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats, y la estandarizacin de mtodos de colecta y anlisis de informacin ; 4. Desarrollar y llevar a cabo planes de manejo nacionales y regionales basados en la mejor informaci n cient fica disponible y orientados a recuperar y estabilizar las poblaciones de tortugas marinas y sus h bitats a niveles capaces de proveer amplios beneficios sociales, culturales, econ micos y ambientales para los pueblos de la RGC; 5. Promover la armonizacin de las polticas y legislacin nacionales relacionadas con la conservaci n de las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats en la RGC, as como apoyar los esfuerzos de los pa ses de la RGC para mejorar la aplicacin adecuada de los compromisos nacionales, regionales y globales; /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 11

* “ Conservaci n de Tortugas Marinas en la Regi n del Gran Caribe – Un Di logo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo ” Santo Domingo, 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 6. Identify, strengthen, develop and maintain mechanisms for providing the resources required to design and implement these activities, including human, financial, logistic, and political resources; 7. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Determining Population Distribution and Status ” : Identify (locate), characterize, and rank (as to intensity of use and importance for management) marine turtle nesting and foraging sites, Select Index Sites (primary nesting and foraging sites) for intensive monitoring, Determine the genetic identity of primary nesting and foraging assemblages, Identify (locate), characterize, and rank (as to intensity of use and importance for management) migratory corridors, mating sites, and “ developmental ” (juvenile) habitats, Identify, evaluate and rank threats to marine turtles and their habitats – both domestic and, to the extent practicable, throughout their ranges, Determine demographic trends for each population using statistically robust procedures over ecologically relevant time frames, and taking regional and global species-specific trends into consideration, Deduce changes in local population abundance from historical records (e.g., historical literature, early surveys, fisheries or trade statistics), and place these in the context of similar assessments conducted elsewhere in the populations ’ range, Derive population “ status ” (as distinct from population “ trends ” which are evaluated over shorter periods of time) from trend measurements (whether observed, estimated or inferred) taken from the population ’ s full range for a period of at least two generations; thus “ status ” becomes a biologically meaningful 6. Identificar, fortalecer, desarrollar y mantener mecanismos para proveer los recursos requeridos para el dise o y ejecuci n de estas actividades, incluyendo recursos humanos, financieros, log sticos y pol ticos. 7. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Determinaci n de la Distribuci n de las Poblaciones y su Estado de Conservaci n ” : Identificar (localizar), caracterizar y jerarquizar (de acuerdo a la intensidad de uso e importancia para el manejo) sitios de anidaci n y alimentaci n, Seleccionar Sitios ndice (sitios de anidaci n y de alimentaci n de primer orden) para fines de seguimiento intensivo, Determinar la identidad gen tica de las tortugas en sitios de anidaci n y alimentaci n de primer orden, Identificar (localizar), caracterizar y jerarquizar (de acuerdo a la intensidad de uso e importancia para el manejo) corredores migratorios, sitios de reproducci n y h bitats de “ desarrollo ” (de juveniles), Identificar, evaluar y jerarquizar amenazas a las tortugas marinas y sus h bitats en el mbito local, as como -dentro de lo posibleen toda su rea de distribuci n, Determinar tendencias demogr ficas para cada poblaci n aplicando procedimientos estad sticos robustos a trav s de series de tiempo de relevancia ecol gica y tomando en cuenta las tendencias regionales y globales de cada especie, Deducir cambios en la abundancia de la poblaci n local a partir de registros hist ricos (p. ej. prospecciones pioneras, estad sticas de captura o del comercio), y situarlas en el contexto de evaluaciones similares en otros sitios del rea de distribuci n de esa poblaci n, Derivar el “ estado de conservaci n ” la de la poblaci n (diferenciando sta de la “ tendencia ” poblacional que se eval a sobre series de tiempo m s cortas) a partir de determinaciones de tendencias (ya sea observadas, estimadas o inferidas) deducidas de la distribuci n completa de la poblaci n a lo largo de por lo #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)...

PAGE 12

* Karen L. Eckert y F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editores (2001) Patrocinado por WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, y el Programa Ambiental del Caribe del PNUMA classification congruent with criteria used internationally (i.e., IUCN). 8. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Monitoring Population Trends ” : Select Index Beaches and Foraging Sites (primary nesting and foraging sites) for intensive monitoring, Collect baseline data by determining Absolute Abundance or by utilizing Indices of Abundance, Continue to collect data at Index Foraging Sites, using standardized collection and reporting protocols, for a minimum of 5 years, Continue to collect data at Index Nesting Beaches, using standardized collection and reporting protocols, for 5-10 years (defined as 5 years or a minimum of 3 multiples of the average remigration interval [1-3 years, depending on species], whichever is longer), Continue monitoring until a statistically significant change in abundance is detected or until population stability is demonstrated with statistical precision, remembering that minimum monitoring intervals are likely to be insufficient to generate statistically significant results if populations are small Recognize that trends are not predictive, but rather they demonstrate with a selected degree of mathematical precision that there has been a change in abundance over time and that its direction is negative or positive. menos dos generaciones; asegurando as que el “ estado de conservaci n ” sea una clasificaci n con significado biol gico y en congruencia con los criterios internacionales en uso (p.ej., IUCN). 8. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Seguimiento de Tendencias Poblacionales ” : Seleccionar Playas ndice de Anidaci n y Sitios ndice de Alimentaci n (sitios de anidaci n y de alimentaci n de primer orden) para un seguimiento intensivo, Recabar datos b sicos de referencia por medio de la determinaci n de Abundancia Absoluta o el uso de ndices de Abundancia, Desarrollar el acopio de datos en Sitios ndice de Alimentaci n, utilizando m todos normalizados de colecta y de protocolos de informes, por un m nimo de 5 a os, Desarrollar y en algunos casos continuar el acopio de datos en Playas ndice de Anidaci n, utilizando m todos normalizados de colecta y de protocolos de informes, a lo largo de 5-10 a os (per odo definido como el per odo m s largo de 5 a os o un m nimo de 3 veces el intervalo promedio de remigraci n [1-3 a os, dependiendo de la especie]), Continuar el seguimiento hasta detectar un cambio estad sticamente significativo en la abundancia o hasta que se detecte una estabilidad poblacional demostrable con precisi n estad stica, recordando que es probable que los intervalos m nimos de seguimiento sean insuficientes para generar resultados estad sticamente significativos si las poblaciones son peque as, Reconocer que si bien las tendencias no tienen capacidad predicativa, en cambio demuestran con un grado determinable de precisi n, que ha ocurrido un cambio en la abundancia sobre un tiempo dado y que la direcci n del cambio es negativa o positiva /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 13

6 “ Conservaci n de Tortugas Marinas en la Regi n del Gran Caribe – Un Di logo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo ” Santo Domingo, 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 9. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Promoting Public Awareness and Participation ” : Clearly identify target and stakeholder groups, and stakes, Determine the socio-economic importance or value of the resource to the various stakeholders, including communities and nations, Identify economic alternatives (options) in a collaborative manner (such alternatives might include activities totally divorced from the resource), as well as those involving non-consumptive or more sustainable consumptive use of the resource, Develop comprehensive mediumand longterm marine turtle public awareness programs focused on the respective stakeholder groups, Coordinate and harmonize policies and activities of the relevant sectors, including Governmental and non-governmental, Incorporate marine turtle (and general marine) education into the school curriculum, Identify, strengthen, establish, and maintain mechanisms for the exchange of experiences, information and collaboration (including the Internet and field visits) using various sectors of society, Determine ways in which program success can be measured and evaluated, Identify funding sources and develop funding strategies consistent with specific program objectives. 10. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds and Inter-nesting Habitats ” : Determine past and present quantitative and qualitative status and extent of foraging and inter-nesting habitats, Develop criteria to rank threats to foraging grounds and inter-nesting habitats, and to turtles utilizing these habitats, 9. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Promoci n de la Concientizaci n y Participaci n P blica ” : Identificar de manera precisa grupos-objetivo y de inter s, as como los intereses involucrados, Determinar la importancia socioecon mica o el valor de los recursos para los diversos grupos de inter s, incluyendo las comunidades y las naciones, Identificar, a trav s de un proceso participativo, las alternativas (opciones) econ micas (que pueden incluir actividades totalmente ajenas al recurso en s as como aquellas que involucren un consumo no extractivo o m s sustentable del recurso, Desarrollar programas integrales de concientizaci n p blica a mediano y largo plazo, con tem ticas sobre tortugas marinas y enfocados a cada grupo de inter s, Coordinar y armonizar pol ticas y actividades de los sectores relevantes, incluyendo las del gobierno y organizaciones nogubernamentales, Incorporar programas educativos sobre tortugas marinas (y temas marinos en general) a la curr cula escolar, Identificar, fortalecer, establecer y mantener mecanismos para el intercambio de experiencias, informaci n y colaboraci n (incluyendo el Internet y visitas de campo) con los diferentes sectores de la sociedad, Determinar formas y maneras para poder medir y evaluar el xito de los programas, Identificar fuentes y desarrollar estrategias de financiamiento acordes con los objetivos espec ficos del programa. 10. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Reducci n de Amenazas en Sitios de Alimentaci n y H bitats Interanidatorios ” : Determinar la condici n cualiy cuantitativa, hist rica y reciente y, la extensi n de los h bitats de alimentaci n e inter-anidatorio, Desarrollar criterios para jerarquizar las amenazas a los sitios de alimentaci n y h bitats inter-anidatorios, y a las tortugas que utilizan estos h bitats, #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)...

PAGE 14

6 Karen L. Eckert y F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editores (2001) Patrocinado por WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, y el Programa Ambiental del Caribe del PNUMA Identify, characterize and rank (as to their impact on local populations) present and potential threats to each foraging area, as well as to marine turtles utilizing these habitats, Develop and incorporate marine turtle habitat management plans as part of national Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plans, Design and implement independent management plans, as necessary, to mitigate priority threats to marine turtles, Assemble and review existing information, identify gaps, and initiate efforts to acquire necessary data, Design and implement monitoring protocols to evaluate the result(s) of management actions, Review legislation and law enforcement for adequacy and gaps, Promote regional cooperation in managing critical habitats. 11. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches ” : Identify threats through assessments, research, and the exchange of information, Consider threats not only to nesting beaches (habitat), but also to nests (eggs), hatchlings, and nesting females, Identify, characterize, and rank threats (many of which are described below), giving priority management attention to those with the greatest potential to exert a negative effect on the status of local breeding assemblages, Review existing legislation for adequacy, emphasize consistent law enforcement, improve inter-agency collaboration, and promote public awareness of and stakeholder participation in management program planning and implementation, Identificar, caracterizar y jerarquizar (de acuerdo a su impacto sobre poblaciones locales) amenazas actuales y potenciales para cada sitio de alimentaci n, as como a las tortugas marinas que utilizan estos h bitats, Desarrollar e incorporar planes de manejo para el h bitat de tortugas marinas a los planes nacionales de Manejo Integral de la Zona Costera (MIZC), Dise ar e implementar planes de manejo indepen-dientes, conforme sea necesario, para mitigar las amenazas prioritarias a las tortugas marinas, Compilar y revisar informaci n existente, identificar vac os de informaci n e iniciar esfuerzos para adquirir la informaci n necesaria, Dise ar e implementar protocolos de seguimiento para evaluar el/los resultado/s de las acciones de manejo, Revisar la legislaci n y su observancia, buscando vac os e identificando deficiencias, Promover cooperaci n regional en el manejo de h bitats cr ticos. 11. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Reducci n de Amenazas en Playas de Anidaci n ” : Identificar amenazas a trav s de la evaluaci n, investigaci n y el intercambio de informaci n, Considerar adem s de las amenazas a las playas de anidaci n (h bitat), aquellas que afectan las nidadas (huevos), cr as y hembras reproductoras, Identificar, caracterizar y jerarquizar las amenazas (entre otras, las que se describen a continuaci n), dando atenci n prioritaria para su manejo, aquellas con el mayor potencial de ejercer un efecto negativo sobre la condici n de las poblaciones reproductoras locales, Revisar la legislaci n existente para detectar deficiencias, enfatizar la aplicaci n consistente de la ley, mejorar colaboraci n entre agencias y promover la concientizaci n p blica y la participaci n de los grupos de inter s en la planificaci n del programa de manejo y su aplicaci n, /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 15

6 “ Conservaci n de Tortugas Marinas en la Regi n del Gran Caribe – Un Di logo para el Manejo Regional Efectivo ” Santo Domingo, 16-18 de noviembre de 1999 Eliminate illegal poaching of eggs and nesting females, Minimize egg depredation (using the least manipulative strategy), Control beach sand mining, Eliminate (or reduce to non-threatening levels) artificial beachfront lighting during peak nesting and hatching seasons, Prohibit irreparable damage to sandy beaches due to stabilization structures, such as seawalls or groynes Manage potentially threatening human commercial and recreational activities during nesting seasons, Prevent degradation to the incubating environs of known nesting beaches due to beach rebuilding and renourishment activities, Prevent irreparable damage to sandy beaches due to coastal construction of buildings and infra-structure, Reduce beach debris, Control pollution, including chemical, sewage and oil contamination, at known turtle nesting beaches Reduce, to the extent possible, the negative effects of natural disasters and phenomena. 12. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, “ Strengthening the Regulatory Framework ” : With regard to the regional (international) framework: stimulate and promote, on a practical level, cooperation among nations; harmonize national regulatory frameworks for the protection and management of natural resources, in particular marine turtles; and ensure that national obligations under international treaties and agreements are met on a timely and ongoing basis, With regard to the national regulatory framework: review existing legislation and regulations for gaps; strengthen the national legislative framework by using the best available scientific knowledge and taking into consideration stakeholders, enforcement capacity, pubEliminar el saqueo de huevos y hembras anidadoras, Minimizar la depredaci n de huevos (aplicando la estrategia con menor manipulaci n), Controlar la extracci n de arena de las playas, Eliminar (o reducir a niveles que no impacten) la iluminaci n artificial de frentes de playa durante la temporada de m xima anidaci n y eclosi n, Prohibir construcciones de estabilizaci n, como las paredes de playa y los espigones que ocasionan da os irreparables a la playas, Manejar actividades comerciales y de recreo que signifiquen una amenaza potencial durante la temporada de anidaci n, Prevenir la degradaci n de playas por actividades de reconstrucci n o relleno en reas aleda as a playas de anidaci n conocidas, Prevenir el da o irreparable a playas arenosas por la construcci n de edificios e infraestructura costera, Reducir la basura en playa, Controlar la contaminaci n, incluyendo aquella por sustancias qu micas, aguas residuales y por petr leo, en playas de anidaci n conocidas, Reducir, en lo posible, el efecto negativo de desastres y fen menos naturales. 12. Sobre la base de las recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo, “ Fortalecimiento del Marco Jur dico ” : En relaci n a las estructuras legales regionales (internacionales): promover y estimular, a niveles factibles, la colaboraci n entre naciones; armonizar esquemas de normatividad nacional para la protecci n y manejo de los recursos naturales, en particular las tortugas marinas; y asegurar que las obligaciones nacionales bajo tratados y convenios internacionales se cumplan en tiempo y forma, Con relaci n al marco jur dico nacional: revisar la legislaci n y reglamentos vigentes y detectar vac os; fortalecer el cuerpo normativo incorporando el mejor conocimiento cient fico disponible y tomando en consideraci n a los grupos de inter s, capacidad de ejecuci n, #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)...

PAGE 16

6 Karen L. Eckert y F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editores (2001) Patrocinado por WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, y el Programa Ambiental del Caribe del PNUMA lic education, international and regional obligations, financial mechanisms, and existing laws pertaining to the conservation and management of marine turtles, With regard to public participation in the regulatory process: design and implement public education campaigns; and ensure continuous education to all sectors and stakeholders, relative to the provisions and obligations of environmental legislation. educaci n p blica, obligaciones internacionales y regionales, mecanismos de financiamiento y la legislaci n vigente que ata e a la conservaci n y manejo de las tortugas marinas, Con respecto a la participaci n ciudadana en el proceso normativo: dise ar e implementar campa as de educaci n para el p blico en general; asegurar la educaci n continua de todos los sectores y grupos de inter s en la tem tica relacionada con las estipulaciones y obligaciones que en materia ambiental se contemplan en el marco legal. /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 17

6 #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)... .6$0 =*A $+)%$ 52#)*# '*$$$&6 ).$ :B$C! = !!$ $.$ 8 $)*-D"31C)*$#0 ,*$&*0 $+)%) )*E )* *($ =$ "!!!$* (*$$$0 *6 !$ $= =$ 6=$ 45)2+)0 *5=$= 60 )0 $$ (=+ ).()*2= +4,).(=$ *0 $** $ *$$** "319 "31F+( .+(. (*$=*$ ,= *4 "33!#))* .#+$ .#+=460 ) G="33" (.#+#$ !!!.0 40)*$#0 )*$.(4)= $$$ "33/.#+#4) 6$ )$ *** (=$ *=*=0 0 $$ ?** $0 = G0 *0 $6G *$$$* $= %G* 0 $$*=$ + *$ $=0 ?$

PAGE 18

H6? $= $ $) +$0 '.,,$$ $$== *%0 $0 $=0** *6$*0 ? I0 I$= I* 6$0 $** 2: +)%$$* =$ "#$% &$'$ 6* /01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 19

6* #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)... +$*0 $,%$$$ JK&&?0 5$2%,0 $=$ ? (++$ +++).()*0 2=+4,).(45)2L..)& (.52#) *#*0 $$. &J++
PAGE 20

!"#$ 2H$&(@ ('$&) % )%$.(@ $ $& .,$ @ "#$% '( .,$ @ #* %' .,$ @ &+*', %) .,$ !! @ &$! ($ .,$ #-%!@ +,.)$ () .,$ #@ / *' !+,*-&#$0*.@ ($% *. &)*$).(@ 0$&) ). :);$.&$) .(O (+12 -* &$ ).(4=@ 0! &% :.4)0 3 0!12 &) .)%$& .'6*/01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 21

6* #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)... //!++,.% ,#,.@ &$'$ .* &#(@ !4$"5% $0##=)4**@ -6 $$$ %(2;@ $7 $$* %(@ ($4% $'$ .%=@ (7! $':&&@ &$'$12 $%$ / !,##$%% ,#,. $%* &#( $%##=)4** $%. %(2; $(0 %(402H $(% .%= $(( 64 $(* 644$# $(.

PAGE 22

6*(+8)' 7 0 -9! $4$ ,%=* *$P(*0 $,%6 $+ =2$52 *#=&JK $++$=== (,% =?= (=*0 B$$ =$ +** =$( *==& $* (=0 *$=0* 4,%A= === $4 +== B(=*0 *+ ===6$= =$=0 == =$/01&&23455)6 ('&(!7-8((8#!(21 7-99

PAGE 23

66 #!$% &'$#" (')*+),-)... 4 ==(60 = *$=0 *2 == 0*@ )=A ==*$0 *== *$0 *$$0 $ &=$ 8!*;=*0 $6*$$= $)0 (=* 0 **.#+# 40)*$# )*$.($ $=0 $ +$$ )'== *==* 6*0 ==*=$= $ +* $ =+6 $$= $=$ +$ 6$+ $=$$$ $= **$0 Q= =?= ($0 $G0 +)%$ G*$0 +*= $= =B$$0 R)$$ I R&G$G0 $0$0 I R4$ =I R.**0 *I R** == =&$'$ :#! ;0!+* +*

PAGE 25

Session IMarine Turtles of the Wider Caribbean RegionGeneral Natural History of Marine TurtlesJohn G. Frazier, PresenterCultural and Economic Roles of Marine TurtlesDidiher Chacn C., PresenterStatus and Distribution of Dermochelys coracea Karen L. Eckert, PresenterStatus and Distribution of Chelonia mydas Cynthia Lagueux, PresenterStatus and Distribution of Caretta caretta Flix Mancada Gaviln, PresenterStatus and Distribution of Eretmochelys imbricata Diego F. Amorocho, PresenterStatus and Distribution of Lepidochelys kempii Ren Mrquez M., PresenterStatus and Distribution of Lepidochelys olivacea Maria ngela Marcovaldi, Presenter1 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 27

3 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Reginal Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 IntroductionMarine turtles have captivated the human imagination for millennia, for many and diverse reasons. Providing nutritional, economic and spiritual sustenance to human societies around the globe, they are part of the cultural fabric of many coastal communities (Molina, 1981). For example, archaeological research in the Caribbean reveals marine turtle relicts associated with human sites in scores of localities, both continental and insular, that date from 1380 BC to 1715 AD. Marine turtles were clearly an important part of the diet and culture of many of these past societies (Wing and Reitz, 1982; Versteeg and Effert, 1987). In recent years, these animals have been a cause clbre for numerous issues fundamental to modern societies, impinging on the ways in which humans view and interact with their environment. Marine turtles serve as test cases illustrating the complexities involved in developing, maintaining, and promoting programs for biological conservation and environmental protection. These reptiles have — by no design of their own — been in the forefront of highly charged issues such as international disputes about trade and environment (Frazier and Bache, in press). To better understand the relationships between people and marine turtles, it is necessary to first understand some basic characteristics about these charismatic animals. The purpose of this paper is to provide a background of basic information on marine turtles, upon which more specific details and discussions can be constructed. The paper is structured using a series of central questions, which build sequentially on each other. The intention is to provide an overview of biological facts — non-negotiable issues that must be adequately addressed in any considerations and negotiations that deal with marine turtles and their habitats. It is important to emphasize that the approach here is to generalize, so that the summaries presented are not necessarily meant to apply to all turtles at all times, but rather to provide a simplified framework into which more detail can be assembled. For this reason, many references cited herein are review articles and not primary sources. For example, review articles (chapters) in The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles (Bjorndal, 1982, reprinted in 1995) and The Biology of Sea Turtles (Lutz and Musick, 1997) have been drawn upon repeatedly throughout this paper.Taxonomy and Paleontology: How many kinds of marine turtles are there? Marine turtle fossils date back to the Jurassic, some 200,000,000 years ago. In addition to two taxonomic families (Pleurosternidae and Thalassemyidae) from the Jurassic that included some species of marine turtles, paleontologists have described four taxonomic families in which all the species are characterized by clear adaptations for marine life: Cheloniidae, Dermochelyidae, Toxochelyidae, and Protostegidae. Over the span of eons, more than 50 genera of marine turtles have been described, with a total of over 100 species (see Pritchard, 1997). Hence, over millions of years, marine turtles have been a diverse and widespread group of animals. Surviving today, we have what are referred to as “the living species of marine turtles” — these comprise seven species, organized into six gen-General Natural History of Marine TurtlesJ. G. Frazier Conservation and Research Center Smithsonian Institution USA

PAGE 28

era, and two taxonomic families. One family, Cheloniidae, includes six of the seven living species of marine turtle: Caretta caretta (Linnaeus), Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus), Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus), Lepidochelys kempii (Garman), Lepidochelys olivacea (Eschscholtz), and Natator depressus (Garman). Some people recognize an additional species, Chelonia agassizii (Bocourt), but this is not consistently accepted (Karl and Bowen, 1999). The other family, Dermochelyidae, includes justone living species of marine turtle, Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli). It is this last-named species, the “leatherback,” that is often the exception to the generalizations that apply to the rest of the marine turtles.Systematics: What makes a turtle a turtle? The classification of turtles, from generalized to specific characteristics, can be summarized as follows: • Kingdom Animalia — has nuclear envelope, mitochondria, no chloroplasts nor cell wall, has fertilization and meiosis, internal digestion, and a nervous system • Phylum Chordata — has a dorsal spinal chord • Sub-Phylum Vertebrata — has a backbone • Super-Class Tetrapoda — has four limbs • Class Reptilia — lays cleidoic eggs that develop independently of water in the surrounding environment — has lungs and breathes air — the body is covered in scales • Order Testudines — lives inside a bony shell — ribs are “inside-out” (outside the body, rather than inside) — backbone is shortened — has no teeth, but instead a beak made of keratinMorphology: What makes a turtle a marine turtle?Numerous characteristics, genetic and morphological, distinguish marine turtles from other types of turtles; several of these are relatively conspicuous. By far the most distinctive is the body shape, and particularly the front limbs, which are modified into flippers, relatively large in size, with the elongated finger bones forming a major part of the limb. The flippers provide strong “power strokes” with which the turtles “fly” through the water when swimming. This morphological adaptation is reflected in distinctive behavioral and physiological characteristics, giving marine turtles a remarkable ability to migrate over long distances, through water (Wyneken, 1997). As in freshwater turtles, the back limbs are modified into paddles with a membrane that spreads between the toe bones (although in marine turtles the hind limbs are often, mistakenly, called “flippers”). The shell, with the carapace above and plastron below, is dorsally flattened so that it is hydrodynamically streamlined. Unlike as in other kinds of turtles, the head is relatively large, and, like the limbs, cannot be withdrawn into the shell. Hence, marine turtles have lost the ability to protect the head and limbs by pulling them inside the shell, but they have gained more efficient hydrodynamic design. The “crutching” gait, in which all four limbs thrust simultaneously, is used by the larger marine turtles when they are on land, and is virtually unique to marine turtles (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997; Wyneken, 1997).Development: What are the life stages of marine turtles? The life of a marine turtle can be categorized into distinct phases as it grows and develops. Starting at the beginning of the reproductive process, follicles are ovulated from the ovary into the infundibulum of the oviduct, and passing farther down, they are fertilized by sperm stored in the upper oviduct. Fertilized ova develop to the mid-gastrula stage (a hollow sac) while within the mother’s oviduct. It takes at least a week for the egg to develop inside the oviduct, forming the4 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 29

5 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 completed structure with yolk, albumin and eggshell. The egg is nearly spherical resembling a Ping-Pong ball, and has a flexible parchment-like calcareous shell. Depending on the species, individual eggs weigh between 25 and 80 g, and are from 3.9 to 5.4 cm in diameter. Eggs hatch into baby turtles, or “ hatchlings ,” which have average carapace lengths for each species between 4.1 and 6.0 cm, and weigh between 14 and 50 g, Eretmochelys weighing the least and Dermochelys the most. It takes from 6 to 13 weeks for the eggs to hatch, the period determined mainly by the temperature of incubation (Van Buskirk and Crowder, 1994; Miller, 1997; Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999). The hatchlings become juvenile turtles, and those that survive develop into adults The average carapace lengths of adult females vary by species, from about 65 to 180 cm and the total range of body weights for adults is from about 25 to 900 kg (Morgan, 1989; NRC, 1990; Mrquez, 1994; Van Buskirk and Crowder, 1994). Hence, the adult weight can be some 5,000 times the egg weight, and as much as 11,000 greater in the case of Dermochelys coriacea It is estimated that, depending on the species, population, and environmental variables, it takes from 10 to 60 years for a marine turtle to pass through these stages and to grow from fertilized ova into a mature adult (Bjorndal and Zug, 1995; Chaloupka and Musick, 1997). Although it might seem simple to determine which animals are adults, in fact the term “adult” is frequently misused when applied to marine turtles. Correctly, it refers to animals that are sexually mature, a state that can be determined by either internal examination of the gonads or by knowing the history of an individual. However, these details are rarely available, and usually the decision to classify an adult is made on the basis of the turtle’s body size. Nevertheless, identifying adult marine turtles by comparing them to some minimal size of known breeders is misleading, for individuals that are sexually immature can be larger than the smallest, or average, recorded breeding size (Limpus et al., 1994a, b).Natural History: What is the life cycle? Not only are marine turtles characterized by having long generation times, and delayed maturity, but their life cycles are remarkably complex. Each of the various growth phases (egg, embryo, hatchling, juvenile, and adult) has certain distinctive characteristics. Eggs : Eggs are laid in a nest in the beach, above high tide. What is fundamental to understand is that marine turtles must nest in a terrestrial environment. Depending on the species, an average of about 50 to 140 eggs are laid in one nest, increasing in number from Natator depressus to Eretmochelys imbricata (Miller, 1997). On occasion, clutch size can be only 1 egg (Hirth, 1997), or as many as 250 eggs (Witzell, 1983). Embryos : The eggs of a clutch incubate in the high beach, within the egg chamber dug by the female, between about 10 and 110 cm below the surface; the chamber is shallowest in E. imbricata and deepest in D. coriacea (Witzell, 1983; Benabib and Hernndez, 1984).Incubation, which occurs without any parental care, lasts from 6 to 13 weeks, depending mainly on nest temperature. Embryos incubated at a constant temperature will survive and successfully develop within about a 10C range, which has been reported variously as between 23-33C (Miller, 1997), or alternatively between 25-27C and 33-35C (Ackerman, 1997). Outside this tolerance range embryos are not likely to survive. During the second third of incubation, the incubation temperature determines the sex of the embryo. The temperature at which there is an equal proportion of males and females is known as the “pivotal temperature.” Although pivotal temperatures vary between species, and to a lesser extent between populations, they are generally close to 29C. With all species, increasing proportions of males are produced the farther critical incubation temperatures fall below the pivotal; increasing proportions of females are produced the more temperatures rise above the pivotal (Mrosovsky, 1994; Ackerman, 1997). Hatchlings : Hatching success can be highly variable, with nearly all or none of the eggs in a

PAGE 30

clutch hatching; overall it has been estimated that some 80% of most clutches hatch successfully under natural conditions. Hatching occurs while the eggs are buried in the sand, and it takes from 1 to 7 days for the hatchlings to leave the nest. The process of digging out of the nest often involves “social facilitation,” in which the movements of actively digging hatchlings stimulate others to become active and also dig; from within the underground nest chamber, they scrape the sand at the top, trample it down and gradually raise the chamber upwards in the beach (Miller, 1997). Emergence from the nest is usually at night, which helps hatchlings avoid a variety of diurnal predators, as well as hot and potentially fatal beach temperatures that may occur during the day (Lohmann et al., 1997; Miller, 1997). Clearly, hatchlings must contend with nocturnal predators if they emerge at night, but it is thought that these present less of a risk. The term “incubation period” is generally used to refer to the period between egg laying and hatching (the true incubation period) plus the period between hatching and emergence from the nest (the “emergence period”). Emergence success (the portion of the clutch that hatches and survives to reach the surface of the beach) is highly variable; in some cases nearly all of the hatchlings make it out of the nest and in other cases they may all die within the nest, before emerging. Emergence success is commonly lower than hatching success, and overall it may be 70% or less. Upon reaching the surface of the beach the hatchlings normally run toward the sea. During the emergence from the nest and race to the sea, hatchlings exhibit numerous unlearned (“innate”) responses to several different stimuli and conditions; for example: gravity (negative geotaxis); temperature (reduced activity with high temperatures); light intensity (positive phototropotaxis); light color (attraction to lower wave wavelengths); light direction (sensitive to light less than 30 above the horizon); and object shapes (aversion to elevated silhouettes and certain shapes) (Lohmann et al., 1997). In other words, simplifying several complex behaviors: without previous experience, hatchlings dig up (against gravity), become inactive in the top layers of the nest when they encounter warm temperatures, and orient on the beach moving toward that part of the horizon (not above 30) with the greatest light intensity and usually with light of the shortest wavelength; at the same time, they move away from objects and certain kinds of shapes on the horizon. When they reach the water, hatchlings enter the beach surf, immediately diving through it. Once outside the surf, they swim offshore, usually heading into the waves. Hatchlings can evidently detect orbital movements, which allows them to orient into waves both on the surface and underwater; this may explain how they can maintain their seaward heading as they swim away from the beach, even in total darkness. After distancing themselves from the shore, hatchlings usually continue to maintain the same seaward heading that they took leaving the beach, even if the angle into the waves is not the same as it was when leaving the shore. Experiments show that in the initial stages of swimming away from the beach hatchlings can orient to the magnetic field of the earth, and that their magnetic compasses are sensitive to inclination, rather than polarity. The compass heading that they select after arriving well offshore is apparently influenced by the heading that they take when leaving the nest and swimming out to sea, while orienting to light cues and/or waves (Lohmann et al., 1997). On arriving offshore, the hatchlings are dispersed in oceanic currents, at which point light and wave cues are of little use to them. Once out to sea, at least some hatchlings seem to have predetermined — and not learned — responses to two components of the Earth’s magnetic field: inclination angle and field intensity. This would allow them to approximate latitude and global position, respectively (Lohmann et al., 1997; 1999). In contrast to these generalities, hatchlings of Natator depressus apparently do not become pelagic (Walker and Parmenter, 1990), and it is not known what behaviors these hatchlings exhibit when leaving the beach and entering the ocean. During the first few days after leaving the nest, it appears that several critical innate behaviors6 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 31

7 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 help the hatchlings to survive. They have predetermined responses to light, wave wash (“gravity”), and waves (orbital movements —gravity). In addition, immediately after leaving the nest they acquire an ability to orient to the Earth’s magnetic field (Lohmann et al., 1997). Survival of the animals is intimately tied to their making the “correct” responses to the right stimulus at the right time, and just slight “mistakes,” which could be caused by even small modifications to their environment, can prove fatal to the young turtles. Emergence from the nest marks the beginning of the “hatchling frenzy” or “swimming frenzy,” a period of high and continuous activity, or “hyperactivity,” that lasts for at least a day. During this period, hatchlings can swim as fast as 1.57 km/hr, which if maintained would yield nearly 40 km per day. During the “frenzy” phase, hatchling marine turtles show much more stamina than other reptiles. Activity during the “post-frenzy” period is also sustained, although not as intensely as during the swimming frenzy. Unlike other species, hatchlings of Dermochelys coriacea may swim actively at night during the post-frenzy period (Wyneken, 1997). Recently hatched turtles rely on stored yolk as an energy source for the first few days, which enables them to swim continuously, without feeding. The hatchling phase lasts from hatching to the time when the animal begins to feed independently, and no longer relies primarily on the energy stores of the internal yolk sac (Musick and Limpus, 1997). The hyperactivity of hatchlings appears to be a mechanism to get them from the beach to the open ocean in the shortest possible time, thereby reducing their chances of being attacked in coastal areas, where predators are relatively dense (Musick and Limpus, 1997). There are few systematic studies on hatchling mortality during the brief period from the beach to the open ocean, and although it is variable from beach to beach and season to season, in general mortality during the first few hours can be extremely high. Juveniles : On entering the open ocean, the hatchling marine turtle begins the juvenile phase of its life cycle. This phase can be divided into two parts: first an oceanic and then a coastal phase. The respective areas where the turtles are found have been called “early juvenile nursery habitats” and “later juvenile developmental habitats.” The former corresponds to what was once called the “lost year”, but recent studies show that much more than a year is involved, and the pelagic phase may last 10 years or more, depending on species and populations (Chaloupka and Musick, 1997; Musick and Limpus, 1997). There is growing evidence that certain populations of juvenile turtles are dispersed in specific ocean gyres, and that the animals maintain the ability to use the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation, as seems to be the case for hatchlings. This would enable them to adjust their position and stay within the gyres to which they pertain and thereby avoid straying into cold waters or being lost from the normal geographic distribution on which their life cycle depends (Lohmann et al., 1997, 1999). Very little is known about the pelagic phase of juvenile marine turtles, but it is clear that the animals are capable of dispersing across ocean basins during the normal course of the life cycle. Oceanic areas of upwelling and convergence are characterized by having high rates of biological production, with tremendous richness and diversity of life; and these are likely to be prime feeding areas for pelagic juveniles (Musick and Limpus, 1997). Small juveniles of some species are known to associate with rafts of Sargassum and other flotsam, where they can hide, as well as find concentrations of prey. Food items for turtles in this life phase include gelatinous organisms and larvae of a wide variety of invertebrates, as well as terrestrial insects. Although some plant matter (mainly Sargassum parts) has been documented in their diet, pelagic juveniles are essentially carnivores (Bjorndal, 1997). In general, during the oceanic phase the juveniles are dispersed passively in oceanic currents. Although they have been characterized as “swimming drift bottles”, having no specific destination goals and depending on current regimes (Wyneken, 1997), recent work (Lohmann et al., 1997, 1999) indicates that turtles on the high seas may not be completely passive, but have the ability to orient with directed swimming to stay within

PAGE 32

certain ocean gyres. This phase, while they are developing on the high seas, may involve travels of tens of thousands of kilometers, carrying an individual turtle into and out of the territorial waters of many nations, as well as across the high seas. Little is known of rates of mortality during the pelagic phase; different demographic models indicate that it may vary between 20 and 60% per year (Crouse et al., 1987; Heppell et al., 1996). After several years, most species of juvenile marine turtles leave the pelagic, open-ocean environment and enter coastal environments. In contrast to the early juvenile phase, the second part of the juvenile phase occurs in benthic (bottom) neritic (coastal) environments The age and size (expressed in carapace length) at which this major transition occurs varies according to species, populations and environmental factors. For example, in the western Atlantic, juvenile Caretta caretta enter coastal environments when they reach 2530 cm in carapace length, but in Australia the transition more typically occurs at 70 cm. Generally, for most species the transition from pelagic to neritic life style occurs when juveniles are between 20 and 50 cm long, with Eretmochelys imbricata and Lepidochelys kempii arriving at much smaller sizes than the other species. However, there is no consensus about sizes of juveniles that first take up residence in coastal habitats (Bjorndal, 1997; Musick and Limpus, 1997). Three species present exceptions to these generalizations. Natator depressus evidently never takes up a pelagic existence, so there is no return to coastal environments from which it never departed. Once having left the beach, Dermochelys coriacea stays in the open ocean except for nesting; and although foraging often occurs seasonally in certain coastal areas, mainly in the temperate zone, there is no evidence of this species taking up residency in coastal areas. Some populations of Lepidochelys olivacea also seem to stay in pelagic environments, except for breeding (Pitman, 1990; Plotkin et al., 1995). The juvenile turtles that do take up coastal residence in certain inshore areas seem to establish “home ranges.” It appears that the smallest juveniles make use of relatively shallow environments, or those with structures, such as reefs, which allows them to hide from large predators. Once a juvenile has taken up coastal residence, it can exhibit considerable site tenacity to feeding areas, and some individuals may stay within the same few square kilometers for 8 to 20 years while they are maturing. In at least one population — Caretta caretta in eastern Australia — juveniles establish feeding sites that are maintained into adulthood. Juveniles and adults occur together in foraging areas of some populations of some species. There are differences, of varying degrees, between the species in the types of environments used for developmental habitats (Musick and Limpus, 1997). Where seasonal variation in water temperature is strong, juveniles may make seasonal migrations, either north-south or inshore-offshore, to avoid cold temperatures, which can cause physiological stunning and death. Contrary to popular opinion, marine turtles are not restricted to tropical waters, but often occur in sub-tropical or temperate areas, at least seasonally. Once established in coastal environments, juveniles of most species reside in a series of different environments, or “developmental habitats,” moving sequentially through them while maturing (Musick and Limpus, 1997). Hence, the developmental habitats for a single individual may take it through several different geopolitical units or countries, as well as through wide ranging latitudes, perhaps even to both northern and southern hemispheres. Little is known aboutrates of mortality of juveniles in coastal habitats, and different demographic models predict that about 30% per year may die (Crouse et al., 1987; Crowder et al., 1994; Heppell et al., 1996). When juveniles transmute from a pelagic to a benthic life style, dramatic changes in diet occur. The variety of food items eaten by marine turtles in coastal environments is tremendous. Not only algae and marine angiosperms are consumed, but animals from virtually all phyla and classes of invertebrates are ingested, with truly astonishing examples such as sea horses, sea cucumbers, thick-shelled mollusks, and whip corals. The diets vary between species, but also between growth phase, locality, season, and behavioral and ecological factors. Nevertheless, on taking up res-8 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 33

9 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 idence along the coast, juveniles develop dietary specializations typical of each species. These can be generalized as follows: Caretta caretta — benthic mollusks; Chelonia mydas — algae and marine angiosperms; Eretmochelys imbricata — sponges; and Lepidochelys kempii — benthic crabs. The species that are exceptions to the oceanic-coastal transition generally have less defined diets: Lepidochelys olivacea — diverse items from both the surface and bottom; Natator depressus — surface and benthic invertebrates; Dermochelys coriacea — pelagic soft-bodied invertebrates, including jellyfish, ctenophores and salps, from both the surface and deep scattering layer (DSL). Hence, there are not likely to be marked dietary shifts in juveniles of these last three species as they mature (Bjorndal, 1997). Feeding can include several remarkable behaviors. In Australia, Caretta caretta are documented excavating depressions in the substrate, exposing burrowing invertebrates on which the turtles prey. Chelonia mydas in some areas graze repeatedly on specific swatches of seagrass pastures, keeping them in a state of high productivity and digestibility. Dietary preferences of marine turtles may be influenced by early experience. However, the relative abundance of food items also affects feeding behavior, but there is no doubt that marine turtles can be very selective about what they eat. Feeding can be tied to tidal cycles, and may show diurnal peaks in activity. Each species is very efficient at living off its specialized food, and at least in some cases this is directly related to specialized microbial communities in the gut (Bjorndal, 1997). The shape and form of the beak gives an indication of what the turtles eat as large juveniles and adults: Chelonia mydas has a relatively broad beak, effective in grazing; Eretmochelys imbricata has a relatively narrow beak, effective at selecting items from within nooks and crannies in a coral reef; Lepidochelys has a strong, sharp-edged beak that can fracture hardshelled invertebrates; Caretta caretta has a heavily fortified beak, effective at crushing thick-shelled prey; and Dermochelyscoriacea has sharp cusps, one on either side of the mandible, that are useful in tearing soft-bodied prey. Adults : After maturing, and growing into breeding condition, adults migrate from their feeding area to a nesting area, which is usually at or near their birthplace. The distance between feeding and breeding grounds can be thousands of kilometers. Marine turtles are famous for not only making lengthy migrations, but for their ability to return to specific beaches to mate and nest. It appears that turtles can return to, or near to, the beach on which they hatched, even after spending decades on the open ocean and in diverse environments thousands of kilometers from their natal beach. This phenomenon is known as “natal beach homing,” but the mechanisms that are used to accomplish these incredible feats are not well understood. Navigational abilities were once thought to rely on chemical cues, but studies of the routes taken during migration indicate that chemical stimuli could not be used. Several studies using satellite transmitters have shown that turtles can head straight toward a relatively small target, from hundreds of kilometers away, and that they can reorient to a destination after being experimentally displaced. There is growing evidence that marine turtles have a “map sense” and that the Earth’s magnetic field provides critical information for their navigational feats. Nonetheless, chemical cues may be important for the recognition of the natal beach, especially during the last leg of a trans-oceanic migration. Although the turtles seem to have no trouble finding their way home from across oceans, despite decades of study scientists still do not understand how (or why) they do this (Lohmann et al., 1997; 1999). Most populations reproduce at specific places and certain times of the year, often during distinct breeding seasons. Hence, during breeding, marine turtles are concentrated in both time and space. In general, it is thought that the males arrive first, there is a peak in courtship and mating, and then the females begin nesting. One female usually nests several times during a single nesting season: the average number of clutches per female for each species varies from nearly 2 to 6, with the least in Lepidochelys kempii and most in Dermochelys coriacea (Miller, 1997). There are records of Chelonia mydas in Malaysia laying 10 nests in one season (Liew and Chan, in press) and

PAGE 34

Dermochelys coriacea in Costa Rica laying 13 nests in one season (R. Reina, pers. comm.). The average interval between subsequent nestings varies from 9 to 30 days, depending on the species. A single excursion onto the nesting beach generally lasts from 1 to 3 hours, again depending on the species, although there are extreme cases of nesting being completed in less than 1 hour, and on the other extreme, some females may spend more than 7 hours on the beach. Nesting females customarily return to the same beach for each subsequent nest (Miller, 1999). Most nesting occurs during the night; studies of the thermal biology of marine turtles indicate that if they nested during the day, the females would become heat stressed and could die. Exceptions to this are turtles with the smallest body sizes, Eretmochelys imbricata Lepidochelys kempii and L. olivacea which can nest during the day and not be heat stressed, evidently because their smaller bodies are more efficient at losing heat (Spotila et al., 1997). When finished reproducing, the adults migrate back to their respective feeding areas; males may depart earlier in the season than females. Based on tag returns, the distance of “post-nesting” migrations is often more than 2,000 km; these studies involved relatively short periods, rarely more than 2 or 3 months, between leaving the nesting grounds and recapture, as well as the calculation of straight-line distances between point of release and point of recapture (Meylan, 1982), so the values are certain to be underestimates. In satellite tracking studies of Dermochelys coriacea ,post-nesting movements of more than 11,000 km over the course of one year have been reported (Eckert, 1998). Capture-recapture data of tagged females indicate that post-nesting migrations can begin with remarkable rates of movement, of more than 82 km per day (Meylan, 1982), which translates to an average of more than 3.4 km per hour sustained for a period of weeks. Examples of rapid, long distance displacements of turtles after they leave the nesting grounds are becoming more frequent as research efforts increase. For example, a female Dermochelys coriacea tagged in French Guiana was recovered in Newfoundland, having traveled no less than 5,000 km in no more than 128 days; this represents a direct straight line (minimum) movement of 39 km/day (Goff et al., 1994). What makes these rates even more remarkable is that migration routes of adults may involve extended distances moving across, or even against, ocean currents, as the animals head for their destinations (Wyneken, 1997). Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between rates of displacement, or movement, and actual swimming speeds, because currents can have a major impact on rates of displacement, especially over long periods of time. On returning to the feeding ground, turtles may take up the same home range and feeding site they occupied prior to embarking on their breeding migration. In some cases there are seasonal migrations, from one feeding area to another (Musick and Limpus, 1997). Most species do not nest every year, but every 2 or 3 years (Miller, 1997), although there is considerable variation, and close to a decade between nesting seasons may pass in some cases (Hirth, 1997). As a result, the composition of the “breeding population” is unique each year; there will be animals that are breeding for the first time in their lives, together with other animals that have bred previously, but with no fixed interval between breeding seasons. Marine turtles have the capacity to continue migrating and breeding for at least 21 years (Pandav and Kar, 2000). Based on demographic studies, it has been concluded that once marine turtles reach adulthood, they potentially have high rates (over 90%) of annual survivorship (Frazer, 1984; Richardson et al., 1999; Kendall and Kerr, in press). Nonetheless, large numbers of adult turtles have been killed in directed harvests at nesting beaches all over the world, and this has resulted in unnaturally high adult mortality which has been devastating to diverse populations (King, 1982; Ross, 1982; Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1989; NRC, 1990). In today’s “human-dominated world,” mortality of adult turtles also occurs in hard-to-document high seas fisheries, and the impacts of these “out-of-sight” activities may be even more insidious than slaughtering nesting females on beaches (Eckert and Sarti, 1997; Crouse, 1999, 2000; Musick, 1999).10 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 35

11 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 The most convenient and reliable way to estimate numbers of turtles in a population is to count nesting females during a nesting season. Yet even this apparently straightforward procedure is fraught with basic problems (Gerrodette and Taylor, 1999). In addition to the fact that each season there is a completely unique assemblage of individuals, there can be large and rapid variations from year to year, with no clear long-term trends. Further complications arise when trying to understand which animals are part of the same population (Chaloupka and Musick, 1997). It has been known for years that the individuals living together on a foraging ground often derive from very different nesting beaches. At the same time, the turtles that converge on a single nesting beach may arrive from divergent feeding areas. This mixing on feeding and nesting grounds is being deciphered with studies of genetic markers (Bowen and Karl, 1997), but it continues to complicate the identification of marine turtle populations. Because of the great distances traversed during their migrations, individual marine turtles routinely pass through the territorial waters of several different countries, as well as across the high seas. This obviously further complicates understanding about them, to say nothing of developing and implementing conservation programs (Frazier, 2000).Other distinctive adaptations and characteristics of marine turtlesMarine turtles have remarkable capabilities for diving; among air-breathing vertebrates they have some of the longest and deepest dives. Routine dives may last for nearly an hour, and some voluntary dives have persisted for as much as 5 h (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). Dives as deep as 1,300 m are reported for Dermochelys coriacea (Eckert et al., 1989). Not only do the turtles breathhold during dives, but usually they are also exercising. Marine turtles have several morphological and physiological adaptations that give them this tremendous capacity for diving and breath-holding. They have very efficient oxygen transport systems. The lungs are relatively large and provided with internal structures to facilitate efficient ventilation; hence, tidal volumes are very large. Blood transport systems for oxygen are extraordinary. Hemoglobin and myoglobin levels in Dermochelys coriacea are nearly as high as in mammals; not surprisingly, these turtles have the highest rate of oxygen consumption of any reptile. Just as remarkable is the fact that at least in one species, Caretta caretta the brain can survive under anoxic conditions. Nevertheless, apparently marine turtles only enter an anaerobic state under emergency conditions, and it may take hours for them to fully recover physiologically. There are, however, considerable differences between species, both in terms of diving capability and diving adaptations (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). Marine turtles spend varying amounts of time at the surface, engaged in activities that include basking, feeding, mating and orienting. Reported dive routines are highly variable, but generally turtles seem to spend at least 80% of the time submerged. Although they appear to have all the morphological adaptations required for diving, hatchlings have limited capacity to submerge, and need several months to develop buoyancy control (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). At least two species of marine turtle, Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas (and possibly also Lepidochelys kempii ) can become torpid with cold temperatures and may dig into the seabed, a phenomenon known as “brumation” (also called “hibernation”) (Ogren and McVae, 1982; Musick and Limpus, 1997). However, cold temperature alone does not explain how this state is initiated, for the same temperatures in other cases are associated with some level of activity or with seasonal emigrations, in which the turtles move away to warmer waters (Lutcavage and Lutz, 1997). Low temperature has several effects on turtles, particularly on their blood physiology. It is not known how brumation affects the physiological state of marine turtles, but there are certain to be a number of specialized adaptations to deal with diverse problems that arise from prolonged breath hold and its many implications on the osmotic and ionic condition of blood. Temperature-related differences in the physiology of different species of turtles may explain latitudinal differences in their geographic ranges (Lutz, 1997). Marine turtles live most of their lives in sea-

PAGE 36

water, and must deal with continual and heavy salt loads. During the normal course of both feeding and drinking, they will take in large amounts of seawater, which could have adverse, or fatal, effects on the osmotic and ionic condition of the body. The most notable adaptation is the highly modified lachrymal gland, which can produce tears with osmotic concentrations that are six times that of blood, and twice that of seawater. Marine turtle tears are more concentrated than the salt gland excretions of both sharks and marine birds. Their lachrymal gland is highly convoluted, with structures that enable the turtle to concentrate not only salt, but also bicarbonate, bromine, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. At the same time, the tears have relatively low concentrations of glucose and protein. The gland is relatively large, twice the size of the brain in Dermochelys coriacea In hatchlings the lachrymal gland is relatively larger than in adults: it is 0.4% of total body weight in hatchling Chelonia mydas The tears, except in Dermochelys coriacea may not be constant, but increase in both flow and concentration when the gland is stimulated, for example by a heavy salt load in the blood. Interestingly, the left and right salt glands may produce different rates and concentrations of tears. However, although marine turtles have the capacity to maintain the osmotic and ionic concentration of plasma relatively constant, if the animals are kept for several months in fresh water, there is a marked reduction in plasma sodium, so there is some flexibility in their physiological responses (Lutz, 1997). Although they spend the vast majority of their lives in the ocean, marine turtles do come out onto dry land. Adult females come onto beaches to dig nests and lay eggs. In addition, at least one, and possibly two, species will haul out on isolated beaches to bask (Wyneken, 1997). The best studied cases are from Hawaii, where juveniles and adults of both sexes of Chelonia mydas will haul out onto remote beaches (Whittow and Balazs, 1982). This behavior is thought to be a form of thermoregulation, which allows the basking animals to increase their body temperature, and thereby enhance certain metabolic processes (Spotila et al., 1997). In some cases turtles may leave the sea to avoid large sharks, and females may crawl out onto beaches to get away from aggressive, courting males. Marine turtles have the capability to maintain their body temperatures above the temperature of the surrounding water. A Chelonia mydas that was actively swimming had a body temperature 7C above water temperature. More remarkable, Dermochelys coriacea are often found in boreal zones, with water temperatures as cold as 0C; and there is a record of one animal with a body temperature 17C above water temperature. The large body size results in considerable thermal inertia, but other features that allow body temperatures to be above the environment are: thick outer insulation, circulatory shunts that conserve body heat, and high rate of metabolism. Small-sized marine turtles, however, are liable to cold stunning when water temperature drops to 8C and below (Spotila et al., 1997). Marine turtles may be important in structuring some marine environments. Feeding on seagrass, or in algal beds, and selective predation on certain sponges living on coral reefs can alter the distribution and abundance of prey species, as well as the respective roles that they play in the ecosystem. This topic is poorly understood, and now that many marine turtle populations have been decimated, their ecological roles and impacts are even more difficult to decipher (Bjorndal, 1997; Jackson, 1997).Summary of life history characteristics of marine turtlesEach of the living species of marine turtles has a remarkably complex and specialized life cycle. Individuals require a wide diversity of environments in order to mature, reach adulthood and complete the life cycle. Except Natator depressus which seems to lack the pelagic phase, the environments on which all marine turtles depend include: terrestrial beaches, open ocean, and coastal and estuarine waters. Individual turtles disperse and migrate over vast distances, often tens of thousands of kilometers, during the normal course of life. These vast distances routinely take them across the high seas, as well as through the territorial waters of different countries. They take12 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 37

13 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 decades to mature: the time from egg until returning to the same beach to breed requires 10 to 50 or more years Marine turtles are capable of living and reproducing for decades. Typically, they have a very high reproductive output: some 80 to 200 eggs are laid in one nest, as many as 14 nests may be laid in one season, and an individual may continue nesting for more than 20 years. In many ways, a female is an “egg machine.” On the other hand, marine turtles have extremely high mortality during early phases of the life cycle. Many eggs do not survive to hatch, many hatchlings do not make it to the sea, and many hatchlings in the sea do not live more than a day. From one phase to another, fewer and fewer turtles remain in the population, and in the end, less than one out of 1,000, possibly less than one out of 10,000, eggs survive to produce an adult turtle. In many ways the survival of a marine turtle depends on it making the right responses at the right times, and encountering adequate conditions in specific environments. This may involve a specific response to light on the horizon and the successful run from the beach to the sea, the avoidance of a certain body of water on the high seas, the selection of a specific type of environment for feeding and refuge, or the response to certain cues emanating from a particular nesting beach.Relevance of life history characteristics to conservation actionsThe diversity of environments on which a single marine turtle depends during the course of its life cycle means that to be effective, conservation efforts for these animals must be relevant not only to nesting beaches, but also to many coastal and near-shore environments, as well as to certain areas of the high seas. The immensity of the spatial scale involved is emphasized even further by the fact that these animals range across ocean basins, routinely passing through the jurisdictional waters of different nations. Thus, in addition to many environments and large areas, conservation efforts must include international cooperation. Adding to the ecological, spatial and political complexity, are other characteristics typical of marine turtles that invoke tremendous time scales. For example, these animals may require decades — perhaps half a century — to reach maturity, and they have the potential to live and continue breeding for decades. The high reproductive output, with a single female potentially producing more than a thousand eggs in a single season and reproducing for more than two decades, often deceive people into thinking that the remarkable fecundity of marine turtles allows them to sustain high rates of mortality. But in fact, very few of the eggs survive to be adults, so the survival of adults and large juveniles, in particular, is critical to the status of a marine turtle population. Any significant source of mortality to adults and large juveniles is likely to pose a serious threat; if the problem is unseen — such as on the high seas from fishing activities — it can be especially insidious, because it will most likely be undocumented and unknown. These factors, particularly the slow rate of maturation and long life, mean that conservation actions must be faithfully maintained and regularly evaluated persistently and patiently for decades, if not for centuries. Furthermore, many basic aspects of marine turtle biology are poorly understood, making it impossible to predict accurately even simple phenomena from year to year. Dramatic variations in the numbers of turtles that nest annually are common, and moreover, each year the nesting “population” is made up of a unique pool of individuals, some of which are nesting for the first time, and others of which have survived and returned after previous breeding seasons. There is as yet no way to predict either the composition or the size of a nesting “population” from year to year; and the numbers of nesters or nests recorded in certain years may belie the effort and efficiency in beach patrolling and other conservation actions. For these reasons it is essential to evaluate long-term trends, and regard short-term observations as only tentative indicators. Total population estimates are a major challenge because there is little systematic information on juveniles, males, or non-breeding females. Hence, despite the many problems and

PAGE 38

shortcomings, the least inaccessible segment of the population that is least difficult to estimate is the “annual nesting population,” and often this is approximated indirectly by estimating annual production of clutches, eggs, nests or nesting signs. Rarely are accurate numbers of nesting females available (even for a single nesting season), much less reliable estimates of the other sectors of the population. This means that many decisions about conservation and management must be made with information that is grossly insufficient. The fact that the sex of a marine turtle is determined by the temperature of incubation, means that management practices involving the embryonic phase must take into account sand temperature, shading and other details that are often not attended to. Because the survival of a marine turtle depends on it making the right responses at the right times — often relying on innate behaviors — and encountering adequate environments, it is not just the turtles that need to be protected. Even seemingly slight modifications to the environment can have devastating effects to large numbers of marine turtles, so that successful marine turtle conservation depends intimately on environmental protection. It must be recognized that the biological requirements of the species involved are nonnegotiable, just as much as the fact that there is gravity on planet Earth. Consequently, the effectiveness of conservation activities is directly related to the degree to which they are able to meet these biological requirements. However, decisions about the design, implementation and maintenance of conservation programs are made within the political arena, and reflect the complex interplay between societies and their cultural, political and economic activities – not necessarily scientific opinion or expert recommendations. Hence, to be successful, conservation actions must be relevant to the societies in which they are carried out, for in the end biological conservation depends on political decisions made within social and economic contexts (Frazier, 1999). In short, because of their biological characteristics, marine turtle conservation is highly complex, difficult to predict accurately, and requires long-term commitments. In many ways the status of these charismatic animals serves as a barometer of how well modern societies are taking care of the environment upon which we all depend. Author’s note: Unfortunately, there are no uniform standards in reporting the sizes of marine turtles after they pass the hatchling phase: some studies use measurements taken over the curve of the shell, while others report point-to-point values taken with calipers; and in many cases it is not explained how measurements were taken (Chaloupka and Musick, 1997; Music and Limpus, 1997). This is to say nothing of the unreported (Bolton, 1999) — sometimes significant (Frazier, 1998) — error in marine turtle measurements. Hence, for the purposes of this general paper, to avoid detailed deliberations and endless conversions from one measurement type to another, only broad generalities have been referred to assuming curved carapace length (CCL).AcknowledgementsPreparation of this presentation benefited from valuable comments by S. Bache, D. Crouse, K. Eckert and L. Sarti M., as well as support from the World Wildlife Fund. Literature CitedAckerman, R. A. 1997. The nest environment and the embryonic development of sea turtles, p.83-106. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Benabib N., M. and J. A. Hernndez. 1984. Conservacin de las tortugas marinas en la playa de Mexiquillo, Michoacn. Informe final de Biologa de Campo, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico, Mxico D. F. Bjorndal, K. A. (ed.) 1982 The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. 569 pp (reprinted in 1995, with new final section “Recent Advances in sea turtle biology and conservation”, 615 pp.) Bjorndal, K. A. 1997. Foraging ecology and nutrition of sea turtles, p.199-231. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Bjorndal, K. A. and G. R. Zug. 1995 (rev. ed.). Growth14 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 39

15 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 and age of sea turtles, p.599-600. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. Bolton, A. B. 1999. Techniques for measuring sea turtles, p.110-114. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Bowen, B. W. and S. A. Karl. 1997. Population genetics, phylogeography, and molecular evolution, p. 29-50. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Chaloupka, M. Y. and J. A. Musick. 1997. Age, growth and population dynamics, p.233-276. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Crowder, L. B., D. T. Crouse, S. S. Heppell and T. H. Martin. 1994. Predicting the impact of turtle excluder devices on loggerhead sea turtle populations. Ecological Applications 4(3): 437-445. Crouse, D. 1999. The Consequences of Delayed Maturity in a Human-Dominated World. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23: 195-202. Crouse, D. 2000. After TEDs: What’s next?, p. 105-106. In : F. A. Abreu-Grobois, R. Briseo-Dueas, R. Marquez-Milln and L. Sarti-Martnez (compilers). Proc. 18th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-436. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Crouse, D. T., L. B. Crowder and H. Caswell. 1987. A stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles and implications for conservation. Ecology 68(5):14121423. Eckert, S. A. 1998. Perspectives on the use of satellite telemetry and other electronic technologies for the study of marine turtles, with reference to the first year-long tracking of leatherback sea turtles, p.44-46. In: S. P. Epperly and J. Braun (eds.), Proc. 17th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-415. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Eckert, S. A. and L. Sarti M. 1997. Distant fisheries implicated in the loss of the world’s largest leatherback nesting population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7. Eckert, S. A., K. L. Eckert. P. Ponganis and G. L. Kooyman. 1989. Diving and foraging behavior of leather back sea turtles Dermochelys coriacea Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 2834-2840. Frazer, N. 1984. Survivorship of adult female loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta nesting on Little Cumberland Island, Georgia, USA. Herpetologica 39: 436-447. Frazier, J. 1998. Measurement error: The great chelonian taboo, p.47-49. In : R. Byles and Y. Fernandez (compilers), Proc. 16th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-412. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Frazier, J. 1999. Community based conservation, p.1518. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Frazier, J. 2000. Building support for regional sea turtle conservation in ASEAN and the Asian region: Learning from the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, p. 277-303. In : N. Pilcher and G. Ismail (eds.) Sea Turtles of the Indo-Pacific: Research, Management and Conservation ASEAN Academic Press. London. Frazier, J. and S. J. Bache. In press. Sea turtle conservation and the “big stick”: the effects of unilateral U.S. embargoes on international fishing activities. In : A. Mosier and M. Coyne (compilers), Proc. 20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Gerrodette, T. and B. L. Taylor. 1999. Estimating population size, p.67-71. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Goff, G. P., J. Lien, G. B. Stenson and J. Fretey. 1994. The migration of a tagged leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, from French Guiana, South America, to Newfoundland, Canada in 128 days. Canadian Field Naturalist 108 (1): 72-73. Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green Turtle and Hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World Status, Exploitation and Trade. CITES Secretariat, Lausanne, Switzerland. 601 pp. Heppell, S. S., L. B. Crowder and D. T. Crouse. 1996. Models to evaluate headstarting as a management tool for long-lived turtles. Ecological Applications 6(2): 556-565. Hirth, H. F. 1997. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758). Biological Report 97(1):1-120. U.S. Dept. Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, D. C. Jackson, J. B. C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Coral Reefs. 16 Supl.: 823-832.

PAGE 40

Karl, S. A. and B. W. Bowen. 1999. Evolutionary significant units versus geopolitical taxonomy: Molecular systematics of an endangered sea turtle (genus Chelonia ). Conservation Biology 13(5): 990-999. Kendall, W. and R. Kerr. In press. Estimating probability of breeding for sea turtle populations based on capturerecapture data. In : A. Mosier and M. Coyne (compilers), Proc. 20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSCxxx. U.S. Dept. Commerce. King, F. W. 1982. Historic review of the decline of the green turtle and the hawksbill, p.183-188. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. (reprinted in 1995). Liew H.-C. and E.-H. Chan. In press. Assessment of the population of green turtles nesting at Redang Island, Malaysia, through long-term tagging analysis. In : A. Mosier and M. Coyne (compilers), Proc. 20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Limpus C. J., P. J. Couper and M. A. Read. 1994a. The green turtle, Chelonia mydas in Queensland: population structure in a warm temperate feeding area. Mem. Queensland Museum 37(1):139-154. Limpus, C. J., P. J. Couper and M. A. Read. 1994b. The loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta in Queensland: population structure in a warm temperate feeding area. Mem. Queensland Museum 37(1):195-204. Lohmann, K. J., B. E. Witherington, C. M. F. Lohmann and M. Salmon. 1997, p.107-135. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Lohmann, K. J., J. T. Hester and C. M. F. Lohmann. 1999. Long-distance navigation in sea turtles. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution 11: 1-23. Lutcavage, M. E. and P. L. Lutz. 1997. Diving physiology, p. 277-296. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Lutz, P. L. 1997. Salt, water, and pH balance in sea turtles, p. 343-361. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Lutz, P. L. and J. A. Musick (eds.). 1997. The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. 432 pp. Mrquez M., R. 1994. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempi (Garman, 1880). NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-343. U.S. Dept. Commerce. 91 pp. Meylan, A. 1982. Sea turtle migration – Evidence from tag returns, p.91-100. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. (reprinted in 1995). Miller, J. D. 1997. Reproduction in sea turtles, p.51-81. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Molina, S. 1981. Leyendo en la tortuga (recopilacin). Martin Casillas Editores; Mexico. 173 pp. Morgan, P. J. 1989. Occurrence of leatherback turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ) in the British Isles in 1988, with reference to a record specimen, p.119-120. In: S. A. Eckert, K. L. Eckert and T. H. Richardson (compilers), Proc. 9th Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation.NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Mrosovsky, N. 1994. Sex ratios of sea turtles. Journal of Experimental Zoology 270: 16-27. Musick, J. A. 1999. Ecology and conservation of longlived marine animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23: 1-10. Musick, J. A. and C. J. Limpus. 1997. Habitat utilization and migration in juvenile sea turtles, p.137-163. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. NRC (National Research Council). 1990. Decline of the Sea Turtles: Causes and Prevention. National Academy Press, Washington, D. C. xv + 259 pp. Ogren, L. and C. McVae, Jr. 1982. Apparent hibernation by sea turtles in North American waters, p.127-132. In : K. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. (reprinted in 1995). Pandav, B. and C. S. Kar. 2000. Reproductive span of olive ridley turtles at Gahirmatha rookery, Orissa, India. Marine Turtle Newsletter 87: 8-9. Pitman, R. L. 1990. Pelagic distribution and biology of sea turtles in the eastern tropical Pacific, p.143-148. In: T. H. Richardson, J. I. Richardson and M. Donnelly (compilers), Proc. 10th Annual Workshop on the Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles.NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-278. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Plotkin, P. T., R. A. Byles, D. C. Rostal and D. W. Owens. 1995. Independent vs. socially facilitated migrations of the olive ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea .Marine Biology 122:137-143. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1997. Evolution, phylogeny, and current status, p.1-28. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York.16 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 41

17 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, external morphology, and species identification, p. 21-38. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Richardson, J. I., R. Bell and T. H. Richardson. 1999. Population ecology and demographic implications drawn from an 11-year study of nesting hawksbill turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata at Jumby Bay, Long Island, Antigua, West Indies. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 244-250. Ross, J. P. 1982. Historic decline of the loggerhead, ridley, and leatherback sea turtles, p.189-195. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.). The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. (reprinted in 1995). Spotila, J. R., M. P. O’Connor and F. V. Paladino. 1997. Thermal biology, p.297-314. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Van Buskirk, J. and L. B. Crowder. 1994. Life-history variation in marine turtles. Copeia 1994: 66-81. Versteeg, A. H. and F. R. Effert. 1987. Golden Rock: The first Indian village on St. Eustatius St. Eustatius Historical Foundation No. 1. 21 pp. Walker, T. A. and C. J. Parmenter. 1990. Absence of a pelagic phase in the life cycle or the flatback turtle, Natator depressus (Garman). Journal Biogeography 17:275-278. Whittow, G. C. and G. H. Balazs. 1982. Basking behavior of the Hawaiian green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ). Pacific Science 36(2):129-139 Wing, E. S. and E. J. Reitz. 1982. Prehistoric fishing economies of the Caribbean. New World Archaeology 5(2): 13-22. Witzell, W. N. 1983. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766). FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 137, Rome. iv + 78 pp. Wyneken, J. 1997. Sea turtle locomotion: Mechanisms, behavior and energetics, p.165-198. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York.

PAGE 42

18Dr. Archie Carr once wrote “…the green turtle population under study [at Tortuguero, Costa Rica] has seemed to embody most of the problems and complexities that plague any effort to intervene on behalf of a migratory animal that is at once economically valuable, prone to cross international boundaries in its reproductive travel, and heavily exploited on both its breeding and feeding grounds.” (Carr, 1971). I hope that by the end of this meeting, we will see the wisdom of his words. All of us present at this meeting are part of a bioregion where the common factors are ocean resources. The Wider Caribbean Region unites the biological influences of both North and South, giving us a magnificent biodiversity in continental and marine areas. The convergence is also reflected in our cultural heritage. Archaeological remains show that the native peoples of the Caribbean have been using biological resources, such as sea turtles, since the third millenium BC. Mosseri (1998) refers to the relationship between ancient cultures and sea turtles as follows: “Thus nature seems to have given them in one single gift the way to satisfy many needs, since one and the same animal is nourishment, container, house and vessel.” Sea turtles also play an important role as mystic elements in different cultures. It was undoubtedly a special relationship between the aborigines and their environment that led them to worship natural deities. Sea turtles were chosen as the subject for legends, to embody the spirit of the good as well as the bad. They were also messengers of the gods (Chacn et al., 2000). Pottery, stone sculpture, and valuable jewelry are proof that indigenous peoples used sea turtles as part of their cultural heritage. The early inhabitants of the tropical area of the Americas were definitely attracted by and valued these reptiles. Today this rich cultural heritage in which sea turtles play a very important role resides mostly in the stories, fables, and legends which are transmitted orally from one generation to another. While the artistic and mystic usage of sea turtles is not measured by economic values, from a nutritional standpoint the situation is quite different. Indigenous groups (e.g., Caribs, Wayu. Kunas, Miskito, Guajiros, Ramas, Garifunas, Nbes, and others) have long relied upon sea turtles as an important source of protein in their diet. Upon the arrival of Europeans to the Americas at the end of the 1400s, the only documented use of sea turtles was that practiced by native peoples. The record shows that in some places this use was intensive, and in others it occurred on a less intensive subsistence basis. The emphasis on using sea turtles for nutrition changed with advances in transportation and storage. In the late 16th century, commercial trade in meat began. Settlements along some coastal communities reflect human migration to sea turtle nesting areas. Stories abound of the Miskito moving throughout Central America looking for sea turtles. By the 17th century, indigenous groups were selling green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) to the British who kept them alive on their voyages to Europe in order to feed sailors, settlers, slaves, and European consumers. Turtle use patterns by indigenous peoples changed with the arrival of European settlers to the Caribbean region (use pattens became more commerical), but today there are indigenous groups that still survive by using sea turtles on a subsistence basis. What will happen to local indigenous economies with turtle-eating customs if the turtles disappear? With the expansion of European colonization in the Caribbean, changes in the environment and the displacement and eradication of many indigenous cultures was a rapid and profound process. The new inhabitants placed an increased demand on the en-Cultural and Economic Roles of Marine TurtlesDidiher Chacn Chaverri Programa Marino Asociacin ANAI Costa RicaKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 43

19 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 vironment, including larger quantities of sea turtles. The English, French, African, Meztizo and Indigenous use of the environment commingled, and in this process not only the native use patterns but the individuals themselves were exposed to foreign influence. In the middle of the 18th century a mix of European and African cultures flourished in our region. New economies developed, some based on sea turtles. Whereas indigenous peoples had once used and eaten substantial quantities of turtles, they were considered only a source of nourishment and not an important source of revenue. New cash economies placed a high value on sea turtles, and encouraged greater exploitation. As a result, sea turtle populations declined. By this time the populations of Bermuda and Grand Cayman were intensely exploited. According to anthropologist Paula Palmer, “The Miskito and Afro-Caribbean turtle hunters visited several sites in Central America and the Caribbean from the beginning of the second half of the 17th century, rowing or sailing from Bocas del Toro (Panama) and from the coast of Nicaragua, and would arrive in March and stay until September catching sea turtles with harpoons. They worked the whole turtle through: they collected the shells and sold them in Bocas del Toro, to be exported to Germany to be made into combs and buttons.” (Palmer, 1986) As I interpret these facts, turtle use for subsistence was not a threat when compared to more modern commercial exploitation. Moreover, the preservation and protection of contemporary indigenous cultures requires the conservation of their natural systems, particularly those related to the species they eat. Besides their mystical significance and their artistic and gastronomic importance, sea turtles have been a main attraction for the migration of people who, in search of such a precious animal, have moved along the coasts and islands to harvest turtles thus giving them a unique historical value. From this perspective, turtle eggs and meat are not only important in terms of nutrition, they also play an important role in the coastal communities because turtle hunting ( tortuguear ) is a way of life, a lifestyle, a culture beyond protein intake. According to Nietschman (1982), the green turtle has been the most exploited species in the Caribbean and, for example, is responsible for 70 percent of the animal protein intake of the Miskito in Nicaragua. Subsistence and commercial hunting together with egg harvesting are common activities in the Caribbean, and have led to significant declines in sea turtle populations over the last two centuries. Indiscriminate and uncontrolled exploitation has reduced important populations to critical levels, and has altered and destroyed habitats that are vital to these species. We have heard and we will continue to hear about the importance of these reptiles within their ecological systems, as a source of animal protein for human consumption, and, more recently, for their role in other commercial markets. This is why I wish to discuss the two perspectives in which the use of sea turtles has been framed. The first is an ethical perspective; the second, a pragmatic perspective. The ethical debate is based in simple terms on whether man should adopt homoor biocentric positions. Do we, as human beings, have the “right” to use sea turtles for our own purpose or benefit, or do these reptiles have their own particular rights, such as that of species-level survival? The pragmatic debate thrives in the dichotomy between the use of sea turtles and their conservation. I must admit that sea turtles were used, are used, and will continue to be used by people, and this should lead us to conservation efforts that involve human communities. At this moment we should ask ourselves: How intensive is their use? What is the level of sustainable use? The major issue will be how to balance a sustainable biological community in the face of human use. Exploitation requires control in order to avoid a situation where declining resources increase the purchasing price and thus higher market prices, resulting in more intensive exploitation, and so on. We must also ask ourselves: How important are sea turtles for people? What is the impact of their use on societies? The use of sea turtles can be categorized as consumptive or non-consumptive. People may value sea turtles for commercial, recreational, scientific, aesthetic and spiritual reasons. Debate over the use of sea turtles must not be

PAGE 44

confused with an economic justification of the use of sea turtles. We must accept the use itself as one of the topics in the subject of conservation, and acknowledge all values currently attributed to sea turtles. We can assign a value to a certain use, but not all values can be measured with economic terms. Because sea turtle products are found in markets, they have been given an economic value. Frequently this results in confusion among terms such as “value”, “use” and “commerce”. Clearly if sea turtles are being used for some purpose, they have value, but it can be a tangible or an intangible (e.g., mystical, spiritual) value (see also Frazer, this volume). Unfortunately, when use is associated with economic value we enter the economic sphere where economic considerations prevail, although in my opinion the current value of these species cannot be described solely in economic terms since the value of sea turtles transcends mercantile descriptions. The various economic uses of sea turtles in the Caribbean region might be described as follows: Subsistence — restricted to individuals collecting or hunting for their own consumption, with distribution to the immediate social and geographic area. This is the economy of the gatherer and his dependents. Local markets — restricted to low-scale sale, within the boundaries of the immediate town or county, limited by minimal investment and the intent of increasing family revenues. Ranching or farming — refers to raising turtles in captivity for scientific reasons, tourism, or gastronomical or consumer purposes, all commercial. It is characterized by significant capital investment. Commercial — differs from the local market category in that it has a larger scale and higher investment. It is a group or corporate effort. Recreation, image andfashion — use is defined directly or indirectly by tourism. Turtles are photographed or filmed, and profits are madefrom their image (e.g., currency, postal stamps, T-shirts, magazines, logos, advertisement). Obviously the boundaries between categories are, in many cases, hazy, but I have made an attempt to categorize all types of sea turtle use by the inhabitants of the Caribbean region. Tables 1 and 2 summarize both historical and contemporary uses of sea turtles. Of all reptiles, turtles’ eggs are the most important source for industrial and nutritional use. Oil production and the belief that they have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties cause their high exploitation.Before fully entering the task of quantifying the use of eggs, as well as other turtle products, I must acknowledge that records of the economic role of sea turtles are scant, disperse and inconsistent. Nevertheless, the record indicates the following: The price of eggs varies from US$ 0.02-US$ 5.00 per unit in the region. Most eggs are collected for domestic use and local markets, though there is also evidence of transborder commerce. There is proof that there is a black market for eggs from Central America into the United States, and it is possible that Caribbean turtles are being brought into this murky commerce. Berry (1987) wrote that between 80-100% of leatherback turtles in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica were being harvested for human consumption. The same thing is happening today from the shores of Trujillo in Honduras, Playa Negra in Costa Rica, and Changuinola and San San in Panama. In the last example, the harvest accounts for US$ 15,00020,000 in the black market of Changuinola and Puerto Almirante. In 1989 Guatemala reported 300-800 hawksbill nests, 50-90 green turtle nests, and 25-50 leatherback nests in its small Caribbean coast, all exploited for consumption. Now, ten years later, hawksbill nesting rates do not exceed 100 [nests per year], and reports for other species are rare. Turtles have also been exploited in the region for the production of leather. According to Redford and Robinson (1991) sea turtle leather comes primarily from the olive ridley ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) and green turtles. Historically the trade has been significant from Eastern Pacific colonies, but olive ridleys in the Wider Caribbean Region have not been harvested for their skins (Reichart, 1993). Turtle leather utilization in the region has been restricted to the sale and export of green turtle skins from the Cayman Turtle Farm since its establishment in 1968. Carapace exploitation, focusing on hawksbill ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) turtles, represents another20 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 45

source of revenue. During the second half of the 20th century (1970-1992) approximately 754 metric tons of carapaces were exported to Japan from around the world at an average rate of 33 tons per year, requiring the death of some 712,000 turtles during that period (53% of which came from Latin America and the Caribbean). Some 5,000 shells were collected and marketed between 1986 and 1987 from Honduras and Nicaragua. More specific still, Japanese Customs Statistics report that 14,519 kg of hawksbill scutes (carapace plates) were imported from Nicaragua between 1970 and 1986, the equivalent of some 13,000 turtles (Milliken and Tokunaga, 1987). Nowadays many countries of the region, for which I can personally attest, such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama, have domestic exploitation of sea turtle shell, including green turtle shell. Despite the fact that it is illegal in several places, it is readily available, especially to tourists. Tourists, in the urge to take souvenirs home for family and friends, buy and transport shell products across borders. Turtle hunting is another important aspect of some coastal Caribbean communities. Lagueux (1998) reported that in Nicaragua slightly over 10,000 green turtles are harvested each year. From 1969 to 1976, three green turtle packing plants locally consumed and exported close to 10,000 sea turtles in Nicaragua; 445,500 kg were exported to the United States (Nietschmann, 1982). In Costa Rica, between 1985 and 1998, 1,800 turtles were legally exploited each year, translating, in 1998 alone, to a minimum income of US$ 270,000 and up to US$540,000 (if illegal catch is included). That is a value of US$ 150 per live (fresh) turtle. Non-consumptive use can also be characterized by high profits. One of the most popular activities of ecotourism is to observe nature. It gives ecotourists great satisfaction when they have a high probability of observing wildlife. Thus many sea turtle nesting grounds have been plagued by tourists anxious to observe the egg-laying and hatching process. The full economic value of such activities has been only slightly studied. At many sites, sea turtle nesting is a predictable process. Furthermore, the same beach can be visited by several species of sea turtles at different times of the year, facilitating mulitple tours for tourists. Gutic (1994) estimated that in Playa Grande (Costa Rica) the recreational capitalized value was US$ 31 million for the sea turtles and the estuary near the beach. He estimated a capitalized value of US$ 34,910 for each leatherback sea turtle nesting during the 1992-1993 season. In this endeavor 288 locals are employed by tourism, although 72% of the revenue remains in the hotel industry (largely held by non-locals). In 1991 and 1992, 14,000-20,000 visitors arrived to the small town of Tortuguero (Costa Rica) per year, precisely during the nesting months for the green turtle. These tourists provide some US$ 4 million in annual income to the town. Another indicator of the non-consumptive economic value of sea turtles is that in 1986, Tortuguero had two hotels and 60 hotel beds. Today Tortuguero has more than 300 beds in nine hotels. The trend clearly shows the financial boom, including immigration, development and employment opportunities, that a nesting beach can generate. The economic valuation of the income generated by sea turtles in Playa Grande and Tortuguero are good examples of the commercial value of sea turtles in ecotourism. Furthermore, some communities21 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Table 1. Sea turtle use, by species, in the Wider Caribbean Region GreenMeat Eggs Calipee Flippers Loggerhead turtle Eggs Meat Leatherback Eggs Meat Oil HawksbillsMeat Eggs Shell Kemp’s RidleyEggs Meat Olive RidleyEggs Meat

PAGE 46

22Table 2. Historical and present day uses of sea turtles and their products in the Wider Caribbean Region Product TypeUseValues EggsHuman consumption, direct orEggs are widely believed to have indirect (such as in baking)medicinal and aphrodisiac Animal consumptionproperties Oil Meat Human consumptionMeat is widely believed to have Animal consumptionaphrodisiac and dermatological Cooking oilproperties Cosmetics OilMedicinal purposes Skin Leather (e.g., shoes, handbags, wallets, belts, handicrafts, home ornaments) Calipee Human consumption (soup) Associated with good nourishment and improving intelligence Flippers Human consumption Fin soup is believed to have special nutritional powers Bones Arts and crafts Jewelry Fertilizer Shell Home ornamentsThe shell is associated with good Jewelryluck charms and mystically taking General handicraftssomething from the depths of the Miscellaneous (e.g., buttons, sea combs, glasses, and others) have also attributed a charismatic value to this group of animals, and this value must also be quantified. It is paramount that governments include the real income that sea turtles and their associated microeconomies generate. Only in this way can we understand the economic role these ancient creatures play, not only in family incomes but also in other segments and different market scales. Even if the turtles have not asked us for payment for the use of their image, other economic areas where they are involved include: • Promotional and educational films • Clothing • Postcards, almanacs, calendars and other printed materials • Corporate, government, and other logos As you have heard in this hurried and general description, ranging from before the arrival of Europeans to the Americas and up to the present time; from fins to eggs; and all along and around the Caribbean Sea, sea turtles have left their mark in the social and economic history of this region. But, will this history continue? For additional information on this subject, the reader is referred to Chacn et al. (2000) and Rebel (1974).Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 47

23 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Literature CitedBerry, F. 1987. Aerial and ground surveys of Dermochelys coriacea nesting in Caribbean Costa Rica, p.305-310. In : L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proceedings of the Second Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S. Dept. Commerce, Miami. Carr, A. 1971. Research and conservation problems in Costa Rica, p.29-33. In : Marine Turtles: Proceedings of the 2nd Working Meeting of Marine Turtle Specialists, 810 March 1971, Morges, Switzerland. IUCN, Morges. Chacn C., D., N. Valern, M. Cajiao, H. Gamboa and G. Marn. 2000. Manual de Mejores Prcticas de Conservacin de las tortugas marinas en Centroamrica. PROARCA-Costas, PROARCA-CAPAS, USAIDG/CAP, CCAD. San Jos, Costa Rica. 130 pp. Gutic, J. 1994. Ecoturismo basado en tortugas marinas brinda beneficios econmicos para la comunidad. Noticiero de Tortugas Marinas 64:10-11. Lagueux, C. 1998. Demography of marine turtles harvested by Miskitu Indians of Atlantic, Nicaragua, p.2627. In : R. Byles and Y. Fernndez (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-412. U. S. Dept. Commerce, Miami. Milliken, T. and H. Tokunaga. 1987. The Japanese Sea Turtle Trade 1970-1986. A Special Report by TRAFFICJAPAN for the Center for Environmental Education Washington, D.C. 171 pp. Mosseri, C. 1998. Explotacin de Tortugas Marinas durante la Edad de Bronce en Omn. Noticiero de Tortugas Marinas 81:7-9. Nietchmann, B. 1982. The cultural context of sea turtle subsistence hunting in the Caribbean and problems caused by commercial exploitation, p.439-445. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C. Palmer, P. 1986. “Wa happen man”: la historia de la costa talamanquea de Costa Rica, segn sus protagonistas. San Jos. Instituto del libro. 402 pp. Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea Turtles and the Turtle Industry of the West Indies, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico, Revised edition. University of Miami Press, Miami. 250 pp. Redford, K. and J. Robinson. 1991. Subsistence and Commercial Uses of Wildlife in Latin America, p.6-24. In : Neotropical Wildlife Use and Conservation. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago. Reichart, H. A. 1993. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea (Esch Scholtz, 1829) in the Western Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-336. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 78 pp.

PAGE 48

Identity and DescriptionThe generic name Dermochelys was introduced by Blainville (1816). The specific name coriacea was first used by Vandelli (1761) and adopted by Linneaus (1766) (Rhodin and Smith, 1982). The binomial refers to the distinctive leathery, scaleless skin of the adult turtle. The people of the Wider Caribbean know Dermochelys by a variety of common names, the most prevalent being leatherback in English, lad (or tora) in Spanish, tortue luth in French, and tartaruga de couro in Portuguese. The leatherback turtle is the sole member of the monophyletic family Dermochelyidae. It is further unique in being the largest (Morgan, 1989), deepest diving (Eckert et al., 1989) and most widely distributed (71N to 47S; Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984) sea turtle. Caribbean-nesting females typically weigh 250-500 kg. A record male specimen, weighing nearly 1,000 kg, died from net-entanglement in Wales, U.K., a decade ago (Morgan, 1989). Leatherbacks lack a bony shell. The smooth black skin is spotted with white; the proportion of light to dark pigment is variable. The somewhat flexible carapace is strongly tapered, typically measures 130–175 cm (along the curve), and is raised into seven prominent ridges. Deep cusps form tooth-like projections on the upper jaw. Hatchlings are covered with small polygonal scales and are predominately black with mottled undersides. Flippers are margined in white, with the forelimbs extending nearly the length of the body. There are no claws. Rows of white scales appear as stripes along the length of the back. Typical carapace length is 60 mm. Typical (yolked) egg diameter ranges from 51-55 mm. For additional information, the reader is referred to Pritchard and Trebbau (1984), NMFS/ FWS (1992), Eckert (1995), Boulon et al. (1996), Girondot and Fretey (1996), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).Ecology and ReproductionAdult leatherbacks exhibit broad thermal tolerances. They are commonly reported in New England waters and northward into eastern Canada. Core body temperature in cold water has been shown to be several degrees C above ambient. This may be due to several features, including the thermal inertia of a large body mass, an insulating layer of subepidermal fat, counter-current heat exchangers in the flippers, potentially heat-generating brown adipose tissue, and a relatively low freezing point for lipids. Stomach contents from animals killed in various parts of the world indicate that the diet is mostly cnidarians (jellyfish, siphonophores) and tunicates (salps, pyrosomas). Surface feeding on jellyfish has been observed at several locales around the world. Foraging on vertically migrating zooplankton in the water column has been proposed based on the diving behavior of Caribbean-nesting females (Eckert et al., 1986). The specialized medusae diet places the leatherback atop a distinctive marine food chain based on nannoplankton, and largely independent of the more commonly recognized trophic systems supporting whales or tuna, for example (Hendrickson, 1980). Nesting grounds are distributed circumglobally (approximately 40N to 35S). Gravid females are seasonal visitors to the Wider Caribbean region (males are rarely encountered) and observations are largely confined to peak breeding months of March to July. Mating is believed to occur prior to or during migration to the nesting ground (Eckert and Eckert, 1988). Females generally nest at 9-10 days intervals, deposit an average of 5-7 nests per year,24Status and Distribution of the Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, in the Wider Caribbean RegionKaren L. Eckert Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) USAKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 49

25 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 and remigrate at 2-3+ year intervals. As many as 11 nests per year have been observed to be deposited by a single female in the Caribbean Sea (St. Croix: Boulon et al., 1996) and as many as 13 per year in the Eastern Pacific (Costa Rica: R. Reina, pers. comm. in Frazier, this volume). Because relatively large numbers of nests are made by each turtle, and not all crawls result in a nest (that is, not all crawls result in the successful deposition of eggs), a tally of 100 crawls may translate into 70-80 nests – or the sum reproductive effort of only 10-15 females. Females prefer to nest on beaches with deep, unobstructed access; contact with abrasive coral and rock is avoided. Nesting typically occurs at night. Approximately 70-90 yolked eggs are laid in each nest, along with a variable number of smaller yolkless eggs. Sex determination in leatherback hatchlings is temperature dependent and the “pivotal temperature” (approximately 1:1 sex ratio) has been estimated to be 29.25-29.50C in Suriname and French Guiana (Mrosovsky et al., 1984; Rimblot-Baly et al., 1986-1987). As is the case with all sea turtle species, warmer incubations favor females. Research has shown that females engage in virtually continuous deep diving in the general vicinity of the nesting ground, traversing inshore waters only to and from the beach. Dives become progressively deeper as dawn approaches. Typical dives are 12-15 minutes in duration and rarely extend beyond 200 m in depth, but dives exceeding 1,000 m have been documented in the Caribbean Sea (Eckert et al., 1986, 1989). Leatherbacks swim constantly, traveling 45-65 km per day during internesting intervals and 30-50 km per day during long distance post-nesting migration (S. Eckert, HSWRI, pers. comm.). After nesting, females leave the Caribbean basin. This is known from tag returns (e.g., leatherbacks tagged whilst nesting in French Guiana have been recaptured in North America, Europe and Africa: Pritchard, 1973; Girondot and Fretey, 1996), post-nesting satellite-tracking studies from Trinidad (Eckert, 1998) and French Guiana (Ferraroli et al., in press), and studies of barnacle colonization on females nesting in St. Croix (Eckert and Eckert, 1988). Neither the dispersal patterns of hatchlings nor the behavior and movements of juveniles are known. Preliminary evidence, based on a global assessment of sightings records, suggests that juveniles may remain in tropical latitudes until they reach approximately 100 cm in carapace length (Eckert, 1999). Survivability, growth rate, age at maturity and longevity in the wild have not been determined for this species.Distribution and TrendsThe largest colony in the Wider Caribbean Region is at Ya:lima:po, French Guiana, near the border with Suriname. As is typical of long-term databases at well-studied nesting beaches, the French Guiana database demonstrates strong fluctuations in the number of nests laid each year, ranging (since 1978) from more than 50,000 nests to fewer than 10,000 (Girondot and Fretey, 1996). The number of nests laid at Ya:lima:po since 1992 has been steadily declining (Chevalier and Girondot, 2000). While the nature and extent of the decline is difficult to interpret (due to the highly dynamic nature of the beaches and the shifting pattern of nesting that results), the trend is clear. By averaging data across years (reducing the effects of annual fluctuations), we can see that the mean number of nests laid per year between 1987 and 1992 was 40,950 and the mean number of nests laid per year between 1993 and 1998 was 18,100, a decline of more than 50%. Drift/gillnet fishing in the Marconi Estuary is implicated in the population’s demise (J. Chevalier, DIREN, pers. comm.). As erosion has degraded nesting beaches in French Guiana, the colony there has spilled over into Suriname where sandy beach habitat is expanding due to coastal processes. There were fewer than 100 leatherback nests laid in Suriname in 1967, but annual numbers have risen steadily to a peak of 12,401 nests in 1985 and have fluctuated widely since (Reichart and Fretey, 1993). A minimum of 4,000 nests were laid in Suriname in 1999, of which about 50% were lost to poaching (STINASU, unpubl. data). Nesting on a more moderate scale is reported from Guyana, Venezuela, and Colombia. Sea turtles have been heavily utilized on the nesting beaches in Guyana for many generations. The most important nesting area is the North-West District, especially Almond Beach. Aerial surveys in 1982 indicated

PAGE 50

that “most of the turtles nesting on this beach are being slaughtered by fishermen and probably all eggs are harvested” (Hart, 1984). Pritchard (1986) estimated that 80% of females were killed each year as they attempted to nest. In 1989 an intensive tagging program began in collaboration with local communities, and rates of mortality have since declined. The number of nests laid at Almond Beach fluctuates among years and ranged from 90-247 between 1989-1994; the populations appears to be stable (P. Pritchard, Chelonian Research Inst., unpubl. data). There are no historical data for Venezuela, but the Paria Peninsula appears to be the most important nesting site at the present time. Current information suggests that Querepare and Cipara (believed to be the most important of the Paria Peninsula’s seven known nesting beaches), are each visited by perhaps 20-40 females per year (H. Guada, WIDECAST-Venezuela, pers. comm.). The Acand region (Gulf of Urab), specifically Playona Beach, is the most important nesting site (for leatherbacks) in Colombia. During 11 weeks of monitoring 3 km of nesting beach at Playona in 1998, 71 females were tagged and 162 nests confirmed (Duque et al., 1998). In 1999, 180 females were tagged and 193 nests confirmed (Higuita and Pez, 1999). The status of the colony is unknown, but these tagging records roughly confirm previous estimates of 100 (Ross, 1982) and 200-250 (USFWS, 1981) females nesting per year. Current threats to the colony are considered serious, and include direct harvest, incidental catch by fisheries, pollution, upland deforestation, and coastal development (D. Amorocho, WIDECAST-Colombia, pers. comm.). In Panama, “concentrated nesting” [nests/yr was not reported] occurs both in the western sector in Bocas del Toro Province (principally on Playa Chiriqu and Changuinola) and also in eastern Panama at Playa Pito and Baha Aglatomate (Meylan et al., 1985; Pritchard, 1989). More recent surveys have confirmed 150-180 nests per year on Colon Island (D. Chacn, Asoc. ANAI, pers. comm.). Local experts characterize leatherback nesting in Panama as declining; surveys are needed to confirm the speculation. Between Costa Rica and Escudo de Veraguas (Bocas del Toro Province), some 35-100 gravid females are killed each year and egg poaching is estimated at 85%. Most of the leatherbacks are killed in the vicinity of the Changuinola River, where the meat is later sold in Changuinola and the banana plantations for US$ 0.25 per lb (D. Chacn, pers. comm.). Costa Rica has seen dramatic declines in some areas (Hirth and Ogren, 1987) due largely to egg poaching, which still approaches 100% outside of protected areas. An estimated 70% of all leatherback nesting in Caribbean Costa Rica occurs within the protected areas of Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Pacuare Nature Reserve, and Tortuguero National Park, where the combined number of nesting females per year is 500-1,000, making it the third largest known breeding assemblage in the Wider Caribbean Region. The population at Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is increasing, with the number of nests per year ranging from 200 to more than 1,100 between 1990-1999 (D. Chacn, unpubl. data). Similar increases are not reported from Tortuguero, however, where nesting continues to decline (Campbell et al., 1996). In Honduras there is a small rookery (25-75 nests/yr) at Plapaya Beach which has been protected by MOPAWI and the Garifuna community since 1995 (D. Chacn, pers. comm.). Nesting is not known to occur in Belize (Smith et al., 1992). Nesting is described as “rare” in Mexico, where perhaps fewer than 20 nests are laid along the entire Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coastline each year (L. Sarti, INP, pers. comm.). With the exception of Trinidad (and perhaps the Dominican Republic, for which I have no data), nesting in the insular Caribbean is predictable but occurs nowhere in large numbers, by which I mean more than 1,000 nests (or approximately 150 females) per year. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that nesting has dramatically declined throughout the eastern Caribbean. In the British Virgin Islands, for example, six or more females nested per night on beaches on the northeast coast of Tortola in the 1920’s. The turtles were harvested primarily for oil, which was (and is) used medicinally. In 1988 a single nest was recorded in Tortola; in 1989 there were none (Cambers and Lima, 1990). Recently nesting appears to be on the rise, presumably benefiting from a local moratorium enacted in 1993 and long-standing protection in the26 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 51

27 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 neighboring U. S. Virgin Islands. There were 28 crawls (successful and unsuccessful nesting events, combined) on Tortola in 1997, 10 in 1998 and 39 in 1999, suggesting a local nesting assemblage of 2–6 turtles per year (M. Hastings, BVI Ministry of Natural Resources, pers. comm.). Where there is little protection, declining trends persist. The theft of eggs and the killing of eggbearing females have combined to diminish once thriving colonies in St. Kitts and Nevis (Eckert and Honebrink, 1992), St. Lucia (d’Auvergne and Eckert, 1993), Tobago (W. Herron, Environment Tobago, pers. comm.) and elsewhere in the insular Caribbean. In Grenada, for example, despite a closed season that embraces most of the nesting season, information dating back nearly two decades documents the killing of a significant number of nesting females each year and an illegal egg harvest that local observers describe as near 100% (Finlay, 1984, 1987; Eckert and Eckert 1990). On islands where nesting appears to have been historically rare or occasional (e.g., Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, the Netherlands Antilles), present trends are impossible to estimate. The news is better in some areas where protection measures have been strong. Nesting at the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, USVI, where leatherbacks have been protected for nearly three decades, is showing a clearly upward trend. An average of 26 females nested (with an average of 133 nests laid) each year between 1982-1986 [1982 being the first year of full beach coverage and tagging] and an average of 70 females nested (with an average of 423 nests laid) each year between 19951999, a near tripling over the course of two decades (R. Boulon, USNPS, pers. comm.). Similar trends are seen at Culebra National Wildlife Refuge (Playa Resaca and Playa Brava), Puerto Rico, where an average of 19 females nested (with an average of 142 nests laid) each year between 1984-1986 and an average of 76 females nested (with an average of 375 nests laid) each year between 1997-1999 (M. Rivera and T. Tallevast, USFWS, pers. comm.). The two primary nesting sites in Trinidad, Matura Beach (east coast) and Grande Riviere (north coast), were declared protected areas in 1990 and 1997, respectively. Systematic tagging began at Matura in 1999 and 862 females were tagged, but beach coverage was incomplete and it is likely that somewhat more than 1,000 females nested on nearly 10 km of beach that year (Sammy, 1999). A similar number of females (800-1,000 per year) are believed to nest at Grande Riviere (S. Eckert, HSWRI, pers. comm.). The status of the nesting colony in Trinidad is unknown. Community-based beach patrols have reduced the number of females killed each year to near zero (down from an estimated 30-50% per year on the east coast and near 100% on the north coast in the 1960’s and 1970’s), but high levels of incidental catch offshore have the potential to decimate the colony (see Conclusions). ThreatsIn some Wider Caribbean countries, gravid leatherbacks are killed for meat, oil, and/or eggs during nesting. In some cases (e.g., Tortola [BVI], Grenada, Guyana), long-term local harvests have had dire population consequences for local nesting assemblages. In other cases the harvest occurs in a range state, as is the case between Costa Rica and Panama. Since only adult females are encountered, there is no harvest of juveniles. The oily meat is not widely favored and is typically prepared by sun-drying or stewing. The oil is used for medicinal purposes, generally in cases of respiratory congestion, and is believed by some to have aphrodisiac qualities. The harvest of eggs seems nearly ubiquitous in unprotected colonies. A serious threat to this species in the Wider Caribbean region and greater Atlantic ecosystem is incidental capture and mortality at sea. The fisheries most likely to unintentionally ensnare leatherback turtles are longlines and tangle nets (setnets, gillnets, driftnets). Published accounts are scarce, but the capture of leatherbacks by longlines, for example, is documented in the northeastern Caribbean Sea (Cambers and Lima, 1990; Tobias, 1991; Fuller et al., 1992), Gulf of Mexico (Hildebrand, 1987), and the eastern U.S. and Canada (NMFS, 2000; Witzell, 1984). In the southern latitudes of the Wider Caribbean Region the world’s largest leatherback colonies are clearly threatened by incidental capture in gillnets. Eckert and Lien (1999) estimate that more than a 1,000 leatherbacks are captured each year (logically including multiple captures of the same individual) offshore the nest-

PAGE 52

ing beaches in Trinidad; all indications are that mortality rates are high. Drift/gillnets are also considered a serious threat in the Guianas. The ingestion of persistent ocean debris, notably plastic bags which are often mistaken for jellyfish and ingested, is a pervasive threat throughout the species’ global range (Balazs, 1985; Witzell and Teas, 1994). As is the case with other sea turtle species, habitat loss in the form of increasingly developed coastal areas (particularly sandy beaches which would otherwise contribute important nesting habitat) is also a threat to species survival.Conservation StatusThe leatherback is classified as Endangered by the World Conservation Union (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996). They are included in Annex II of the Protocol to the Cartagena Convention concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW); Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Appendices I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (Bonn Convention); and Appendix II of the Convention on European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) (Hykle, 1999). The species is also listed in the annexes to the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere, a designation intended to convey that their protection is of “special urgency and importance”. Only one Wider Caribbean country, Suriname, maintains a CITES reservation on Dermochelys but “the exemption is mostly a matter of principle”, there being no international trade in leatherback turtles or their products (Reichart and Fretey, 1993). ConclusionsBased on information compiled for this presentation it is clear that leatherbacks nesting in the Eastern Caribbean have, on balance, experienced dramatic declines since World War II (WWII). The situation in Central and South America is less clear; some populations are rising, some are declining. Potentially important sites in Colombia, Panama and the Dominican Republic have not been adequately surveyed. The largest colony in the region (Ya:lima:po, French Guiana) is widely characterized as declining (high levels of incidental catch offshore have been implicated); however, it is not possible to accurately assess this population until nesting trends from related colonies in eastern French Guiana and Suriname are taken into account. The status of the nesting colony in Trinidad is unknown; tagging for the purpose of population assessment has only just begun. It is obvious that killings on the nesting beach have dramatically declined (in Trinidad) in recent years, but, again, high levels of incidental catch offshore are a serious concern. In Costa Rica the trends are mixed, with the most serious threats being egg poaching and the illegal killing of adult females in neighboring Panama. What is very clear is that the Western Tropical Atlantic, including the Caribbean Sea, is the primary nursery ground for this species in the greater Atlantic ecosystem. The pivotal role that the Wider Caribbean Region plays in reproduction emphasizes the urgency with which Caribbean governments should approach the challenges of management and conservation. Hunting of this species in Caribbean waters is perilous to its longterm survival since by definition only egg-bearing females are killed (males and juveniles apparently being so rare in the region that they are virtually never encountered). Uncontrolled egg poaching on shore and undocumented but almost surely unsustainable levels of incidental capture at sea combine to warn us that while rising trends are a welcome sign in some areas, historical declines are still the norm in most countries. With fewer than five known “large” colonies (>1,000 nests/ yr), and the two largest colonies experiencing high levels of mortality at sea, it is not unimaginable that we could loose this species in the Caribbean basin. Why such grave concern? We need only look at the rookeries that, until recently, were among the largest leatherback nesting colonies in the world. Terengganu Beach, Malaysia, incubated more than 10,000 nests in 1956, in contrast to fewer than 100 nests per year, on average, during the decade of the 1990’s. Major causes of decline are mortality associated with fisheries operations in the high seas as well as within the territorial waters of Malaysia, and a long history of sanctioned egg collection involving nearly 100% of all eggs laid (Chan and Liew, 1996).28 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 53

29 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 The rookery now supports less than .05% of postWWII nesting levels. Eastern Pacific rookeries have experienced devastation on a comparable scale, but over a much shorter time. In the early 1980’s, the beaches of Pacific Mexico were visited by more than 50,000 gravid females per year, laying uncounted hundreds of thousands of nests. Mexico was assumed to support more than half of all leatherback nesting on Earth. By 1999, in less than 20 years, the population was reduced to 250 turtles nesting per year (Sarti et al., 1996). What happened, and why so quickly? In an effort to support a dwindling fishing industry, Chile, and later Peru, instituted an artisanal gillnet fleet which grew exponentially until the early 1990’s. One estimate suggests that this fishery killed as many as 3,000 large juvenile and adult leatherbacks each year on their southeastern Pacific foraging grounds (Eckert and Sarti, 1997). As a result, nesting in the Mexico (and other Eastern Pacific sites) declined at a staggering rate of some 20% per year during the 1990’s (Sarti et al., 1996; Spotila et al., 2000). The lessons of Mexico are that (i) what seem to be almost infinitely large populations can be destroyed so quickly as to preclude intervention by the relevant resource agencies and (ii) such threats can take place so far away that they are unknown to local resource managers. Mexico invested millions of Pesos in protecting leatherback sea turtles at their nesting beaches, and it was all for naught because of the management decisions of a distant Range State. Recognizing these essential linkages is what this meeting is all about. I consider it a great privilege to be here.Literature CitedBaillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes. Balazs, G. H. 1985. Impact of ocean debris on marine turtles: entanglement and ingestion, p.387-429. In: R. S. Shomura and H. O. Yoshida (eds.), Proc. Workshop on Fate and Impact of Marine Debris. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFC-54. U. S. Department of Commerce. Boulon, R. H., Jr., P. H. Dutton and D. L. McDonald. 1996. Leatherback turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ) on St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands: Fifteen years of conservation. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2(2):141-147. Cambers, G. and H. Lima. 1990. Leatherback turtles disappearing from the BVI. Marine Turtle Newsletter 49:4-7. Campbell, C. L., C. J. Lagueux and J. A. Mortimer. 1996. Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea nesting at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, in 1995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2(2):169-172. Chan, E. H. and H. C. Liew. 1996. Decline of the leatherback population in Terengganu, Malaysia, 19561995. Chelonian Conversation and Biology 2(2):196203. Chevalier, J. and M. Girondot. 2000. Recent population trend for Dermochelys coriacea in French Guiana, p.56-57. In : F. A. Abreu-G. et al. (compilers), Proc. 18th International Sea Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-436. U. S. Department of Commerce. d’Auvergne, C. and K. L. Eckert. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Lucia (K. L. Eckert, Editor). CEP Technical Report No. 26. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiv + 66 pp. Duque, V., V. P. Pez and J. Patio. 1998. Ecologa de anidacin de la tortuga can ( Dermochelys coriacea ), en la Playona, Golfo de Urab chocoano, Colombia, en 1998. Unpubl. ms. Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/ CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11–13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Eckert, K. L. and S. A. Eckert. 1988. Pre-reproductive movements of leatherback sea turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ) nesting in the Caribbean. Copeia 1988:400-406. Eckert, K. L. and S. A. Eckert. 1990. Leatherback sea turtles in Grenada, West Indies: A survey of nesting beaches and socio-economic status. Prepared for the Foundation for Field Research, and the Grenada Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries. St. George’s, Grenada. 28 pp. +appendices. Eckert, K. L. and T. D. Honebrink. 1992. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Kitts and Nevis. CEP Technical Report No. 17. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiii + 116 pp. Eckert, S. A. 1998. Perspectives on the use of satellite telemetry and other electronic technologies for the study of marine turtles, with reference to the first year long tracking of leatherback sea turtles, p.294. In: S. P. Epper-

PAGE 54

ly, and J. Braun (eds), Proc. 17th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-415. U. S. Dept. Commerce. Eckert, S. A. 1999. Global distribution of juvenile leatherback sea turtles. Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Tech. Rept. 99-294:1-13. Eckert, S. A. and J. Lien. 1999. Recommendations for Eliminating Incidental Capture and Mortality of Leatherback Turtles, Dermochelys coriacea by Commercial Fisheries in Trinidad and Tobago: A Report to the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). Hubbs-Sea World Research Inst. Tech. Rept. 2000-310:1-7. Eckert, S. A., and L. M. Sarti. 1997. Distant fisheries implicated in the loss of the world’s largest leatherback nesting population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7. Eckert, S. A., K. L. Eckert, P. Ponganis and G. L. Kooyman. 1989. Diving and foraging behavior of leatherback sea turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ). Canadian Journal of Zoology 67:2834-2840. Eckert, S. A., D. W. Nellis, K. L. Eckert and G. L. Kooyman. 1986. Diving patterns of two leatherback sea turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ) during internesting intervals at Sandy Point, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Herpetologica 42(3):381-388. Ferraroli, S S. Eckert, J. Chevalier, M. Girondot, L. Kelle and Y. Le Maho. in press. Marine behavior of leatherback turtles nesting in French Guiana. In : Proc. 20th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-xxx. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Finlay, J. 1984. National Report for the Country of Grenada, p.184-196 (Vol. 3). In : P. R. Bacon et al. (eds.), Proc. Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 17-22 July 1983, Costa Rica. Univ. Miami Press. Finlay, J. 1987. National Report for the Country of Grenada. Presented to the Second Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 12-16 October 1987, Puerto Rico. 16 pp. Unpubl. Fuller, J. E., K. L. Eckert, and J. I. Richardson. 1992. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Antigua and Barbuda. CEP Technical Report No. 16. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xii + 88 pp. Girondot, M. and J. Fretey. 1996. Leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea nesting in French Guiana, 19781995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2(2):204208. Hart, S. 1984. The National Report for the Country of Guyana to the Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, p.209-215. In : P. Bacon et al. (eds.), Proc. Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium, 17-22 July 1983, San Jos, Costa Rica. Vol. 3, Appendix 7. Univ. Miami Press, Miami, Florida. Hendrickson, J. R. 1980. The ecological strategies of sea turtles. American Zoologist 20:597-608. Higuita, A. M. and V. P. Pez. 1999. Proporciones sexuales neonatales y demografia de la poblacin de tortuga can ( Dermochelys coriacea ) anidante en la Playona, Choc durante la temporada de 1999. Unpubl. ms. Hildebrand, H. 1987. A reconnaissance of beaches and coastal waters from the border of Belize to the Mississippi River as habitats for marine turtles. Final Report, NOAA/NMFS/SEFC Panama City Lab (purchase order #NA-84-CF-A-134). 63 pp. Hirth, H. F. and L. H. Ogren. 1987. Some aspects of the ecology of the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea at Laguna Jalova, Costa Rica. NOAA Tech. Report NMFS 56:1-14. Hykle, D. 1999. International conservation treaties, p.228-231. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G. and M. A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Meylan, A., P. Meylan and A. Ruiz. 1985. Nesting of Dermochelys coriacea in Caribbean Panama. J. Herpetol. 19(2):293-297. Morgan, P. J. 1989. Occurrence of leatherback turtles ( Dermochelys coriacea ) in the British Islands in 1988 with reference to a record specimen, p.119-120. In : S. A. Eckert, K. L. Eckert, and T. H. Richardson (compilers), Proc. 9th Annual Conference on Sea Turtle Conservation and Biology. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U.S. Department of Commerce. Mrosovsky, N., P. H. Dutton and C. P. Whitmore. 1984. Sex ratios of two species of sea turtles nesting in Suriname. Can. J. Zool. 62:2227-2239. NMFS. 2000. Reinitiation of consultation on the Atlantic pelagic fisheries for Swordfish, Tuna, Shark and Billfish in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ): proposed rule to implement a regulatory amendment to the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan; reduction of bycatch and incidental catch in the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery. National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring. U. S. Dept. Commerce. 113 pp. NMFS / FWS. 1992. Recovery Plan for Leatherback Turtles, Dermochelys coriacea in the U.S. Caribbean, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. NOAA National Marine Fisheries30 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 55

31 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Service, Washington, D.C. 65 pp. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1973. International migrations of South American sea turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae). Anim. Behav. 21:18-27. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1986. Sea turtles in Guyana, 1986. Florida Audubon Society. 14 pp. Unpubl. ms. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1989. Leatherback turtle ( Dermochelys coriacea ): status report, p.145-152. In : L. Ogren (Editorin-Chief), Proc. Second Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC226. U. S. Dept. Commerce. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.2138. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G. and M. A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Pritchard, P. C. H. and P. Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Contrib. Herpetol. No. 2. Reichart, H. A. and J. Fretey. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Suriname (K. L. Eckert, Editor). CEP Tech. Rept. No. 24. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiv + 65 pp. Rhodin, A. G. J. and H. M. Smith. 1982. The original authorship and type specimen of Dermochelys coriacea J. Herpetol. 16:316-317. Rimblot-Baly, F., J. Lescure, J. Fretey, and C. Pieau. 1986-1987. Sensibilit la temprature de la diffrenciation sexuelle chez la tortue luth, Dermochelys coriacea (Vandelli 1761); application des donnes de l’incubation artificielle l’tude de la sex-ratio dans la nature. Ann. Sci. Nat., Zool., Paris 13e Srie, 1986-1987(8):277-290. Ross, J. P. 1982. Historical decline of loggerhead, ridley and leatherback sea turtles, p.189-209. In : K. A. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. Sammy, D. 1999. Final Tagging Project Report: Matura Beach 1999. Submitted to the Canadian High Commission, Port of Spain. 19 pp. + appendices. Sarti, L. M., S. A. Eckert, N. T. Garcia, and A. R. Barragan. 1996. Decline of the world’s largest nesting assemblage of leatherback turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 74:2-5. Smith, G. W., K. L. Eckert and J. P. Gibson. 1992. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Belize. CEP Technical Report No. 18. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiii + 86 pp. Spotila, J. R., R. D. Reina, A. C. Steyermark, P. T. Plotkin and F. V. Paladino. 2000. Pacific leatherback turtles face extinction: Fisheries can help avert the alarming decline in population of these ancient reptiles. Nature 405:529530. Tobias, W. 1991. Turtles caught in Caribbean swordfish fishery. Marine Turtle Newsletter 53:10-12. USFWS. 1981. Recovery Plan for St. Croix Population of the Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys coriacea Region 4, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Witzell, W. N. 1984. The incidental capture of sea turtles in the Atlantic U. S. Fishery Conservation Zone by the Japanese Tuna Longline Fleet, 1978-1981. Marine Fisheries Review 46(3):56-58. Witzell, W. N. and W. G. Teas. 1994. The impacts of anthropogenic debris on marine turtles in the Western North Atlantic Ocean. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFSSEFSC-355. U. S. Department of Commerce.

PAGE 56

32Identity and DescriptionThe generic name Chelonia was introduced by Brongniart (1800). The specific name mydas was first used by Linnaeus (1758). Common Caribbean vernacular names include green (or green-back) turtle in English, tortuga verde in Spanish, tortue verte in French, and tartaruga verde in Portuguese (Eckert, 1995), referring to the predominately green color of its body fat. The green turtle is the largest of the hardshelled sea turtles and is the second largest (after Dermochelys ) of the seven species. Adults commonly attain weights of 150 kg and generally measure from 95 to 120 cm in carapace length. The color of the broadly oval carapace is light to dark brown, sometimes shaded with olive, with radiating streaks of yellows, browns, greens, and black. The plastron or belly is whitish cream to a light yellow in color. There are five vertebral scutes and four pairs of costal (lateral) scutes on the carapace which do not overlap one another. There is a single claw on each flipper. The anteriorly rounded head is characterized by a blunt beak with serrated cutting edges and a single pair of enlarged scales between the eyes. Green turtle hatchlings weigh about 26 g and are about 5 cm in shell length. Hatchlings are uniquely marked with a blue-black color above and white margins on the trailing edge of the flippers and around the carapace. The plastron of hatchlings is typically a creamy white color. The hatchling gait on land is asymmetrical (alternating flipper movements), as opposed to the symmetrical gait of the adult. For additional information, the reader is referred to Parsons (1962), Carr et al. (1978), Groombridge and Luxmoore (1989), NMFS/ FWS (1991), Eckert (1995), Hirth (1997), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).Ecology and ReproductionThe green turtle is a circumglobal species found in tropical and sub-tropical waters. After leaving their natal beaches, individuals spend several years in the open ocean becoming widely dispersed by ocean currents. During this period they are omnivorous, feeding opportunistically at the ocean surface (Carr and Meylan, 1980; Carr, 1986). In the Caribbean, once juveniles reach approximately 20–25 cm in carapace length they move to coastal waters where they shift to an herbivorous diet (Bjorndal and Bolten, 1988). The benthic vegetarian feeding habit of juvenile and adult green turtles is unique among the sea turtles. The principal food item of Caribbean populations is Thalassia testudinum commonly known as turtle grass (Mortimer, 1976). Green turtles are estimated to take 27-50 years to reach sexual maturity (Limpus and Walter, 1980; Balazs, 1982; Frazer and Ehrhart, 1985; Frazer and Ladner, 1986), the longest age to maturity estimate for any sea turtle species. During the decades prior to adulthood, juveniles move long distances between areas of developmental habitat. Genetic studies show that mature females return to their natal beach to nest throughout their reproductive life (Meylan et al., 1990). Both males and females make long seasonal migrations between foraging and nesting sites, migrations that often span thousands of kilometers. Thus, during the life cycle of green turtles, animals from a single population can traverse an entire ocean basin, making them a truly international resource. Gravid females typically spend two and one-half hours on the beach for nesting. Individuals return to nest at 2–4 year intervals, depositing an average of three clutches of eggs (and as many as nine) at 12–14 day intervals throughout the nesting seasonStatus and Distribution of the Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas, in the Wider Caribbean RegionCynthia J. Lagueux Wildlife Conservation Society USAKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 57

33 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 (which at most Wider Caribbean localities peaks in June, July and August). Clutch size varies widely, and there is a relationship between clutch size and carapace length (summarized by Hirth, 1997). The average clutch size at the well-studied rookery at Tortuguero, Costa Rica is 112 eggs (range: 3-219) (Bjorndal and Carr, 1989). Eggs average 44 mm in diameter. After 55-60 days of incubation, hatchlings emerge from the sand and orient toward the open horizon of the sea. For decades female green turtles have been flipper tagged on the nesting beach. Tag returns provide us with information about the distribution of mature females away from the nesting beach, as well as documenting their highly migratory habits (see Hirth, 1997, for a review). Females tagged while nesting at Tortuguero, Costa Rica have been recovered from foraging grounds and along migratory pathways in Belize, Colombia, Cuba, USA (Florida), Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Colombia (San Andres), Venezuela, and Mexico (Yucatn), with the majority of tag returns coming from the foraging ground off the coast of Nicaragua (Carr et al., 1978). Similarly, females tagged while nesting at Aves Island, Venezuela have been recaptured in Brazil, Carriacou, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, Mexico, Nevis, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Venezuela, with the majority of these tag returns coming from the coasts of Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic (Sol, 1994). More recently, immature and adult green turtles have been tagged in developmental and foraging habitats, as well as along migratory pathways. Immature and adult green turtles tagged in Caribbean Panama, a developmental habitat and migratory pathway, have been recovered predominantly in Nicaragua (Meylan and Meylan, unpubl. data). Immatures tagged in developmental habitat in Bermuda have been recaptured from throughout the Caribbean, with the majority from Nicaragua (Meylan et al., in prep.). The accumulation of recovered tags from an area can indicate the importance of that area to different life stages of green turtles. The coastal waters of Caribbean Nicaragua are clearly important to the survival of this species, since immature and adult green turtles tagged in nearly a dozen countries throughout the Wider Caribbean Region have been recaptured there (Lagueux and Campbell, unpubl. data). Distribution and Historical ConsiderationsThroughout history, the green turtle has been prized for its meat and calipee, the cartilagenous material found on the inside of the plastron. Green turtle meat and eggs sustained the crews of ships during the period of exploration, expansion, and settlement of the New World (Carr, 1954; Parsons, 1962). Because of unsustainable use, all Wider Caribbean green turtle populations are depleted and some nesting populations are locally extinct. There are several examples throughout the world of green turtle populations that have been destroyed due to over-harvesting, two examples are given below. The first example is from Bermuda where there was once a large assembly of nesting and foraging green turtles (Ingle and Smith, 1949; Parsons, 1962). However, in spite of legislation adopted in 1620 to protect against the taking of juveniles, by the end of the 1700s the green turtle population was so reduced that a commercial harvest was no longer profitable (Garman, 1884b cited in Carr, 1952; Parsons, 1962), and the nesting population was destroyed. Even today there are no green turtles nesting in Bermuda. The second example is from the Cayman Islands. The Caymans were once known for what was probably the largest green turtle rookery in the Atlantic system. In 1503, during Columbus’ final voyage to America, he named these islands Islas Tortugas. At one time, there were so many turtles migrating towards the Cayman Islands during the nesting season that lost ships could navigate towards the islands by the sound of swimming turtles (Long, 1774 cited in Lewis, 1940). For almost 200 years boats from many nations arrived at the Cayman Islands to harvest nesting females (Parsons, 1962). By the early 1800s, the population had become so depleted that Cayman turtlers sailed to the south of Cuba, then to the Gulf of Honduras and finally to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua in search of ever-decreasing stocks of turtles to harvest (Lewis, 1940; Carr, 1954; Parsons, 1962; King,

PAGE 58

341982). Today, there is no longer a viable wild nesting green turtle population in the Cayman Islands. It has been over 200 years since the demise of the nesting populations in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and still they have not recovered. Is there anything we can learn from these examples? If we agree that it is important to maintain biologically healthy green turtle populations, can we learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and implement the actions necessary to halt the continued decline of Caribbean green turtle populations? Today the largest green turtle nesting colonies in the Wider Caribbean Region occur at Tortuguero, Costa Rica and Aves Island, Venezuela, with the Tortuguero rookery by far the largest (Carr et al., 1982). Much smaller nesting rookeries are scattered throughout the region. These include Florida, Mexico (Tamaulipas, Veracruz and the Yucatn Peninsula), Belize, Panama, the coastline of northern South America, and at selected sites in the Eastern Caribbean (Carr et al., 1982). The largest foraging aggregation of juveniles and adults is found on the extensive seagrass beds along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Smaller foraging aggregations have been documented in Florida, the Yucatn Peninsula, Panama, the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia, the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Bermuda and the southern Bahamas (Carr et al., 1982).Conservation StatusGreen turtles are classified as Endangered by the World Conservation Union (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996) and are protected by various international agreements. They are listed in Annex II of the SPAW Protocol to the Cartagena Convention (a Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife), Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), and Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The species is also included in the annexes to the Western Hemisphere Convention, a designation intended to convey that their protection is of “special urgency and importance” (Eckert, 1995). Recently, the governments of Costa Rica and Panama signed a cooperative agreement toward the conservation of marine turtles on their Caribbean coasts. International laws, classifications, and agreements, however, do not adequately protect nesting and foraging green turtle populations and their habitats. Both legal and illegal green turtle fisheries and egg harvesting still continue.ConclusionsTag recoveries from females tagged on their nesting beaches, and adult and immature turtles tagged on their foraging grounds or along migratory pathways make it evident that regional cooperation is not only important but imperative for the conservation of green turtles. Because of the highly migratory nature of this species, conservation efforts of one nation can be negated by the lack of, or ineffective actions of other nations. Thus, we must work together, within countries, between nations, and on a regional level to ensure our conservation efforts are the most effective for the recovery of green turtle populations throughout the wider Caribbean.AcknowledgementsI would like to thank Anne Meylan and Blair Witherington for allowing me to use their unpublished data, and Karen Eckert and Anne Meylan for the use of their slides for the presentation. I am grateful for the review and comments of Cathi Campbell in the preparation of the presentation and text.Literature CitedBaillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes. Balazs, G. H. 1982. Growth rates of immature green turtles in the Hawaiian Archipelago, pp. 117-125. In: K.A. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 583 pp. Bjorndal, K. A. and A. B. Bolten. 1988. Growth rates of immature green turtles, Chelonia mydas on feeding grounds in the southern Bahamas. Copeia 1988 (3):555564. Bjorndal, K. A. and A. Carr. 1989. Variation in clutch size and egg size in the green turtle nesting population at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Herpetologica 45(2):181-189. Carr, A. 1952. Handbook of Turtles: The Turtles of theKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 59

35 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 United States, Canada, and Baja California. Cornell University Press, New York. 542 pp. Carr, A. 1986. New perspectives on the pelagic stage of sea turtle development. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFSSEFC-190. U.S. Dept. Commerce. 36 pp. Carr, A. and A. B. Meylan. 1980. Evidence of passive migration of green turtle hatchlings in Sargassum Copeia 1980(2):366-368. Carr, A., M. H. Carr and A. B. Meylan. 1978. The ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 7. The West Caribbean green turtle colony. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 162(1):1-46. Carr, A., A. Meylan, J. Mortimer, K. Bjorndal and T. Carr. 1982. Surveys of sea turtle populations and habitats in the Western Atlantic. U. S. Department of Commerce NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-91. 91 pp. Carr Jr., A. F. 1954. The passing of the fleet. AIBS Bulleting 4:17-19. Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/ CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST and adopted by the Third Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Frazer, N. B. and L. M. Ehrhart. 1985. Preliminary growth models for green, Chelonia mydas and loggerhead, Caretta caretta turtles in the wild. Copeia 1985(1):73-79. Frazer, N. B. and R. C. Ladner. 1986. A growth curve for green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 1913-14. Copeia 1986(3):798-802. Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green Turtle and Hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World Status, Exploitation and Trade. CITES Secretariat, Lausanne, Switzerland. 601 pp. Hirth, H. F. 1997. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758). Biological Report 97(1):1-129. U. S. Department of Interior. Ingle, R. M. and F. G. W. Smith. 1949. Sea Turtles and the Turtle Industry of the West Indies, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, with Annotated Bibliography. University of Miami Press, Florida. 107 pp. King, F. W. 1982. Historical review of the decline of the green turtle and the hawksbill, pp. 183-188 In: K.A. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 583 pp. Lewis, C. B. 1940. The Cayman Islands and marine turtles. Bull. Inst. of Jamaica Sci. Ser. 2:56-65. Limpus, C. J. and D. G. Walter. 1980. The growth of immature green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) under natural conditions. Herpetologica 36(2):162-165. Meylan, A. B., B. W. Bowen and J. C. Avise. 1990. A genetic test of the natal homing versus social facilitation models for green turtle migration. Science 248:724-727. Meylan, P., A. B. Meylan and J. A. Gray-Conklin. in prep. The ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 8. Tests of the developmental habitat hypothesis. Mortimer, J. A. 1976. Observations on the feeding ecology of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas in the western Caribbean. Masters thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville. 100 pp. NMFS/FWS. 1991. Recovery Plan for U. S. Populations of the Atlantic Green Turtle. U. S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington D. C. 52 pp. Parsons, J. J. 1962. The Green Turtle and Man. University of Florida Press, Gainesville. 126 pp. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.2138. In: Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu G. and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Sol, G. 1994. Migration of the Chelonia mydas population from Aves Island, pp. 283-286. In: K. A. Bjorndal, A. B. Bolten, D. A. Johnson and P. J. Eliazar (compilers), Proceedings of the 14th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-351. 323 pp.

PAGE 60

Identity and DescriptionThe generic name Caretta was introduced by Rafinesque (1814). The specific name caretta was first used by Linnaeus (1758). The name Caretta is a Latinized version of the French word “caret”, meaning turtle, tortoise, or sea turtle (Smith and Smith, 1980). Smith and Smith (1980) suggested that the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic populations were differentiated at the subspecific level, but this conclusion has been challenged by Hughes (1974) and Pritchard and Trebbau (1984). In recent synopses of the biological data available on this species, Dodd (1988, 1990) considered C caretta to be monotypic. In the Wider Caribbean, the species is referred to as loggerhead in English, cabezon and caguama in Spanish, and caouanne in French (excerpted from Eckert, 1995). The loggerhead turtle is identifiable by the relatively large size of its head, thick carapace (often encrusted with barnacles and other epifauna), and reddish-brown pigmentation of the skin and carapace. In general there are five vertebral scutes and five pairs of non-overlapping costal (lateral) scutes on the carapace. There are two claws on each flipper. Adults can reach a size of 120 cm (straight carapace length) and weigh up to 200 kg (Pritchard et al., 1983), but more typical is an adult of 105 cm in straight carapace length and about 180 kg (Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999). The species is widely distributed in the subtropical and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Atlantic sightings are documented as far north as Terranova Island (Squires, 1954) and northern Europe (Brongersma, 1972), and as far south as Argentina (Frazier, 1984). Hatchlings are uniformly reddishor grayishbrown with a scute pattern identical to the adult. The typical straight carapace length is 45 mm, ranging from about 38-50 mm. Egg diameter ranges from 39-43 mm, with about 100-130 eggs laid per nest (see Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999).DistributionThe most important nesting grounds for this species in the Wider Caribbean Region are mainly located along the southeastern coast of the USA, principally in the state of Florida which hosts the second greatest nesting aggregation of this species in the world, surpassed only by the most important, located in Masirah Island, Oman, in the Indian Ocean. Of the total number of nestings documented in the USA each year, 93% are in Florida (FL), 5% in South Carolina (SC), and about 1% in each of Georgia (GA) and North Carolina (NC) (Figure 1). Nesting declined in these areas during the 1980’s (Ehrhart, 1989). Today the south Florida population is considered to be stable or improving. Witherington and Koeppel (1999) reported that the number of nests laid in Florida rose from 49,422 in 1989 to 85,985 in 1998. Based on 4.1 nests/ female/yr (Murphy and Hopkins, 1984) this annual nesting population has increased from 12,054 to 20,972 females. In contrast, the northern population (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina) is considered to be stable or declining, and the status of the Florida panhandle population cannot be determined at this time (TEWG, 2000). Other important nesting grounds are located on the Yucatan Peninsula (particularly along the coast of Quintana Roo in the Caribbean Sea), the islands and keys of the Cuban Archipelago, and Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Surveys for the Quintana Roo beaches in the early 1990’s suggested annual nestings of 1,300-2,200 (Zurita et al., 1993), with aStatus and Distribution of the Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, in the Wider Caribbean RegionFlix Moncada Gaviln Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras Ministerio de la Industria Pesquera Cuba36 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 61

!"#!$%!&&& !"# $%& %'( )*+,!-& ""#$% &''' ( ) (%* + "%,--'#(./ ",-0#"! /1'' 2''/"3",-4'5 /"(! 6$" 768+$*9+ "% "",---#: / ! +%$! ;&# ( !/<%% ) /+ $! 9" "! =8<>% / #? "! *;!.@ *. .9 % 'A!! "&0'# // !+%$! / ") /*%+" B$! +.# % 6 @) @ $
PAGE 62

(9 !: %% /% / # :%! / ,--4#? H:%!+% / ,--4? "",---#9 $ / *$7 ++ : +%% /=8 >%E+7 + : E ? 3< "%,--2# $!! /+ : 98*! /7; ;+98*#(! % "9! $!! /+ : + : / *! + : 7/ : 7D"!3I3< "%,--2,--2E+ @ /9$"7 + : E E+#<*(24!!J 3F .,-40 / + !,-40K20, 3 "@6,-&8 !$9L C@# ,&, +$,-4(!!: / : !"+ :3 ,&#K,',&, 6 +.,-44* /3 6 4 ./ %'()*+), -.//!0 123 34%5, + 4%66

PAGE 63

!"#!$%!&&& 01/' *.2 314((13%4(5@ *9 @,04# E*;7*:3 44,1#K,,,' 6 +.I,--'!K9K+ K !14,14 K+D8#+ /$"$"!%!* $"!%!!% 8).@,--06/<<+ / /98 97+%% E8G+$#M+$7<,-M;!%768 +$*9 !%9 /" */9$: + "" *$7 ,,,G %,--0E 8: "". -0!! 8@,-4-*! /@ 9 !,&&,K@G8 +/# 7$9*"! ",&,2G % ,-4B G$$9" ;**8;+&&2E*6!+ """ ;I,-41@ "G $ *G$ D! $ D<,-19 / $/ *" % G :! 06%* $/,11!! ./",-0* @#+ "%* $" D! ,#K&2 ,--';$G*!+ C ,, *9 /7 K$$ + /*9*!. ( 6;$G ;* !,&0,,#K,4, <;,--4 9 : #" # #% 9N/+ : E:D% !9*D !),-41$ : /"% E*;! ;* *8;+!! C6+FG
PAGE 64

CRC Press, New York. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.2138. In: Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu-Grobois and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Pritchard, P. C. H. and P. Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Contrib. Herpetol. No. 2. Pritchard, P., P. Bacon, F. Berry, A. Carr, J. Fletemeyer, R. Gallager, S. Hopkins, R. Lankford, R. Mrquez, L. Ogren, W. Pringle, Jr., H. Reichart and R. Witham. 1983. Manual of Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Techniques (Second Edition), K. Bjorndal and G. Balazs (eds.). Center for Environmental Education, Washington D.C. Smith, H. M. and R. B. Smith. 1980. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Vol. 6: Guide to Mexican turtles. Bibliographic addendum III. John Johnson, North Bennington, Vermont. 1044 pp. Squires, H. J. 1954. Records of marine turtles in the Newfoundland area. Copeia 1954: 68. TEWG [Turtle Expert Working Group]. 2000. Assessment Update for the Kemp’s Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtle Populations in the Western North Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-444. U.S. Department of Commerce. Witherington, B. and C. M. Koeppel. 1999. Sea turtle nesting in Florida, USA, during the decade 1989-1998: an analysis of trends. p. 94-96. In : H. J. Kalb and T. Wibbels (compilers), Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-443, 291 pp. Zurita, J., R. Herrera and B. Prezas, 1993. Tortugas marinas del Caribe, p.735-751. In : Biodiverdidad Marina y Costera de Mxico. Salazar-Vallejo, S.I y N.E. Gonzlez (Eds.). Com. Nal. Biodiversidad y CIQRO, Mxico. 865 pp.40 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 65

41 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Identity and DescriptionThe generic name Eretmochelys was introduced by Fitzinger (1843). The specific name imbricata is attributed to Linnaeus (1766) and refers to the over-lapping nature of the carapace scutes (see Eckert, 1995a). Common Caribbean vernacular names include hawksbill (English), carey (Spanish), tartaruga de pente (Portuguese), and tortue imbrique (French). The genus is currently considered to be monotypic. Two subspecies, E. i. imbricata in the Atlantic Ocean and E. i. squamata in the Pacific Ocean, have been described on the basis of differences in coloration and carapace shape (see Witzell, 1983 for review). However, the criteria have proven unreliable in distinguishing the two forms and subspecific designations are rarely used (Meylan, 1984; Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). The following combination of characteristics distinguishes the hawksbill from other sea turtles: two pairs of prefrontal scales between the eyes; thick, posteriorly overlapping scutes on the carapace; five vertebral scutes and four pairs of costal (lateral) scutes on the carapace; two claws on each flipper; and an alternating (asymmetrical) terrestrial gait. The head is relatively narrow and elongate. The beak tapers to a point, giving the animal a “bird-like” appearance. The carapace is heart-shaped in the youngest turtles and becomes more elongated (oval) as the turtle matures. The sides and rear portions of the carapace are typically serrated in all but very old animals. The epidermal scutes that overlay the carapace bone are commonly referred to as “tortoiseshell” or “bekko” and are prized in commerce. These scutes are often richly patterned with irregularly radiating streaks of brown and black on an amber background. The scutes of the plastron are usually clear yellow, with little or no dark pigmentation. The hawksbill is a small to medium sized turtle. The average size of a nesting female typically does not exceed 95 cm (straight carapace length, SCL) for Caribbean nesting assemblages, and often this average value is closer to 85-90 cm SCL. Weight data are uncommon, but it appears that adults average 80-85 kg in the Caribbean Sea. Hatchlings are uniform in color, usually gray or brown. They average 42 mm SCL (range: 39–46 mm) and range in weight from about 14–20 g. For informative summaries and greater detail, see Carr et al. (1966), Witzell (1983), Pritchard and Trebbau (1984), Meylan (1984), Groombridge and Luxmoore (1989), NMFS/ FWS (1993), Eckert (1995a, b), Van Dam (1997), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).EcologyHawksbills utilize different habitats at different stages of their life cycle. It is widely believed, based on sightings, strandings and gut content analyses, that post-hatchling hawksbills are pelagic and find shelter in weedlines associated with convergence zones. Sargassum and floating debris, such as Styrofoam, tar balls and plastic bits (common components of weedlines), are consistently found in the stomachs of young turtles. Hawksbills reenter coastal waters when they reach about 20–25 cm carapace length. Coral reefs provide foraging grounds for young juveniles, as well as subadults and adults. Reef ledges and caves provide shelter during periods of rest and refuge from predators. Hawksbills are also found around rocky outcrops and high-energyStatus and Distribution of the Hawksbill Turtle,Eretmochelys imbricata,in the Wider Caribbean RegionDiego F. Amorocho Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Colombia

PAGE 66

shoals, as well as mangrove-fringed bays and estuaries (NMFS/ FWS, 1993). Sponges are the principal diet of hawksbills once they take up residence in coastal waters. A high density turtle population may play a significant role in maintaining sponge species diversity in nearshore benthic communities in the Caribbean (van Dam and Diez, 1997). Meylan (1988) found that sponges contributed 95.3% of the total dry mass of all food items in the digestive tract samples from 61 animals from seven Wider Caribbean countries (19 sites in the Lesser Antilles, the Dominican Republic and Caribbean Panama). Investigators have also found an almost exclusive dietary preference for sponges by hawksbills feeding on the Cuban coastal shelf (Anderes Alvarez and Uchida, 1994). The predominance of specific taxa in the digesta suggests a degree of selectivity, perhaps related to distinctive properties of the sponges with respect to spongin and collagen (Meylan, 1985). This highly specific diet, with prey species dependent on filter-feeding in hard-bottom communities, makes the turtle vulnerable to deteriorating conditions on coral reefs. ReproductionData from tag returns, satellite telemetry, and genetic analyses indicate that adult Caribbean hawksbills can travel long distances between foraging and nesting grounds (e.g., Meylan, 1999; Bass, 1999a). Hawksbills typically nest on lowand highenergy beaches in tropical latitudes. Females may select small pocket beaches and, because of their small body size and agility, they can cross fringing reefs that limit access by other species. There is a wide tolerance for nesting substrate and nests are typically placed under woody vegetation. Hawksbills exhibit strong site fidelity to specific breeding grounds, returning at 2–5 year intervals throughout their reproductive years. A period of courtship and mating is followed by a nesting season that occurs mainly between July and October; in some locations nesting is recorded year-around. Egg-laying is principally nocturnal, although rare daytime nesting does occur. Only gravid females emerge from the sea. The entire nesting process (including emergence from and return to the sea) lasts 1–3 hours (NMFS/FWS, 1993). In Antigua, West Indies, the region’s most comprehensive long-term demographic study of nesting hawksbills, individuals deposit an average of five nests per nesting season at intervals of 14-16 days. Tagged females have been observed to lay as many as 12 clutches of eggs per season (Melucci et al., 1992). Clutch size is variable, averaging 155 eggs in Antigua (Richardson et al., 1999), 137 eggs in Mexico (Isla Aguada, Yucatn) (Frazier, 1991), and 136 eggs in Brazil (Marcovaldi et al., 1999). Eggs are approximately 40 mm in diameter. Incubation is variable depending on ambient temperature, but generally lasts about 60 days. As in other sea turtles, sex determination is largely temperature-dependent with cooler temperatures favoring males and warmer temperatures favoring females (Mrosovsky et al., 1995). Hatch success is relatively high, with typically greater than 75% of the eggs producing hatchlings that reach the sea. mtDNA analysis has shown that Caribbean nesting populations can be distinguished genetically, and that foraging “populations” are mixed assemblages consisting of individuals drawn from multiple nesting grounds (Bass, 1999; Daz-Fernndez et al., 1999).ThreatsHawksbills face the same threats that endanger all sea turtles, including marine debris and pollution, the illegal harvest of eggs and turtles, increased use and development of the coastal zone, beachfront lighting, incidental catch, etc. (Eckert, 1995b, c). Sadly, they are also singled out for their own special threat: humans find their shells highly attractive. Experts believe that the killing of hundreds of thousands of wild hawksbills in recent decades to service the shell trade has contributed substantively to population declines in the Caribbean and worldwide (Milliken and Tokunaga, 1987; Canin, 1991; WIDECAST, 1992; Meylan and Donnelly, 1999).Conservation StatusThe hawksbill is listed as Critically Endangered by the World Conservation Union (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996). The species is listed on Annex II of the Protocol to the ‘Cartagena Convention’ concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW Protocol), Appendix I of the Convention on42 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 67

43 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The species is also included in the annexes to the Western Hemisphere Convention, a designation intended to convey that their protection is of “special urgency and importance.” A global status review by IUCN concluded that the hawksbill was suspected or known to be declining in 56 of 65 geopolitical units where information was available (Groombridge and Luxmoore, 1989). The review stated, “the entire Western Atlantic-Caribbean region is greatly depleted.” Despite evience of population increases at some sites supporting long-term demographic studies, such as the increases in the Yucatn Peninsula of Mexico (Garduno et al., 1999), current levels of nesting may be far lower than previously estimated. Meylan (1999b) recently reported declining populations in 22 of 26 geopolitical units for which “some status and trend information is available.” Despite widespread protective legislation, an unsustainable and virtually unregulated level of legal and illegal take (for meat, eggs, shell) continues unabated in many countries and poses a significant threat to the survival of the species in the region. Hawksbills also are especially vulnerable to habitat loss because they rely upon coral reefs, one of the most endangered marine habitats (Meylan and Donnelly, 1999). Nearly all countries in the Caribbean host fewer than 100 nesting females per year (Meylan, 1989, 1999). The most recent federal status review of the hawksbill turtle in the United States recognized that numerous threats still exist, despite two decades of protection by the U.S. Endangered Species Act (Eckert, 1995b); hawksbills in other countries face many of these same threats, though they are less comprehensively documented.ConclusionsPriority actions need to be undertaken at national and international levels if Caribbean populations of hawksbill sea turtles are to be conserved for the future. These include the identification, protection and long-term monitoring of essential feeding, resting and nesting areas; the identification, status assessment and long-term monitoring of critical life stages; identification, quantification and mitigation of important sources of mortality; support for law enforcement; an emphasis on international cooperation and the sharing of information; and increased public awareness and participation in sea turtle (and general marine) conservation and management initiatives (Eckert, 1995a; WIDECAST, 1998).Literature CitedAnderes Alvarez, B. L. and I. Uchida. 1994. Study of the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) stomach contents in Cuban waters, p.27-40. In : Study of the hawksbill turtle in Cuba I. Ministry of Fishing Industry, Havana. Bass, A. L. 1999. Genetic analysis to elucidate the natural history and behavior of hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in the Wider Caribbean: a review and re-analysis. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):195-199. Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes. Canin, J. 1991. International trade aspects of the Japanese hawksbill shell (“bekko”) industry. Marine Turtle Newsletter 54:17-21. Carr, A. F., H. Hirth and L. Ogren. 1966. The Ecology and Migrations of Sea Turtles, 6: The Hawksbill in the Caribbean Sea. American Museum Novitates 2248:1-29. Daz-Fernndez, R., T. Okayama, T. Uchiyama, E. Carrillo, G. Espinosa, R. Mrquez, C. Diez and H. Koike. 1999. Genetic sourcing for the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata in the Northern Caribbean Region. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 296-300. Eckert, K. L 1995a. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Eckert, K. L. 1995b. Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata p.76-108. In : Pamela T. Plotkin (ed.), Status Reviews of Sea Turtles Listed Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. NOAA/ Natl. Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, Maryland. U. S. Dept. Commerce, Miami. 139 pp. Eckert, K. L. 1995c (Revised ed.). Anthropogenic threats to sea turtles, p.611-612. In : Karen A. Bjorndal (ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. Frazier, J. 1991. Una evaluacin del manejo de nido de tortugas marinas en la Pennsula de Yucatn, p.37-76. In :

PAGE 68

J. Frazier, R. Vzquez, E. Galicia, R. Durn and L. Capurro (eds), Memorias del IV Taller Regional sobre Programas de Conservacin de Tortugas Marinas en la Pennsula de Yucatn. Universidad Autnoma de Yucatn; Mrida, Mxico. Garduno-Andrade, M., V. Guzmn, E. Miranda, R. Briseo-Dueas and F. A. Abreu-Grobois. 1999. Increases in hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) nestings in the Yucatn Peninsula, Mexico, 1977-1996: data in support of conservation? Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):286-295. Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The Green Turtle and Hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World Status, Exploitation and Trade. CITES Secretariat, Lausanne, Switzerland. 601 pp. Marcovaldi, M. A., C. F. Vieitas and M. H. Godfrey. 1999. Nesting and Conservation Management of Hawksbill Turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in Northern Bahia, Brazil. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):301307. Melucci, C., J. I. Richardson, R. Bell and L. A. Corliss. 1992. Nest site preference and site fixity of hawksbills on Long Island, Antigua, p.171-174. In : M. Salmon and J. Wyneken (eds.), Proc. 11th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-302. U. S. Department of Commerce, Miami. Meylan, A. 1984. Biological Synopsis of the Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata p.112-117. In : Peter Bacon et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. Volume 1. RSMAS Printing, Miami, Florida. Meylan, A. 1985. The role of sponge collagens in the diet of the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata p.191-196. In : A. Bairati and R. Garrone (eds.), Biology of the Invertebrate and Lower Vertebrate Collagens. Plenum Publ. Corp. New York. Meylan, A. 1988. Spongivory in hawksbill turtles: a diet of glass. Science 239:393-395. Meylan, A. 1989. Status Report of the Hawksbill Turtle, p.101-115. In : L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proc. 2nd Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S. Department of Commerce. 401 pp. Meylan, A. B. 1999a. International movements of immature and adult hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in the Caribbean region, Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):177-184. Meylan, A. B. 1999b. Status of the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in the Caribbean Region. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):177-184. Meylan, A. and M. Donnelly. 1999. Status justification for listing the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) as Critically Endangered on the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):200-224. Milliken, T. and H. Tokunaga. 1987. The Japanese Sea Turtle Trade 1970-1986. Prepared by TRAFFIC (JAPAN) for the Center for Environmental Education, Wash. D.C. 171 pp. Mrosovsky, N., A. Bass, L. A. Corliss and J. I. Richardson. 1995. Pivotal and beach temperatures for hawksbill turtles nesting in Antigua, p.87. In : J. I. Richardson and T. H. Richardson (compilers), Proc. 12th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-361. U. S. Department of Commerce, Miami. 274 pp. NMFS/FWS. 1993. Recovery Plan for the Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata in the U.S. Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. National Marine Fisheries Service, St. Petersburg, Florida. U. S. Department of Commerce. 52 pp. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.2138. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu G. and M. A. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Pritchard, P. C. H. and P. Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of Venezuela. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Richardson, J. I., R. Bell and T. H. Richardson. 1999. Population ecology and demographic implications drawn from an 11-year study of nesting hawksbill turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata at Jumby Bay, Long Island, Antigua, West Indies. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2):244-250. Van Dam, R. P. 1997. Ecology of Hawksbill Turtles on Feeding Grounds at Mona and Monito Islands, Puerto Rico. Dissertation. University of Amsterdam. 118 pp. Van Dam, R. P. and C. E. Diez. 1997. Predation by hawksbill turtles on sponges at Mona Island, Puerto Rico, p.1421-1426. In : H. A. Lessios and Ian G. Macintyre (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium, 24-29 June 1996, Panam. Volume 2. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panam. WIDECAST. 1992. An introduction to the international trade in endangered sea turtles and their products in the44 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 69

45 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Wider Caribbean Region, and a plea for all countries to join CITES. Prepared for the CITES Implementation Training Seminar, Port of Spain, 14-18 September 1992. Unpubl. 19 pp. WIDECAST. 1998. General Criteria for a Regional Management Plan for Sea Turtles. Prepared for the 14th Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee Meeting, Caracas, 25-29 May 1998. Unpubl. 8 pp. Witzell, W. N. 1983. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766). FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 137. United Nations, Rome. 78 pp.

PAGE 70

46DescriptionFamily Cheloniidae, Lepidochelys kempii Garman (1880) Common names: tortuga lora, bastarda, Kemp’s ridley, tartaruga bastarda, tortue de Kemp The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles. An adult weighs between 30-50 kg, with a straight carapace length (SCL) of 50-78 cm. The color of the carapace in an adult is olive green; the underside (plastron) is yellowish white. The form of the carapace is semicircular. The head is triangular, with a thick and somewhat hooked beak, not serrated. There is a pore in each inframarginal scute of the bridge. The spherical, white-shelled eggs measure 3445 mm in diameter and weigh 24-40 g. Hatchlings are uniformly black in color, averaging 44 mm SCL and approximately 17.2 g in weight. The hatchlings show three dorsal longitudinal ridges and four in the plastron, with a small sharp protrusion or spine on each scute (with age these protrusions disappear). In immature stages, the turtles have an almost black dorsal surface and a white underside. For additional information beyond that provided in this brief overview, the reader is referred to Wibbels (1984), Ross et al. (1989), Mrquez (1989, 1990, 1994), Caillouet and Landry (1989), Chvez et al. (1990), Byles (1993), Eckert et al. (1994), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).BiologyThe species occurs mainly in the Gulf of Mxico and adults can be found throughout the continental shelf (Figure 1). It is not known where the hatchlings go immediately upon entering the water, but they can be observed moving along the coast. Based on documented sightings in oceanic waters, we assume that the first migration of these immatures is directed toward pelagic areas, and I believe that the young turtles stay within the Gulf Stream for two or three years. A large number of immatures are carried out of the Gulf of Mxico by the Gulf Stream and distributed along the eastern seaboard of the USA (Figure 1). Quite a few continue their trip to European coasts; it is uncertain whether these turtles can or will ever return to their place of origin. It is believed that when turtles reach approximately 25 cm SCL, they begin their return to the Gulf of Mxico. Seasonal migrations along the eastern seaboard of the USA are known to occur. If individuals remain too long in their northern feeding zones as temperatures decrease during the fall and winter months, they may experience “coldstunning” and wash ashore dead or dying on beaches along Cape Cod, Long Island Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Carolina Sound, etc. (Richard Byles, in litt. 1999).ReproductionMost marine turtles nest during the night but, for some reasons of adaptation, this species nests during daylight hours (Hildebrand, 1963). Nesting occurs mainly along the long sandy coastal strip around Rancho Nuevo in Tamaulipas, Mxico (Figure 2), and especially when strong winds blow. Nesting occurs from April to July and the hatchlings appear from May to August or September. Females reach sexual maturity at 10 to 12 years of age and at a minimum size of 55 cm SCL. The maximum observed size among breeders is 78 cm SCL. It is interesting to mention that while the average annual size (SCL) has remained constant atStatus and Distribution of the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, in the Wider Caribbean RegionRen Mrquez M. Programa Nacional de Investigacin de Tortugas Marinas SEMARNAP / INP MxicoKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 71

!"#!$%!&&& !"#$% &''( !"#$%&'( ) ) '* +,) )) )'*

PAGE 72

!"" # $ $ % & $ '(#)&# %) *+, (#)!... ,//0*+, $ 12,# %!..32 !.445$$ %6""" *7'!..8!..42 $!.39!.3: :9";!.33$ $ 3<&= 52> !6 !.4= !.8:$2; ;$!.4=D 8"""" $ *!.8:2!.44 $ *+, $ 5 $ 6"> $E $*+,(#) ,89> $$ !.:3!.33?$!.3.!.." $& !..! !..4 !6"> $#!..: 6""> 5B5 C!.:: 2!.:3@ A *F(#01 $ $*+, (#)$ G @ A2!.:3 B C $ 6""" 51 2,$) $ D $12 *+,5 **&#$ 0,# 0*+, .!" (#)!..6 B ,$C/ *+, (#)6"" / $ !.3",/ / $ !..6(#) )!..8*,/ $ (#83 !"#$!%#&'#'($ )%&*#+,*-,,

PAGE 73

8. .($#+) #/-0 "-111+/-(-,2 ",-345&+,666 !"##$%

PAGE 74

, (#)2 $H/I&*)%*% + D*0J/* #71) 1 251K%21* 1>D1J 01L, #!.44 $$ 2*+,52 50M / 5&M 11*F& &% $ 5 $(#) &E#5 *3># 01LD, ) > & >M% E2/%)# 2(%50 / $ D-D0 $!..4!..42(%5 ) E%( 2(%50#=43N, D!..=;#, @ A*54=H!= %%E)*!.3.1 &2# @ A#D% )*(#03.!"9,)O*( #0%1 0,64" %7;*%01;7/ !..")$ 0 9" &'()*+ !"#$!%#&'#'($ )%&*#+,*-,,

PAGE 75

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

PAGE 76

52Identity and DescriptionThe generic name Lepidochelys was introduced by Fitzinger (1843). The specific name olivacea was first used by Eschscholtz (1829), but in conjunction with the genus Chelonia Soon thereafter the binomial Caretta olivacea was published (Rppell 1835), and there were subsequent modifications as well (summarized by Mrquez, 1990). Today two species are recognized, L. olivacea and L. kempii L. olivacea is rare in the Western Atlantic, but large populations inhabit the Indo-Pacific; hence, the common literature misnomer ‘Pacific ridley’ (see Eckert, 1995). The preferred English name is olive ridley. In Spanish it is known as golfina; in French, tortue olivtre; in Portuguese, tartaruga oliva. The olive ridley is one of the smallest of the marine turtles, rarely exceeding 45 kg, with average weights around 35 kg (Schulz, 1975). The basic morphological differences between L. olivacea and L. kempii include a smaller head in the olive ridley and differences in jaw structure. The carapace of the olive ridley is distinctive in having a variable and often uneven number of lateral scutes, between 6 and 10 pairs. The genus is unique in having four pairs of pores in the inframarginal scutes of the plastron (Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999). The function of these pores is unknown. Adults are generally olive colored; hatchlings are uniformly dark brown. Hatchlings average 42 mm in carapace length and typically weigh 16-19 g. The costal and vertebral scutes are keeled in hatchlings. Carapace scutes are slightly imbricate (overlapping) in hatchlings and young juveniles, but non-overlapping in adults. For a more in-depth review of the description and/or ecology of this species, the reader is referred to Pritchard (1969), Schulz (1975), Reichart (1989, 1993), Eckert (1995), Pritchard and Plotkin (1995), and Pritchard and Mortimer (1999).Ecology and Reproduction Olive ridley turtles are distributed in all tropical and subtropical ocean basins. On a global scale, the olive ridley is probably the most abundant species of marine turtle, with some nesting beaches receiving more than half a million turtles during a nesting season (up to 800,000 on Gahirmatha beach, in Orissa, India — Anonymous, 1994; more than 700,000 on Playa Escobilla on the Pacific coast of Mexico Mrquez et al., 1996). Ironically, it is also the least abundant marine turtle in the Western Atlantic region. Olive ridleys exist in distinct populations in primarily coastal habitats, but captures far offshore indicate that at least some individuals may be pelagic. The species is carnivorous, generally eating crustaceans and invertebrates, and prefers foraging areas that are near biologically rich bays and estuaries (Reichart, 1993). Migrations and movements are known to exist (based on tag returns) along the coasts of Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil, but very little is known about the behavior of the species at sea, including migratory paths. There are no reliable data on age to sexual reproduction or maximal longevity (Reichart, 1993). Olive ridleys lay 2-3 nests per year, and often nest in consecutive years. In Suriname, clutch size ranges from 30-168 eggs (average: 116) (Schulz, 1975). Some populations in the Indo-Pacific nest en masse a phenomenon which used to occur in Suriname but has not be witnessed for over 20 years in the Western Atlantic. During these events, known as “arribadas”, from tens to hundreds of thousands of turtles emerge from the ocean to nest on the same beach over a period of a few days. The stimuli which precipitate the beginning of an arribada may include environmental factors such as wind speed and direction and phases of the tide and moon, and gravid females apparently can delay nesting for sev-Status and Distribution of the Olive Ridley Turtle, Lepidochelysolivacea, in the Western Atlantic OceanMaria ngela Marcovaldi Fundao Pr-TAMAR BrazilKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 77

53 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 eral weeks, despite the presence of fully shelled eggs. Arribada nesting continues during daylight hours also, in contrast to most other marine turtle species that prefer to lay their eggs under the cover of darkness. The arribada behavior is not fully understood. It has been suggested that this is a form of predator saturation which may increase the likelihood of survival of the hatchlings produced (Pritchard, 1969). Evidence from Pacific Costa Rica suggests that, on average, a nest laid during an arribada is less likely to suffer predation than a nest laid by a solitary female (Eckrich and Owens, 1995). However, gains made in terms of predation rates may be negated by losses in hatching rates: typically, the hatching success of nests laid during arribadas is terribly small; for example, only around 5% of the eggs laid on Nancite beach, in Costa Rica actually produce viable hatchling (Cornelius, 1986). This is thought to be due largely to turtles digging into previously laid nests, and the high levels of bacteria and other microorganisms present in the sand. After the arribada, individual turtles migrate to other areas independently, rather than in flotillas or groups. This is based on data collected while tracking individual turtles with satellite transmitters, following nesting during an arribada in Costa Rica (Plotkin et al., 1995). Distribution and TrendsIn the western Atlantic there are only three countries in which significant numbers of olive ridley nests (totaling about 1,400-1,600 nests) are made each year: • Suriname: Principally Eilanti beach, and secondarily Matapica beach • French Guiana: Ya:lima:po beach and others, both east and west of Cayenne • Brazil: the beaches of Pirambu, Abas, and Ponta dos Mangues in the state of Sergipe, in northern Brazil There are few, if any, records of olive ridley nests outside these areas in the western Atlantic. Incidental capture of olive ridley turtles has been recorded mostly near the Guianas and in northern Brazil, although there are records of animals caught in the waters of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil (Schulz, 1975; Marcovaldi et al., in press). Suriname: In Suriname, the local name for olive ridley is warana The yearly total of warana nests laid each year in Suriname has been declining (see “Threats”) for the past 30 years from a high of 3300 in 1968 to fewer than 200 in 1999 (Figure 1). The principal nesting beach for olive ridleys in Suriname is Eilanti beach, close to the border with French Guiana. Small-scale arribadas were seen in the late 1960s and 1970s on Eilanti beach, but have not occurred since. French Guiana: The local name for olive ridley in French Guiana is tortueolivtre Until recently the focus of monitoring in French Guiana was Ya:lima: po beach, which is frequented by enormous numbers of leatherback turtles each year (Girondot and Fretey, 1996). There are numerous beaches in the western half of the country, from the border with Suriname to Cayenne, and some with as many as 25 olive ridley nests laid per night; an estimated 500 nests were laid in 1999 (Johan Chevalier, pers. comm.). East of Cayenne to the border with Brazil, the beaches were regularly monitored for the first time in 1999; an estimated 500 nests were encountered in this region (Jean-Christophe Vi, pers. comm.). Due to the lack of consistent data, it is not known if these relatively large numbers of nests are the result of (i) true population increases, (ii) displacement of females from Suriname, or (iii) the increased monitoring and reporting effort. Indeed, all these factors may be at play in this situation. Certainly regular monitoring is needed in French Guiana in order to better characterize the status of the population. Brazil: In Sergipe, on the northern coast of Brazil, regular monitoring was begun in 1982 at Pirambu beach, the principal nesting site of olive ridleys in Brazil. Since 1989, nests have been protected in three areas in Sergipe: Abas, Pirambu, and Ponta dos Mangues. Despite fluctuations in the annual numbers of nests, the overall pattern seems to be steady, with a yearly mean of 200-400 nests (Figure 2). There is no evidence that arribadas previously existed in Sergipe. Indeed, the lack of a common name for this species in Brazil suggests that its relative scarcity has been long-term.

PAGE 78

!"#!$%!&&& !""#$ %& '( )(* +,-,.$ / !""0$12 341+4543& 41+6,& ,12, *3+ ,*3$1 ,,7& 3 /,$38& ,*3 94& $!"": ,*32 *9!""$ !"#$%&"'()*+,--#$

PAGE 79

!"#!$%!&&& & 123 +1 ";< & /= !;;; + 3& /= 3 1& 2& 3 !""#$ */ 9& & & = +19& & >73.13-3 ."-/'" 0"1+""-" 20#34$ 56'&!(-&

PAGE 80

56Jeroen Swinkels of BIOTOPIC, Johan Chevalier of ONC, Laurent Kelle of WWF-France, and JeanChristophe Vie of the Kwata Project in French Guiana. Thanks to Jaqueline C. de Castilho and Augusto Csar C. Dias da Silva of the Projeto TAMAR-IBAMA bases in Sergipe for their dedication over the years in conserving the olive ridleys in Brazil, and thanks to Matthew Godfrey for help with organizing the data.Literature CitedAnonymous. 1994. Concern rises over threat to Indian turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 64: 1-3. Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes. Cornelius, S. 1986. The Sea Turtles of Santa Rosa National Park. Fundacin de Parques Nacionales, Costa Rica. 64 pp. Eckert, K. L. 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Eckrich, C. E. and D. Wm. Owens. 1995. Solitary versus arribada nesting in the olive ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys olivacea ): a test of the predator-satiation hypothesis. Herpetologica 51: 349-354. Girondot, M. and Fretey, J. 1996. Leatherback turtles, Dermochelyscoriacea nesting in French Guiana, 19781995. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2(2): 204208. Marcovaldi, M. ., B. G. Gallo, E. H. S. M. Lima and M. H. Godfrey. In press. Nem tudo que cai na rede peixe : an environmental education initiative to reduce mortality of marine turtles caught in artisanal fishing nets in Brazil. Ocean Yearbook. Mrquez M., R. 1990. Sea Turtles of the World. FAO Species Catalogue Vol. 11. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome. 81 pp. Mrquez M., R., Peaflores, C., and Vasconcelos, J. 1996. Olive ridley turtles ( Lepidochelysolivacea ) show signs of recovery at Escobilla, Oaxaca. Marine Turtle Newsletter 73: 5-7. Plotkin, P. T., R. A. Byles, D. C. Rostal and D. Wm. Owens. 1995. Independent versus socially facilitated oceanic migrations of the olive ridley, Lepidochelysolivacea. Marine Biology 122: 137-143. Pritchard, P. C. H. 1969. Sea Turtles of the Guianas. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Series 13: 85-140. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J. A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification, p.2138. In : Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu G. and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Pritchard, P. C. H. and P. T. Plotkin. 1995. Olive ridley sea turtle, Lepidochelys olivacea p.123-139. In : P. T. Plotkin (ed.), National Marine Fisheries Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Status Reviews for Sea Turtles Listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, Maryland. Reichart, H. A. 1989. Status report on the olive ridley sea turtle, p.175-188. In : L. Ogren (Editor-in-Chief), Proceedings of the Second Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-226. U. S. Department of Commerce. 401 pp. Reichart, H. A. 1993. Synopsis of Biological Data on the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelysolivacea (Eschscholtz 1829) in the western Atlantic. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-336. U.S. Dept. of Commerce. 78 pp. Reichart, H. A. and J. Fretey. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Suriname (K. L. Eckert, ed.). CEP Technical Report No. 24. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. 65 pp. Schulz, J. P. 1975. Sea turtles nesting in Surinam. Zoologische Verhandelingen 143:1-143.Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 81

Session IIMarine Turtle Management Goals and CriteriaManagement Planning for Long-Lived SpeciesJohn A. Musick, PresenterManagement and Conservation Goals for Marine TurtlesNat B. Frazer, Presenter Open Forum Miguel Jorge, Moderator57 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 82

59 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Reginal Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 AbstractLong-lived marine animals generally grow slowly and mature at a late age. In addition, many longlived species have low fecundity or variable and infrequent recruitment. Long-lived marine animals are particularly vulnerable to excessive mortalities and rapid population collapse after which recovery may take decades. The von Bertalanffy growth coefficient (k) is a useful index in addressing the potential vulnerability of populations to excessive mortality. Groups that have k coefficients < .0.10 are particularly vulnerable and include most elasmobranchs (for example, sharks), all sturgeons, many large teleosts (bony fish), and all the cheloniid sea turtles (among others). Another useful index in assessing the vulnerability of populations to excessive mortality is the intrinsic rate of increase (r). Vulnerability is inversely proportional to r, with groups that have annual increase rates < 10% being particularly at risk. These include most elasmobranchs, all sturgeons, many teleosts, all sea turtles, many sea birds, and large cetaceans. Traditional surplus production models may be inappropriate for most long-lived marine animals because of the long lag-time in population response to harvesting. Rather, demographic models based on life-history parameters have provided useful recently in assessing impacts of mortality on longlived species such as sharks and sea turtles. The greatest threats to long-lived marine animals come from mixed species fisheries in which long-lived species are taken ancillary to more abundant, productive species. Such fisheries may drive long-lived species to extirpation while the more productive species sustain catches. Resource managers need to be aware of the critical management requirements of long-lived species. In most instances such species can sustain only limited excess harvesting. To ignore the special nature of the population dynamics of long-lived species leads inevitably to population collapse or even extirpation.IntroductionLife history traits have proven valuable in predicting the responses of populations to various perturbations (Begon et al., 1986; Gadgil and Bossert, 1970; Southwood, et al., 1974). Adams (1980) pointed out that fishes which grow fast and mature at an early age, and have short life spans, have higher maximum sustainable yields and recover relatively rapidly from over-fishing, whereas slower growing, later maturing, long-lived species provide low maximum sustainable yields and recover slowly from over-fishing. Jennings et al. (1998) showed that in 18 intensively exploited fish stocks, those fishes that had the highest declines, mature later, are larger, and had lower potential rates of population increase compared with their nearest taxonomic relatives. Parent and Schrimi (1995) evaluated a matrix of 51 variables that could contribute toManagement Planning for Long-Lived SpeciesJohn A. Musick1Department of Fisheries Science Virginia Institute of Marine Science College of William and Mary USA Presented by: Nat B. Frazer Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida USA

PAGE 83

increased risk of extinction in 117 species of freshwater fishes in the Great Lakes of the U.S. They found age at maturity to be one of the most important predictors of extinction risk, and that longlived species were the most vulnerable. Crouse et al. (1987) showed that the loggerhead sea turtle ( Caretta caretta ), a slow growing, long-lived species, had a very low potential for recovery after severe population reduction. In a paper dealing with demographics and management of long-lived turtles, Congdon et al. (1993) stated “The concept of sustainable harvest of already-reduced populations of long-lived organisms appears to be an oxymoron.” Landa (1997) examined the relevance of life history theory to harvest and conservation and noted that certain life history traits such as low intrinsic rate of increase and large body weight were interrelated in a predictive way. He also noted that these and other life history traits, such as low fecundity, could be used to predict the potential effects of harvest on populations. Thus, life history traits have been used by workers to better understand the effects of excessive anthropogenic mortalities on specific groups of long-lived animals and to predict population recovery trajectories. Until recently, very little work has been done to compare life history parameters across major taxonomic boundaries. Musick (1999a) introduced the notion that several higher taxa of long-lived marine vertebrates share quantitative life history parameters that are useful in predicting vulnerability and in formulating conservation strategies across taxonomic boundaries. The present paper will explore that notion further.Growth RatesThe relative rate of growth is a critical component of every species’ life history strategy. Growth rate of a species may define size or age at maturity, maximum size or age, and potential production (Chaloupka and Musick, 1997). Growth may be defined in quantitative terms in many ways (Hilborn and Walters, 1992), but among the most useful are the von Bertalanffy, Logistic, and Gompertz mathematical models (Beverton and Holt, 1957; Ricker, 1958). The von Bertalanffy model has had most widespread application, although statistical computer programs are available that easily produce all three models from the same input parameters (Parham and Zug, 1997). In its simplest form (von Bertalanffy, 1938), the model may be expressed thusly:Lt= L(l e-k(t to))where: Lt= length at age t; L= asymptotic length; k= growth coefficient; to= age when length is theoretically zero. Among the parameters provided by the model, the growth coefficient k is especially useful in comparing life history strategies and limitations among species. Among the fishes (where much research on growth has been done), values of k may vary from 0.80 to 1.40 in a rapidly growing anchovy ( Thryssa hamiltoni ) (Hoedt, 1992); 0.17 to 0.25 in a spanish mackeral ( Scomberomorus commersoni ), a species with moderate growth (McPherson, 1992); 0.09-0.19 for swordfish ( Xiphias gladius ) (Berkeley and Houde, 1983); and 0.04 to 0.07 in some of the slowest growing galeoid sharks (Branstetter, 1990) (Table 1). Slow growth is associated with late maturity and long life span (Hoenig and Gruber, 1990; Smith et al., 1998). Within the carcharhiniform sharks, small species such as Mustelus henlei and Rhizoprionodon terraenovae tend to have much faster growth, earlier maturity and shorter life spans than large species such as Carcharhinus plumbeus and Carcharhinus obscurus (Camhi et al., 1998; Yudin and Cailliet, 1990; Corts, 1995; Sminkey and Musick, 1996; Natanson et al., 1995). Most shark species are at extreme risk of over-harvesting because of their conservative life history traits (Musick et al., 2000a). Beverton and Holt (1959) compared 69 stocks of fish and showed a general inverse relationship between k (growth rate) and L(asymptotic size); i.e., large fishes grow relatively slowly compared to small fishes. However, caution is advised in making generalizations about size-growth rate relationships outside of limited taxonomic boundaries. For instance, another small shark, Squalus acanthias comparable in size to Mustelus and Rhizoprionodon but in a different Order (Squaliformes), has very slow growth which is comparable to that of large Carcharhinformes (Jones and Geen, 1977; Ketchen, 1975; Nammack et al., 1985). Stevens (1999) compared the history of the fisheries of two small triakid sharks, Galeorhinus galeus and Mustelus antarcticus off60 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 84

61 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Table 1. Von Bertalanffy Growth Coefficient (k) (after Musick 1999b)Speciesk coefficientSource Thryssa hamiltoni 0.80-1.40Hoedt, 1992 anchovy (IndoPacific) Thunnus albacares 0.45Moore, 1951 yellowfin tuna Paralichthys dentatus 0.32-0.40Desfosse, 1995 summer flounder Dermochelys coriacea 0.27Parham and Zug, 1996 leatherback sea turtle Scomberomorus commerson 0.17-0.25McPherson, 1992 Spanish mackerel Mycteroperca sp.0.06-0.17Ault et al., 1998 groupers Epinephelus sp.0.05-0.18Ault et al., 1998 groupers Xiphias gladius 0.09-0.19Berkley and Houde, 1983 swordfish Acipenser oxyrinchus 0.03-0.16Kahnle et al., 1998 Atlantic sturgeon Galeoid sharks0.04-0.07Branstetter, 1990 (Carcharhindae) Cheloniid sea turtles~ 0.08Chaloupka and Musick, 1997 (all sea turtles, excluding Dermochelys ) Australia. The slow growing G. galeus had become overfished, whereas the more productive M. antarcticus was being harvested sustainably even though both had been under management for several years. Among the osteichthyans the Chondrostei (sturgeons) are large anadromous or fresh water species. Most sturgeon species in the world have become severely depleted, or extirpated (Birstein, 1993). All sturgeons have relatively slow growth and, in addition, they are particularly vulnerable to spawning and nursery habitat destruction because of their anadromous behavior. Atlantic sturgeon ( Acipenser oxyrinchus ) stocks in Delaware Bay (USA) were virtually extirpated by over-fishing in the late 19thcentury in little more than a decade, and have shown little recovery since (Secor and Waldman, 1999). This species has very slow growth (Table 1) and has undergone similar declines in the Chesapeake Bay and in New England (Musick et al., 1994; Musick, in press). Myers et al. (1997) related growth rate to age at

PAGE 85

maturity and intrinsic rate of increase (r) in Atlantic cod ( Gadus morhua ). They noted that northern stocks of cod off Canada had slower growth, later maturity, and lower r values, than southern stocks. Consequently, it was the northern stocks that were most severely depleted (some to the point of extirpation) by gross over-fishing. Likewise, Casey and Myers (1998) showed that the northern-most Newfoundland stocks of the barndoor skate ( Raja laevis ) had been extirpated by severe over-fishing, whereas the southern stocks off New England still persisted although at a severely depleted level. Groupers ( Mycteroperca sp. and Epinephelus sp. ) are a group of tropical percomorph reef fishes, many of which are large and slow growing. Ault et al. (1998) recorded k coefficients for this group of 0.05-0.18, with the larger species having the lower growth rates. It is these larger, slower growing species such as Nassau grouper ( E. striatus ) and jewfish ( E. itajara ) that have been severely depleted or locally extirpated by a multi-species line fishery off the southeastern United States (Coleman et al., 1999; Huntsman et al., 1999). Some of these species form large local seasonal spawning aggregations that are particularly vulnerable to fisheries. In addition, groupers and several other groups of reef-dwelling percomorphs are protogynous. Individuals mature first as females, then switch both morphologically and behaviorally into males when they are larger and older (larger territorial males have a strong advantage over smaller males in breeding). Overfishing may cull out the larger males at a faster rate than the rate of sex reversal, and severely skew the sex ratio toward an even larger proportion of females than is natural (Vincent and Sadovy, 1998). There is evidence that, for some heavily-fished protogynous reef fishes off the southeastern U.S., the number of males has been so reduced as to severely compromise the reproductive capacity of the populations (Coleman et al., 2000; Huntsman et al., 1999). This is an example of population depensation, where the recruitment drops suddenly below that predicted from the normal stock-recruitment relationship, and where the population suddenly crashes (Musick, 1999b). A comparison of k coefficient values from fishes with those estimated for different sea turtle species may provide insights into the ecology and vulnerability of both groups. Among the sea turtles, the growth coefficient (k) for the Kemp’s ridley ( Lepidochelys kempii ) (Zug et al., 1997), the western Atlantic loggerhead (Klinger and Musick, 1995), and the Atlantic green turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) (Bjorndal et al, 1995; Frazer and Ladner, 1986) is 0.08. This value is similar to that found in the slowest growing osteichthyans and in large sharks. Comparisons of growth coefficients among chondrosteans, teleosts, elasmobranchs and sea turtles are enlightening because they suggest that the slower growing members of these groups have similar growth patterns, and thus share similar life history limitations and extreme vulnerability to anthropogenic mortality. Animals with k coefficients < 0.10 seem to be particularly at risk (Musick, 1999a).Demographic AnalysesStage-based population models have been used to study terrestrial animal populations for many years (Krebs, 1978). These models utilize population data on age specific fecundity, survivorship, age at maturity, life span, and growth rates to estimate the net reproductive rate per generation (Ro), generation time (G), and intrinsic rate of population increase (r) (Caswell, 1989) (Table 2). The method has not been used much by workers studying marine animals. Rather, in the study of marine fishes, an extensive population modeling methodology has evolved based on sampling the catches of fisheries (Hilborn and Walters, 1992) and related techniques. One widely applied group of models are stock production or biomass dynamic models. These provide estimates of surplus production which approximate the intrinsic rates of increase of the population under study. Stock production models have proven valuable in managing many groups of teleosts (Hilborn and Walters, 1992), but are inappropriate for long-lived species because of their long lag period in the reaction of surplus production to stock density (Ricker, 1958). Unfortunately, such models have been used in fishery management plans (FMPs) for long-lived sharks, and have failed because they grossly overestimated r (Musick, 1999a). Hoff (1990) had cautioned that traditional fisheries population models were inappropriate for long-lived species such as sharks, and suggested that demographic models would provide more accurate62 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 86

estimates of the population responses under differing levels of fishery mortality. Agardy (1989) emphasized the importance of having information about the intrinsic rate of increase (r) before a comprehensive management plan could be developed for sea turtles. Crouse et al. (1987) used a stage-based matrix model to study the demographics of the loggerhead sea turtle in the western Atlantic. This species has been listed as Threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Data presented in Crouse et al. (1987) and from Frazer (1983) suggest that the loggerhead has a low intrinsic rate of increase (r=0.06). Sensitivity analysis to simulate different levels of mortality at various stages in the species’ life history determined that survivorship of large juveniles was critical to population maintenance or recovery (Crouse et al., 1987). Crowder et al. (1994) further refined this model to predict the impact of trawl Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on loggerhead population recovery. Bonfil (1990) used a similar stage based matrix model and sensitivity analysis to study the demographics of the long-lived silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformes ) off Campeche, Mexico. His conclusions were similar to those of Crouse et al. (1987), survivorship of larger juveniles was critical for population maintenance. Corts (1999) came to similar conclusions regarding the sandbar shark ( C. plumbeus ), and Heppell et al., (1999) using elasticity analysis came to similar conclusions for two species of sharks in other Families (Triakidae, Squatinidae), for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle ( Lepidochelys kempii ), and for the wandering albatross ( Diomedea exulans ). Many sea birds, particularly the diomedid albatrosses and procellarid petrels and shearwaters, are latematuring (6-10 years) and virtually all seabirds have very low fecundity (clutches of 1-2 eggs) (Russell, 1999). Most cetaceans, particularly the balaenopterid whales, have very low intrinsic rates of increase (Best, 1993). Table 3 compares life history parameters and increase rates for several cetaceans and sharks, the loggerhead turtle, the royal albatross, and, for perspective, the African elephant. Species that have annual intrinsic increase rates < 10% seem to be particularly vulnerable to excessive mortalities (Musick, 1999a).ManagementSome long-lived species, such as the African elephant, sea turtles and balaenopterid whales, have been protected from international trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and some species of seabirds and sharks have been listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996). The precarious conservation status and intrinsic vulnerability of elephants, whales, and sea turtles has been recognized for many years, yet the vulnerability of seabirds and sharks has only recently been recognized by conservationists and resource managers. Recent consultations sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization are focused on assessing and reducing the high mortalities of seabirds in pelagic long-line and driftnet fisheries and on assessing the global status of shark populations. This effort is better late than never, but many seabird and shark populations have already been severely impacted (Russell, 1999; Camhi et al., 1998).63 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Table 2. Demographic Parameter(after Musick 1999b)si= survivorship at age or stage i tmat= age-at-maturity tmax= longevity mx= fecundity G = generation time = mean period between birth of parents and birth of all offspring Ro= net reproductive rate = no. females born in generation t+1 no. females born in generation t r = intrinsic rate of population increase r = log e (R o ) G

PAGE 87

Managers continue to be ignorant of, or choose to ignore the vulnerable nature of long-lived animals. Lessons learned by the conservation community from past histories of long-lived species seem to be lost on those who manage the world’s fisheries which remain the single greatest source of mortality for long-lived marine animal populations (Musick, 1999a; Musick et al., 2000b). Sharks continue to be killed in large numbers worldwide for the Asian fin market with no management. Only a few countries have implemented management plans for their shark populations (Camhi et al., 1998). Even in shark fisheries that are managed, more common species with greater rebound potentials continue to support the fisheries while less resilient species taken in the same fisheries may64Table 3. Demographics of Selected Vertebrates (after Musick 1999b) Annual Rate of Age toLifeLitterReproductivePopulation MaturitySpanSizePeriodicityIncreaseSource (yrs)(yrs)(yrs)(%) Loxodonta africana 8-1355-6012.5-94.0-7.0(Larsen and african elephant(favorableBekoff, 1978) conditions) Orcinus orca 5-957-6113-42.5(Brault and killer whale Caswell, 1993) Megapetera novaeangliae 96012+3.9-11.8(Anon., 1991) humpback whale Balaenopteridae 3.0-14.4(Best, 1993) baleen whales (maximum rates after severe depeltion) Diomedea epomorpha 6-1158-8012“very low”(Gales, 1993) Royal albatross Caretta caretta 20-2550+~ 300~ 3~ 2.0-6.0(Estimated from loggerhead sea turtleCrouse et al., 1987) Carcharhinus plumbeus 13-1635+8-1022.5-11.9(Sminkey and sandbar sharkMusick, 1996) Squalus ancanthia s6-1235-402-1522.3%(Jones and spiny dogfish Geen, 1997) (North Atlantic population) Selachei1.7-6.9(Smith et al., (Hexanchidae, Squalidae,1998) Squatinidae, Lamnidae, Alopiidae, Carcharhinidae), sharks (rate calculated when population at MSY) Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 88

65 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 continue to decline (Musick, 1995, 1999b). Sea turtle mortalities remain high because of by-catch in fisheries and egg harvesting in many areas. Precipitous declines have been recorded recently in some of the largest remaining leatherback ( Dermochelys coriacea ) nesting populations in the world, including the Pacific coast of Mexico where mortality to adults in distant long-line and gillnet fisheries is the major threat (Sarti et al., 1996; Eckert and Sarti, 1997; Crouse, 1999). Nassau grouper ( E. striatus ) and jewfish ( E. itajara ) continue to be taken in a mixed species line fishery off the southeastern United States, even though both species are depleted and locally extirpated in places. Both species have been afforded protection from harvest by the regional Fisheries Management Council, but to no avail as these groupers are captured as by-catch in the fishery which operates in deep-water where most of the fish caught are dead or moribund when they come on board (Huntsman et al., 1999). Two principal management solutions appear to be available for this problem. Close the fishery or establish large marine refugia where no harvest is allowed (Huntsman et al., 1999; Coleman et al., 2000). Reserve systems are being considered to conserve Pacific rockfishes (Sebastinae) off the west coast of the U.S. (Yoklavich, 1998). Rockfishes are another group of slow growing, long-lived teleosts with ages to maturity of 6-12 years and life spans of 50-140 years (Archibald et al., 1981; Wyllie, 1987). Some of these rockfishes, such as boccaccio ( Sebastes paucispinis ), have undergone > 90% population declines with little sign of recruitment for decades (Ralston, 1998; Parker et al., 2000). Long life span in the boccaccio and most other long-lived marine animals may be an evolutionary adaptation to promote iteroparity (Parker et al., 2000; Musick, 1999a). Spawning or breeding in multiple years may be necessary to maintain stable populations for groups like the rockfishes or groupers or even sea turtles with relatively high fecundity, but very low egg and/or larval or hatchling survivorship. Likewise, iteroparity may be necessary to maintain stable populations for animals with very low fecundity such as seabirds, whales and sharks. Heavily exploited fisheries whether directed or bycatch not only reduce the biomass of marine populations, but constrict the age structure (Hillborn and Walters, 1992) while severely reducing iteroparity in long-lived species. The result must be lowered fitness (Musick, 1999a). Therefore, where several species or stocks are harvested together (i.e., on feeding grounds) management must be based on protecting the most vulnerable stocks. To do otherwise risks the extirpation of these stocks (Musick, 1999a).ConclusionsLong-lived marine species usually have slowgrowth and late maturity and are much more vulnerable to over-harvesting or even extirpation than more resilient species. Because long-lived species have low intrinsic rates of increase, population recovery after depletion may take decades and may not occur even under strict regulation. Many population models appropriate for more highly productive species are inappropriate for long-lived species that have low population response times. The greatest threats to long-lived species are from mixed-species fisheries where long-lived species are taken as directed catch or by-catch. Such fisheries can continue to operate and be economically viable, driven by more productive species, while long-lived populations become depleted or extirpated. Where several stocks or species are harvested together (i.e., on feeding grounds) management should be aimed to protect the most vulnerable stock. In mixed stock harvesting regimes where some stocks have been depleted and others are healthy, harvesting at rates that are sustainable for healthy stocks will prevent recovery of depleted stocks or may even lead to extirpation. 1 Virginia Institute of Marine Science Contribution Number 2353.Literature CitedAdams, P. B. 1980. Life history patterns and their consequences for fisheries management. Fish. Bull. 78(1):1-12. Agardy, M. J. 1989. What scientific information is critical for management and why? p.3. In : S. A. Eckert, K. L. Eckert and T. H. Richardson (eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Workshop on Sea Turtle Conservation and Biology. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFC-232. U. S.

PAGE 89

Department of Commerce. Archibald, C. P., W. Shaw, and B. M. Leaman. 1981. Growth and mortality estimates of rockfishes (Scorpaenidae) from B. C. coastal waters, 1977-1979. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1048:1-57. Ault, J. S., B. A. Bohnsack, and G. A. Meester. 1998. A retrospective (1979-1996) multispecies assessment of coral reef fish stocks in the Florida Keys. Fish. Bull. 96(3): 395-414. Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland: 368 pp. Begon, M., J. L. Harper, and C. R. Townsend. 1986. Ecology, individuals, populations and communities. Sinauer Assoc., Sunderland, Massachusetts. 876 pp. Berkeley, S. A. and E. D. Houde. 1983. Age determination of broadbill swordfish, Xiphias gladius from the Straits of Florida using anal fin spine sections, p.137-144. In : E. D. Prince and L. M. Pulos (eds.), Proceedings of the International Workshop on Age Determination of Oceanic Pelagic Fishes: Tunas, Billfishes, and Sharks. NOAA Technical Report, NMFS 8. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Best, P. B. 1993. Increase rates in severely depleted stocks of baleen whales. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 50:169-186. Beverton, R. J. H. and S. J. Holt. 1957. The dynamics of exploited fish populations. U.K. Min. Agr. and Fish., Fish. Invest., Ser. 2(19):533. Beverton, R. J. H. and S. J. Holt. 1959. A review of the lifespan and mortality rates of fish in nature, and their relation to growth and other physiological characteristics. CIBA Foundation Colloquia on Ageing, 5: 142-180. Birstein, V. J. 1993. Sturgeons and paddlefishes: Threatened fishes in need of conservation. Conservation Biology 7(4): 773-787. Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten, A. L. Coan, and P. Kleiber. 1995. Estimation of green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) growth rates from length-frequency analysis. Copeia (1):71-77. Bonfil-Saunders, R. 1990. Contributions to the fisheries biology of the silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis from Yucatan, Mexico. Thesis, Univ. of Wales, Bangor. 77 pp. Branstetter, S. 1990. Early life-history implications of selected carcharhinoid and lamnoid sharks of the northwestern Atlantic. NOAA Technical Report, NMFS 90:17-28. Camhi, M. S. Fowler, J. Musick, A. Brutigam, and S. Fordham. 1998. Sharks and their relatives: Ecology and Conservation. IUCN/SSC Occasional Papers No. 20: 139. Casey, J. M. and R. A. Myers. 1998. Near extinction of a large, widely distributed fish. Science 281: 690-692. Caswell, H. 1989. Matrix population models: Construction, analysis and interpretation. Sinauer, Sunderland, Massachusetts. Chaloupka, M. and Musick, J. A. 1997. Age, growth and population dynamics of sea turtles, p.233-276. In : P. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds), Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, Florida. Coleman, F. C., C. C. Koenig, A. L. Eklund, and C. B. Grimes. 1999. Management and conservation of temperate reef fishes in the grouper-snapper complex of the southeastern United States, p.233-242. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Coleman, F. C., C. C. Koenig, G. R. Huntsman, J. A. Musick, A. M. Eklund, J. C. McGovern, R. W. Chapman, G. R. Sedberry and C. B. Grimes. 2000. Long-lived Reef Fishes: The Grouper-Snapper Complex. Fisheries 25(3): 14-21. Congdon, J. P., A. E. Dunham and R. C. Van Loben Sels. 1993. Delayed sexual maturity and demographics of Blanding’s turtles ( Emydoidea blandingii ): Implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Conservation Biology 7(4):826-833. Corts, E. 1995. Demographic analysis of the Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terranovae in the Gulf of Mexico. Fish. Bull. 93(1): 57-66. Corts, E. 1999. A stochastic stage-based population model of the sandbar shark in the western North Atlantic, p.115-136. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Crouse, D. T. 1999. The Consequences of Delayed Maturity in a Human-Dominated World, p.195-202. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Crouse, D. T., L. B. Crowder, and H. Caswell. 1987. A stage-based population model for loggerhead sea turtles and implications for conservation. Ecology. 68:14121423. Crowder, L. B., D. T. Crouse, S. S. Heppell and T. H. Martin. 1994. Predicting the effect of excluder devices on loggerhead sea turtle populations. Ecol. Applications 4:437-445. Desfosse, J. C. 1995. Movements and ecology of summer66 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 90

67 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 flounder ( Paralichthys dentatus ) tagged in the southern mid-Atlantic Bight. Doctoral dissertation College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Eckert, S. A. and L. Sarti M. 1997. Distant fisheries implicated in the loss of the world’s largest leatherback nesting population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7. Frazer, N. B. 1983. Demography and life history evaluation of the Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta Ph.D. dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens. Frazer, N. B. and R. C. Ladner. 1986. A growth curve for green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 1913-14. Copeia (1986):798-802. Gadgil, M. and W. H. Bossert. 1970. Life historical consequences of natural selection. American Naturalist 104:1-24. Heppell, S., L. B. Crowder, and T. R. Menzel. 1999. Life table analysis of long-lived marine species with implications for conservation and management, p.137-148. In : J. A. Musick (ed), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-Lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Hillborn, R. and C. J. Walters. 1992. Quantitative fisheries stock assessment: Choice, dynamics and uncertainity. Chapman and Hall, New York. 570 pp. Hoedt, F. E. 1992. Age and growth of a large tropical anchovy, Thryssa hamiltoni (Gray): a comparision of ageing techniques, p.81-100. In : D. C. Smith (ed.), Age Determination and Growth in Fish and Other Aquatic Animals. CSIRO, Australia. Hoenig, J. M. and S. H. Gruber. 1990. Life history patterns in the elasmobranchs, p.1-16. In : H. L. Pratt, Jr., S. H. Gruber and T. Taniuchi (eds.), Elasmobranchs as living resources: advances in the biology, ecology, systematics, and the status of the fisheries. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 90. Hoff, T. B. 1990. Conservation and Management of the western North Atlantic Shark Resource based on the Life History Strategy Limitations of Sandbar Sharks. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Delaware, Newark. 282 pp. Huntsman, G. R., S. Huntsman, J. Potts, R. W. Mays and D. Vaughn. 1999. Groupers (Serranidae, Epinephalinae): endangered apex predators of reef communities, p.217231. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Jennings, S., J. D. Reynolds, and S. C. Mills. 1998. Life history correlates of responses to fisheries exploitation. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 265: 333-337. Jones, B. C. and G. H. Geen. 1977. Age and growth of spiny dogfish ( Squalus acanthias L. ) in the Strait of Georgia. British Columbia. Fish. Mar. Serv. Res. Dev. Tech. Rep. 669:1-16. Kahnle, A. W. et al. 1998. Stock status of Atlantic sturgeon of Atlantic coast estuaries. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Ketchen, K.S. 1975. Age and growth of the dogfish Squalus acanthias in British Columbia waters. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada 32: 43-59. Klinger, R. C. and J. A. Musick. 1995. Age and growth of loggerhead turtles from Chesapeake Bay. Copeia (1): 204-209. Krebs, C. J. 1978. Ecology: The experimental analysis of distribution and abundance. Second Edition. Harper and Row, New York. 678 pp. Landa, A. 1997. The relevance of life history theory to harvest and conservation. Fauna Norvegica. Ser. A. 18: 43-55. McPherson, G. R. 1992. Age and growth of narrowbarred spanish mackeral ( Scomberomorus commerson: Lacepede, 1800) in northeastern Queensland waters, p.397-410. In : D. C. Smith (ed.), Age Determination and Growth in Fish and Other Aquatic Animals. CSIRO, Australia. Moore, 1951. Estimation of age and growth of yellowfin tuna ( Neothunnus macropterus ) in Hawaiian waters by size frequencies. Fishery Bulletin 52:131-149. Musick, J. A. In Press. The Sturgeons. (Acipensenidae). In : B. B. Collette (ed.), Fishes of the Gulf of Maine. Smithsonian Press, Washington, DC. Musick, J. 1995. Critically endangered large coastal sharks, a case study: the sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus (Nardo, 1827). Shark News (Newsletter of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group) 5: 6-7. Musick, J. A. 1999a. Criteria to Define Extinction Risk in Marine Fishes. Fisheries 24(12): 6-14. Musick, J. A. 1999b. Ecology and Conservation of LongLived Marine Animals, p.1-10. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of LongLived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Musick, J. A., R. Jenkins and N. Burkhead. 1994. The Sturgeons (Acipenseridae), p.183-190. In : R. E. Jenkins and N. Burkhead (eds.), The Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society. Washington, D. C. 1079 pp. Musick, J. A., S.A. Berkeley, G. M. Cailliet, M. Camhi, G. Huntsman, M. Nammack and M. L. Warren, Jr.

PAGE 91

2000b. Protection of Marine Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction. Fisheries 25 (3): 6-8. Musick, J. A., G. Burgess, G. Cailliet, M. Camhi and S. Fordham. 2000a. Management of Sharks and Their Relatives (Elasmobranchii). Fisheries 25 (3): 9-13. Myers, R. A., G. Mertz, and R. S. Farlow. 1997. Maximum population growth rates and recovery times for Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua Fish. Bull. 95: 762-772. Nammack, M. F., J. A. Musick and J. A. Colvocoresses. 1985. Life history of spiny dogfish off the Northeastern United States. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 114: 367-396. Natanson, L. J., J. G. Casey and N. E. Kohler. 1995. Age and growth estimates for the dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Fish. Bull. 93:116-126. Parent, S. and L. M. Schrimi. 1995. A model for the determination of fish species at risk based upon life-history traits and ecological data. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 52: 1768-1781. Parker, S. J., S. A. Berkeley, J. T. Golden, D. R. Gunderson, J. Heifetz, M. A. Hixon, R. Larson, B. M. Leaman, M. S. Love, J. A. Musick, V. M. O’Connell, S. Ralston, H. J. Weeks and M. M. Yoklavich. 2000. Management of Pacific Rockfish. Fisheries 25 (3): 22-30. Ralston, S. 1998. The status of federally managed rockfish in the U.S. West Coast, p.6-16. In : M. Yoklavich (ed.), Marine harvest refugia for west coast rockfish: a workshop. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFSC-255. U.S. Dept. Commerce. 255 pp. Ricker, W. E. 1958. Handbook of Computations for Biological Statistics of Fish Populations. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada Bull. 119:1-300. Russell, R. W. 1999. Comparative demography and lifehistory tactics of seabirds: implications for conservation and marine monitoring, p.51-76. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-Lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Sarti M., S. A. Eckert, N. T. Garcia and A. R. Barragan. 1996. Decline of the world’s largest nesting assemblage of leatherback turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 74:2-5. Secor, D. H. and J. R. Waldman. 1999. Historical abundance of Delaware Bay Atlantic sturgeon and potential rate of recovery, p.203-215. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Sminkey, T. R. and J. A. Musick. 1996. Demographic analysis of sandbar sharks in the western North Atlantic. Fishery Bulletin 94:341-347. Smith, S. E., D. W. Au and C. Show. 1998. Intrinsic rebound potentials of 26 species of Pacific sharks. Marine and Freshwater Research 41: 663-678. Southwood, T. R. E., R. M. May, M. P. Hassell and G. R. Conway. 1974. Ecological strategies and population parameters. Am. Nat. 108:791-804. Stevens, J. D. 1999. Variable resilience to fishing pressure in two sharks: the significance of different ecological and life history parameters, p.11-15. In : J. A. Musick (ed.), Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-lived Marine Animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. Bethesda, Maryland. Vincent, A. and Y. Sadovy. 1998. Reproductive ecology in the conservation and management of fishes, p.209-245. In : J. Caro (ed.), Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology. Oxford University Press. Oxford. von Bertalanffy, L. 1938. A quantitative theory of organic growth. Human Biology. 19(2): 181-213. Wyllie, E. T. 1987. Thirty-four species of California rockfishes: maturity and seasonality of reproduction. Fish. Bull. 85: 229-250. Yoklavich, M. M. 1998. Marine harvest refugia for west coast rockfish: a workshop. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFSC-255. U. S. Dept. Commerce. 159 pp. Yudin, K. G. and G. M. Cailliet. 1990. Age and growth of the gray smoothhound, Mustelus californicus and the brown smoothhound, M. henlei sharks from central California. Copeia: 191-204. Zug, G. R., H. J. Kalb and S. J. Luzar. 1997. Age and growth in wild Kemp’s ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys kempii ) from skeletochronological data. Biol. Conserv. 80: 261-268. Zug, G. R. and J. F. Parham. 1996. Age and growth in leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea (Testudines: Dermochelyidae): a skeletochronological analysis. Chelonian Conversation and Biology 2(2): 244-249.68 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 92

69 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 I agree with Karen Eckert’s (1999) statement that: “Whether one defines conservation as ‘preservation’ or as ‘management for sustained utilization,’ there can be little doubt that sea turtles are in need of stringent conservation measures.” What is also clear to most of us is that sea turtles have developed this need only very recently in their history on the planet. As Jack Frazier (1999) has pointed out, “Marine turtles have persisted for eons, prospering without protected areas, conservation laws, action plans, research manuals, and other accouterments of conservation programs.” In fact, sea turtles have been on this planet at least 25 times longer than we have. We know that sea turtles have been around for over 100 million years in one form or another (Meylan and Meylan 1999), and humans have been here only about 4 million years in one form or another. So for well over 90 million years, sea turtles certainly did not need any help from us at all. It was not until they encountered modern humans in the last two or three hundred years that sea turtles developed this stringent need for conservation measures. But even if turtles did not need us for millions of years, we certainly do need them now. Let us make no mistake about why we have decided to hold this regional meeting. We are not really here to help sea turtles; we are here to help ourselves. We are not here to meet the needs of sea turtles; we are here to meet the needs of people. Sea turtles do not need stringent conservation measures for sea turtles; it is we who need stringent conservation measures for sea turtles. Whether we want to consume them, trade in them, or just watch them . we need to ensure their survival. Jack Frazier (1999) wrote, “Wildlife management and conservation are as much managing people as managing wildlife: in the end, they are politics – not biology.” We are not trying to solve a sea turtle problem; rather, we are trying to solve a human problem, a problem that begins as an economic problem. A problem in the valuation of sea turtles. As Issacs (1998) has said, “Efforts to place an economic value on a natural resource...involve an intellectual concession to anthropomorphism...” And so I will begin by discussing the total value of sea turtles in human economic terms. As pointed out by Isaacs (1998) for other natural resources, the total value of sea turtles includes both use value and non-use value (Figure 1). First, let us consider use value. We exploit sea turtles for many purposes, both consumptive (e.g., meat, eggs, tortoiseshell, oil) and non-consumptive (e.g., ecotourism). Both use categories contribute importantly to the total economic value of sea turtles. Sea turtles also have “option value”; that is, we may have uses for turtles in the future that we do not yet know about. For example, there may be medicinal uses discovered at some future date. So it might not be wise to exploit the resource to extinction, but to keep our options open. As an aside, let me say that it is possible for economists to conduct analyses that lead to the conclusion that it is logical to exploit a potentially renewable resource to extinction. If it can be demonstrated that turtle meat will never bring a higher price that it does today, it could be logical – in a strictly economic sense – to harvest them all, sell the meat, and invest the money in some more lucrative venture with a higher rate of return. However, such analyses are based on two faulty assumptions. One is that there will always be some future resource to exploit – when we have eaten all the turtles, we can eat iguanas, until they’re gone, then we can eat rats, then cockroaches, and then . well, you get the idea. The other assumption is that we already know all the things that can be done withManagement and Conservation Goals for Marine TurtlesNat B. Frazer Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida USA

PAGE 93

turtles or all the products they have to offer. In other words, such analyses are based only on presently known consumptive uses. The concept of option value is that we recognize the possibility of future uses for turtles that are unknown to us now. It may surprise you that there is also economic value in not using resources (i.e., non-use value). Economists have spent a lot of effort on the concept of contingent valuation for natural resources, including the issues of passive use (Randall, 1993). Contingent valuation has been used to determine the value of resources destroyed or damaged by events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill so that the courts can calculate penalty fines. But many people think that nature has an actual economic value “just because it’s there.” They are willing to assign monetary value to a mountain range or a clear river even if they never intend to go see them. For these people, natural resources have what is called an “existence value” (Issacs, 1998). And economists are beginning to understand that we should not wait until a resource is destroyed or damaged to recognize this economic value. People are willing to incur real economic costs in order to go on living in a world that has sea turtles in it. Similarly, many people want to leave their children a planet that has sea turtles and other natural wonders; and they’re willing to pay an economic price for this privilege. This is known as “bequeath value” (Issacs, 1998). When we speak purely of the economic value of sea turtles, we must be careful to take into account all aspects of their total value – consumptive value, non-consumptive value, option value, existence value, and bequeath value (Figure 1). Certainly everyone attending this meeting wants our relationship with sea turtles to be sustainable. We need for sea turtles to be economically sustainable, so we must ensure that our use of them is sustainable both for consumptive use and for non-consumptive use. And we must not reduce our potentially sustainable future options. Furthermore, we must not reduce their populations to the point that we interfere with either their existence value or their bequeath value. For turtles to be sustainable economically, they also must be sustainable biologically. They must be able to regenerate their populations. But we can choose to sustain large populations or we can choose70Figure 1 Total Economic Value of Sea Turtles (after Isaacs, 1998). Non-Consumptive Value Use Value Non-Use Value Total Value Consumptive Value Option Value Existence Value Bequest Value Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 94

71 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 to sustain smaller ones. However, if we keep populations at too low a level, we may interfere with non-consumptive use – for example, if there are very few turtles, the chances of seeing one on an eco-tour may be so small that the non-consumptive use value is essentially zero. Similarly, bequeathing our children a world with small turtle populations is not as valuable as one with large turtle populations. We also want sea turtles to be ecologically sustainable. Karen Bjorndal (1999) asked the question, “Are sea turtle species central to and essential for healthy ecosystem processes or are they relict species whose passing would have little effect on ecosystem function?” My honest answer is: “I don’t know. And neither do you!” We do not know exactly how many turtles it takes to sustain an ecosystem. No one knows how many Caribbean green turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) there were before Columbus “discovered” the Antilles. Jackson (1997) estimated 3339 million adults. Bjorndal et al. (2000) estimated something between 38-600 million, including adults and juveniles. Surely that many turtles must have had an important role in ecosystem dynamics. Bouchard and Bjorndal (2000) recently determined that only between 25-39% of the matter and energy that loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta ) deposit on a beach as eggs may actually return to the ocean in the form of hatchlings. Here is what 14,305 loggerhead turtle nests contributed to a 21 km beach in Florida (Bouchard and Bjorndal, 2000): 9,800 kg of organic matter; 2200 kg of lipids; 1030 kg of Nitrogen; 93 kg of Phosphorus; and 268,000,000 kiloJoules of energy. Now imagine this. If there were 17,000,000 adult female green turtles in the Caribbean Sea, they would lay 23,800,000 nests per year (34 million turtles x 0.5 [assuming a 1:1 ratio of females to males] x 4.2 nests per female / 3yr average remigration interval). Assuming their nest contents are similar to that of loggerhead turtles, they would contribute 1,600,000 kg of organic matter; 365,000 kg of lipids; 170,000 kg of Nitrogen; 15,500 kg of Phosphorus; and 44,500,000,000 kJ of energy to the beach. It may be more than this, because green turtles lay their nests higher up on the beach than do loggerhead turtles (Bouchard and Bjorndal, 2000). It is clear that sea turtles used to make substantial nutrient and energy contributions to beaches, promoting plant growth that stabilized the beach, enhancing and protecting the nesting environment. They also may have served as ecosystem engineers. Hawksbills ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) may have played a major role in maintaining reef dynamics by eating sponges that otherwise would engulf and smother the reefs. And when green turtles graze on seagrass beds, they actually increase the productivity of those areas, just as large mammals do on land (Thayer et al. 1984; McNaughton 1985). While we cannot know the full extent of their former impact, we can only hope that the ecosystem is sustainable with the smaller number of turtles we have today. Envision this with me...millions of sea turtles pulsing ashore onto the beaches...fertilizing the rims of thousands of islands and two continents. And after this wave of nutrients enters the rims, it is pulsed on up and into the interior lands in successive waves of biological transport. Year after year — tons of nutrients and billions of kiloJoules of energy in a predictable, regular cycle — for tens of millions of years. Envision this with me...millions of turtles grazing on seagrass beds, stimulating primary productivity at the base of the ocean’s food chain. And this surge of increased productivity works its way up the food chain, nourishing shrimp, mollusks, lobsters, and fish — as well as eventually pulsing onto the shore in the annual ballet of nesting activity. Envision this with me...millions of sea turtles nibbling on sponges — trimming back the invading poriferans that otherwise would overgrow and shut down the coral reef machine. A constant system of checks and balances that also contributes to the gift of energy that sea turtles offer to the land each year in the form of nests and eggs. Year after year, for tens of million of years, the ecosystem engineers, these hawksbill and green and loggerhead and ridley and leatherback turtles, shape and improve and fine-tune the complex and mysterious and marvelous cybernetic machines of the oceans. How many turtles does this cosmic dance require for a successful performance? I tell you honestly, I do not know. What are the consequences to long-term functioning of the ocean’s food chains if there are too few turtles to subsidize the nutrient and energy requirements of ocean life-support sys-

PAGE 95

tems? Again, I do not know. Do the services previously provided by millions of turtles have any economic value to us? Of course they do – but in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, since we assume that they are provided for free by inexplicable means that are too complex for economists to figure out or to measure. We also want our relationships with sea turtles to be culturally sustainable. Sea turtles hold an important place in the traditions of many societies (Frazier 1999). But do our modern uses allow these traditions to be sustained? In many cases, the answer is “No.” The existence value and bequeath value of sea turtles underscore their importance to us in an ecological and cultural sense, but also in a spiritual sense. The attempt to place a spiritual value on them stems from a deep-seated feeling that their 100 million-year existence has made them far wiser than we are in the fundamental mysteries by which the planet operates. Will our modern consumptive and non-consumptive uses of sea turtles be compatible with their spiritual sustainability? I am not sure. And so, the task is before us: We must set our goals and develop benchmarks to measure our success at using sea turtles sustainably It seems so simple an idea but, as I hope you can see from my suggestions, it is not! We must pledge as our first goal not to permit any further decline in the numbers of sea turtles. We must decide how many we need for sustainable consumptive economic use. We also must define the densities we need for ecotourism and other non-consumptive uses. And we must ensure that those numbers allow for unanticipated future uses. Then, if we truly believe that present numbers of turtles are insufficient for economic, biological, ecological, cultural or spiritual sustainability, we must find a way to increase their populations up to sustainable levels. Then, once we decide how many we want and how many we have, we must monitor, monitor, and monitor their numbers to detect any future declines! As Gerrodette and Taylor have said (1999), “Because of sea turtle life history characteristics, it is nearly impossible to estimate total population size for any sea turtle population.” So we must monitor them at the places and times we can reliably encounter them. In this long-term monitoring effort, we must ensure that all users of sea turtles – fishermen, government workers, eco-tour guides, coastal villagers and scientific researchers – become master naturalists who can report numbers of turtles accurately. On selected benchmark nesting beaches we must monitor the number of adult females, the number of nests and eggs, and the number of hatchlings as indicated in the IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group’s recently published “techniques manual” (e.g., Schroeder and Murphy 1999; Valverde and Gates 1999; Miller 1999). We must closely monitor stranding data for any trends that are apparent (Shaver and Teas, 1999). In foraging habitats we must conduct transect surveys and mark-recapture studies to monitor the numbers of juveniles and males (Ehrhart and Ogren, 1999; Henwood and Epperly, 1999; Gerrodette and Taylor, 1999). Careful records must be kept in local marketplaces (Tambiah, 1999) and on board vessels concerning the number of turtles harvested (both directly and incidentally), as well as changes in catch per unit effort. While we use sea turtles, we must understand that the users have a vested interest in keeping sea turtle populations viable. Since every turtle has value to our users, we probably cannot afford to lose any “extra” turtles. So we must reduce the threats that take them from us outside our intended uses. We must protect the nesting habitats for these valuable commodities (Witherington, 1999). We must also protect the foraging habitat (Gibson and Smith, 1999) and reduce incidental catch (Oravetz, 1999). We must benchmark and monitor the nesting habitats and quantify any changes in rates of erosion and accretion, beach armoring, artificial beach nourishment, sand mining, and beach lighting as well as changes in the activity levels of vehicles, foot traffic, livestock, obstacles (debris) and oil spills on the beach (Witherington, 1999). We must also benchmark and quantify changes in the foraging habitat with information on water quality, the number of boats anchoring in these areas, the amount of oil pollution and marine debris, dynamiting and chemical fishing, and other threats (Gibson and Smith, 1999).72 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 96

73 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 If we want to catch turtles for consumptive use, we must benchmark and quantify changes in the level of incidental catch from trawling, pelagic longlines, bottom longlines, gill and entanglement nets, seins, purse seins and pound nets, buoy and trap lines, and hook and line gear (Oravetz, 1999). For we cannot allow incidental catch to destroy the sustainability of directed turtle fisheries. So these are the fundamental questions, assuming that we have the collective will to answer them: • How many sea turtles do we need? • How many sea turtles do we want? • What sacrifices are we willing to make to get and keep that number of turtles? In closing, I’d like to offer one last consideration. Recalling Jack Frazier’s (1999) point of view that, “Wildlife management and conservation are as much managing people as managing wildlife...” Let’s remember that it is people’s behavior we will be changing, not the behavior of sea turtles. So there must be one final set of benchmarks to consider. As Marcovaldi and Thom (1999) have reminded us, “In establishing a conservation program, it is essential to evaluate all pertinent sociocultural issues.” We must ascertain how our program affects local people. Does it result in their economic improvement? Does it enhance and enrich their cultural traditions? Does it contribute to spiritual growth? Does it nurture the soul (Moore, 1992)?Literature CitedBjorndal, K. A. 1999. Priorities for research in foraging habitats, p.12-14. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Bjorndal, K. A., A. B. Bolten and M. Y. Chaloupka. 2000. Green turtle somatic growth model: evidence for density dependence. Ecological Applications 10:269-282. Bouchard, S. S. and K. A. Bjorndal. 2000. Sea turtles as biological transporters of nutrients and energy from marine to terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology 81:2305-2313. Eckert, K. L. 1999. Designing a conservation program, p.6-8. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Ehrhart, L. M. and L. H. Ogren. 1999. Studies in foraging habitats: capturing and handling turtles, p.61-64. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Frazier, J. G. 1999. Community-based conservation, p. 15-18. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Gerrodette, T. and B. L. Taylor. 1999. Estimating population size, p.67-71. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Gibson, J. and G. Smith. 1999. Reducing threats to foraging habitats, p.184-188. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Henwood, T. A. and S. P. Epperly. 1999. Aerial surveys in foraging habitats, p.65-66. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Isaacs, J. C. 1998. A Conceptual and Empirical Approach for Valuaing Biodiversity: An Estimate of the Benefits of Plant and Wildlife Habitat Preservation in the Tensas River Basin. Doctoral Dissertation, Louisiana State University. Baton Rouge. 239 pp. Jackson, J. B. C. 1997. Reefs since Columbus. Coral Reefs 16, Supplement: S23-S33. Marcovaldi, M. A. G. and J. C. A. Thom. 1999. Reducing threats to turtles, p.165-168. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. McNaughton, S. J. 1985. Ecology of a grazing ecosystem: the Serengeti. Ecological Monographs 55:259-294. Meylan, A. B. and P. A. Meylan. 1999. Introduction to the evolution, life history, and biology of sea turtles, p.3-5. In:

PAGE 97

K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Miller, J. D. 1999. Determining clutch size and hatching success, p.124-129. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Moore, T. 1992. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. HarperCollins, New York. 312 pp. Oravetz, C. 1999. Reducing incidental catch, p.189-193. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Randall. 1993. Passive use values and contingent valuation. Choices (Second Quarter): 12-15. Shaver, D. J. and W G. Teas. 1999. Stranding and salvage networks, p.152-155. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Schroeder, B. and S. Murphy. 1999. Population surveys (ground and aerial) on nesting beaches, p.45-55. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Tambiah, C. 1999. Interviews and market surveys, p.156161. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Thayer, G. W., K. A. Bjorndal, J. C. Ogden, S. L. Williams and J. C. Aieman. 1984. Role of larger herbivores in seagrass communities. Estuaries 7:351-376. Valverde, R. A. and C. E. Gates. 1999. Population surveys on mass nesting beaches, p.56-60. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp. Witherington, B. E. 1999. Reducing threats to nesting habitat, p.179-183. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4., Washington, D.C. 235 pp.74 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 98

75 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 M. Jorge (WWF) opened the discussion by asking the participants why they have come to this meeting. He reminded participants to remember Dr. Frazer’s suggestion that the “value” of sea turtles should be the basis of conservation planning and the framework for management. He asked, “What do sea turtles mean to us and the people we represent?”1R. Mrquez (Mxico) responded that in Mxico there are five species of sea turtles that inhabit the Gulf and Caribbean coasts. Some populations are recovering, some are declining, some are stable. Economic needs are different in each area of the country: in the North the economy is booming, while in the South (Chiapas) the economic needs are so high that people have few resources. Each country has its own problems, and we have to solve them within our own countries. M. E. Herrera (Costa Rica) explained that, with regard to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, efforts similar to those suggested by Dr. Frazer should be undertaken. Specifically, there must be a commitment to offering alternatives [to sea turtles] in order to provide income. At present, eco-tourism brings tourists and this provides alternative income. Recently Costa Rica abolished the law that allowed for a legal harvest of sea turtles. Illegal harvest continues, but there is an interest by others to learn about eco-tourism activities in Tortuguero and elsewhere and to emphasize non-consumptive values and uses for sea turtles. E. Carillo (Cuba) stated that use exists in the region, and the important issue is how to manage this use – preferably with joint planning and management – in order to achieve sustainable utilization. She noted that her purpose in attending the meeting was to learn more about management. She said that improvements had been made in Cuba in the area of national management planning, as well as research of nesting and migration patterns. She suggested that the nations of the Caribbean “do something together” in order to protect sea turtles in domestic and international waters. She also shared information about a program in Cuba that involves training personnel (including fishermen and students) to participate in data collection. S. Poon (Trinidad) described a co-management program in Trinidad where Government works in partnership with local NGOs to protect nesting leatherback turtles at some of the most important nesting beaches (for that species) in the Wider Caribbean Region. The challenge is to expand these programs to include mitigation for threats at sea (mainly incidental catch) and to eliminate contradictions in the national regulatory framework (specifically between fisheries and wildlife legislation). M. Jorge (Moderator) asked why leatherbacks have declined in [Pacific] Mexico. Are these highprofile population collapses the result of mismanagement at the local level, or do we all need to look beyond our own waters and forge partnerships to protect shared stocks? R. Mrquez (Mxico) responded that each species has its own peculiarities. Mxico has had conservation and management programs in place for leatherbacks for 20 years... but leatherbacks tagged on Mxican nesting beaches are routinely killed in Chile by pelagic fisheries. We have to reach international agreements on conservation of these species. M. Jorge (Moderator) asked whether there are any additional remarks on the domestic capture of turtles. R. Kerr (Hope Zoo) stated that more resourcesOpen Forum: Criteria and Benchmarks for Sustainable Management of Caribbean Marine TurtlesMiguel Jorge – Moderator Latin America and Caribbean Program World Wildlife Fund

PAGE 99

76 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 are needed for local communities. In Jamaica, it is not possible to enforce existing laws without support from local communities. Therefore, we must get local people more involved. A national network of community members, land owners, divers, students, fishermen and interested citizens was formed in Jamaica with assistance from WIDECAST several years ago, and this has provided a model for involving communities in population monitoring and record-keeping. N. Frazer (UFL) noted that Mxico had been successful in increasing the numbers of Kemp’s ridleys in recent years, and he wondered what would happen if the government were to pull out of that long-term conservation program. R. Mrquez (Mxico) explained that 30 years ago sea turtle biologists had to defend themselves from the community in Rancho Nuevo. But today the community supports the conservation efforts. Even if the government pulled out, the activities would continue. Poachers are captured with the help of the local people. M. Jorge (Moderator) concluded that there had been a change of attitude and perspective because of local “buy in.” R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) described the situation in St. Vincent where the government has adopted a policy of sustainable use for all marine resources. He explained that his country was willing to cooperate with nations in the region in the management and/or conservation of sea turtles, given the limited financial and technical resources. To this end, a number of states recently formed a group called the “Caribbean Turtle Management and Research Group” (CTMRG), whose purpose is facilitate collaboration on research and management issues. M. Jorge (Moderator) asked for additional information on the program in St. Vincent. Why had the policy of sustainable use been implemented? R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) responded that the policy was based partly on a tradition of consumptive use and the revenues that come from it. R. Connor (Anguilla) informed the meeting that, prior to 1995, Anguilla had open and closed seasons for sea turtles. Now a five-year (1996-2000) moratorium is in place in order to give local biologists and policy-makers a chance to evaluate the status of sea turtles and make recommendations to government about their long-term management. With assistance from WIDECAST, a national management plan is under development. Some fishermen would like to see the moratorium lifted, as they feel that turtle stocks have increased. He noted that his purpose in attending the meeting was to learn more about how to monitor local sea turtle stocks. J. Horrocks (UWI) asked whether anyone knew the countries that had joined the CTMRG. R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) responded that the CTMRG countries are St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba. Fisheries institutions within each country are the participants [B. Mora from Venezuela later clarified that Venezuela was still evaluating the CTMRG and hadn’t made any decision on whether or not to join]. N. Frazer (UFL) asked, “What happens to fishing livelihoods when moratoria are repeatedly instituted and then lifted? Who can benefit from that kind of cycle?” R. Mrquez (Mxico) explained that prior to 1973, Mxico had a moratorium. His country’s experience with lifting moratoria was quite negative. After 1973, turtle fisheries were opened again only for cooperative organizations, but the industrial organizations got involved and over-exploitation began. The moratorium was re-instated in 1990. Now there is pressure to open the market once again for olive ridleys in the Pacific. He noted that the government will do it differently this time (if the moratorium is lifted once again), and will provide for better protection. He also noted that the conditions are not the same today as in the past. He agreed that cycling on and off moratoria does not allow fishermen to survive. S. George (St. Lucia) said that in islands like St. Lucia fishermen have come a long way in the last 6-

PAGE 100

77 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 8 years with regard to management decisions. St. Lucia imposed a moratorium (on sea turtle capture) in 1995 without the collaboration of the fishermen, and they resented it. St. Lucia has limited enforcement capacity and a limited ability to conduct research. Collaboration on subregional and regional levels would provide valuable information that the government could not afford to compile alone. M. Hastings (BVI) stated that the BVI also has had experience with a moratorium, as well as with open and closed seasons. The situation is complicated, but is eased somewhat by the reality that younger fishermen are not attracted to the turtle hunt. Many of them, in fact, have been incorporated into monitoring programs. He asked R. Maquez whether egg poaching had contributed to the leatherback collapse in Mxico. E. Delevaux (Bahamas) followed-up on the discussion of alternatives for fishermen and described how local fishermen and NGOs had requested the government to designate certain areas as conservation parks. About 20% of these areas are Marine Parks. The Bahamas has benefited by being an ecotourism destination. At present there is a total ban on the harvest of hawksbills, and seasonal and size limits on greens and loggerheads. The total annual catch is unknown. R. Mrquez (Mxico) responded to M. Hastings by saying that the poaching problem is a complex one, and its effects really depend on the species. If a population is stable, low levels of poaching may not constitute a serious management issue. On the Caribbean coast of Mxico the majority of the populations are depressed; thus, there is a need to protect 100% of the nests. Mexico has seen the results of over-exploitation; for example, in the loss of whole populations of olive ridleys on the Pacific coast. C. Parker (Barbados) indicated that the turtle fishery had been managed in Barbados since about 1880. He suggested that there were four basic components to be considered in a successful fisheries management program: enforceability, education, alternatives (such as tourism and/or offshore fisheries), and co-management. The history of turtle management in Barbados provides examples of these factors. The legislation used to regulate turtle harvesting from 1880 to 1998 was almost impossible to enforce. As populations continued to decline, a complete ban was adopted in 1998. Fortunately, the rapid development of offshore fisheries since the 1940’s and a boom in the tourist industry have offered economic alternatives to turtle fishing. In addition, an intensive education and public awareness program led by Bellairs Research Institute, the University of the West Indies, and the Fisheries Division sensitized the public to the conservation needs of sea turtles. Finally, the Fisheries Division has recently promoted co-management policies (including stakeholders in the process) for the management of fisheries resources, with the rationale that persons are more likely to abide by the regulations that they have helped to formulate. M. L. Felix (St. Lucia) asked C. Parker how Barabdos has dealt with incidental catch. C. Parker (Barbados) responded that gill nets are set for flying fishes in certain areas but, on the whole, sea turtle bycatch is not a large problem. Nets that are most likely to catch and kill turtles have been prohibited since 1998. G. Allport (Dominica) stated that Dominica is currently the Chair for the CTMRG, which in part takes its mandate from harmonized OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) seasons and regulations. Most of the Eastern Caribbean islands face similar situations and thus a collaborative approach among fisheries offices is advantageous. The CTMRG provides a venue for sharing data and training personnel. For example, a two-week training program was held in Cuba in 1999. Members of the CTMRG have pledged to support each other, and the Group is promoting the sustainable use of sea turtles. Fisheries Departments are considered an essential link between fishermen and experts. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) agreed that sustainable use, whether consumptive or non-consumptive, was the ideal goal. To this end many governments have committed themselves to management initiatives, including open and closed seasons and other regulations. The question is, “How are the effects of these management interventions evaluated? How do we know that a course of action is, in fact, sustainable?” She asked G. Allport how sustainability

PAGE 101

78was evaluated in Dominica, and whether or not the monitoring of index nesting beaches and foraging grounds provided information useful to evaluation. M. Jorge (Moderator) suggested that the meeting take note of the example of the Galapagos, where fishing for depleted sea cucumbers was reopened for three months as a result of intense public pressure following an economic crisis in Ecuador. The fishery was re-opened for purely economic and political (as opposed to biological) reasons. The result was disastrous for the resource. G. Allport (Dominica) described the turtle fishery in Dominica as “small”. She noted that the Fisheries Department was intensifying its research and developing a management plan. In the meantime, management efforts were continuing. She emphasized the value of a regional management plan, especially for small countries with limited domestic resources. M. L. Felix (St. Lucia) discussed the fact that the Eastern Caribbean islands are geographically very close, and that the turtles move between the islands. She agreed that sharing information on best practices and participating in regional collaboration were advantageous to small island states. R. Ryan (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) noted that in St. Vincent, public education programs have been instituted and that this is also a valuable component of management. Local sea turtle stocks seem to be stable. The government’s objective is to monitor the turtle populations and to acquire relevant training for personnel. N. Frazer (UFL) commended members of the CTMRG for working together toward shared goals. He agreed that the road is difficult, but reminded the meeting of the Chinese philosopher who said that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. M. Hastings (BVI) said that this was the first time he had heard of the CTMRG and, being an OECS country, he inquired how the BVI might participate. He asked for information from CTMRG countries on their standard methodology for monitoring. M. L. Felix (St. Lucia) responded that the Group does not as yet have much data or many resources at its disposal. The Group is “still working the monitoring program out.” R. Kerr (Hope Zoo) expressed her concern that Jamaica did not have a comprehensive assessment of the status of its local [sea turtle] populations. From what data are available, it seems clear that hawksbills have been extirpated in many areas of Jamaica. Evaluating the precise status of hawksbills is not easy. The peak nesting period is between May and October, but nesting occurs throughout the year and often in remote areas. Comparatively faint nesting signs make it difficult to determine when a hawksbill has successfully nested. Each country has to do the best it can, taking both its own needs into account and those of the region. Regional cooperation is commendable. She asked, “Whose turtles are they?” All of ours? None of ours? M. Hastings (BVI) agreed and said that the BVI faces similar challenges with its hawksbills. Volunteers walk the beaches to count hawksbill nests, but additional training is needed. M. G. Pineda (Honduras) explained that isolated research has been conducted in Caribbean Honduras since the 1980s. In the North, a marine reserve has been in place for three years with university student volunteers. Local volunteers and NGOs have also given their support to leatherback and loggerhead turtle protection efforts. In the Miskito Cays area there is a high consumptive use of turtle products. Education is just starting in many areas. There is a need for much more research, and to involve communities at local and regional levels. Fisheries legislation in Honduras is outdated; open and closed seasons are in place. R. O. Sanchez (Dominican Republic) observed that sea turtle management is complex, and characterized by two peculiarities among species: long-life and migratory habits. There is a permanent moratorium in the Dominican Republic, but enforcement is inadequate. He said that the experience of the Dominican Republic with regard to natural resources was that restrictions alone do not work. The local people must be involved in management. Fishermen often have very poor living conditions, and we must take this into account. Education ofKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 102

79 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 fishermen and the general population is certainly needed. Turtle fishing is not only for consumption, but also to make souvenirs for tourists. We are discussing this in an air-conditioned room, but the issue is how to reach these fishermen. Regional collaboration is commendable. The pressure to use natural resources is growing as human populations increase. We have to reflect on this. Restriction for sake of restriction will require an army of law enforcement. E. Carillo (Cuba) recommended that nesting beaches be monitored in order to evaluate management success. With regard to R. Kerr’s earlier remarks, she agreed that it is difficult to monitor nesting beaches, and especially for hawksbill turtles, but it is not impossible. There is a need to train local people to participate, and to find the money to do this. Since we cannot modify the behavior of the sea turtles, we must modify our own behavior. In Cuba we did this, with the support of students and fishermen, and we have had very positive results. R. Kerr (Hope Zoo) responded that Jamaica, being a relatively small country, is not in a position to implement a monitoring system like Cuba’s, which has put great effort into its programs. Other countries may not be able to do this either. There must be a strong commitment, with resources behind it, to obtain accurate and consistent data that are useful to managers. More emphasis should perhaps be placed on models that will help managers make thoughtful decisions in the absence of complete data. J. Jeffers (Montserrat) said that Montserrat is still rebuilding following the volcanic explosions in 1998, and that the country has lost 2/3 of its fishing areas. Due to economic problems, some fishermen have returned to harvesting 8-10 turtles per year. This year a leatherback was found nesting on the island. Efforts are being made to support conservation by upgrading legislation and restricting beach sand mining. The British government is asking Montserrat to do more to protect sea turtles. S. Tijerino (Nicaragua) said that Nicaragua also has legislation that conserves sea turtles. The green turtle and olive ridley are partially protected. However, some 60% of the population is unemployed and consumption of sea turtles has increased as a result of these economic circumstances. Nicaragua is seeking credible alternatives for coastal communities. The government is trying to determine how to establish sustainable alternatives, such as were described by N. Frazer in his presentation. A control program is very difficult to implement. Poverty in coastal areas is often due to poor fisheries management. A commitment to communities and to people, as well as to sea turtles, is needed. E. Possardt (USA) explained that there has been an intense investment and commitment in the USA for sea turtle conservation for many years. This has included mandatory use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in the shrimp industry, for example, and buying expensive beachfront nesting habitat in order to preserve nesting grounds. These efforts have shown positive results for our nesting populations, but no matter what is done in one country, others can undermine these programs. For example, fisheries in the eastern Atlantic may be undermining our long-term efforts to protect loggerhead turtles. No matter what we do, we are all in the same boat. As neighbors sharing an important resource, we need to agree on shared goals. I am looking forward to working in partnership with all of you who are here. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) noted that there is a great deal of information available in the region (e.g., growth rates, diet, nest frequency, remigration intervals), and agreed with many of the delegates that information-sharing should be a priority. Some types of information (such as from satellite telemetry) can be quite expensive to gather and results can be very useful to managers over a wide area, whether or not they participated directly in the research. Local emphasis should focus on gathering information specific to local management needs. She asked, “Do you need to monitor every beach?”... and answered, “Probably not.” She recommended that efforts focus instead on selected Index Beaches – relatively accessible beaches where nesting is predictable and comparatively high. She recommended that managers stick to the basics and emphasize data-gathering with a direct bearing on management questions, especially monitoring trends in local breeding and foraging assemblages.

PAGE 103

80She noted that it takes dedication to gather baseline data, but agreed with E. Carillo that remaining optimistic is important and duplicative effort should be avoided. M. L. Felix (St. Lucia) expressed her desire that the meeting make time to discuss sustainable management. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) explained that, in the Bahamas, turtle fishing is opportunistic. There is a refugee problem on isolated islands, and an enormous problem with poaching in the southern Bahamas. Enforcement is very difficult and regulation alone is pointless; sustainable management requires community collaboration. M. Jorge (Moderator) concluded the session by noting the long tradition of sea turtle use in the region, and the broad-based interest in finding ways of accommodating resource use, especially at the community level, while at the same time ensuring a future for the resource. He said that he hoped the meeting would have time to address non-consumptive use also, including eco-tourism, and that meeting participants would think about regional mechanisms as they continued to build regional consensus. Referring to N. Frazer’s presentation, he asked participants to think about how to achieve the goal of stable population levels.1The interventions documented by the Minutes of this Plenary Session (Open Forum) were filtered through translators, rapporteurs, and editors before being finalized in these Proceedings. Every effort was made to ensure a fair representation of the views presented. Any misinterpretations or errors are the sole responsibility of the editors.Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 104

81 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Session IIIStrengthening International CooperationCaribbean Marine Turtles and International LawNelson Andrade Colmenares, Presenter Open Forum Nelson Andrade Colmenares, Moderator Conclusions and Recommendations

PAGE 105

83 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Several international treaties and conventions are of relevance to Caribbean marine turtles (Table 1). At the global level, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) entered into force in 1975. The treaty was developed in response to concerns about the potential detrimental effects on species’ survival of high levels of international trade in wild animals and plants. It established an international legal framework for the prevention of trade in endangered species and for an effective regulation of trade in certain other species. The treaty’s fundamental principles govern the species to be listed in the various Appendices on the basis of different levels of threat posed by international trade, and detail appropriate levels of trade regulation. The three Appendices to the Convention form the basis for implementation of the treaty (see Rosser and Haywood, 1996). All species of marine turtles are included in CITES Appendix I which prohibits international trade, although specific exemptions are held by Suriname (for the green turtle, Chelonia mydas and leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea ), by Cuba (for the green turtle and hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata ), and by St. Vincent and the Grenadines (for the hawksbill turtle). The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS, or Bonn Convention) came into force in 1983. It was established to protect species of wild animals migrating across and outside national borders, including marine animals. Parties agree to restrict harvesting, conserve habitats, and control other adverse factors. Above all, Parties are obliged to prohibit the taking of animals listed in Appendix I, with few exceptions (Hykle, 1999). All six species of Caribbean-occurring marine turtles are included in Appendices I and II, but few Caribbean states are members (Table 1). The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requires Parties to develop national plans, programs, and strategies for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, which directly benefits high priority resources such as marine turtles. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, which came into force in 1994) includes environmental provisions for pollution control and management, and provides for an Annex for highly migratory species, which could include marine turtles. The 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Treaty), has as its objective “to preserve the marine environment by achieving the complete elimination of international pollution by oil and other harmful substances and the minimization of accidental discharge of such substances” (UNEP, 1989). Under the provisions of Annex V, Caribbean states have proposed to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that the Caribbean Sea be declared a “Special Area”, a designation which will be formalized when various pollution protection measures have been implemented by Caribbean states. At the regional level, the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) is the only legally binding environmental treaty for the Wider Caribbean Region. It is an umbrella treaty with far reaching provisions for regional cooperation including pollution control, habitat and ecosystems and species conservation. Its Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), which will enter into force in 2000, provides a mechanism whereby species of wild fauna and flora can be protected on a regional scale. The SPAW Protocol is an innovative legal agreement to facilitate international cooperation and guide national actions to protect important ecosystems and threatened or endangered species of wildlife of national and regional concern. As such, it is one of a few comprehensive regional biodiversity conservation agreements throughout the world that provides guidance and assistance toward meeting the comprehensiveCaribbean Marine Turtles and International LawNelson Andrade Colmenares Regional Coordinating Unit UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme Jamaica

PAGE 106

84 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme CartagenaOil SpillsSPAWLBSCMSMARPOLCBDUMCLOSW. HemisphereIACCITES ConventionProtocolProtocol Wider Caribbean Region Antigua & BarbudaCPCPSAN 5CPCPCP Bahamas AN 4CPCPCP BarbadosCPCPAN 4CPCPCP BelizeCPCPAN 5CPCPSCP ColombiaCPCPCPAN 5CPSSCP Costa RicaCPCPSCPCPCPSCP CubaCPCPCPAN 2CPCPSCP DominicaCPCPCPCPCP Dominican RepublicCPCPCPSAN 5CPSCPCP FranceCPCPSSCPAN 5CPCPCP GrenadaCPCPCPCPCP GuatemalaCPCPSAN 5CPCPSCP Guyana AN 5CPCPCP Haiti CPCPCP HondurasSSCPCPSCP JamaicaCPCPSAN 5CPCPCP MexicoCPCPSAN 3CPCPCPSCP NetherlandsCPCPCPSCPAN 4CPCPSCP NicaraguaSSCPSCPSCP PanamaCPCPCPCPAN 5CPCPCPCP St. Kitts & Nevis AN 5CPCPCP Saint LuciaCPCPCPCPCPCP St. Vincent & GrenadinesCPCPCPAN 5CPCPCP Suriname AN 5CPCPCPCP Trinidad & TobagoCPCPCPCPCPCPCP U.K.CPCPSCPAN 5CPCPCP USACPCPSSAN 4CPSCP VenezuelaCPCPCPCPAN 5CPCPRCPThe only implication which stems from signing an international agreement after the signature period has expired, but before the Protocol itself has entered into force, is related to the nature of the instrument required in order to become a Party to the Protocol: the issue becomes one of accession to the agreeme nt and no longer one of ratification. Only those States which have signed the agreement during the signature period are able to deposit instrument of ratification. Stakes which sign t he agreement after the expiry of the signature period, becomes parties to the agreement through accession by sibmitting an instrument of accession or approval. In either these two hy potheses (i.e., if signature took place either during or after the signature period), signatory states are not legally bound by the provisions of the agreement until the agreement ente rs into force. The signature demonstrates a State’s willingness to start its ratification process (by approval by its parliament, etc.). Nonetheless, according to Article 18 of the Vienn a Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), signatory States have an obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of the treaty after signature of the treaty but prior to its entry into force. When the agreement enters into force, it will be binding on all States having ratified or acceded to. CP = Contracting Party R = Ratification S = Signature A = Accession AN= Annex Number accepted by the StateTable 1. Some Key Multilateral Environmental Agreements to the Wider Caribbean Region(updated October 1, 2000)

PAGE 107

obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The SPAW Protocol also integrates well with other global conventions; for example, it encourages the use of CITES administrative mechanisms in implementing SPAW’s requirements for control of trade in threatened and endangered species (see UNEP, 1995). All species of marine turtles in the Region are protected under Annex II of the SPAW Protocol, which relates to endangered and threatened fauna. Although the SPAW Protocol is not yet in force as we speak here today, numerous activities have been implemented to support Caribbean governments in their desire to safeguard our native biodiversity, including marine turtles. These activities include species conservation through national recovery plans, such as the “Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans” published during the last decade in collaboration with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). Article 10 of the SPAW Protocol specifies that Parties “carry out recovery, management, planning and other measures to effect the survival of [endangered or threatened] species” and regulate or prohibit activities having “adverse effects on such species or their habitats”. UNEP also recognizes the need for a regional strategic plan to protect marine turtles, and for that reason we are very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this meeting. In 1995, the Third Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol adopted draft “General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region” (Eckert, 1995). Other relevant instruments operating at the regional level include the Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere (known as the Western Hemisphere Convention), which came into force in 1942. This treaty protects all native American species from extinction and preserves areas of wild and human value; five species of marine turtles are included in its annexes. The Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles (IAC) was concluded after four rounds of negotiations in the Region in 1996. It has yet to be ratified. It has at its objective, “to promote the protection, conservation and recovery of sea turtle populations and of the habitats on which they depend, based on the best available scientific evidence, taking into account the environmental, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the Parties.” It is the only international treaty dedicated exclusively to marine turtles, and demonstrates the progressive nature of conservation in our region. There is much more that could be said, but suffice to say that in this region there are a great variety of international legal agreements to assist us in the process of shared management, and UNEP looks forward to working together with you to ensure that Caribbean marine turtles survive for many years to come.Literature CitedEckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the 3rdMeeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Hykle, D. 1999. International Conservation Treaties, p.228-231. In : Karen L. Eckert, Karen A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu G. and Marydele Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Rosser, A. and M. Haywood. 1996. CITES: A Conservation Tool. A Guide to Amending the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Fifth Ed. IUCN, Gland. 136 pp. UNEP. 1989. Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment. UNEP/GC.15/Inf.2. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi. 250 pp. UNEP. 1995. Relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP(OCA)/CAR WG. 19/4. Prepared for the 3rdMeeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. United Nations Environment Programme Kingston, 1113 October 1995. 55 pp. 85 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 108

86J. Sybesma (UNA) began the Plenary discussion by expressing his strong support of International and Regional mechanisms. He offered the following explanatory and cautionary comments. First, Conventions work between parties and are not for the citizens of a party. Second, there are basically two different legal systems within nations, dualistic and monastic, when it comes to implementation. Either the international norm must be transformed into national law (dualistic) or it is directly applicable to citizens (monastic); the former is typical. Third, because international/ regional conventions are constructed on the basis of consensus, norms in international/regional conventions are mostly vague, “open”, and lack time constraints. Fourth, at the moment there are at least four international/ regional conventions with legal mechanisms to protect sea turtles. They overlap considerably, which begs the question, “Why do we need so many international/ regional tools?” Lastly, most conventions require regular reports to be submitted, sometimes every year. In doing so, governments spend more time writing reports and less time implementing conventions. That is a problem. 1G. Allport (Dominica) asked for feedback on the progress of UNEP Action Plans for sea turtles. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) explained that the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) had been formed as a result of a recommendation coming from a regional IUCN/CCA meeting in Santo Domingo in 1981. A natural relationship soon emerged between the network of experts and the UNEP office, which was seeking partnerships to assist governments in the discharge of their responsibilities under the Cartagena Convention, and later the SPAW Protocol. National management and recovery planning are explicit in the Convention, and an early focus of the relationship between WIDECAST and UNEP was to assist Governments and local stakeholders in development national “Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans” (STRAPs) that followed a standard format. The first STRAP was published in 1992; there have been 10 published to date and a dozen more are in draft form. The documents are very comprehensive and represent a great effort by WIDECAST participants. Before WIDECAST, there was no mechanism for the broad exchange of information, but in the last ten years there has been incredible progress at the grassroots level in the areas of networking, data management, and training. Some of the Action Plans have been better implemented then others. She asked if perhaps some of WIDECAST’s national coordinators, present at the meeting, would like to comment on implementation. J. Horrocks (UWI) emphasized that in Barbados there was input into the “Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan [STRAP] for Barbados” by all levels of society. Through the process of developing the STRAP, stressors and priority conservation actions were identified. UWI, Bellairs Research Institute, and the Fisheries Department are currently implementing the Action Plan. Programs have also been initiated in collaboration with dive operators and fishermen that focus on in-water work with green turtles and hawksbills. Currently partnerships are emerging that capitalize on the ecotourism market; e.g., making arrangements for visitors and volunteers to participate directly in our beach surveys and in-water census work. P. Hoetjes (N.A.) noted that the Netherlands Antilles was the first country to produce an Action Plan [“Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for the Netherlands Antilles”]. It was authored by Jeff Sybesma, then Manager of the Underwater Park in Curaao. Although there are not many turtles in the N.A., the government put legislation in place to fully protect the sea turtles. Now there is specificOpen Forum: Strengthening International CooperationNelson Andrade Colmenares — Moderator Regional Coordinating Unit UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme Jamaica Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 109

87 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 legislation on each island of the NA. There are no extractive commercial activities on sea turtles. There are plans to survey Saba Bank, part of the NA Economic Fisheries Zone (EFZ), where turtles and other important marine resources can be found. A good deal of work has been done on Bonaire (which adopted an extensive Marine Park in 1979), especially after the STRAP was published and a local sea turtle group (“Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire”) was formed. Curaao has low density nesting beachesand does not monitor them consistently. Turtles in the Windward Islands of the N.A. are protected in the marine parks but, again, there is no formal monitoring of key nesting beaches or foraging sites. C. d’Auvergne (St Lucia 2) noted that the STRAP [“Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Lucia”], published in 1993, was the first time that all relevant information about sea turtles in St. Lucia was gathered into one place. It represented a lot of work by NGOs and Government experts, as well. It had not been closely followed in recent years, but the Fisheries Department was now showing an increased interest in sea turtle activities, and in revisiting the STRAP. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) stated that one of the big challenges to STRAP implementation was funding. Since 1995 WIDECAST contributed (through fund-raising) about US$ 700,000 to local sea turtle research and conservation in the region, but that is only a fragment of what is needed. She noted that, until a few years ago, the network had been focused mainly on training and capacity building, activities that are not capital intensive, but now the real need is to finance priority actions identified by stakeholders. WIDECAST itself is only a technical network, a mechanism to facilitate action, but not a donor per se Local groups must become more successful at obtaining funding from national corporate or philanthropic sources. Trinidad, Bonaire, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and others have already been quite successful at local fund-raising. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) encouraged stakeholders to consider submitting joint proposals to Global Environment Facilities (GEF), either through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) or the UNEP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) in Kingston. Small grants are accessible in the region through local UNDP offices; these grants have supported sea turtle projects in Anguilla, Trinidad, and perhaps elsewhere. M. Donnelly (IUCN MTSG) commented that five countries had ratified the Inter-American Convention [for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, or IAC]: Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and, most recently, Brazil, and that the treaty was expected to enter into force within the year. Following up on Nelson’s presentation of the various international instruments in the region, and noting that the Conventions often appear to overlap in specific details, she asked for input from participants on whether this situation was considered to be problematic or useful in fulfilling the objective of coordinated, international conservation action. P. Hoetjes (N.A.) expressed his concern that when treaties cover the same ground, it just means that “double work” is required for the reporting process. This costs more money and resources. D. Salabarria Fernndez (Cuba) offered her view that what really matters is implementation. When a treaty costs resources (including money) that are not available within the country, then it is just paper on a desk, and this is a common problem for the countries of the Wider Caribbean. All treaties have progressive and useful provisions, and most have aspects that are not relevant. A government must choose what agreements to support. A government must set its priorities. M. Jorge (WWF) agreed, and noted that treaties are negotiated because countries desire to reach agreements that benefit them and that support their national priorities. The basis of a successful treaty is that countries agree by consensus. The recovery, management and/ or conservation of a resource or resources is often the shared motivation. The motivation must be clear before governments enter into agreements. R. O. Sanchez (Dominican Republic) further clarified the issue by characterizing it as an ongoing debate between those who believe that signing more treaties strengthens conservation by obligating a nation to specific responsibilities, and those who believe that these responsibilities might be achieved with less (or perhaps more selective) inter-

PAGE 110

88national participation. He agreed that what is important is not just signing but implementation, even despite limited resources. It has been the experience of the Dominican Republic that a minimum or sufficient number of agreements is needed in order to effectively conserve resources, but he recognized that there were differences of opinion on this topic. M. E. Herrera (Costa Rica) said that Panama and Costa Rica have an agreement on sea turtles [“Agreement for the Conservation of Sea Turtles on the Caribbean Coast of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua”, or Tripartite Agreement] and that they would like to include Nicaragua as a signatory, as well. In addition, Costa Rica has ratified the IAC and has introduced domestic legislation for the protection of sea turtles in order to improve implementation. The government is working on a management plan with NGOs and other entities with an aim to achieve sustained conservation results into the future. She emphasized the importance of range states working together. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) expressed his view that the benefits of some Conventions are obvious, as evidenced by a global participation in CITES (“Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”) and other broadly applicable instruments. Most agreements do have administrative and other costs, but it is all to the end of achieving and supporting conservation on the ground. He agreed with Dalia (Cuba) that there may be a need to focus more on needs within individual countries, however, and not create so much bureaucracy as to divert limited resources away from real progress on the issues. D. Chacn (ANAI) agreed with Maria Elena (Costa Rica) in that Costa Rica is working on many issues, both national and regional, and that to some extent the number of treaties and conventions offers a positive aspect in that a nation can chose to participate in the treaties that best meet its needs as a nation. In the case of Costa Rica there was a feeling that the various international agreements did not, in fact, meet a priority national need to work collaboratively with Nicaragua and Panama to jointly manage shared sea turtle populations. For this reason the “Tripartite Agreement” was born. He talked about an ongoing need for updated domestic legislation, and the “enormous gap” between legislation and work being done in the field. To overcome this gap, local legislation is required in some cases because national legislation is too broad. He agreed that with conventions there is often good intention but insufficient attention to the work in the field. Therefore, local laws are also very important. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) indicated his support for the comments made by Didiher (ANAI) and Maurice (Bahamas) and observed that while it is easy for a country to sign an agreement, a balance must be struck between good intentions and resources that must be made available to assist institutions in implementation. Necessarily, national financial resources must be available in order to fulfill treaty obligations. In many cases governments have asked UNEP to provide these resources. WTO and other global entities are also now speaking of the “economic values” of the environment. There is interest in the idea of coordination among global and regional conventions. Secondly, treaties are based on consensus among nations, so it is at the level of the individual governments that there must be a willingness to implement. At the national level, countries have a difficult but necessary task to evaluate what benefit a convention is likely to provide, and then also think carefully about the availability of resources before the convention is signed. R. Mrquez (Mexico) agreed that the effects and benefits of a treaty must be examined and then balanced with the available budgets. Treaties require a sufficient budget. He noted that budgets for research projects often remain the same year after year, but because of inflation (which increases each year), these budgets are really shrinking. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) read a statement from the delegate from France informing the meeting that France had not yet ratified the SPAW Protocol, but considers it a priority. France does not support ratification of the IAC. S. Tejerino (Nicaragua) revisited the “Tripartite Agreement”, which also includes Costa Rica and Panama, and expressed interest in the agreement. She noted that Nicaragua has revised the text of theKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 111

89 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 agreement, which was originally developed and launched by two NGOs. Since international treaties are signed by governments and not NGOs, NGOs are not responsible. At the present time Nicaragua is emphasizing the need for local groups to participate, but such groups are not in full agreement. She asked whether the avenue to consensus would be best achieved by education or diplomacy? And she indicated that Nicaragua is ready to sign several of the agreements talked about during the Plenary session, but that Nicaragua is a country that uses a lot of natural resources, and that some annexes work against current practices. The country must take into account not only conservation, but also sustainable use. “Conservation” must have a more realistic approach in some cases, especially when economies are heavily resource-dependent. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) noted some contradictions among conventions, such as between WTO and CBD and between SPAW and CITES, but concluded that these conventions should not lose their importance. He suggested that we identify the contradictions and adjust the treaties when practicable, but that we not forget the essential meanings of these conventions. He agreed that governments need and should expect clarity in interpreting the various conventions, and that there must be a will to work together. As an example, as a result of the last SPAW meeting in Havana UNEP is working on making global conventions more complementary. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) agreed that this topic had been discussed in Havana. He suggested that the problem is not a contradiction between conventions, but a problem within some countries regarding compliance with the SPAW Protocol. Once again, countries must take the time to examine the documents carefully before entering into a convention. M. Donnelly (IUCN MTSG) asked whetheror not it would be useful to draft model national legislation, or to harmonize national legislation in the region as the OECS nations have attempted to do? P. Hoetjes (N.A.) responded that harmonization of legislation may work well when countriesare close together and have the same background, as is the case for many countries in the Eastern Caribbean. But it is probably very difficult, if not impossible, when this is not the case. D. Salabarria Fernndez (Cuba) noted that legislation is the responsibility of the governments, as is policy. S. George (St. Lucia) agreed with Paul (N.A.) that harmonization in the Eastern Caribbean was relatively easy because of a common legal background. Management guidelines coming from this meeting would be more useful than specific legislative wording. All countries of the Wider Caribbean region have legislation, but it is incomplete in various ways. Guidelines that could be used to evaluate national legislation, especially to assist Government in filling existing gaps, would be useful. M. Jorge (WWF) stated that the term “harmonizing legislation” is subject to differences of opinion. For example, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize are harmonizing policy for fishery resources. They are sharing natural resources and they do not want to “undercut” each other’s efforts. For this reason, they are designing a joint management scheme for these resources. As an another example, several countries in the Caribbean are working diligently to manage their conch fisheries, and they are harmonizing policies. We may want to go in this direction. C. D’Auvergne (St. Lucia 2) agreed with Sarah (St. Lucia) in that whether or not countries decide to harmonize legislation or policy depends on their particular situation. The OECS, for example, has seen significant success in managing access by foreign fleets. When countries are managing geographically contiguous resources, then there is more likely to be a justification for harmonizing. P. Hoetjes (N.A.) said that treaties are about harmonizing policy, and that this was an important point for the meeting to discuss because it can be a very difficult thing to achieve. He noted that even within the N.A. harmonization is difficult to achieve because of a complex layering of local (island), national, and kingdom legislative frameworks. He also noted that in some treaties (e.g., CITES, SPAW), sea turtles are classified as endangered species, … yet in some countries sea turtles are used commercially. This is often because of poverty. Countries sign the treaties, but on a nation-

PAGE 112

al level they let this consumption continue. He asked, “How do we deal with this?” S. Tijerino (Nicaragua) responded that in the case where a country signs a treaty and lets national consumption continue in ways that contravene the intent of the treaty, it does not mean that the country lacks a willingness to regulate consumption. The situation is complicated. There is an effort to harmonize legislation within Latin America, for example, but procedures with commerce and internal management are very complex. Countries will have to focus on the similarities in this matter. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) agreed that no country has 100% compliance. When a country decides to sign or ratify a treaty, it agrees to try its best to comply with the principles of that treaty. J. Frazier (Smithsonian) observed that the world is complex, political processes are not transparent, and conventions are difficult to implement. Since the meeting had been called to discuss sea turtles, and it was the first such forum to convene in many years, he invited the participants to consider whether or not sea turtles could be managed on an individual country level and, if so, what was the role of the regional dialogue? N. Andrade C. (UNEP / Moderator) asked the group to provide some concrete recommendations and suggestions on the subject of “Strengthening International Cooperation.” R.O. Sanchez (Dominican Republic) stated his view that when one considers the migratory nature of sea turtles, it is obvious that we must always think at regional and international levels. Therefore, a regional dialogue has great value. We cannot solve problems as individual nations — we must continue to work on a regional and international level. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) recommended that copies of national legislation be made available in English and Spanish because “it would be useful for us to see the legislation of other countries when drafting our own legislation.” R. Kerr (Hope Zoo) asked whether or not “model” implementing legislation could be made available to governments of the region regarding IAC and SPAW, since there was hope for these treaties coming into force soon. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) recalled participating in a SPAW legislation meeting in Ocho Rios (Jamaica) in 1993, and asked whether UNEP had developed model legislation for the SPAW Protocol. [ ref: “Workshop to Assist with the Formulation of National Legislation to Implement the SPAW Protocol in the Common Law Countries of the Wider Caribbean Region,” 6-9 December 1993 ] J. Sybesma (UNA) reminded the meeting that the Jamaica meeting was only for common law countries, and it was his recollection that nothing had become available as a result of the meeting. N. Andrade C. (UNEP / Moderator) answered that he was unaware of any model SPAW legislation available from UNEP. S. George (St. Lucia) agreed with previous speakers that the region is committed to moving to a new approach with regards to sea turtle management. She noted that countries recognize that they need to work with others, and that no country can accomplish its management goals in isolation. K. Eckert (WIDECAST) inquired whether this would be a good opportunity to put forward a recommendation of the meeting in support of the SPAW Protocol, noting that no treaty lends clarity and focus to the issues facing sea turtles in the way that SPAW does. She asked whether there was a copy of the Protocol present for the purposes of a more detailed discussion. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) responded that the meeting could take a decision with regard to SPAW, but it would be non-binding since this is a technical meeting and not an intergovernmental meeting. A. Abreu (IUCN MTSG) asked the meeting to consider the points of consensus. He suggested that if, for example, there was universal acceptance, based on the migratory characteristics of sea turtles, that sea turtles should be managed regionally, then the recommendations of the meeting should support that point. Perhaps more specific recommendations could come at a later time. S. Tijerino (Nicaragua) expressed concern that90 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 113

91 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 the meeting did not have the authority to support a recommendation on SPAW (or any other treaty). In her case, she works for Environmental Affairs and not Foreign Affairs. She came to discuss this matter with hopes of presenting an initiative, not to make commitments. She noted that Nicaragua had signed the SPAW Protocol years ago, but had not ratified it. This was a matter for Foreign Affairs. N. Andrade C. (UNEP/Moderator) clarified the point that this is not an inter-governmental meeting; nothing that comes out of this meeting should be construed as mandatory or binding. This is a meeting of technical experts and an indication of the commitment of Caribbean governments to participate in this important discussion. The recommendations of the meeting should be of a technical nature. E. Carillo (Cuba) agreed with Alberto (IUCN MTSG) that the management of marine turtles must be regional, but that implementation must logically occur at the national level. There might be a mosaic of national plans, each supporting the regional consensus but crafted to meet national priorities as well. J. Aiken (Cayman Islands) stated his support for the meeting as a forum to discuss regional management of marine turtles in the Caribbean, and offered his view that the ecology of marine turtles should be viewed first from a regional perspective and then from a national perspective. A “mosaic of national plans” may neglect important aspects of marine turtle life history, especially when developing a “Regional Management Plan for the Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Caribbean.” C. Parker (Barbados) suggested that recommendations must be based on biological realities, but also on the needs of the different countries. Sea turtle harvest is prohibited in Barbados, but to what level should turtles be harvested in other countries? He suggested that information be made available indicating the extent to which exploitation is important to various countries. R. O. Sanchez (Dominican Republic) agreed that resource use within countries should be taken into account, including the traditional use of turtles. There is a wide range of current practices. C. Parker (Barbados) described the purpose of the meeting as a forum to share information, with the intent of trying to move from a national level of management to an international level where responsibilities are shared. He suggested that what governments really need to know is whether or not their efforts are useful or in vain; for example, are turtles protected in one country, but overexploited in other areas so that we may never see them again? What are our shared values in this regard? Can we agree that if we do not conserve them internationally, they will be lost? Countries will be less likely to increase their national conservation activities if they do not understand why others do not do the same. M. Isaacs (Bahamas) agreed that we must move away from a parochial mentality. In talking of highly migratory species which are a shared resource, we are obligated to remember that turtles in the waters or on the beaches of any particular country are only there for a period of time, but during that time they are wholly dependent on that country for their survival. Feeling the importance of this view, the Bahamas does not have a problem with regard to compliance with either SPAW and CITES. A. Abreu (IUCN MTSG) asked for volunteers to comprise a Drafting Committee to make recommendations to the meeting, based on the discussion. M. Jorge (WWF) noted it would be prudent to ensure that a range of viewpoints be represented on the Drafting Committee. It was agreed that the Drafting Committee would include S. George, M. Isaacs, E. Carillo, S. Tijerino, N. Andrade C. and J. Sybesma. V. Sybesma and M. Donnelly agreed to type the minutes of the session. 1The interventions documented by the Minutes of this Plenary Session (Open Forum) were filtered through translators, rapporteurs, and editors before being finalized in these Proceedings. Every effort was made to ensure a fair representation of the views presented. Any misinterpretations or errors are the sole responsibility of the editors.2Mr. C. d’Auvergne participated in the meeting as an Invited Expert, and not as a delegate from St. Lucia

PAGE 114

92 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 NOTINGthe efforts of all countries of the Wider Caribbean in conserving marine turtles and their habitats on a national level; RECOGNIZINGthe constraints that all countries continue to face in implementing the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats; WERECOMMEND: • Supporting the establishment of a regional data center, including legislation, biological and technical information to be located, for example, at the SPAW Regional Activity Center to be established in Guadeloupe; • Encouraging and supporting the countries of the Wider Caribbean in becoming more involved in international, regional and sub-regional agreements for the conservation of sea turtles; • Encouraging countries of the Wider Caribbean that have a “Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan” (STRAP) in place to implement it, and encouraging those who do not have such a plan in place to develop and implement one, with the final goal being to achieve regional consensus on the guidelines and criteria for cooperative conservation and management of Caribbean marine turtles; • Continuing to use cooperative mechanisms to make the implementation and reporting requirements of the various international and regional conventions more effective and efficient; and • Encouraging and supporting those countries with jurisdiction over outstanding critical marine turtle habitat in increasing their efforts to conserve those populations and habitats, with the support of the regional and international community.Conclusions and Recommendations: Strengthening International Cooperation

PAGE 115

Sessions IV and VMeeting Management GoalsDetermining Population Distribution and StatusF. Alberto Abreu G., PresenterMonitoring Population TrendsRhema H. Kerr Bjorkland, PresenterPromoting Public Awareness and Community InvolvementCrispin d’Auvergne, PresenterReducing Threats at Nesting BeachesBarbara A. Schroeder, PresenterReducing Threats on Foraging GroundsJulia A. Horrocks, PresenterStrengthening the Regulatory FrameworkJeffrey Sybesma, Presenter93 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 116

95 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 IntroductionTo implement biodiversity conservation programs, necessary input to establish priorities includes information on the distribution of the species, its structure (how is it organized internally?), and its conservation status, both for the species as a whole and for the populations or stocks that comprise it. This information enables the development of an effective and direct strategy linking priority goals with local and regional actions. This chapter outlines the methods used in determining the distribution of marine turtles species and emphasizes the issues related to the study of population structure and the assessment of conservation status.Determining DistributionA species’ distribution describes the entire geographic region with all known or inferred sites in which a species occurs (vagrants are excluded). For migratory species such as marine turtles, which utilize numerous habitats during their lifetimes, distribution encompasses vast areas, including all sites essential for the survival of every life stage. Marine turtles are present in many of the world’s oceans and seas. They have complex life histories, and over a period of many years use continental shelves, bays, estuaries, and lagoons in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Determining the extent of their distribution has been difficult. Fortunately, once the major aspects of each species’ life cycle became known, direct and indirect methods to identify the presence of individual species have permitted the collection of a great deal of information about their distribution. The simplest direct method relies on the identification of species during the nesting season at breeding sites. The global nesting distribution is the sum of all sites found. In most cases, many sites are already known from recent and historical surveys (see individual species chapters in this volume). Aerial and boat surveys (Schroeder and Murphy, 1999) are useful to increase the coverage of large expanses of territory and extend scrutiny into regions less well studied or with difficult access. Identification of species using these survey methods can rely on direct observations of nesting turtles or on deductions from characteristic tracks. Basic data derived from nesting beach surveys are essential to construct the inventory of the species’ nesting sites and should include: (a) geographic coordinates and references to landmarks and/or the political entities where each nesting beach is located; (b) nesting period for each of the species using the beach; and (c) the relative importance (in terms of numbers of nests per season) of the nesting beach within the country or the region (Briseo-Dueas and Abreu-Grobois, 1999). Other essential habitats and areas include those used as migratory corridors, developmental sites and foraging areas. Identification of the location of these sites is much more difficult due to the fact that they are found at sea and they exist at localities often separated by many hundreds or thousands of kilometers from the nesting sites where the majority of research efforts take place. Species have distinct developmental and foraging sites that correspond to their ecological requirements. When more than one species of marine turtles utilizes an area, each species generally has different ecological requirements. For example, hawksbills forage on sponges in reef areas while green turtles utilize grass flats. However, at some sites, particularly in the coastal areas, a combination of species may be found during a portion of their life cycle even though the sea-Determining Population Distribution and StatusF. Alberto Abreu G. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologiaUniversidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Mxico

PAGE 117

96sonality and locality of breeding may not coincide. In other cases, turtles of the same species but of different ages may be found at individual habitats. The locations of migratory routes initially were derived from opportunistic sightings in the open sea by biologists or fishermen familiar with these species. Tagging programs for marine turtles in many regions have provided useful insights into the extent of the species’ ranges. With time, the accumulated information gathered has allowed biologists to construct a more complete picture of nesting sites, migratory routes and developmental areas. The use of traditional mark-recapture techniques (Balazs, 1999) together with more sophisticated biotelemetry (Eckert, 1999) or genetic methods (FitzSimmons et al. 1999) in conjunction with an understanding of oceanic currents has refined our knowledge of dispersal routes as well as the location of developmental and feeding sites of juvenile and mature organisms. The emerging picture now includes details of long distance movements, and the realization that turtles originating in many breeding colonies converge in developmental and feeding sites. This research has also confirmed the extensive migratory behavior of all marine turtles, crossing through and into territorial waters of more than one country during their lifetimes. Indirect methods are also useful to detect the presence of marine turtles in coastal habitats that are less well studied or difficult to reach. Relevant data often can be derived from historical and anecdotal information from individuals acquainted with sea turtles, such as villagers, marketplace shoppers, or fishermen (Tambiah, 1999). Published accounts of the general biology of the species are very useful as general guides to potential locations. Surveys of potential nesting or feeding sites can be undertaken in areas which have the ecological, physical or biological characteristics known to correlate with sea turtle presence (e.g., coral and sponge reefs, seagrass beds for hawksbill and green turtle foraging grounds, respectively; Diez and Ottenwalder, 1999). On some beaches during the reproductive season, nesting can be confirmed through the presence of crawls, nesting pits, or egg shells and the species’ identity can be deduced from characteristic markings left by nesting females (Pritchard and Mortimer, 1999). Importance of identifying the basic demographic units As in many other species with broad geographic distributions, marine turtle species are made up of discrete demographic subunits and these can, for the most part, be differentiated with modern genetic techniques. Isolation between these subunits (also known as “stocks”, “populations” or “management units”), originates from relatively low levels of gene flow between breeding assemblages. In the case of marine turtles, a tendency for organisms to return to breed at or near the site of birth (“natal homing” or “philopatry”; see Frazier, this volume) promotes this kind of isolation between breeding assemblages, even though they still remain part of the same species. A practical consequence of this degree of isolation is that the populations will exhibit independent population dynamics that correlate with the degree of genetic differentiation. Thus, as individual populations may react independently to management actions, management practice can and should be tailored specifically to the conservation status of each individual population. In practice this means that each individual population will need to be identified, tracked and evaluated throughout the geographic range where it is distributed. This requirement imposed upon marine turtle management on a regional scale is not unlike fisheries management of species composed of multiple stocks (see Musick, this volume). Identification of populations of marine turtles can rely on a combination of techniques, including mark-recapture with flipper tags and various forms of telemetry and molecular methodologies for the most precise results. However, because differences between breeding assemblages have a genetic basis, the most useful and time-efficient method takes advantage of assayable differences between the populations, either in the form of frequency shifts or presence or absence of distinct segments of the DNA, that serve as “markers” that can be used to track and identify populations or individuals. In many cases, the use of DNA analysis allows for the unambiguous characterization of discrete breeding assemblages at their nesting grounds and their discrimination in distant feeding ground assemblages, in migratory corridors, or in harvests, where the actual composition of a mixture of stocks would be impossible without this techniqueKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 118

97 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 (Bowen, 1995; FitzSimmons et al. 1999). Although these studies are preliminary until more populations are researched, these types of genetic studies have been successfully applied to hawksbill populations in the Caribbean region. The significant differences in characteristics of the mitochondrial DNA among rookeries (Bass et al. 1996; Daz-Fernndez et al. 1999), besides demonstrating the existence of independent stocks, were employed to distinguish populations in sites where more than one stock would be present. At foraging sites located in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico the presence of a mixture of populations was thus proven and the contribution by each stock at that time and season was derived by statistical analyses (Bowen et al. 1996: Daz-Fernndez et al. 1999). Further analysis of the genetic data also allows estimates of gene flow between rookeries, providing for a much clearer picture of the dynamics among populations. Determining StatusThe term “status” or “conservation status” refers to the condition or health of a species or population. Assessments of a species’ status follow analogous procedures to those used by a physician when diagnosing a patient, requiring a comparison of his current condition against a standard of “health”. Similarly, the status of a species can be derived by scrutinizing for “symptoms” that reflect its condition. These are based on an assessment of a species’ population trends, distribution, and the state of critical habitat. On one end of the spectrum, threatened and stressed species exhibit marked declines in population size over time. This may be associated with direct threats to the organisms themselves or to loss or degradation of habitat. On the other end of the spectrum, if population stability or growth is observed over an acceptable period of time, the conclusion would be that the species is “healthy”. When the latter is observable subsequent to a period of decline, the species could, at least, be considered “recovering”. Condition of full recovery will require the elimination or control of external threatening factors, a measure of the species’ health, as well as assuring that the species can perform its full ecological role. Status in terms of risk of extinction Rigorous methods for the evaluation of status of endangered species have been developed to focus attention on identification and measurements of extinction risk. Resulting evaluations have the additional value of providing means by which species can be compared across taxa on the basis of extinction risk. This information can be used in turn to prioritize conservation programs. Extinction results from complex and not completely understood interactions between external threat factors and the species’ intrinsic characteristics that, under extreme circumstances, lead to an ever increasing decline and, eventually, to an inability to survive altogether. In modern times, the major forces driving extinction are anthropogenic, such as a) habitat loss or degradation, b) overexploitation, c) introduction of exotic species or diseases, or d) a combination of all these factors. When these circumstances are present, they are symptoms that a species it at risk. Some natural history traits, because of the additional constraints they impose on population growth and general resilience, augment a species’ vulnerability to extinction. Among these: a) narrow geographic range, b) only one or a few populations, c) population size is small, d) characteristic low population density, e) requirement for a large home range, f) low intrinsic rates of population increase, g) migratory behavior, h) scarce genetic variability, or i) highly specialized niche requirements. The more of these traits that a species exhibits, the more vulnerable it is to extinction. Because of the biological complexities of species and their interactions with their environment, a thorough and objective analysis to gauge the precise risk of extinction for any species is extremely difficult. It requires in-depth knowledge of all factors involved and their effects on the survival capability of the species. In practice, however, identification of species at risk can be derived by employing measures of the symptoms that species under stress provide (habitat loss or degradation, population decline or highly reduced population sizes) and these can be used to classify species into threat categories. This can be seen as the initial decision a doctor takes when dealing with ill patients and will identify the cases that require most urgent action.

PAGE 119

98 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme For example, if a population is characterized as having a small size and/or has a slow rate of population growth and is known to be drastically reduced in size, it is logical to deduce it is threatened. Likewise, if a significant proportion of a population’s habitat has been lost or degraded, and the population has declined in size, this population is also vulnerable. Measuring the extinction risk of species should ideally be objective and rely on the best available scientific data and incorporate measurements of indicators that correlate with extinction risk. Thus, the results of the assessment should be the same when performed by different assessors. Developing a single procedure for all organisms is a daunting task, particularly as species vary considerably in their life-histories and other ecological attributes that affect their vulnerability to extinction. Faced with devising dependable and rigorous guidelines for species status assessments, national and international authorities have developed procedures based on the ideas presented above. For example, for legislative and management policy purposes, some countries specify general guidelines defining endangered species as those showing some or a combination of the symptoms associated with extinction. In these cases, scientific or technical advisory committees review available information and the biological characteristics of species on a case-by-case basis to produce national lists of endangered species (e.g., Mexico’s Diario Oficial de la Federacin, 1994; The US Endangered Species Act 1973). Several international conservation treaties consider endangered species using general definitions (e.g., UNEP’s SPAW Protocol, and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals-CMS). Two major international organizations have specific pre-defined procedures to be applicable to all species under their respective evaluation processes: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and, through its Red List Program, the World Conservation Union (IUCN). CITES utilizes a suite of “Biological Criteria” to assess species that are, or are likely to be involved, in international trade in order to detect if they can be considered endangered species (Table I). These criteria detect endangerment on the basis of observations or inferences that reflect small population size and decline in the number of individuals or in the quality of their habitat; populations having a restricted area of distribution and exhibit declining population sizes, or fluctuations in size or are fragmented; or populations whose size has declined significantly over generations. Species meeting these criteria are listed in CITES Appendices I and II (see left column, Table I for CITES criteria; for further details, the interested reader should consult CITES Conf. 9.24 available in http://www.cites.org/CITES/ eng/ index.shtml). The IUCN has developed a more complex system (the Red List Categories) that relies on specific quantitative thresholds to assign one of eight categories of extinction risk. Of these categories, the three applicable to threatened species are relevant to marine turtles: Vulnerable Endangered and Critically Endangered since each of the seven species of marine turtles are currently listed under one of them. The goal of the Red List Categories is to provide an explicit, objective framework (criteria) to classify species according to their risk of extinction. These have been developed to be applicable across all taxa and life histories, although some difficulties remain. The 1994 IUCN Red List categories and the corresponding thresholds are presented in a simplified form in Table I (right column). While species initially should be evaluated against all criteria, some of the criteria are not applicable to particular taxa. If a species meets one criterion, it is listed as threatened at that level (category) of risk. The Red List Categories employ quantitative criteria to distinguish amongst three categories of extinction risk, thus providing for greater resolution in the evaluation. Since a thorough description of the assessment procedure is beyond the scope of this chapter, the interested reader is encouraged to consult the complete documentation for further details and application guidelines (IUCN, 1994). A number of important elements in the assessment procedure should be stressed. First, for adequate assessments, the time frame of the observations needs to be biologically relevant to the processes involved. Since population dynamics are scaled by generation lengths (see Congdon et al. 1993), assessments need to be made over a period

PAGE 120

99 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 spanning several generations. Secondly, generation is defined as “the average age of parents” This value is greater than the age at which first reproduction is observable and less than the age of the oldest breeding individual. One problem with this definition is that this number will be lower than would occur naturally in a heavily exploited species because breeders will not have natural lifetimes. Third, although the assessments are usually applied to species at a global scale, they are also effective in evaluating the status of individual populations or stocks, particularly when they are isolated from other conspecific populations (as occurs for most marine turtle stocks). Fourth, since the results of either procedure rely on evaluating parameters such as “decline” or “reductions” in aspects of a species’ habitat or its population size, the cut-off points need to be clearly defined for objective application. CITES, for example, provides a guideline (not a threshold) for defining a “decline” to be sufficiently large to warrant classifying a species in trade as “endangered”: > 50% reduction in number of individuals or in its area of distribution over a period of 5 years or 2 generations whichever is longer (> 20% in 10 yrs or 3 generations for small populations). The IUCN Red List Categories, on the other hand, specify that the observed or inferred changes occur over 3 generations or 10 years, whichever is the longer period (see Table I). Using the IUCN Red List Categories to assess extinction risk of marine turtles IUCN’s procedures have been widely accepted by governmental agencies, academic and non-governmental organizations as a universal reference point for listing endangered species. All species of marine turtles have been assayed with these criteria and are provided in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (Baillie and Groombridge, 1996; see species chapters in this volume). Marine turtles are commonly analyzed for global assessments under Criterion A (“Declining population size”, right column in Table I) which is the criterion most applicable to the taxon. For these species, assessments are generally based on direct observations (subcriterion a), an index of abundance appropriate to the taxon (subcriterion b), or actual or potential levels of exploitation (subcriterion d). In most surveys, marine turtle population sizes are gauged on the basis of numbers of nests constructed annually as this information is the most accessible and abundant information which is amenable to analysis (Meylan, 1995). There is a very significant advantage in that these data are directly related to the true number of breeding females during each nesting season. To estimate population abundance, estimates of annual number of nests are commonly preferred over estimates of the number of individual nesting turtles as the index of abundance because (a) many (if not most) projects do not tag turtles, so it is not possible to distinguish between individual nesters leaving multiple clutches in the season and (b) there is no need to monitor individual tagged turtles between subsequent nestings (remigrations) to detect and account for variations amongst individuals and between geographic populations for frequency and length of remigration intervals (Alvarado and Murphy, 1999). Thus, information gathered by most surveys can be compiled and compared. If desired, numbers of nests can be converted to the number of females nesting annually by dividing the average number of nests per female (Alvarado and Murphy, 1999) when this information is available. As mentioned above, evaluation of changes in population size for status assessment needs to be analyzed over a period of time compatible with the dynamics of population turnover. This scale would extend beyond the time frames required solely to achieve statistical robustness in trend estimates from demographic data (roughly in the region of 510 years; see Kerr, this volume) into a 2-3 generation period that is required by international procedures. Furthermore, employing multi-generation time series also facilitates the detection of true long-term trends. Age at maturity for long-lived species, such as marine turtles, extends into decades (see Frazier, this volume). For the fastest developing species, such as Kemp’s ridley ( Lepidochelys kempii ), maturity may be first reached in the range of 10-16 years (Mrquez, 1994; Mrquez, this volume; Zug et al. 1997). At the other end of the spectrum, green turtles may take as long as 50 years to reach maturity (Bjorndal and Zug, 1995). Although regional

PAGE 121

CITES Biological Criteria for inclusion in Appendix ISpecies that meet, or are likely to meet, at least one of the following criteria (simplified) A) A wild population is small and there is decline in the population size or habitat size or quality ; or each sub-population is very small; or most of the individuals are concentrated in a single sub-population; or there are large fluctuations in population size; or there is high vulnerability due to the species’ biology or behavior (e.g. migration), OR B) A wild population has a restricted area of distribution and the distribution is fragmented; or there are large fluctuations in the area or number of sub-populations; or there is a decline in the population size or distribution or quality of habitat, OR C) The number of individuals in the wild has declined, which has been observed or inferred as having occurred in the past; or inferred or projected on the basis of: decreased area or quality of habitat; or levels or patterns of exploitation; or threats from extrinsic factors (e.g., pathogens, parasites, introduced species, etc.); or there is a decreased reproductive potential, OR D) The status of the species is such that if it isn’t protected by inclusion in Appendix I, it is likely to satisfy one or more of the criteria within the following 5 years. Definitions in CITES Criteria : Decline — a guideline of 50% decrease in 5 years or 2 generations, whatever is longer; for small populations, a guideline of 20% in 10 years or 3 generations Generation — average age of parents Restricted area of distribution — guideline of 10,000 km2 for smallest area essential for any life stage of the speciesCriteria for the 1994 IUCN Red List Categories (simplified) CR = critically endangered; EN = endangered; VU = vulnerableA) Declining Population Size (past and/or projected), measured as changes in the numbers of mature individuals only An observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least X% over the last 10 years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on either: 1) (a) direct observation; or (b) an index of abundance appropriate for the taxon; or (c) a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat; or (d) actual or potential levels of exploitation; or (e) the effects of introduced taxa, hybridization, pathogens, pollutants, competitors or parasites OR 2) A reduction of at least X%, projected or suspected to be met within the next ten years or three generations, whichever is the longer, based on any of (b), (c), (d) or (e) above. [values for: X%CR=80; EN=50; VU=20 ] B) Small Geographic Distribution and Decline, Fragmentation or Fluctuation. Population occurring in
PAGE 122

101 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 assessments of age at maturity have not yet been undertaken, differences in growth rates among populations of the same species found in different ocean basins may also need to be taken into account when making assessments. An assessment of the extinction risk for Lepidochelys kempii using the IUCN Red List Categories can best illustrate their application since this is a case where a time series spanning many decades is available. The species is the most seriously endangered of the sea turtles, having declined precipitously from the 1940s to the 1980s (Figure 1) and it has a distribution concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico (in contrast to global distributions for five of the other six species). For this species, the assessment can be performed using Criterion A (decline criteria) for data on the number nests laid annually. The remaining parameter required for the assessment is the generation length for the species. When undertaking assessments, the MTSG has concluded that the most appropriate measure of generation length in marine turtles is age at sexual maturity plus half of reproductive longevity (Pianka, 1974). Using approximations for maturity of 11-16 years for this species and an estimate of reproductive longevity of about 11-15 years (observed in conservation programs for olive ridleys, L. olivacea [D. Rios-Olmeda, pers. comm.] and which is probably equally applicable to Kemp’s ridleys), 20 years is a reasonable estimate for one generation. Observed trends in the estimated size of the annual breeding female population (Figure 1) can be compared to the Red List threshold decline rates. In spite of a dramatic 3-fold increase in nestings from 1986 to the present, the species has not yet recovered sufficiently to remove it from the Critically Endangered category. Methodical monitoring of marine turtle nesting beaches did not begin until the 1950s in some areas, and not until the mid 1960s or even later is this information obtainable. In order to overcome limitations in the available scientific literature, historical accounts, trade data, and qualitative information need be considered to complement existing reports from modern nesting beach monitoring programs. This approach has been used for status assessments of hawksbills, green turtles, olive ridleys, and leatherbacks at a global level. In the case of the hawksbill, a species which has been scrutinized in recent years within the Wider Caribbean region, Meylan (1999) inferred the status of Caribbean hawksbill populations from a compilation of reports and various accounts, showing the species to be declining or depleted in the majority of areas for which some status and trend information was available (22 of the 26 countries or territories). Measures of recovery Though it is understandable that efforts at developing universally acceptable criteria have concentrated on extinction risk, it is no less important to have practical means with which to measure the success of conservation programs and ultimately “recovery”. In general, population recovery has been defined in terms of: reversing, stabilizing and increasing a formerly declining population; abatement, control or elimination of known threats; and stabilizing and guaranteeing the long-term protection of critical habitats. Nonetheless, as with measurements of extinction risk, there is great utility in being able to gauge the recovery process to provide wildlife management authorities with benchmarks against which to measure advances made in their management and conservation programs. In the absence of adequate, clearly stated criteria, conservation actions can remain open-ended, with no clear objectives. To date, few national conservation programs for any species have included a formal analysis to identify recovery criteria and goals. The need to define these will become more urgent in the not so distant future as marine turtle conservation programs start to bear fruit, at least for some populations (e.g., as probably is the case for both Kemps ridleys and hawksbills in the Gulf of Mexico, see Mrquez et al. 1999 and Garduo et al. 1999, respectively ). While an analysis of the mechanisms and processes underlying recovery is beyond the scope of this paper, a listing of criteria comparable in scope to those utilized for measuring risk of extinction is presented (Table II), derived largely from the Recovery Plans that the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have devised for marine turtle conservation programs in that country. Including

PAGE 123

this draft list should stimulate further discussions among sea turtle specialists, national and international resource managers, as well as NGO’s, with the aim of developing them into a universally accepted set of criteria to define recovery, under a similar scheme to what is available for species’ extinction risk assessments. It should be noted that besides including criteria for demographic parameters (population sizes, trends, etc.), considerations are also necessary that gauge improvements in management capabilities such as threat control and presence of national and international management schemes. While goals for desirable population size should figure prominently in any recovery criteria, questions stemming from current debates on this issue need to be addressed. What level of recovery should be aimed for and can it be known which levels are necessary to restore full ecological functioning to depleted marine turtle populations? Is it desirable or practical to aim at recovering historical population sizes of marine turtles? Alternatively, if102 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme 100 1,000 10,000 100,00019401950196019701980199020002010 Annual number of nests Figure 1. Long-term trends in the annual number of nests laid by Lepidochelys kempii 1947-2000. These records include information from 1947 of observed females (derived by Hildebrand (1963) from a 1947 film) and records from modern monitoring of annual numbers of nests (data from Mrquez et al. 1999). The 1947 record was converted to numbers of nests by multiplying the estimated number of nesting females by nesting frequency of 2.5 nests/female/season for the species (Turtle Expert Working Group, 1998). A three generation decline of >80% (equivalent to the IUCN critically endangered status) is not yet reversed by the very significant increases over the last 10 years.Determining distribution and status in marine turtles trend over last 3 generations (approx. 60 years) >80% decline trend over last 20 years >300% increase

PAGE 124

103 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Table 2. Some criteria useful in determining population recovery in marine turtles(largely based on US Recovery Plans for marine turtles, e.g., NMFS and USFWS, 1998) A species or population could be considered “recovered” if it meets the following criteria: A) Knowledge • Individual stocks and migratory routes of populations are known and the natal origin of each stock has been identified • Natal origin of each stock has been identified • Most important foraging sites have been identified B) Habitat integrity and stock productivity • Adequate protection is in place at key foraging areas • Protection of size and quality of nesting habitat for at least 50% of the known sites is guaranteed in perpetuity • Hatching recruitment into the marine environment is stabilized at above 75% of eggs laid in key nesting beaches C) Size of Populations • Numbers of annually nesting females at key source beaches for the identified stocks are either stable or increasing for at least 1 generation • Each stock reaches and maintains a sufficiently large average annual nesting female population size that it will be biologically reasonable that it can remain a stable population in perpetuity [e.g., 10,000 ( Lepidochelys kempii )] over a period of at least six years • Foraging populations show statistically significant increases (or stability) at key foraging grounds within each stock region for at least 5-10 years (time scale necessary to derive a robust estimate of trends; see Kerr, this volume) D) Management capabilities • A management plan based on mechanisms that guarantee sustained populations for turtles is in effect • All sources of threat (including bycatch) have been identified, and their impacts controlled to levels not affecting the intrinsic rate of increase of the species • International agreements are in place for adequate conservation and management of shared stocks Author’s note : terms in bold are guidelines for possible values, based on usage by NMFS/USFWS marine turtle recovery plans which would need to be adjusted to characteristics of specific marine turtle stocks, or will require further clarification. Periods of time for key parameters (e.g., for foraging populations) that have not been analyzed have been left as tentative values. declines in populations can be arrested or stabilized, should population sizes below historical levels be acceptable, given the probably diminished carrying capacity of the present-day environments and/or the existence of limited harvests of marine turtles? Answers to these questions by scientists and resource managers are becoming more urgent as demands upon the natural resources increase. These issues need to be debated widely to reach consensus before decisions on alternative conservation or management schemes can become accepted, particularly if these are to occur at a regional scale. Yet, whichever management policy is selected, adequate benchmarks and monitoring over time scales appropriate to the biological characteristics of marine turtles are also needed to obtain universally

PAGE 125

acceptable status assessments of individual populations that are shared among the countries in a region.ConclusionsSince marine turtle populations form discrete demographic entities, genetically isolated from other populations, major research efforts on the species in the Wider Caribbean region should focus on identifying individual stocks, and determining their distribution and migratory behavior. Once individual stocks are identified, extinction and recovery status assessments of each stock should be promoted, taking into account that because of migratory patterns, information and analysis will need to involve collaboration among many countries within the Wider Caribbean region. Until long-term monitoring data accumulate for periods beyond a single generation, status assessments will continue to rely on direct and indirect evidence of past abundance of marine turtles. Universally accepted criteria for assessing population recovery need to be developed, based on the best available knowledge of the recovery process in marine turtles. These criteria should become an essential guideline for national and international resource management policy-making with which to monitor improvements in the status of individual stocks, particularly those that are shared among many range states. Although providing essential information, extinction risk and recovery assessments will not by themselves be sufficient to define conservation and management priorities. Other factors that will need to be incorporated into the resource management decision process include cultural and economic values, as well as international commitments. Literature CitedAlvarado, J. and T.M. Murphy. 1999. Nesting Periodicity and Internesting Behavior. Pp. 115-118. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois, M. Donnelly (Eds.) Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Baillie, J. and B. Groombridge. 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland. 368 pp. + annexes. Bass, A. L., D. A. Good, K. A. Bjorndal, J. I. Richardson, Z.-M. Hillis, J. Horrocks, and B. W. Bowen. 1996. Testing models of female migratory behavior and population structure in the Caribbean hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata with mtDNA control region sequences. Mol. Ecol. 5:321-328. Bjorndal, K.A. and G. Zug. 1995. Growth and age of sea turtles. Pp. 599-600. In : K.A. Bjorndal (Ed.) The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, Revised Edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 619 pp. Boulon, R., Jr. 1994. Growth rates of wild juvenile hawksbill turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata in St. Thomas. U.S. Virgin Islands. Copeia 1994(3): 811-814. Bowen, B. W. 1995. Tracking marine turtles with genetic markers. BioScience 45:528-534. Bowen, B.W., A.L. Bass, A. Garca-Rodrguez, C.E. Diez, R. van Dam, A. Bolten, K.A. Bjorndal, M.M. Miyamoto and R.J. Ferl. 1996. Origin of hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in a Caribbean feeding area as indicated by mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis. Ecol. Appl. (6) 566. Briseo-Dueas, R. and F.A. Abreu-Grobois, 1999. Databases. Pp. 94-100 In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois, M. Donnelly (Eds.) Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Congdon, J.D, Dunham, A.E., and van Loben Sels, R.C. 1993. Delayed sexual maturity and demographics of Blanding’s turtles ( Emydoidea blandingii ): implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Conserv. Biol. 7:826-833 Diario Oficial de la Federacin. 1994. Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-ECOL-059-1994 que determina las especies y subespecies de flora y fauna silvestres terrestres y acuticas en peligro de extincin, amenazadas, raras y las sujetas a proteccin especial, y que establece especificaciones para su proteccin. DOF Tomo CDLXXXVIII No. 10. 16 de mayo de 1994. (can be found at http:// www.ine.gob.mx/ dgra/normas/rec_nat/no_059.htm) Diez, C. E. and J. A. Ottenwalder. 1999. Habitat Surveys. Pp. 41-44. In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Diaz-Fernndez, R., T. Okayama, T. Uchiyama, E. Carrillo, G. Espinosa, R. Mrquez, C. Diez, and H. Koike. Genetic sourcing for the hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys104 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 126

105 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 imbricata in the Northern Caribbean Region. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 296-300. Eckert, S. A. 1999. Data Acquisition Systems for Monitoring Sea Turtle Behavior and Physiology. Pp. 88-93. In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Encalada, S.E., P.N. Lahanas, K.A. Bjorndal, A.B. Bolten, M.M. Miyamoto and B.W. Bowen. 1996. Phylogeography and population structure of the Atlantic and Mediterranean green turtle Chelonia mydas : a mitochondrial DNA control region sequence assessment. Molecular Ecology 5: 473-483. Endangered Species Act USA. 1973.(http://www.nmfs. noaa.gov/prot_res/laws/ESA/esatext/ sacont.html) FitzSimmons, N., C. Moritz and B. W. Bowen. 1999. Population Identification. Pp. 72-79. In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Grdenfors, U., J. P. Rodrguez, C. Hilton-Taylor, C. Hyslop, G. Mace, S. Molur, and S. Poss. 1999. Draft Guidelines for the Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at National and Regional Levels. IUCN Species Survival Commission. (http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/ RAguidelinesfinal.htm) Garduo, M., V. Guzmn, E. Miranda, R. BriseoDueas, and F. A. Abreu-Grobois. 1999. Increases in hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) nestings in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico 1977-1996: Data in support of successful conservation? Chelonian Conservation andBiology 1999 (3)2:286-295. Groombridge, B. and R. Luxmoore. 1989. The green turtle and hawksbill (Reptilia: Cheloniidae): World status, exploitation and trade. Lausanne, Switzerland. CITES Secretariat. 601 pp. Hildebrand, H. H. 1963. Hallazgo del rea de anidacin de la tortuga marina “lora” Lepidochelys kempi (Garman), en la costa occidental del Golfo de Mxico. Sobretiro de Ciencia, Mxico 22:105-112. IUCN. 1994. IUCN Red List Categories. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. (iucn.org/themes/ssc/redlists/ssc-rl-c.htm) Limpus, C.J. 1992. The hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata in Queensland: population structure within a southern Great Barrier Reef feeding ground. Wildl. Res. 19:489-506. Mrquez, R.M., 1994. Sinopsis de datos biolgicos sobre la tortuga lora, Lepidochelys kempii (Garman, 1880). Instituto Nacional de la Pesca. Mxico FAO. SAST-Tortuga Lora. 5.31(07)016.02, INP/S152:141pp. Mrquez M., R., J. Daz, M. Snchez, P. Burchfield, A. Leo, M. Carrasco, J. Pea, C. Jimenez and R. Bravo. 1999. Results of the Kemp’s ridley Nesting Beach Conservation Efforts in Mxico. Marine Turtle Newsletter 85:2-4. Meylan, A.B. 1995. Estimation of population size in sea turtles. Pp. 135-138. In : K.A. Bjorndal (Ed.) The Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles, Revised Edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. Meylan, A.B. 1999. Status of the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) in the Caribbean region. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 177-184. Meylan, A.B. and M. Donnelly. 1999. Status justification for listing the hawksbill turtle ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) as Critically Endangered on the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 200-224. Mortimer, J.A. and R. Bresson. 1999. Temporal distribution and periodicity in hawksbill turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata ) nesting at Cousin Island, Republic of Seychelles, 1971-1997. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3(2): 318-325. National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1998. Recovery Plan for U.S. Pacific Populations of the Loggerhead Turtle ( Caretta caretta ). National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD.Pianka, E.R. 1974. Evolutionary Ecology. Harper and Row, New York. 356 pp. Pritchard, P. C. H. and J.A. Mortimer. 1999. Taxonomy, External Morphology, and Species Identification. Pp 21-38 In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Schroeder, B. and S. Murphy. 1999. Population Surveys (Ground and Aerial) on Nesting Beaches. Pp. 4555. In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group

PAGE 127

Publication No. 4. Tambiah, C. 1999. Interviews and Market Surveys. Pp. 156-163. In: Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. AbreuGrobois, and M. Donnelly (Editors). Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles.IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Turtle Expert Working Group. 1998. An assessment of the Kemp’s ridley ( Lepidochelys kempii ) and loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ) sea turtle populations in the Western North Atlantic. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-409. 96 pp. Zug, G. R., H.J. Kalb, and S.J. Luzar. 1997. Age and growth in wild Kemp’s ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys kempii from skeletochronological data. Biological Conservation 80(3): 261-268106 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 128

107 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 As resource managers, scientists and conservationists, a considerable portion of our professional effort relates to population monitoring and assessment. The reasons for population monitoring are readily obvious and include the need to increase general knowledge, provide baseline data for management intervention, evaluate the success of management action, and inform general decisionmaking. This presentation will suggest a framework for developing a successful marine turtle population monitoring program. One fundamental aspect of the assessment and monitoring of wildlife populations is an assessment of population trends. It is useful to begin discussing this topic by revisiting a definition. The Oxford Dictionary defines “trend” as “a general direction and tendency, to bend or turn away in a specified direction, or to be chiefly directed.” We are therefore seeking to determine directions and tendencies in the population of interest. To be informed as to whether a population is “in recovery” or is “recovered” is a desired landmark for managers and policy-makers In order to reach this landmark, it is necessary to establish recovery criteria. There is some relativity to this. We could, for example, define “recovery” in terms of restoration to pre-Colombian population sizes.That would be a valid benchmark, but not a realistic one from an ecological or socio-political standpoint. Sea Turtle Recovery Plans developed by federal agencies in the USA provide examples of recovery criteria; for example, “The U.S. populations of hawksbill turtles can be considered for delisting if, over a period of 25 years, the following conditions are met: (i) the adult female population is increasing, as evidenced by a statistically significant trend in the annual number of nests on at least five Index Beaches, including Mona Island and the Buck Island Reef National Monument; (ii) habitat for at least 50% of the nesting activity that occurs in the USVI and Puerto Rico is protected in perpetuity; (iii) numbers of adults, subadults, and juveniles are increasing, as evidenced by a statistically significant trend on at least five key foraging areas within Puerto Rico, USVI, and Florida; and (iv) all Priority I tasks have been successfully implemented.” (NMFS-FWS, 1993). Other examples of recovery criteria are provided by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) in its Caribbean recovery action plan series. For example, our draft WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Jamaica recommends a “…. statistically significant rising trend in nesting populations over one generation, for all three [locally occurring] species” (Sutton et al., in prep.). As we heard in the species assessments yesterday, maturation requires one to several decades, depending on the species. We [in Jamaica] have not yet developed target criteria for our foraging assemblages, nor have we moved beyond measuring “population recovery” by a single demographic parameter, typically annual estimates of the number of nesting females. This is an important point, because criteria based solely on the abundance of reproductively active females inevitably results in less available information for adaptive management than if other life stages (e.g., foraging juveniles) had been included in the assessment. If a population is to be manipulated, either for conservation purposes or for sustainable harvest, additional criteria must be met. Indeed, most population models require age or size-specific growth rates, age (size) structure for all life stages, and other complex inputs. Given the challenges posed to researchers by the marine, migratory and long-lived nature of marine turtle life history, there is a corresponding lack of real-world data to feed into population models. For example, long-term monitoring of adult populations on their foraging grounds (for the purpose of estimating demographic parameters) is not feasible for most marine turtle programs. As a consequence, we recognize that many if not most managementMonitoring Population TrendsRhema Kerr Bjorkland Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Jamaica

PAGE 129

!" #!$!%&$' () $*'++,)) -*' "/ #00 0#! 111 2' # 30# 0 4 ''/5 '0 '0 ##6#'## # ''1 7 7 "#$%&'$(&)*&*+'## ,()&-

PAGE 130

109 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 accessibility for the six Wider Caribbean species. Table 2 compares the time frame for parameter estimation and trend analysis for the various life stages. We can see from these tables that monitoring juveniles should receive increased priority from a management and policy-making standpoint. If we visualize marine turtle life history as a pipeline (Figure 1) which “begins” with eggs laid on a nesting beach and “ends” with gravid females coming ashore to nest, the “lag” time in seeing credible results from nesting beach-based population monitoring programs is better appreciated. To expand on the pipeline concept, which is a modification of a concept first introduced by Mortimer (1995), consider the scenario of a newly protected nesting beach. Very soon we would expect to see a rising trend in successful hatchling production. Barring serious threats to neonates and small juveniles in early developmental habitats, increased hatchling production would lead, in a few years, to an increase in the number of juveniles recruited into coastal developmental habitats. Years and decades later we would anticipate an increase in larger juveniles and sub-adults. Finally, after as many as “10 to 50 or more years” (see Frazier, this volume), we might document an increase in gravid females emerging on to the nesting beach. To use nesting females as our recovery criteria is to use the life stage with the longest “turn-around time.” To improve (that is, to shorten) the timeline for obtaining quantifiable indices of recovery, we must place more emphasis on surveys and monitoring programs that extend beyond a single parameter (e.g., annual estimates of abundance) and a single life stage (e.g., mature females). In many Caribbean countries, monitoring small juveniles in neritic environments represents a positive trade-off between accessibility and a reasonable monitoring time frame (Table 3). In summary, an ideal action plan for marine turtle population monitoring should logically include the following: • estimate abundance (absolute or relative) of accessible life stages; • estimate recruitment and survival rates for nesting females and small juveniles; Table 2. For each “readily-accessible” life history stage (see Table 1), the minimum time frame required for parameter estimation is followed by the minimum time frame required for trend analysis in parentheses. These time frames are “floating” targets, as detecting a trend depends on abundance and the number of points (i.e., length of time), as well as the precision of the estimates. The time frames suggested here are loosely based on data from intense monitoring efforts emphasizing saturation tagging. An asterisk indicates that the “trend” for that parameter is at least 2 point-estimates that each cover the minimum suggested time frame or longer; i.e., an estimate based on 8-10 years of data will be one point in a linear regression. With fewer than five points, the power associated with any statistical tests may be low (see Gerrodette, 1987, 1993). Parameter Nesting femalesJuvenilesEggs and Hatchlings Abundance 3-5 yr1-3 yr3-5 yr (1 generation)(5 yr)(3 yr) Recruitment 4-5 yr3-5 yrN/a (no prior stage (8-10 yr)*(5-10 yr)to recruit from) Annual survival8-10 yr3-5 yrN/a (hatchlings (8-10 yr)*(5-10 yr)disperse to pelagic zones)

PAGE 131

110• estimate recruitment and survival rates for other accessible life stages, as practicable; • estimate reproductive output (i.e., number of hatchlings per female per year); • identify and quantify sources of mortality; • identify the foraging grounds associated with local nesting stocks (such as by the use of satellite telemetry, tagging, genetic evaluation); and • identify source beaches (natal beaches) for local foraging stocks. The most successful monitoring programs will be those that are tailored to local circumstances and operate within local constraints of trained personnel, funding, infrastructure, and record-keeping capacity. Working to implement an action plan such as that described above will assist managers in the transition between the ideal and the real. For additional information on this topic, please see Eckert et al. (1999), in particular the “Population and Habitat Assessment” chapters. In addition, Mortimer (1995), Conroy and Smith (1994) and Skalski (1990) are useful. Tim Gerrodette and John Brandon have made their software for power analysis of trends, TREND, available at http:// mmdshare.ucsd.edu/trends/htmlLiterature CitedConroy, M. J. and D. R. Smith. 1994. Designing large scale surveys of wildlife abundance and diversity using statisitical sampling procedures. Trans. 59th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu G. and M. Donnelly (eds.). 1999. Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Gerodette, T. 1987. A power analysis for detecting trends. Ecology 68(5):1364-1372. Gerrodette, T. 1993. Trends: software for a power analysis of linear regression. Wildlife Society Bulletin 21:516516. Mortimer, J. 1995. Teaching critical concepts for the conservation of sea turtles. Marine Turtle Newsletter 71:1-4 NMFS-FWS [National Marine Fisheries Service Fish and Wildlife Service]. 1993. Recovery Plan for Hawksbill Turtles in the U. S. Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico. National Marine Fisheries Service, U. S. Department of Commerce. St. Petersburg, Florida. Skalski, J. R. 1990. A design for long-term status and trend monitoring. Journal of Environmental Management 30:139-144. Sutton, A. H., R. Bjorkland, A. Donaldson and M. Hamilton. In prep: WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for Jamaica (K. L. Eckert, ed.). CEP Technical Report. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica.Table 3. Estimating key demographic parameters An asterisk indicates that with populations of fewer than several hundred nesting females per year, saturation tagging may be required for accurate parameter estimations Nesting FemalesSmall Juveniles Annual Survival Tagging programTagging program 8 – 10 yr (*)3-5 yr Recruitment Tagging programMark-recapture 4-5 yr (*)3-5 yr Reproductive Nest countsX Output 3-5 yr Abundance Tagging program Tagging program with nest counts 3-5 yr1-3yr Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 132

111 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Marine turtles have been around for a very long time, much longer than we have. Given the rate at which we seem to be perpetrating the demise of our planet, and ultimately ourselves, one wonders how much longer these graceful creatures will survive. I do not wish to linger on this sobering thought, but rather I wish to deal with the issues of public awareness and participation. All of these aspects are connected because, while we seem so able to jeopardize the survival of marine turtles, we still have so much to learn about their biology and ecology. Many stakeholders remain ignorant of current information that, if they had it at their disposal, might encourage them to make a positive difference. Many youngsters growing up in St. Lucia today have never seen a turtle, living or dead. They may have seen posters and videos and have read about marine turtles, but that is about all. As recently as the early 1980’s, marine turtles were a fairly common sight at St. Lucia’s fish landing sites and in the Central Market. This situation has since changed. Today marine turtle meat, eggs, and other products are illegal commodities in St. Lucia due to a moratorium on the capture of all species. Recent reports, unconfirmed by empirical studies, indicate that St. Lucia’s marine turtle stocks are on the rise. Whether or not this is indeed the case, it cannot be concluded that the environment for the survival of marine turtles is ideal or improving. There is still illegal and accidental capture of marine turtles, and managers have no idea what our standing stocks are. Thus our efforts to establish sustainable levels of take are fruitless. Moreover, many nesting beaches have been degraded or destroyed by sand mining and foraging grounds have also been affected by human activity. Further, the fact that marine turtles are migratory means that they may be prone to capture in other countries. The St. Lucia scenario is not unique in the Caribbean context. Despite cultural and other situational differences, we all grapple with many of the same problems. Where the status of marine turtles is concerned, all of us here today have some grasp of the problems as well as some ideas on how such problems should be resolved. If I identify one of the fundamental problems as a lack of awareness, I suspect, and hope, that most of you will agree with me. If my assertion is correct, then how can we address the issue? I believe that we need to recognise first of all that people do not always feel compelled to learn about things which do not seem to affect their day-to-day existence. The young farmer in the hills, for example, who has never seen a turtle and has no expectation of eating turtle meat in her lifetime, will not necessarily be concerned about the status of marine turtles even though soil from her farm is destroying their foraging grounds. The turtle fisher, on the other hand, might be concerned as his livelihood is directly related to the sustained existence of the resource. One of the primary objectives of any public awareness exercise, therefore, must be to create or to reinforce in the minds of people, the link between their existence and the issue(s) at hand. While this might appear to be obvious, many public awareness campaigns fail because they do not find the right means of creating the “link”. Another fundamental point to be remembered is that the target of the public awareness campaign is not necessarily a homogenous mass of people; indeed, there may be a number of target groups including policy-makers, resource users, management officials, educators (and pupils), and civic groups. Accordingly, the message and the mechanism(s) for delivery may both have to be fine-tuned to suit the respective groups. Booklets with useful biological information will not work for fishers who cannot read. Television will reach only those with access to television. Sometimes meetings withPromoting Public Awareness and Community InvolvementCrispin d’Auvergne Ministry of Finance and Planning St. Lucia

PAGE 133

resource user groups or one-on-one interface with influential persons will succeed where other means fail. In some situations, popular theatre or the involvement of Church has been used to great effect. We could embark on a lengthy discourse about the ins and outs of public awareness, but that is not the objective of this presentation. I will note, however, that while public awareness in and of itself is fine, ideally it should serve as a component of an education process which will result, where possible and necessary, in action or change in behaviour which will, in turn, help to address a specific problem. On the other hand, access to proper information in a timely manner is essential for effective participation. Therefore it can be concluded that public participation is dependent upon and reinforced by the availability of and access to adequate and appropriate information. Who then, in our context, provides information? Who receives it? What systems exist for transmission? How can it be used to generate public participation? What are the opportunities for and constraints to public participation? In many Caribbean territories, Government, through the Department of Fisheries or other agencies, is assigned the responsibility for marine turtle research and management. Consequently, much of the information on marine turtles, as well as relevant expertise, resides within these agencies. Over the years, however, many Caribbean territories have seen the growth of non-governmental organisations (NGOs); these bring additional expertise and resources to the issues. Many NGOs, whether working independently or in collaboration with Government, have been able to collect useful information. In St. Lucia, for example, the St. Lucia Naturalists’ Society and the Department of Fisheries have collaborated on leatherback turtle research at Grande Anse Beach for many years. Based on the above, the various government and non-government organisations are usually best placed to undertake public awareness activities due to the information and, hopefully, the resources at their disposal. In some instances, community-based organisations (CBOs) are also involved in a meaningful way in research and information gathering and they, too, can participate in public awareness activities. Further, the traditional knowledge of respective user groups must not be ignored but put to the best possible use when designing and implementing public awareness campaigns. Turtle fishermen, as an example, can be very influential in a classroom, or in sensitising their peers. In the ideal situation, information flows dialectically between entities at all levels; that is, within and among Government, NGOs and CBOs. There should be a willingness to accept new information and not to become dogmatic, particularly at the Government level. If, as stated earlier, we seek to sensitise people in order to bring about change(s) in behaviour, we must endeavour to find out where change is most needed or feasible and focus on the agents most able to effect that change. Many argue that children should be the focus of environmental awareness efforts, as they will be tomorrow’s resource custodians. This is a logical conclusion in most instances. Yet in a situation where an endangered species is being over-exploited, children may not have the chance to become custodians. Does one focus then, on the children, the hunters, the policy-makers, or all? With respect to conservation issues in general and to marine turtles in particular, I can, using the St. Lucian context, provide some insight into the target audiences for public awareness, sensitisation and education. 1. Policy-makers at various levels decide, inter alia what position the country takes on marine turtle conservation issues; 2. Fishers capture turtles and play a direct role in affecting the status of the resource; 3. The media plays a vital role, but in many cases needs to be further sensitised to environmental issues; to inform, they first must be informed; 4. Teachers teach others, especially children, and therefore they have an ongoing need for accurate information; 5. NGOs can often take on conservation issues which governments cannot or will not address. They are often a powerful force for advocacy, and their actions must, therefore, be guided by accurate information. 6. CBOs are usually more active at a local (community) level. They may have significant influence on community behaviour, but can112 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 134

113 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 also stimulate action at the national level. 7. Students are the custodians of our future … and they also have a stake in the present! 8. The general public as a whole should be addressed, as well, and this calls for time and effort devoted to relatively generic public awareness strategies. How do we reach our target audiences? There are a number of approaches that can be adopted, depending on the particular community or society. While the mass media will continue to play a role in creating and maintaining awareness, nothing equals the effect of direct contact with the resource. For example, while slick videos and slide presentations can help to sensitise the general public about the status of marine turtles, participating in a successful turtle watch and seeing one’s first leatherback turtle lays its eggs will have a more enduring impact. The same applies when one re-visits an important nesting beach and witnesses first hand the destructive efficiency of sand miners in reducing the beach to a pathetic shadow of its former magnificence. The potential impact of direct contact is heightened if the experience is presented as part of a comprehensive and ongoing process of awareness building and education. In this regard, I wish to list just a few approaches that could prove useful in many Caribbean countries where marine turtle conservation is concerned. Training of teachers to impart relevant information through the school curriculum Anyone who has had any teaching experience knows how difficult it is to introduce a new subject into the already packed school curriculum, whether it be Family Life Education, Drug Awareness, or Environmental Education. The most realistic option, then, is to infuse issues into existing subjects such as Math, Social Studies and so on. Teachers should be formally trained and provided with relevant background information. In this way they become equipped to pass on knowledge to a continuous stream of students. This has been tried in St. Lucia through the Learning for Environmental Action Project (LEAP). There has been some success, but there is need for continued support and follow-up. Training of relevant Government and NGO personnel in public awareness and environmental education. This approach will assist those in our community who have the technical expertise (for natural resource management) in selecting the right “tools” for reaching their target audiences. Collaboration and co-ordination on public awareness and education between agencies and organizations Many organizations may be involved in such activities, but may be working independently and even duplicating effort. Wherever feasible, avenues for effective collaboration should be explored. In St. Lucia, a number of agencies are discussing the possibility of forming a national environmental education network. A coalition approach suggests a more efficient use of human and monetary resources, and the opportunity to reach a larger audience. Establishment of accessible information databases Consideration can be given to establishing “Sea Turtle Information” sections in school and public libraries, as well as in the offices of relevant government and non-governmental organizations. The public availability of such information should be widely advertised. Utilising the Internet for information gathering and networking. The Internet is becoming available to more and more schools, agencies and private individuals every day and it can serve as a useful tool for information gathering and for networking at the local, regional and international levels. I must stress, again, that the foregoing list is by no means exhaustive and a little thought and imagination can generate many more useful approaches. Now let us assume for a moment that our public awareness and education strategies are beginning to bear fruit. People want to make a change. What can they do? Who are the agents of action? Many of the entities and audiences mentioned above can become directly involved in conservation and resource management. Throughout the Caribbean, NGOs, CBOs, school clubs and similar bodies participate in (and often instigate and organise) turtle watches, beach patrols and related activities.

PAGE 135

Increasingly, we hear tell of former poachers turned wardens and stewards. In some instances, community-based monitoring is the only feasible option because the resources of the “official” state entities are unable to service these areas. In other instances there is a healthy collaboration between Government and NGO or CBO partners. In St. Lucia, the St. Lucia Naturalists’ Society (SLNS), the Department of Fisheries, and the Forest and Lands Department work together to monitor leatherback turtle nesting at Grande Anse Beach. Fisheries and Forestry offices provide transportation and logistical support, while the SLNS provides manpower and equipment. The effort is presently expanding in an attempt to involve neighbouring communities, and more work needs to be done in this regard. This is especially important as the poaching which takes place at Grande Anse is mainly the work of illegal sand miners residing in the wider area. In terms of getting wider public support, one approach that worked well in St. Lucia in the 1980s was to ask members of the public to report turtle sightings at sea or onshore. Persons from all walks of life called the Department of Fisheries, and the data compiled eventually contributed substantively to what is now the Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Lucia (d’Auvergne and Eckert, 1993). In closing, I believe that meaningful public participation depends on the following: 1. Interest groups have to be made to feel some sense of stewardship and responsibility for the resource; 2. Government agencies, where feasible, must encourage involvement by soliciting the participation of user and other interest groups; and 3. Relevant information must be exchanged freely among collaborating entities. Of course, in all of this, it is helpful if there is some agreement on how the resource should be managed … or at least some degree of consensus that it should be managed at all. I am sure that we all would be happy to live in a world where we were managing our resources perfectly. However, we live in a complex world and we know that life is not that simple. We need all the help we can get to manage our marine turtles, indeed our planet. Awareness building will continue to be an essential tool in our effort.Literature CitedByers, Bruce A. 1996. Understanding and Influencing Behaviours in Conservation and Natural Resources Management. African Biodiversity Series, No. 4. Biodiversity Support Program, Washington D.C. xv +125 pp. d’Auvergne, C. and K. L. Eckert. 1993. WIDECAST Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plan for St. Lucia. CEP Technical Report No. 26. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston, Jamaica. xiv + 70 pp. Williams, D, C. d’Auvergne and V. Charles. 1996 Perceptions of and attitudes towards the environment in Soufriere. USAID / OECS / GOSL / WWF ENCORE Project Report. Castries, St. Lucia. Larsen, P., J. Cumberbatch, M. Fontaine and M. Nolan. 1998. The ENCORE Experience: Lessons Learned to Date. USAID/OECS/GOSL/WWF ENCORE Project Report. Washington, D.C.114 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 136

115 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 IntroductionDespite the comparatively brief periods of time that marine turtles spend on land, these periods constitute critical stages of their life history. The threats that marine turtles face on their nesting beaches are many and varied. Given the enormous challenges in the marine environment that face scientists and managers, why should we be concerned about threats on nesting beaches? There are several reasons, such as (i) the vulnerability of marine turtles (nesting females, eggs, hatchlings) is extremely high on nesting beaches, (ii) human actions on nesting beaches, whether direct or indirect, can have catastrophic implications for marine turtle populations, and (iii) the long-term reproductive survival of marine turtles hinges on a thin strand of sandy beach. Without suitable, sufficient and “safe” nesting habitat, marine turtle populations are destined for collapse. A key ingredient in any program to recover and conserve marine turtles must include a strong nesting beach component of protection. In addition, conservation efforts on nesting beaches must go hand-in-hand with protection efforts in the marine environment. Concern for protecting and conserving nesting beach habitat is not new. More than forty years ago, Dr. Archie Carr (1956), in his eloquent book “The Windward Road”, wrote: “ There were hundreds of islands and keys and mainland beaches where nobody lived and where you could comfortably imagine thousands of safe nests erupting yearly multitudes of little turtles. But... the wild beaches are shrinking. The drain on nesting grounds is increasing by jumps. It is this drain that is hard to control, and it is this that will finish Chelonia .” While Dr. Carr was speaking specifically about the green turtle, his words and concerns are all the more applicable today, to all species of marine turtles that inhabit the Wider Caribbean Region and to all nations that have the good fortune to harbor nesting sites. This paper will provide a review of the principal threats that face marine turtles at Caribbean nesting grounds. For additional information on this topic, interested readers should consult Witherington (1999) and Lutcavage et al. (1996). The recently published “Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles” (Eckert et al., 1999) explains standard protocols for beach assessment and monitoring and is a “musthave” for the development of assessment, monitoring, and management programs for marine turtles. The key to solving problems on nesting beaches is to identify the threat(s) facing a particular population, assess the magnitude of these threat(s), and prioritize actions to ensure that effort and resources are focused in the most effective manner. Expending inordinate amounts of time, personnel, and/or funds addressing threats that have low impact on a population, while more serious threats go unchecked, hinders population recovery, depletes program funds, and frustrates personnel. Understanding the threats operating on nesting beaches requires careful survey and monitoring efforts during the nesting and hatching seasons; thus, an assessment of threats is the first step. Follow-up monitoring efforts are equally important in that they are required to evaluate the success of management action taken to reduce priority threats. Witherington (1999) suggested four general approaches to minimizing threats on nesting beaches: (i) eliminate the threat, (ii) manage the threat, (iii) relocate eggs, or (iv) do nothing (some threats, such as chronic erosion, either cannot be eliminated or threaten too few nests to justify costly intervention). The preferred approach will vary depending on the specific situation and local conditions, but in general the least manipulative approach is preferred. Management actions that allow the nesting cycle (from egg-laying to hatchling emergence) to occur without direct human interventionReducing Threats at Nesting BeachesBarbara A. Schroeder Office of Protected Resources NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service USA

PAGE 137

116should be the goal. Measures that require some level of manipulation (e.g., beach hatcheries) should be considered interim measures while efforts continue to solve underlying threats. Manipulative management measures are often costly, time consuming, and require high effort; thus, eliminating the source of the threat can be the most costand labor-effective in the long run. Threats to marine turtles on their nesting beaches may generally be divided into two sources: natural and anthropogenic (human-induced). Anthropogenic threats may be direct (e.g., egg poaching) or indirect (e.g., artificial beachfront lighting). The following discussion will review the principal threats.Managing Natural ThreatsDepredation: Depredation of nesting females, eggs, and/or hatchlings, while generally considered a “natural threat”, is often linked indirectly to human activity and the consequences of coastal development. For example, small mammals are a significant egg predator on some nesting beaches, largely because their populations are unnaturally high as a result of the creation of new and favorable habitat, access to human garbage, or the removal of top predators in the ecosystem. In a normally functioning ecosystem, natural predators are an integral part of the system; however, on some nesting beaches, depredation of nests can be so significant that steps must be taken to reduce this source of mortality. Highly successful techniques and programs have been implemented that reduce nest depredation, including the use of nest cages and screens that keep predators out while allowing egg clutches to incubate in situ and hatchlings to emerge unimpeded. Storm Events: Episodic storm events that occur during the incubation period can expose and destroy incubating clutches or cover them with so much additional sand that hatchlings are prevented from emerging successfully. Storms can also alter beach profiles and deposit extensive debris, leaving the beach unsuitable for successful nesting. These naturally occurring events are unpredictable and little can be done to prevent ensuing damage. Some managers have suggested that relocating nests to a safer (more stable) beach site provides assurance that storms will not affect nest success, but manipulative intervention can introduce unacceptable risks (e.g., high cost and maintenance, lowered hatch success), especially when the probability of a catastrophic event is comparatively low. Beach Erosion and Accretion: Nesting beaches are dynamic and undergo physical changes on a regular basis, irrespective of major storm events. Over time some nesting beaches may naturally erode, while others accrete. Marine turtles have evolved to successfully adjust to these changes, provided the changes are not exacerbated or accelerated as a result of human alterations to the beach dune system (see discussion to follow). When human intervention is deemed necessary, under certain local conditions, to safeguard nests from erosion or accretion, the least manipulative option is generally preferred.Managing Anthropogenic Threats (Direct)Poaching: Illegal poaching of nesting females and/or eggs can devastate a local marine turtle population and contribute to range-wide depletion. Important strides have been made in addressing this threat in some range states, but poaching remains a serious problem in many places throughout the Wider Caribbean Region. Public outreach and education, community participation in management and recovery programs, and effective law enforcement all contribute to a successful strategy to reduce and eliminate this serious and ubiquitous threat.Managing Anthropogenic Threats (Indirect)Virtually all indirect, human-induced threats to turtles on their nesting beaches are intricately related to coastal development. Not only do the vast majority of Caribbean people live on or near the coast, but tourism especially targets coastal areas. The potentially negative impacts to marine turtles of coastal development must be taken seriously and should be addressed in any comprehensive plan for species conservation and recovery. Beach Erosion: As discussed above, beach erosion is a natural process and part of the dynamic coastalKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 138

117 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 system. As part of a naturally functioning system, beach erosion does not pose significant long-term negative effects to turtles. However, human alterations of the landscape can alter the coastline such that beach erosion is exacerbated and nesting beach habitat is degraded or destroyed. The dredging of natural inlets and the creation and maintenance of man-made inlets to allow deep water vessel access, for example, can significantly alter normal littoral sand transport processes and result in serious erosion at nesting beaches (Kaufman and Pilkey, 1983; Pilkey and Dixon, 1996). Placement of structures on, or in close proximity to, beach frontage can destroy the ability of the beach to respond to normal erosion/accretion cycles and storm events, and ultimately degrades and destroys nesting habitat as well as sandy beach habitat enjoyed by humans. Coastal zoning that carefully considers the full range of impacts resulting from coastal development is urgently needed throughout the Wider Caribbean Region (and the world). Important lessons can be learned from poorly planned coastal development, and a policy of retreat from the shoreline (often referred to as construction setbacks) should be among those options most seriously considered to repair damage to coastal areas. Beach Armoring: Armoring consists of a wide variety of hard or semi-hard structures (e.g., concrete or wood seawalls, rock revetments, steel sheet pile walls, sandbags) that are designed to protect upland property from wave force and water damage. In many areas, especially heavily developed areas, armoring is proliferating unchecked and the results are devastating for nesting turtles. Armoring structures block access to suitable nesting habitat, prevent the beach system from functioning properly and, under the most serious conditions, destroy all dry sandy beach. The impacts of coastal armoring structures on marine turtle nesting behavior are serious and include decreased nesting attempts and decreased nesting success (e.g., Mosier, 1999). From a long-term perspective, coastal armoring may be the most grave indirect threat facing marine turtles on nesting beaches. More thoughtful coastal planning that takes into account all users of the beach system, not simply those who own beachfront property, is urgently needed. Artificial Beach Nourishment: A common practice in highly developed areas, beach nourishment consists of the placement of sand, through mechanical means, on eroded beaches. Sand sources may be from upland sites, dredged inlet material, or offshore “borrow” sites. Sand characteristics are critically important to successful marine turtle nesting, and subtle alterations of the natural nest environment can result in decreased nesting success (i.e., a decline in the number of nests laid), decreased nest success (i.e., a decline in the number of successfully emerging hatchlings), skewed hatchling sex ratios, and decreased hatchling fitness (see Ackerman, 1996; Foley, 1998). In addition to the environmental costs, beach nourishment projects are expensive and must be repeated regularly to maintain the artificially created shoreline. Conducting beach nourishment projects during nesting and hatching seasons is especially harmful to local populations. Despite nest relocation efforts in advance of nourishment projects, some nests are invariably missed and the risks (e.g., decreased hatch success) associated with egg relocation must be taken into consideration. It should also be noted that the removal of nearshore and/or upland sand is not without broader ecological consequences. As more readily accessible sand sources are depleted, the search for sand widens, making projects more costly and widening the sphere of ecological concerns. Thoughtful, long-term coastal planning that obviates the need for perpetual beach nourishment should be among the goals of an integrated plan for species conservation and recovery. Sand Mining: Sand mining is the opposite of beach nourishment and involves the deliberate mining of beach sand for use in construction (e.g., concrete production). According to UNEP (1989), “Sand mining is a predominant cause of beach and dune destruction throughout much of the insular Caribbean.” The removal of beach sand destroys the functioning beach-dune ecosystem, exacerbates erosion, and can directly destroy incubating egg clutches. Sand mining can alter beach profiles which may lead to the intrusion of saltwater into incubating nests and result in escarpments that prevent nesting turtles from accessing suitable nesting sites. Sand mining on marine turtle nesting beaches is a chronic problem at many sites in the Wider

PAGE 139

118Caribbean Region and has degraded or destroyed once valuable nesting areas (see Eckert, 1995). Beach sand mining is incompatible with successful marine turtle nesting. Artificial Beachfront Lighting: As coastal areas are developed, structures are lighted. Once remote areas now have ready access to electrical power. The negative effects of artificial lighting on nesting females and their emergent hatchlings have been well documented to include reduced nesting success and, most seriously, modifications to the seafinding behavior of hatchlings (Witherington, 1992; Witherington and Bjorndal, 1991). Lighted beaches have catastrophic consequences for tens of thousands of hatchlings each year, and can significantly reduce hatchling productivity across large stretches of suitable nesting habitat. Fortunately, among anthropogenic threats, artificial lighting is one of the most easily solved. Witherington and Martin (2000) provide a comprehensive review of the problem and provide a wide-range of solutions. These solutions have been used with excellent success at many nesting beaches. Sky-glow caused by the cumulative effects of thousands of inland light sources not directly visible from the nesting beach is a more complex problem and one that has yet to be adequately addressed. Beach Cleaning and Vehicle Use on Beaches: Beach cleaning often involves the use of mechanized machinery to remove both human garbage and natural materials from the beach. The use of mechanized beach cleaning vehicles, as well as driving on beaches for other purposes, can directly damage incubating egg clutches or pre-emergent hatchlings, create tire ruts that impede the movement of hatchlings from nest to ocean, and/or directly kill emergent hatchlings traversing the beach (Hosier et al., 1981; Cox et al., 1994). The removal of humangenerated garbage from nesting beaches should be done by hand whenever practicable. Removal of natural materials from the beach (e.g., seaweed) should not be a matter of routine practice, as these materials serve important roles in the beach ecosystem and provide food and cover for other species that share the beach, such as shorebirds and invertebrates. Driving on nesting beaches should be limited to emergency situations only, and should be confined to the lowest portions of the beach, away from incubating nests. Increased Human Presence: The development of coastal areas brings human activity to the beach and can both negatively and positively affect marine turtles. Uncontrolled human activity can deter nesting females, cause aborted nesting attempts, and the use of lights can lead hatchlings astray. Recreational beach equipment (e.g., beach chairs) can block access to nesting sites, impede hatchlings, and trap nesting females. On the other hand, increased human presence may deter poaching and may provide for more accurate monitoring and protection. Organized, ecotourism-oriented “turtle watches” can bring heightened awareness of marine turtles to coastal communities and serve as a source of income, underscoring the value of live turtles and the value of protecting nesting beaches. It is important that this aspect of ecotourism be carefully planned to ensure that it does not interfere with nesting activity. Local communities should strive to develop measures that protect turtles while at the same time educate, inform, and galvanize public support for their long-term conservation. Oil Spills: Nesting females, incubating eggs, and emergent hatchlings can all be exposed to oil that reaches nesting beaches. Lutcavage et al. (1995) provide a review of the effects of oil on loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta ). While some nations have developed oil spill response plans, an integrated response plan is needed throughout the Wider Caribbean Region. The catastrophic effects of a large-scale oil spill may be unthinkable, yet the probability that such an event may occur cannot be ruled out. We must be prepared to rapidly mobilize, act, and provide whatever assistance is necessary when the time comes. Most Wider Caribbean governments are Contracting Parties to UNEP’s “Protocol Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills” to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (‘Cartagena Convention’) (see Andrade, this volume).SummaryIt should be clear from this overview, as well as that provided by Horrocks (this volume), that the challenges facing managers concerned with marine turtle recovery and conservation are numerous andKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 140

119 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 complex. Ensuring the survival of marine turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region will require genuine cooperation within and among nations. I would like to suggest the following reasons why it is important to have a shared vision and a plan of action for protecting marine turtle nesting beaches: • Nesting females exhibit strong nest site fidelity; a short-term ability on the part of nesting females to shift nesting sites as their natal beaches are degraded or destroyed should not be assumed. • Each nesting beach produces turtles that are eventually shared (in non-breeding habitats) by many other nations. Hatchlings produced in one nation become immature and adult turtles that inhabit the waters of one or more other nations, and they form an integral part of the regional ecosystem. • Nesting habitat, once destroyed, can oftentimes be impossible to restore, and with its destruction may come dire consequences to the human economy. • Catastrophic events on a subregional scale may affect nesting habitat and reduce nesting success for one or many years, thus emphasizing the value of a mosaic of healthy, intact nesting habitats. While significant progress has been made in addressing some of the identified threats on nesting beaches, more work is clearly ahead of us to ensure the recovery and long-term survival of marine turtles in areas where they have been seriously depleted. We must work both regionally and domestically to ensure that sufficient nesting habitat remains intact and protected for the long-term future. A unified strategy and range-wide attention to reducing nesting beach threats must occur in order to recover the depleted populations of marine turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region.Literature CitedAckerman, R. A. 1996. The nest environment and the embryonic development of sea turtles, p.83-106. In: P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Carr, A. 1956. The Windward Road. Alfred Knopf, Inc., New York, New York. 258 pp. Cox, J. H., H. F. Percival and S. V. Colwell. 1994. Impact of vehicular traffic on beach habitat and wildlife at Cape San Blas, Florida. Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Biological Survey Tech. Rept. 50. 44pp. Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP(OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST for the 3rd Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Eckert, K. L., K. A. Bjorndal, F. Alberto Abreu G. and M. A. Donnelly (eds.). 1999. Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publ. No. 4. Washington, D.C. Foley, A. M. 1998. The nesting ecology of the loggerhead turtle ( Caretta caretta ) in the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Doctoral Dissertation, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Hosier, P. E., M. Kochhar and V. Thayer. 1981. Off-road vehicle and pedestrian track effects on the sea-approach of hatchling loggerhead turtles. Environmental Conservation 8(2):158-161. Kaufman, W. and O. H. Pilkey, Jr. 1983. The Beaches are Moving: The Drowning of America’s Shoreline. Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina. 336 pp. Lutcavage, M. E., P. Plotkin, B. Witherington and P. L. Lutz. 1996. Human impacts on sea turtle survival, p.387409. In: P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Lutcavage, M..E., P. L. Lutz, G. D. Bossart and D. M. Hudson. 1995. Physiologic and clinicopathologic effects of crude oil on loggerhead sea turtles. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 28(4):417-422. Mosier, A. E. 1999. The impact of coastal armoring structures on sea turtle nesting behavior at three beaches on the east coast of Florida. Master’s Thesis, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Pilkey, O. H. and K. L. Dixon. 1996. The Corps and the Shore. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 272 pp. UNEP. 1989. Regional Overview of Environmental Problems and Priorities Affecting the Coastal and Marine Resources of the Wider Caribbean. CEP Technical Report No. 2. UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme, Kingston. Witherington, B. E. 1992. Behavioral responses of nesting sea turtles to artificial lighting. Herpetologica 48:3139. Witherington, B. E. 1999. Reducing threats to nesting habitat, p.179-183. In: K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A.

PAGE 141

120 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Witherington, B. E. and K. A. Bjorndal. 1991. Influences of artificial lighting on the seaward orientation of hatchling loggerhead turtles ( Caretta caretta ). Biological Conservation 55:139-149. Witherington, B. E. and R. E. Martin. 2000. Understanding, assessing, and resolving light-pollution problems on sea turtle nesting beaches. FMRI Technical Report TR-2 (revised edition). Florida Marine Research Institute. St. Petersburg, Florida. 73 pp. Conservation 55:139-149. Witherington, B.E. and R.E. Martin. 2000. Understanding, assessing, and resolving light-pollution problems on sea turtle nesting beaches. FMRI Technical Report TR-2 (revised edition). Florida Marine Research Institute. St. Petersburg, Florida. 73 pp.

PAGE 142

121 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 IntroductionReducing threats to marine turtles, eggs and hatchlings at nesting beaches and protecting beach habitat is only part of the process required to ensure the long-term survival of threatened and endangered marine turtle populations. Threats to marine turtles on their foraging grounds, as well as threats to foraging habitat, must also be identified and addressed. Following an epipelagic post-hatchling dispersal phase, most Caribbean marine turtles (with the exception of the leatherback) settle into relatively shallow nearshore foraging habitats where they will spend the vast majority of their lives (Meylan and Meylan, 1999). Two particularly important foraging and refuge habitats for marine turtles in the Caribbean region are coral reefs and seagrass beds. Coral reef-associated algae, sponges and other invertebrates are grazed and preyed upon by hawksbills (Meylan, 1988), and coral reefs are widely used as refuge areas by hawksbill and green turtles. seagrasses are grazed by herbivorous green turtles, while olive ridleys and loggerheads prey on crustaceans and other invertebrates within the beds (Bjorndal, 1997). As juveniles, turtles may reside for relatively short periods on a particular reef or in a particular seagrass bed; individuals may move extensively among nations during the decades prior to sexual maturity. Upon reaching adulthood, turtles apparently engage in more predictable movements between established breeding and foraging grounds. Studies of the migratory behaviour of post-nesting hawksbills in Barbados, for example, suggest that these animals may only be in Barbadian waters for a few months every few years, and that immediately following their last nest they leave Barbados and return to resident foraging grounds in other countries, taking advantage of prevailing currents and moving quickly over areas of deep water (Horrocks et al., submitted). Minimising threats to turtles on foraging grounds, particularly threats to adults, and minimising threats to the foraging grounds themselves are clearly critical to the effective management of marine turtle populations (Eckert, 1995; IUCN, 1995). The Importance of the Coastal Zone Most marine turtles spend the majority of their lives in nearshore marine habitats within 2 km of the coast, and 40% of the human population of the Wider Caribbean Region resides within 2 km of the coast. Many threats to the marine environment emanate from the land ... and the nearshore coastal zone is disproportionately affected. Coral reefs and seagrass beds are among the most important coastal resources in the Wider Caribbean Region. Reefs are formed by the secretion of calcium carbonate skeletons by tiny colonial animals (Cnidaria). seagrasses are submerged flowering plants. Both ecosystems are slow to develop and slow to recover from disturbance. The fastest growing corals (e.g., finger corals, staghorn corals) grow at rates of 2.5-26.6 cm/yr, while the massive brain corals only 0.81-2.5 cm/yr (Davies, 1983). Similarly, mature seagrass beds (defined as 95% substratum cover) dominated by the climax species Thalassia, (commonly known as turtle grass) require some 15-50 years to develop (Patriquin, 1975, Duarte, 1995). Coral reefs and seagrass beds are both highly productive ecosystems, and aside from their value to marine turtles, they provide substrate, food, shelter and nursery areas for many commercially important fish and crustaceans. Coral reefs are theReducing Threats on Foraging Grounds Julia A. Horrocks Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences University of the West Indies Barbados

PAGE 143

122basic habitat for all of the reef-associated fish that support trap fisheries throughout the Caribbean. seagrass beds serve as juvenile and adult habitat for many commercially harvested species (e.g., shrimp, lobsters, conch, sea urchins, mullets) in addition to be used as nursery habitat by commercially important reef fish (e.g., groupers, parrotfish, surgeonfish) and as foraging habitat to which adult reef fish routinely migrate (e.g., grunts, snappers, parrotfish, squirrelfish). Studies have shown that coral reefs near to seagrass beds have larger and more diverse reef fish populations than reefs without nearby beds (e.g., Ogden, 1972; Salm and Clark, 1984). Much of the sand on Caribbean beaches is produced as a result of the erosion of reef structure and reef-associated calcareous algae, and reefs physically protect the coastal zone during storm and hurricane events. seagrass beds are also important in physically stabilising the coastal zone. Their dense leaf canopy reduces current velocity near the sediment surface and promotes settling, and the roots and rhizomes bind sediments and limit erosion (Ogden, 1983). seagrass meadows often develop in the protected waters landward of reefs, and they play an important role in reducing sedimentation of reefs from land-based sources. Coral reefs and seagrass beds therefore have a high level of ecological interdependence and a change in one ecosystem as a result of man’s activities often has repercussions in the adjacent ecosystem, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach to their management and conservation.Managing Threats to Foraging HabitatDeclining Water Quality: Declining water quality is perhaps the most important factor affecting shallow marine habitats. Fringing reefs are in the immediate vicinity of the land, and this results in them being maximally exposed to land-based sediments, high levels of nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates from sewage and fertilisers, and of industrial and agricultural pollutants. Between the years 1982 and 1992, percent substrate cover by living coral on the fringing reefs of Barbados declined by between 30-50% and species numbers by between 25-45% (Hunte et al., 1998). The principal cause was algal overgrowth resulting from reduced grazing pressure and eutrophication. Increased sediment loads reduce the amount the light needed by seagrasses and the algal symbionts of corals for photosynthesis. Turbidity is increased by sediment runoff from land-based sources as a result of poor land clearing practices for agriculture, deforestation of watersheds, reclamation of mangroves, mining, road construction, and development activities for tourism such as marina construction and golf courses (Gibson and Smith, 1999). Similarly, dredging for navigational purposes or shoreline reclamation can significantly increase nearshore turbidity in localized areas. Upon settling, sediments reduce available substrate for larval settlement by corals and other reef-associated organisms, reduce oxygen levels, or in severe cases physically smother corals and seagrasses. Pesticides and herbicides that are toxic to marine organisms can also be bound to sediment particles. Nutrient enrichment of nearshore waters is of increasing concern in the Wider Caribbean Region. On Barbados’ south coast, for example, there was a 3-10 fold increase in nitrate contamination of ground water discharging into the coastal zone between 1977 and 1994 (Delcan International Ltd., 1995). A primary source of the nitrate contamination is sewage, reflecting increased tourist and resident densities in the coastal zone over this 15-year period. Nutrient enrichment of the water promotes the growth of microscopic phytoplankton, benthic or bottom-living macro-algae and of epiphytic algae. Microscopic algae suspended in the water column contribute to turbidity and further reduce light penetration to seagrass beds and reefs. The increased BOD (biological oxygen demand) caused by algal respiration can reduce oxygen levels sufficiently to contribute to fish kills. Increased abundance of benthic turf and macroalgae can result in overgrowth of the slower growing corals leading to increased mortality, particularly among juveniles (Wittenberg and Hunte, 1992). Dense cover by turf algae also decreases successful coral larval settlement on reefs. The problem of increased turf algal abundance on reefs has been aggravated by reduced herbivory on reefs. Over-fishing of herbivorous reef fish, and the 1983 mass mortality of the black spiny sea urchin ( Diadema antillarum ) throughoutKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 144

123 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 the Caribbean, have both contributed to reduced herbivory on Caribbean reefs (Hunte et al., 1996). Epiphytes growing over seagrass blades may reduce light availability and hence the growth rates of seagrasses. With respect to the use of seagrass beds as foraging habitat by green turtles, it is important to note that nutrient enrichment of nearshore sediments may increase the abundance of narrow-bladed seagrass species, such as Syringodium relative to the broad-bladed Thalassia (Vermeer, in prep). Thalassia is the seagrass species most often seen in gut analyses of Caribbean green turtles (Mortimer, 1981) and may be preferred over other species because it can be grazed more efficiently. Thalassia can fix nitrogen in its roots (Patriquin and Knowles, 1972) and therefore in more pristine, nutrient-poor waters, it has a competitive edge over Syringodium Anchor Damage: As tourism and pleasure boating intensifies in the Caribbean, indiscriminate anchoring can result in significant physical damage to both coral reefs and seagrass. Anchors uproot seagrasses and break the rhizome system; once the roots are disturbed, recovery is slow. Repetitive anchoring in many coastal bays of the U.S. Virgin Islands has so reduced seagrass cover that pastures once extending to 18.5 m depths now rarely persist below 4 m. With disturbance rates higher than recovery rates in many areas, the capacity of seagrass beds to support foraging green turtles is declining (Williams, 1988). Local physical damage to coral colonies through indiscriminate anchoring can be extreme and in addition to the direct mortality caused, holes and channels in the reef can alter current patterns and result in atypical sediment movement, thus causing further damage. Oil Pollution and Marine Debris: The Wider Caribbean Region is one of the largest oil producing areas in the world. Most of the oil produced in the region is shipped to destinations within the region, and on an average day, more than 700,000 tons of oil are being transported by sea (Gibson and Smith, 1999). The result is an intricate network of distribution routes, some of which run through restricted channels close to islands, and which increase the vulnerability of the region to accidents. In spite of regulations established in Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 (Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships), tankers do not always use port facilities for the disposal of bilge and tank washings. The deliberate release of washings at sea far exceeds the amount of oil entering the sea from accidental spills. Offshore oil and gas exploitation are also potential sources of pollution, either in the form of accidental oil spills or from the release of “produced water” from the oil-bearing strata during drilling operations. Oil pollution and tar fouling are hazardous to coral reefs and seagrass beds, as well as to marine turtles and their young (Lutcavage et al., 1995). Aside from the toxic effects of oil constituents, an oil slick decreases gas exchange between the water and the atmosphere, and can cause oxygen depletion in enclosed bays. Following a spill on the Caribbean coast of Panama in 1986, seagrasses declined in biomass and infauna was severely affected, intertidal reefs declined, and sub-tidal reefs suffered significant mortality and sub-lethal effects (Keller and Jackson, 1993). Marine debris (i.e., garbage disposed at sea, or finding its way to the sea from land-based sources) is a serious global threat to the coastal zone. Death to marine turtles as a result of ingestion or entanglement in marine debris is widespread and well publicized (e.g., Balazs, 1985), but perhaps less widely known is the threat that debris poses to the environment. For example, plastic bags can wrap around corals and suffocate underlying tissues. Debris also smothers seagrass, and can leak noxious elements and pose other threats to important foraging habitats. Damaging Fishing Techniques: The use of dynamite, chemicals and coral smashing techniques to capture fish causes irreparable harm to the sea bed, and especially to coral reefs. Bottom trawling, and the dropping of fish traps or anchoring blocks indiscriminately on living reef is similarly destructive. In the case of dynamite, many non-target fish are killed. Many of the target fish do not float to the surface and therefore are not collected. The physical damage effected by methods such as these destroys the very foundation of the reef, reducing or eliminating its capacity to support commercial fishes and invertebrates, as well as marine turtles (Gibson and Smith, 1999). Chlorine and a wide variety of other chemicals are extremely toxic to corals.

PAGE 145

124The application of chlorine bleach or other noxious substances to a reef for the purpose of catching lobsters or obtaining fish (including tropical specimens for the pet trade) kills corals, poisons important nursery areas for commercial fishes, and degrades marine turtle foraging habitat. Tourism Impacts: These stressors are particularly serious in countries where there is significant tourism development. Negative impacts include careless snorkeling and diving, collection of corals and reef-associated organisms for sale to tourists, and physical removal of reef rubble and seagrass to improve areas for sea-bathing. Global Warming: The impacts discussed above are, in a sense, local but widespread stressors of reef and seagrass systems. However, there are other more global factors that contribute significantly to seagrass and coral reef disease and deterioration. These are increases in sea temperature, severe storm events, and sea level rise, all of which have been exacerbated by human-induced global warming resulting largely from excessive CO2emissions in the developed world. These stressors cannot easily be mitigated by individual countries in the region and require mitigation at a regional or global level. Managing Threats to Marine Turtles on Foraging GroundsThe major threats to marine turtles on their foraging habitats arise as a consequence of directed catch, whether legal or illegal, and incidental catch. This becomes particularly problematic when turtles are protected on the nesting beaches in one country but exploited on the foraging grounds of another. For example, adult female hawksbills nesting in Barbados where they are legally protected, spend the majority of their lives in the waters of countries that have legal turtle fisheries. These countries may have closed seasons, but their closed seasons generally coincide with the breeding season in order to protect their own breeding populations. The “Barbados females” return to their foraging habitats in these countries as the closed seasons end there, and they are, therefore, fully exposed to the harvest. Incidental catch can sometimes be more damaging to marine turtle populations than directed catch (Oravetz, 1999). The annual mortality of loggerheads and Kemp’s ridley turtles due to drowning in shrimp trawls in U.S. waters, for example, was estimated at 5,500-55,000 per year in 1990 and has been a significant factor constraining the recovery of the “Critically Endangered” Kemp’s ridley turtle. Likewise, incidental capture of leatherback turtles in the swordfish gill net fisheries of Chile and Peru has been implicated in the recent collapse of the largest nesting assemblage of leatherbacks in the world (in Pacific Mexico: Eckert and Sarti, 1997). Aside from catch, turtle mortality on the foraging grounds due to oil ingestion and smothering, ingestion of and entanglement in debris, and as a result of boat strikes is widespread. We have all seen examples of this in our own countries.SummaryAll of the factors discussed above (see “Managing Threats to Foraging Habitat”) are known to pose threats to coral reefs and seagrass beds, critically important foraging habitats for the long-term survival of marine turtles. But the diversity and vitality of these ecosystems may also have been adversely affected by the demise of the turtle populations themselves (Bjorndal, 1999). Both hawksbills and green turtles fill unusual marine feeding niches. Green turtles have specially modified guts that can digest the cellulose found in seagrasses, and the hawksbill gut is modified to subsist on a diet consisting almost entirely of sponges. We do not know what the impacts of historically high levels of turtle harvest have been on these ecosystems. Currently, only about 10-20% of seagrass biomass in the Caribbean is grazed by herbivores, the remainder either decays in situ and forms the base of detrital food chains, or floats out to sea to form the base of pelagic food chains (Thayer et al., 1984). Before European colonisation and increased levels of turtle harvesting, a much larger percentage of the primary production in these beds would have been grazed by green turtles, and nutrients moved from the seagrass beds to contribute to the energy budgets of adjacent reefs. Furthermore, green turtles are known to maintain grazing plots, i.e. to consistently re-graze specific areas (Bjorndal, 1980). The re-growth provides a higher quality diet for the turtles because the new blades are higher in nitrogen and lower in indigestible lignin. It is very likelyKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 146

125 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 that this conditioning of the environment by green turtles was also to the benefit of other formerly important grass bed herbivores. In short, the absence of green turtle grazing has probably significantly altered the productivity and nutrient content of seagrasses, and through this, the biodiversity and community structure of the grass bed ecosystem. It has also been recently suggested that spongivorous hawksbills play a critical role in controlling overgrowth of corals by sponges on coral reefs (Hill, 1998). Consideration needs to be given to what the repercussions have been for the health of coral reefs from the widespread decline in numbers of hawksbills over the last few decades.Literature CitedBalazs, G. H. 1985. Impact of ocean debris on marine turtles: entanglement and ingestion, p. 387-429. In : R. S. Shomura and H. O. Yoshida (eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on the Fate and Impact of Marine Debris. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFC-54. U.S. Dept. Commerce. Bjorndal. K. A. 1980. Nutrition and grazing behavior of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas Marine Biology 56:147154. Bjorndal, K. A. 1997. Foraging ecology and nutrition of sea tutles, p.199-231. In : P. L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.) The Biology of Sea Turtles. CRC Press, New York. Bjorndal, K. A. 1999. Priorities for research in foraging habitats, p.12-14. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Davies, P. J. 1983. Reef growth, p.69-106. In : D. J. Barnes (ed.), Perspectives on coral reefs. AIMS Contribution No. 200. Delcan International Ltd. 1995. Terrestrial water quality report: Feasibility studies on coastal conservation. Technical Report to the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and the Environment, and the Coastal Conservation Project Unit of the Government of Barbados. Duarte, C. M. 1995. Submerged aquatic vegetation in relation to different nutrient regimes. Ophelia 41:87-112. Eckert, K. L 1995. Draft General Guidelines and Criteria for Management of Threatened and Endangered Marine Turtles in the Wider Caribbean Region. UNEP (OCA)/CAR WG.19/ INF.7. Prepared by WIDECAST and adopted by the Third Meeting of the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the SPAW Protocol. Kingston, 11-13 October 1995. United Nations Environment Programme, Kingston. 95 pp. Eckert, S. A. and L. Sarti M. 1997. Distant fisheries implicated in the loss of the world’s largest leatherback nesting population. Marine Turtle Newsletter 78:2-7. Gibson, J. and G. Smith. 1999. Reducing threats to foraging habitats, p.184-188. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Hill, M. S.1998. Spongivory on Caribbean reefs releases corals from competition with sponges. Oecologia 117:143-150. Horrocks, J. A., L. A. Vermeer, B. Krueger, M. Coyne, B. A. Schroeder and G. H. Balazs. Submitted. Migration routes and destination characteristics of post-nesting hawksbill turtles satellite-tracked from Barbados, West Indies. Chelonian Conservation and Biology: xxx. Hunte, W., H. Wiltshire and L. A. Vermeer. 1996. Environmental deterioration and water quality at fringing reefs on the west coast of Barbados. Technical Report to Stanley International and the Government of Barbados. 27 pp. Hunte, W., L. A. Vermeer and R. Goodridge. 1998. Temporal changes in coral reef communities on the west and south coasts of Barbados: 1987-1997. Technical Report to the Coastal Zone Management Unit of the Government of Barbados. 142 pp. IUCN. 1995. A Global Strategy for the Conservation of Marine Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Washington D.C. 24 pp. Keller, B. D. and J. B. C. Jackson (eds.). 1993. Long-term assessment of the oil spill at Bahia Las Minas, Panama. Synthesis Report, Vol. II: Technical Report. OCS Study MMS 93-0048. Minerals Management Service, U.S. Department of Interior. 1017 pp. Lutcavage, M..E., P. L. Lutz, G. D. Bossart and D. M. Hudson. 1995. Physiologic and clinicopathologic effects of crude oil on loggerhead sea turtles. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 28(4):417-422. Meylan, A. (1988) Spongivory in hawksbill turtles: a diet of glass. Science 239: 393-395. Meylan, A. B. and P.A. Meylan. 1999. Introduction to the evolution, life history and biology of sea turtles, p.3-5. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine

PAGE 147

126Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Mortimer, J. A. 1981. The feeding ecology of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas in Nicaragua. Biotropica 13:49-58. Ogden, J. C. 1972. An ecological study of Tague Bay reef, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Special Publications in Marine Biology 1:1-57. West Indies Laboratory, St. Croix. Ogden, J. C. (ed.). 1983. Coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves: their interaction in the coastal zone of the Caribbean. Report of a Workshop held at the West Indies Laboratory, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, May 1982. UNESCO Reports in Marine Science 23: 1-16. Oravetz, C. A. 1999. Reducing incidental catch in fisheries, p.189-193. In : K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjorndal, F. A. Abreu-Grobois and M. Donnelly (eds.), Research and Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No. 4. Patriquin, D. G. 1975. “Migration” of blowouts in seagrass beds at Barbados and Carriacou, West Indies, and its ecological and geological implications. Aquatic Botany 1: 163-189. Patriquin, D. and R. Knowles. 1972. Nitrogen fixation in the rhizosphere of marine angiosperms. Marine Biology 16: 49-58. Salm, R.V. and J. R. Clark. 1984. Marine and coastal protected areas: a guide for planners and managers. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 302 pp. Thayer, G.W., K. Bjorndal, J. C. Ogden, S. L. Williams and J. C. Zieman. 1984. Role of larger herbivores in seagrass communities. Estuaries 7: 351-376. Williams, S. L. 1988. Thalassia testudinum productivity and grazing by green turtles in a highly disturbed seagrass bed. Marine Biology 98: 447-455. Wittenberg, M. and W. Hunte. 1992. Effects of eutrophication on juvenile scleractinian corals I. Abundance, mortality and community structure. Marine Biology 112: 131-138.Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 148

127 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 IntroductionThis paper is about the regulatory framework for the protection and management of the natural environment and, in particular, the marine turtles of the Wider Caribbean Region. The words ‘regulatory framework’ imply a body of rules and regulations that constitute a national framework for environmental protection, including marine turtles. Before exploring these rules and regulations it is necessary to put the framework in its proper setting, and that is the national level. Earlier today, Mr. Andrade (UNEP) provided an excellent review of international treaties and conventions applicable to the protection and management of marine turtles. These (international) legal instruments are, in principle, only binding between parties; that is, between countries. To be effective at the national level, treaties need either to be transformed into national law or at least must be directly applicable to nationals in their local legal setting. We must keep in mind the structure of the political, economic and socio-cultural system of a country. If we consider the Caribbean Region, for example, there are big and small states and island nations. There are four major language groups (English, Spanish, French, Dutch) and hundreds of dialects. Caribbean states have different historical backgrounds, and this heritage is reflected in the national regulatory framework. Within this context we find the basis for the existing structure of legislation, organization, implementation, control and enforcement of rules and regulations in every Caribbean state necessary to protect and manage the environment and, in this case, marine turtles. Despite the differences, there is a common logic among regulatory mechanisms, and it is this logic which forms the basis of my presentation. Legislation and Legal StructuresThe first area to consider is the legal structure of the state. One needs to examine the body of environmental laws and derivatives, including decrees, ordinances, rules, regulations, legal guidelines, and rulings, to have an impression about the type of regulatory framework that exists to protect the environment. In general, there are two types. The first category is comprised of laws that protect and manage marine turtles directly. These laws protect specific species (flora and fauna) and their habitat. Fisheries legislation can be placed in this category, although fisheries rules tend to have a strong economic tendency and value. The second category is comprised of laws that protect and manage marine turtles indirectly by prohibiting activities that are harmful to the environment, and are generally considered harmful to people as well. Examples include laws against pollution of the marine environment, or spatial planning legislation on land. It is important to understand the different kinds of regulations in place at the national level. Very often there are strict norms, such as rules that prohibit or rules that are mandatory, and these are referred to as “hard laws”. There are also rules that demand installingvarious types of policy and management plans, which are referred to as “soft laws”. Regulations of all types can be constrained by insufficient and/or outdated legislation, and this is certainly true of marine turtles where, for example, many fisheries laws protect young turtles but allow the seasonal harvest of breeding-age adults. We also find conflicting regulations, which makes it even more difficult to know what is applicable and what is not. Moreover, we find that countries are party to international or regional treaties, such as CITES, SPAW or CMS, but have failed to implement treaty commitments by adopting the necessary imple-Strengthening the Regulatory FrameworkJeffrey Sybesma Faculty of Law University of the Netherlands Antilles Curaao

PAGE 149

128 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 menting legislation at the national level. As a result, multilateral agreements are significantly weakened.Organizational StructuresPart of the regulatory framework is the legalorganization of the Government, be it on a national level and/or vested in local municipalities. Most Governments are divided into departments or (sub)departments that operate independently of one another and all have their specific legal tasks to perform. Some of them protect or manage nature, including marine turtles (e.g., National Park Service, Department of Environment), or have related tasks (e.g., Fisheries Department) or combined tasks (e.g., Department of Public Health and Environment). Besides governmental offices or departments we sometimes find subsidized private organizations that are given a mandate by the government to protect and manage nature. As private corporations or foundations, these organizations perform governmental tasks. Nowadays there is a trend to increasingly “privatize” former government offices and make them semi-governmental or independent private organizations with governmental tasks. In these cases, the government withdraws from an executive role and focuses more on policy development and control. These private organizations are then subsidized for their task of managing the environment. In the organizational field we find also the nongovernment organizations (NGO’s), whichare a strong force nowadays in the environmental framework. The first and oldest role they play is that of a “watchdog organization”, observing and often criticizing bureaucratic and inefficient action by government in environmental protection and management. They form an effective advocacy for all kinds of specific environmental topics, including the protection of biodiversity. More recently we see the role of NGO’s changing, becoming partners of government. By acknowledging that governing structures can be ill-equipped to perform specialized executive tasks, resource agencies form alliances with NGO’s with the intent of allowing the NGO to perform a task originally done by the government. The government may subsidize the NGO, and in return the NGO uses these funds more efficiently (than could government) and with maximal output. Even in countries where there is no strong NGO presence, individual non-organized activities can make a difference. For example, public outcry as a result of media coverage of the pointless slaughter of a giant leatherback turtle may result in changes in public attitudes and public policy. As a final note on organizational structure, we find that, as a general rule, there is institutional overlap and redundancy within the governmental organizational structure in Caribbean countries. There are also gaps in jurisdiction among departments which lead to non-productive competition and duplicative programming or, alternatively, inaction as one department is confident that “the other will do it”. We see similar patterns among NGOs. In countries with energetic and enthusiastic NGO’s, we sometimes find several groups working with almost the same statutory goals . and in this case there is redundancy and wasted effort. On the other hand, other critical areas with the same need for input and energy are neglected. ImplementationWith regard to the implementation of plans and programs within a legal framework for environmental protection, we see within the Government organization the following constraints. First, there is a pervasive lack of sufficient funds for all the necessary tasks required to protect and manage the environment properly. Government income from taxes is decreasing, while the scope of tasks is increasing. Environment is an area that was some years ago a primary sector for fund allocation. Today we see interests changing to combating crime, poverty, health and drug abuse, and other social issues. What funds are given to the environmental departments are often and necessarily allocated to wages and infrastructure, such as vehicles, offices and utilities. For every dollar budgeted, the major part is not used for direct environmental projects in the field. Second, we face a lack of technical personnel trained to oversee all the necessary tasks required to protect and manage the environment properly. A related problem is that what government lacks in quality, it makes up in quantity; that is, more people are employed than reasonably necessary. Finally, with respect to plans and programs

PAGE 150

129 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 on which budgets are appointed, many such plans lack realistic goals and time-frames; for this reason, progress is difficult to evaluate. Bureaucratic rules and regulations make the project “input-oriented” rather than “output-oriented”. It is critical that information is shared among departments (indeed, among countries) to ensure that the lessons of the past are learned and that best practices are strongly integrated into policy making and planning. NGOs have fewer bureaucratic problems, but often struggle mightily to acquire the necessary funds for their scheduled environmental programs and goals. It seems that the government subsidy is always given to the other NGO, and not yours! Competition amongst NGOs, especially for limited funding, is common. Too often the subsidy is insufficient to ensure a proper job, or funds are specifically earmarked for relatively low priority projects. A lot of energy is put into fund-raising, and thus diverted from the real work of environmental protection. On the other hand, strong competition (in biological terms, the struggle for life) makes the surviving NGOs strong, efficient, and not to be underestimated players in the national environmental framework. Control and EnforcementDespite common shortcomings, there is, of course, always some legal structure and most governments have a more-or-less functional organizational structure when it comes to the environment. Government also has the obligation to use its power to enforce the laws protecting the environment, including public health, land use, biodiversity, etc., and to ensure the continuation of necessary projects and action plans. When violations or breaches of the law are identified, action must be taken. Control and enforcement are usually seen as a governmental, especially police, task and area of responsibility. Typically there are three areas in which we can think of control and enforcement. The first is the use of administrative powers. Many departments of government have special supervisory powers to control and inspect people’s, and especially corporation’s, activities. If these activities are not done in agreement with the relevant laws or regulations, actions can be taken that include withdrawal of subsidy or permits, or prohibiting the person or corporation to continue the task. Government can take many actions without the use of judicial steps. The second area is the judicial route, or what I call the use of penal powers. Many laws have penal articles as methods for enforcement. Police and special enforcement agencies (generally answering to the office of a public prosecutor) have the power to perform investigations into activities that are suspected of being illegal. With enough evidence, offenders or wrongdoers are prosecuted by a judge or court of justice and allotted a fine or even imprisonment. The third area which can be used to combat environment unfriendly behavior is the use of civil law powers. Individuals, NGOs, and even government can use torts or unlawful behavior lawsuits against offenders and claim damages. Nowadays a trend is visible where NGOs are suing the government in civil court for non-compliance or negligence with regard to laws they (government) made themselves. This is surely a part of the watchdog role of NGOs. Once again, constraints in the area of law enforcement include funding shortages and a lack of basic tools (e.g., patrol boats, vehicles, radios). Enforcement and other skills training for rangers are, too often, minimal. And penalties, if given, are not commensurate with product value or the ethical standards of the community. The majority of environmental fines, and this includes marine turtle violations, are far too low to act as effective deterrents. Public prosecutors tend to focus on common criminality, rather than environmental offences. Support from government for its enforcement agencies is typically low and sometimes internal corruption ensures that the enforcement effort is not made. ConclusionsTo summarize and to conclude, there are four areas to consider when talking about the regulatory framework for environmental protection and management. These are: (i) legislation, (ii) organization, (iii) implementation, and (iv) control and enforcement. Every one of these areas has its own specifics to recognize. After recognition, it is necessary to identify the setbacks and constraints of each area. Only then will it be possible to find solutions and to make recommendations for improvement in each area. I

PAGE 151

130 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 have almost not touched on this last aspect; that is, how can we improve and strengthen the regulatory framework so that the environment, including our marine turtles, will meaningfully benefit from it? I did this intentionally, because I want the Working Group, using this presentation as a starting point, to discuss means and mechanisms for strengthening the regulatory framework. By doing so, the outcome of that Working Group will be the final section of this presentation. May I suggest that the Working Group focus on the following aspects? First, legislation – is there direct or indirect environmental legislation, is it sufficient, and is it outdated? Second, organization — is there an adequate governmental and non-governmental environmental organization, is there overlap (or are there gaps) in tasks, what role do NGO’s play, and are NGOs partners or watchdogs? Third, implementation — are there enough funds available (both for government and NGOs), are the available tools adequate, is there enough quality available for high standard performance, and are there enough (or too many) people involved? And, finally, control and enforcement — what kinds of control and enforcement are in place, are all legal possibilities used, what problems contribute to a poor performance in the areas of control and enforcement, and how can these problems be resolved?

PAGE 152

131 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 A. Abreu (Moderator) suggested that the discussion focus on questions asked by participants, as well as on the identification of elements for the Working Groups. S. Tijerino (Nicaragua) asked how the Presenters would consider the threat of climatic change on nesting beaches, and how might it affect populations over time? B. Schroeder (USA) responded that this was an excellent question, and that climatic change will result in rising sea levels that will influence coastal geography in the future. She felt that the complexity of the topic was beyond our capacity to discuss in this forum, but that one influence on sea turtle populations may be skewed sex ratios in hatchlings as incubation temperature regimes shift. S. Tijerino (Nicaragua) emphasized the need to take anthropogenic effects on these species into account in the policy and management process. She asked for feedback from the Presenters regarding the vulnerability of seagrasses and coral reefs, which serve as important sea turtle foraging habitats. J. Horrocks (UWI) responded that coral reefs and seagrasses are indeed critical foraging habitats for sea turtles throughout the Caribbean. Global warming and sea level rise threaten shorelines, but also coastal marine ecosystems such as coral and seagrass. Perhaps of more immediate concern, however, are threats to these important ecosystems that result from coastal development. These threats include erosion, sedimentation, beach armoring, and destruction of the seabed. These threats have a direct effect on sea turtle populations, as well. N. Frazer (UFL) added that we need to protect habitat in order to protect sea turtles, and he noted that sea turtles themselves often act in ways that “engineer” the habitat to their advantage. M. Donnelly (IUCN MTSG) agreed, adding that we cannot take habitat for granted or allow good habitat to be degraded. We should be diligent in safeguarding habitats, especially unspoiled habitats, that are successfully exploited by sea turtles for nesting or foraging. Habitat monitoring programs are critical to the success of any long-term conservation or management program. J. Frazier (Smithsonian) agreed with S. Tijerino and recommended that we protect habitat because without it, we have no sea turtles. C. d’Auvergne (St. Lucia 1) expressed the view that climate change would surely have a profound effect on sea turtles, and that we must also take into account the reactions of people to climate change...reactions that include building sea walls, for instance. He expressed his concern, as well, about the transport of hazardous nuclear waste through the Caribbean Sea, and the fact that oil spills are always a possibility. He reminded the meeting that one of every eight barrels of the world’s oil passes through the Caribbean. In St. Lucia there has been a loss of seagrass and living coral as a result of dredging, as well as some fishing practices. C. Parker (Barbados) observed that “everything we have discussed in this session is part of integrated coastal management”, and that integrated coastal management should be a priority for every nation in the region. He noted that the threats we and our environment face are complex, and the answers will not be found in fragmentary and isolated programs. We must strive to assimilate best practices in the management of marine turtles and their habitats. A. Abreu (Moderator) closed the session with instructions about convening the Working Groups after the lunch break. He thanked the translators for their diligent and professional assistance.1Mr. C. d’Auvergne participated as an Invited Expert, and not as a delegate from St. Lucia.Open Forum: Meeting Management GoalsF. Alberto Abreu G. – Moderator IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG) Univ. Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Mxico

PAGE 153

Session VIWorking Group Results and RecommendationsDetermining Population Distribution and Status F. Alberto Abreu G., ChairMonitoring Population Trends Rhema H. Kerr Bjorkland, ChairPromoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement Crispin d’Auvergne, ChairReducing Threats at Nesting Beaches Barbara A. Schroeder, ChairReducing Threats on Foraging Grounds Julia A. Horrocks, ChairStrengthening the Regulatory Framework Jeffrey Sybesma, Chair133 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999

PAGE 154

135 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the sea turtle resource by determining the distribution of sea turtle populations Objective 1: Locate all sea turtle nesting sites: Identify all breeding units (also known as “stocks” or “populations”) for each species and record geographic coordinates for nesting sites, past and present. Register causes of population collapse if known. Characterize nesting habitats by: • Physical characteristics • Human use and degree of human presence • Major habitat type (according to the ecology of each species) Determine nesting intensity at all nesting sites so that it becomes possible to: • Classify nesting sites as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary [High, Medium, Low], according to nest density • Classify nesting sites according to human accessibility to sites • Select “Index Beaches.” Criteria for selection of Index Beaches may vary. One favored method is to select Primary beaches with adequate accessibility that will allow or has allowed long term monitoring. Objective 2: Locate all marine turtle foraging sites Locate major feeding sites for each species, recording geographic coordinates for each site. Identify source populations contributing to each foraging assemblage Determine marine turtle abundance at feeding sites for each species/population Classify sites as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary for each species, based on the size of the foraging aggregation with respect to the known total abundance of the species in the nation and region Characterize feeding habitats by: • Food type and abundance • Quality of the environment • Level of threats • Size (e.g., square meters, hectares) •Identify formerly utilized feeding sites for each species, if information is available. Identify level of human impact Objective 3: Locate marine turtle migratory routes Using remote sensing techniques (e.g., satellite tracking) to evaluate whether marine turtles utilize specific oceanic corridors during juvenile or adult (e.g. preor post-nesting) life stages Identify species/populations that utilize specific routes or corridors Assess any threats (e.g., commercial fishing, shipping) affecting these routes Objective 4: Locate mating sites Locate major mating sites for each marine turtle species Identify source populations at each mating site Determine seasonality and abundance at mating sites for each species/population Classify sites as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary for each species Characterize mating sites by: • Quality • Level of threats • Size (e.g., square meters, hectares) Identify historically utilized mating sites for each species Identify level of human impactDetermining Population Distribution and StatusF. Alberto Abreu G., Working Group Chair Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologa Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Mxico

PAGE 155

Objective 5: Locate developmental habitats Locate major developmental sites/habitats for marine turtles Identify source populations at each developmental site Determine seasonality and abundance at feeding sites for each species/population Classify sites as Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary for each species Characterize developmental habitats by: • Food type and abundance • Quality • Level of threats • Size (e.g., square meters, hectares) Identify historically utilized developmental sites for each species, if possible Identify level of human impact Goal 2: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by determining the current status of marine turtle populations Objective 1: Determine the current status of all populations with a procedure that is congruent with the biological characteristics of the species, and which includes measures of trends in both nesting and foraging habitats Determine demographic trends for each population using statistically robust procedures over biologically relevant time frames (typically 5-10 year time-series; see “Monitoring Population Trends” Working Group recommendations, this volume) Take regional and global species-specific trends into consideration Consider the amount of variability in the demographic trends of the various populations Using statistically robust procedures, determine population trends as a function of changes in: • Number of nests/year at Index Beaches, standardized for monitoring effort • Number of turtles at foraging sites, standardized for monitoring effort Quality and size of nesting and foraging habitats Register the magnitude and persistence of known threats; identify gaps in knowledge Deduce changes in abundance from historical records (changes in relative abundance can be inferred from some historical records, such as national fisheries or trade statistics) Realize that an accurate assessment of a population trend must consider trend measurements from the full area of the population’s distribution (i.e., complete range). If variation in trends is observable within the region, the more common or prevalent trend can be used as a measure for the overall (regional-level) trend Derive population “status” (as distinct from a “trend,” which can be evaluated over a shorter time frame) from trend measurements (whether observed, estimated or inferred) taken from the population’s full range for a period of at least 2 generations. Thus “status” becomes a biologically meaningful classification congruent with criteria used internationally (i.e., IUCN) Chairman’s comments: The Working Group voiced an interest in measuring and achieving the “recovery” of marine turtle populations. Unfortunately, there was insufficient time to explore this interest. The Group also noted the difficulty in defining “recovery” in terms and parameters that would be meaningful to resource managers. 136 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 156

137 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by monitoring population trends, and incorporating that information into decision-making The Group laid a foundation for their discussion by defining “trend” as “a change in abundance over time,” and then agreed that trends could be deduced from three primary sources: nesting beaches, foraging grounds, and markets. The Group agreed to limit its recommendations to monitoring nesting beaches and foraging grounds, but noted that useful information could be obtained from market data as long as Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) was quantified (i.e., if fewer and fewer and/or smaller and smaller turtles are landed with the same effort then a decline in the fished population could be inferred). The balance of the Group’s time was spent discussing monitoring trends in nesting populations and foraging assemblages. The Group recognized that: • For practical purposes the management unit at the national level should be the assemblage of turtles occurring in a nation’s waters and/or on its beaches, but, due to the migratory nature of marine turtles, local trends may be the result of adequate or inadequate management practices on the part of several range state nations. • Nesting beaches and foraging grounds should be monitored independently. A statistically significant trend at an Index Beach relates to that segment of the adult population utilizing the monitored habitat but may not, for example, relate to mixedstock foraging assemblages offshore. • Information-sharing should be a priority. A mechanism to collate and link information pertinent to a particular population would be very useful and would require long-term collaboration between Nation A (where gravid females nest), Nations B, C, and D (where adults forage during off-breeding years), and Nations E, F, G, and H (where the juveniles spend their developmental years). Objective 1: Monitor trends on nesting beaches Select Index Beaches for intensive monitoring, realizing that monitoring every nesting beach is neither possible nor necessary. Index Beaches should: • include beaches with the highest nest density, if possible • encompass a majority of known nesting for each species of management concern • be predictably accessible by researchers Collect baseline data by measuring: • Absolute Abundance — determine absolute abundance by counting every animal, year after year, by making use of saturation tagging protocols; or • Indices of Abundance determine an index of abundance by making use of statistically viable sampling protocols (e.g., estimating the annual number of nesting females by counting nests or crawls; inferring national trends by monitoring selected Index Beaches) Collect baseline data for a minimum of 3 multiples of the average remigration interval (ARI) or at least 5 years, whichever is longer. Based on published remigration intervals determined from long-term tagging programs in the Caribbean basin, the following minimum monitoring intervals were recommended: • Lepidochelys: 5 yr, based ARI of 1.5 yr (Rancho Nuevo, Mxico) • Eretmochelys: 8 yr, based on ARI of 2.7 yrMonitoring Population TrendsRhema Kerr Bjorkland, Working Group Chair Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) Jamaica

PAGE 157

138(Jumby Bay, Antigua) • Caretta: 8 yr, based on ARI of 2.5 yr (Georgia, USA) • Dermochelys: 8 yr, based on ARI 2.5 yr (St. Croix, USVI) • Chelonia: 10 yr, based on ARI of 3.2 yr (Tortuguero, Costa Rica) Continue monitoring until a statistically significant change in abundance is detected or until population stability is demonstrated; for small populations this may be considerably longer (for purely mathematical reasons) than the minimum intervals defined above Recognize that trends are not predictive, rather they simply define with a selected degree of mathematical precision that there has been a “change in abundance over time” and that its direction is negative or positive Objective 2: Monitor trends in foraging grounds Sample seasonally during the first year to determine when and where the turtles are present and accessible for long-term monitoring Select Index Foraging Grounds for intensive monitoring, realizing that monitoring every foraging area is neither possible nor necessary. Index sites should: • include areas where turtles are found in the highest density (to maximize encounters and facilitate statistical analysis) • encompass a majority of known foraging turtles for each species of management concern • be predictably accessible by researchers Develop a census protocol consistent both in its methodology (e.g., study site, net size and type, capture technique, transect(s), reporting) and timing (e.g., time of day, seasonality, repetition) Collect baseline data for a minimum period of 5 years, relying on standard protocols (e.g., CPUE, capture-mark-recapture, transect) associated with tracking Indices of Abundance; assume that measuring Absolute Abundance is impossible Continue monitoring until a statistically significant change in abundance is detected (or until population stability is demonstrated with statistical precision); for small sample sizes this may be considerably longer than 5 years … a “trend” has to be both measurable and statistically significant Recognize that trends are not predictive, they simply define with a selected degree of mathematical precision that there has been a “change in abundance over time” and that its direction is negative or positive Chairman’s comments: The Working Group voiced interest in evaluating the extent to which intensive monitoring at 1-5 Index Beaches (or Index Foraging Grounds) with the exact number of monitored sites depending on the size of the country and the geographic distribution of critical habitat could sufficiently address management questions at the national level, thereby saving duplicative monitoring effort. There was insufficient time to discuss this topic. A literature search for relevant information was suggested.Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 158

139 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by obtaining stakeholder participation through a process of awareness building, education and changes in behaviour In order to reach the goal, the Group recognized the need to: Understand the relationship between awareness, education and participation Understand the objectives of awareness and participation Work within existing national legal, institutional and socio-economic contexts Objective 1: Develop, strengthen, and utilize mechanisms for public participation Clearly identify target and stakeholder groups, and stakes Determine the socio-economic importance or value of the resource to the various stakeholders, including communities and nations Identify economic alternatives (options) in a collaborative manner; such alternatives might include activities totally divorced from the resource, as well as those involving non-consumptive or more sustainable consumptive use of the resource Develop comprehensive mediumand long-term marine turtle public awareness programmes focused on the respective stakeholder groups Coordinate and harmonize policies and activities of the relevant sectors, including Governmental and non-governmental Incorporate marine turtle (and general marine) education into the school curriculum Identify, strengthen, establish, and maintain mechanisms for the exchange of experiences, information and collaboration (including the Internet and field visits) using various sectors of society Determine ways in which programme success can be measured and evaluated Identify funding sources and develop funding strategies consistent with specific program objectives Chairman’s comments: Nelson Andrade noted that UNEP has established a WebSite for the exchange of information on Caribbean Marine Protected Areas. This site, known as CAMPAM Corner (www.cep.unep.org), could serve as a means of exchanging information.Promoting Public Awareness and ParticipationCrispin d’Auvergne, Working Group Chair Ministry of Finance and Planning St. Lucia

PAGE 159

140Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by improving nesting and hatch success, and maximizing the number of hatchlings that successfully reach the sea In order to reach the goal, the Group recognized the need to: Identify threats through assessments, research, and the exchange of information Consider threats not only to nesting beaches (habitat), but also to nests (eggs), hatchlings, and nesting females Identify, characterize, and rank threats, giving priority management attention to those with the greatest potential to negatively affect the status of local breeding assemblages Objective 1: Eliminate illegal poaching of eggs and nesting females Improve the effectiveness of law enforcement Promote and facilitate community involvement Design and implement public education campaigns Work with stakeholders to develop and encourage economic alternatives Establish protected units/areas Objective 2: Control beach sand mining Assess the extent of beach sand mining and monitor mining activity Establish areas where no beach sand mining is allowed Require and enforce permits for mining activities (work with local government) Strengthen (or adopt) relevant laws and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement Identify alternative sand sites/sources Design and implement public education campaigns Emphasize inter-agency coordination Objective 3: Minimize egg depredation using the least manipulative strategy Evaluate the effectiveness of nest cages and/or nest screens, using standard techniques Evaluate the effectiveness of nest relocation, both in situ and hatchery, using standard techniques Consider predator control, taking care to consider the broader ecological consequences of predator removal Objective 4: Eliminate (or reduce to non-threatening levels) artificial beach lighting Using standard techniques, shade or redirect beachfront lights that cannot be turned-off during peak nesting and hatching seasons Consider beachfront lighting issues during permit and approval stages for new construction at known nesting beaches Adopt local lighting ordinances obligating landowners to ensure that lighting associated with built structures at known nesting beaches does not interfere with nesting or hatching activity Design and implement public education campaigns Organize hatchling rescues (with immediate release) as a temporary measure, while implementing the above actions Objective 5: Prohibit beach stabilization structures (e.g., seawalls, groynes) Strengthen (or adopt) relevant laws and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement Design and implement public education campaigns Consider alternatives to hard-engineering stabilization options Objective 6: Manage human activities during the nesting season Design and implement public education campaignsReducing Threats at Nesting BeachesBarbara A. Schroeder, Working Group Chair Office of Protected Resources NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service USAKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 160

141 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Strengthen (or adopt) relevant legislation Ensure that nesting turtles have access to suitable habitat by removing beach “stuff” (tables, chairs, temporary structures, recreational equipment, etc.) at night during peak nesting and hatching seasons Develop and implement a beach zonation system to ensure that primary nesting habitat is protected to the maximum extent possible in areas of high human use, especially during peak nesting and hatching seasons Consider organized and guided public “turtle watches,” using standard guidelines concerning the number of people per group, restrictions on lighting, and training for guides Emphasize the collection or other management of waste generated at beach sites Strictly regulate the use of vehicles on nesting beaches during peak nesting and hatching seasons Objective 7: Control (manage) beach rebuilding and renourishment activities Strengthen (or adopt) relevant legislation and improve the effectiveness of law enforcement Design and implement public education campaigns Enact restrictions on rebuilding and renourishment activity during nesting season • ensure enforcement of restrictions • ensure sand compatibility (sand characteristics) and other relevant technical requirements Objective 8: Reduce beach debris Undertake regular beach clean-ups Utilize volunteers, NGO partners, and/or government agency programs Eliminate or reduce the source of the debris problem Design and implement public education campaigns on proper waste disposal, including the health and ecological consequences of litter Promote inter-agency collaboration and cooperation Encourage the media to become involved Objective 9: Regulate coastal construction of buildings and infrastructure Establish protected units/areas Promote inter-agency coordination Implement building setbacks (minimum distance requirements between buildings and the high water mark) Strengthen (or adopt) legislation to preserve dunes and protect natural beach vegetation that serves to stabilize the beach Review current legislation to ensure adequacy (types of structures permitted, size/density, zoning, timing, disposal of construction waste, etc.) Improve the effectiveness of law enforcement and monitoring for violations Design and implement public education campaigns Objective 10: Control chemical/sewage/oil contamination Strengthen (or adopt) and enforce specific legislation (domestic and international) for point and non-point source pollution (e.g., pesticide/herbicide management; oil use, disposal, exploration, and transport; upland runoff) Design and implement public education campaigns Improve the effectiveness of law enforcement Emphasize adequate (and accessible) sewage treatment Enact and publicize emergency response plans Require clean-up/compensation by the responsible (polluting) party Prohibit activities that are likely to result in contamination from occurring in or near sensitive areas, including known marine turtle nesting beaches Objective 11: Reduce, to the extent possible, the negative effects of natural disasters/phenomena Establish protocols for relocating unquestionably “doomed” clutches, such as eggs laid in well documented high-risk erosion zones Adopt emergency plans for post-disaster responses to devastating episodic events Recognize that some “natural” phenomena result directly or indirectly from improper water/land management practices

PAGE 161

142Adopt relevant legislation or other controls to minimize the damage Chairman’s comments : The Working Group voiced concern regarding threats in nearshore marine habitats adjacent to nesting beaches; these might include fishing activities (trawls, nets, seines), recreational activities (boating, jet skis), sources of pollution, and other disturbances. There was insufficient time to explore this concern. The Working Group recommended that actions to be taken within countries (as well as regionally) should be prioritized, and that priority ranking should take “feasibility” into consideration.Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 162

143 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by maintaining, improving or restoring foraging and internesting habitats Objective 1: Map past and present quantitative and qualitative status and extent of foraging habitats Objective 2: Identify, characterize and rank (as to their impact on local populations) present and potential threats to each foraging area Objective 3: Develop and incorporate marine turtle habitat management plans as part of national Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plans Objective 4: Promote regional cooperation in managing critical habitats Actions to be taken: • Implement relevant portions of ICZMs Goal 2: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by minimizing threats to marine turtles on foraging grounds and inter-nesting habitats Objective 1: Identify and rank present and potential threats to marine turtles on foraging grounds Objective 2: Design and implement management plans to mitigate priority threats Actions to be taken: • Assemble and review existing information, nationally and regionally • Identify information gaps and initiate efforts to acquire the necessary data • Develop criteria to rank threats on foraging grounds and inter-nesting habitats • Design and implement monitoring protocols to evaluate the result(s) of management actions Chairman’s comments : The Group agreed to the following general recommendations: Review legislation and law enforcement for adequacy and gaps Incorporate useful program elements from the recommendations of Working Group IV (“Reducting Threats at Nesting Beaches”), since many coastal zone threats affect both sandy beaches and nearshore foraging grounds The Group recognized the importance of reducing threats along migratory routes. There was insufficient time to discuss recommendations in this regard, but the Group felt the topic should be tackled separately and should include concern about the incidental capture of marine turtles in national waters and on the high seas.Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds and Inter-Nesting HabitatsJulia A. Horrocks, Working Group Chair Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences University of the West Indies Barbados

PAGE 163

144Goal 1: To achieve sound management of the marine turtle resource by strengthening the regulatory framework at all levels Objective 1: Strengthen the regional (international) regulatory framework Stimulate and promote, on a practical level, cooperation among nations Harmonize national regulatory frameworks for the protection and management of the natural environment, in particular marine turtles Ensure that national obligations under international treaties and agreements are met on a timely and ongoing basis Objective 2: Strengthen the national regulatory framework Review existing legislation and regulations, identify gaps Strengthen the national legislative framework by using the best available scientific knowledge and taking into consideration: stakeholders, enforcement capacity, public education, international and regional obligations, financial mechanisms, and existing laws pertaining to the conservation and management of marine turtles Objective 3: Ensure public participation in the regulatory process Design and implement public education campaigns Ensure continuous education to all sectors and stakeholders, relative to the provisions and obligations of environmental legislationStrengthening the Regulatory FrameworkJeffrey Sybesma, Working Group Chair Faculty of Law University of the Netherlands Antilles CuraaoKaren L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 164

145 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Santo Domingo 16-18 November 1999 AGENDA Tuesday, 16 November 199908:30Host Government Opening Remarks 09:30Welcome and Statement of Purpose 09:50Meeting Mechanics, Appointment of a RapporteurSession I — Biology and Status10:00“Ecological Roles of Caribbean Sea Turtles” Dr. John G. Frazier, Smithsonian Institution 10:20“Cultural and Economic Roles of Caribbean Sea Turtles” Lic. Didiher Chacn C., Asociacin ANAI 10:40 Coffee Break 11:10“Status and Distribution of Dermochelyscoriacea in the Wider Caribbean” Dr. Karen Eckert, WIDECAST 11:22“Status and Distribution of Cheloniamydas in the Wider Caribbean” Dr. Cynthia Lagueux, Wildlife Conservation Society 11:34“Status and Distribution of Carettacaretta in the Wider Caribbean” Flix Moncada Gaviln, Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras (Cuba) 11:46“Status and Distribution of Eretmochelysimbricata in the Wider Caribbean” Diego F. Amorocho, WIDECAST (Colombia) 11:58“Status and Distribution of Lepidochelyskempii in the Wider Caribbean” Dr. Ren Mrquez M., Inst. Nacional de la Pesca (Mxico) 12:10“Status and Distribution of Lepidochelysolivacea in the Wider Caribbean” Maria ngela Marcovaldi, Fundao Pro-TAMAR 12:25Open Forum: Questions and Answers 12:55Announcements 13:00 LunchMarine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region: A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management Annex I

PAGE 165

Session II — Goals and Criteria14:30“Management Planning for Long-Lived Species” Dr. John A. Musick, Virginia Institute of Marine Science 15:00“Management Goals and Criteria for Caribbean Sea Turtles” Dr. Nat B. Frazer, University of Florida 15:30 Coffee Break 16:00Open Forum: “Criteria and Benchmarks for Sustainable Management of Caribbean Sea Turtles” 17:30Session Conclusions and Recommendations of the Meeting 17:50Appointment of a Drafting Committee 17:55Announcements and Closing Remarks 18:30AdjournWednesday, 17 November 199908:00Announcements and Opening Remarks 08:15Meeting Mechanics, Appointment of a RapporteurSession III — International Cooperation08:30“Caribbean Sea Turtles and International Law” Dr. Nelson Andrade C., UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme 09:00Open Forum: “Strengthening International Co-operation” 10:30Session Conclusions and Recommendations of the Meeting 10:50 Coffee BreakSession IV — Meeting Our Goal:Management Model Components I, II and III 11:20Introduction of Panel Speakers 11:30“Determining Population Status and Distribution” Dr. F. Alberto Abreu G., Univ. Nacional Autnoma de Mxico 11:50“Monitoring Population Trends” Rhema Kerr Bjorkland, Ministry of Agriculture (Jamaica) 12:10“Promoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement” Crispin d’Auvergne, Ministry of Finance and Planning (St. Lucia) 12:30Open Forum: Questions and Answers 13:00 LunchSession IV Working Groups14:00Topic I : Determine Population Status and Distribution Topic II: Monitor Population Trends Topic III: Promoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement 15:30 Coffee Break146 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 166

147 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Session V — Meeting Our Goal:Management Model Components IV, V and VI 16:00Introduction of Panel Speakers 16:10“Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches” Barbara Schroeder, U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service 16:30“Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds” Dr. Julia Horrocks, University of the West Indies (Barbados) 16:50“Strengthening the Regulatory Framework” Dr. Jeffrey Sybesma, University of the Netherlands Antilles 17:10Open Forum: Questions and Answers 17:30 AdjournmentThursday, 18 November 199908:00Announcements and Opening Remarks 08:15Meeting Mechanics and Appointment of a RapporteurSession V Working Groups08:30Topic IV: Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches Topic V: Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds Topic V : Strengthening the Regulatory Framework 10:00 Coffee BreakSession VI Working Group Results10:30Topic I : Determining Population Status and Distribution Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 11:00Topic II : Monitoring Population Trends Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 11:30Topic III : Promoting Public Awareness and Community Involvement Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 12:00Topic IV : Reducing Threats at Nesting Beaches Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 12:30 Lunch

PAGE 167

14:00Topic V : Reducing Threats on Foraging Grounds Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 14:30Topic VI : Strengthening the Regulatory Framework Presentation of Results Discussion and Recommendations of the Meeting 15:00 Coffee Break 15:30Resolution: “Santo Domingo Declaration” 16:30Appoint Drafting Committee for Proceedings 16:40Statement of Gratitude to Host and Sponsors 17:00Announcements and Closing Remarks 17:30Adjourn148 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 168

149 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Government DelegatesAnguillaRhon Connor National Sea Turtle Project Anguilla National Trust P. O. Box 1234 The Valley Anguilla BWI Tel: (264) 497-5297 Fax: (264) 497-5571 Axanat@anguillanet.com R acjac@hotmail.com Antigua & BarbudaNot present ArubaFacundo Jean Paulo Franken Chief Natural Resources Section Dept. Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries (LVV) Piedra Plat 114-A, Aruba Tel: (297) 8-58102 Fax: (297) 8-55639 dirlvvm@setarnet.aw BahamasDr. Maurice Isaacs Veterinary Officer Department of Agriculture Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries P. O. Box N-3028 Nassau, Bahamas Tel: (242) 325-1173 / 325-3904 Fax: (242) 328-5874 / 325-3960 maurice@grouper .batelnet.bs Ediston Deleveaux Deputy Director Department of Fisheries Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries P. O. Box N-3028 Nassau, Bahamas Tel: (242) 325-1173 / -3904 / -1978 Fax: (242) 328-5874 / 325-3960 mbraynen@grouper .batelnet.bs BarbadosChristopher Parker Fisheries Biologist Fisheries Division Princess Alice Highway Bridgetown, Barbados Tel: (246) 426-3745 Fax: (246) 436-9068 fishbarbados@caribsurf BelizeLic. Alfonso Avilez Assistant Fisheries Officer Department of Fisheries P. O. Box 148 Belize City, Belize Tel: (501) 2-44552 Fax: (501) 2-32983 species@btl.net British Virgin Islands Mervin Hastings Marine Biologist Conservation and Fisheries DepartmentMarine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management Santo Domingo 16-18 November 1999 LIST OF PARTICIPANTSAnnex II

PAGE 169

Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour P. O. Box 3323 Road Town, Tortola British Virgin Islands Tel: (284) 494-5681 / -3429Fax: (284) 494-2670 cfd@bvigovernment.org boodie@bvigovernment.org Cayman IslandsJonathan Aiken Research Officer Department of Environment P. O. Box 486 GT Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands British West Indies Tel: (345) 949-8469 Fax: (345) 949-4020 gina.ebanks-petrie@gov .ky Colombia Not present Costa RicaMara Elena Herrera Ministerio del Ambiente y Energa Apartado 338 Guples, Pococi Limn, Costa Rica Tel: (506) 710-7542 Fax: (506) 710-7376 Tortuguero Tel: (506) 710-2929 melenahz@ns.minae.go.cr CubaDra. Elvira Adelaida Carrillo Jefe del Programa de Tortugas Marinas Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras Playa Barlovento, Santa Fe 5ta. y 2248, La Habana Cuba Tel/Fax: (537) 24 5895 cubacip@ceniai.inf .cu Dalia Salabarria Fernndez Agencia de Medio Ambiente Min. Ciencia, Tecnologia y Medio Ambiente de Cuba Tel: (537) 22 9351 Fax: (537) 24 9031 Dalias@unepnet.inf .cu DominicaGiselle Allport Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment Government Headquarters Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica Tel: (767) 448-2401 x3282 Fax: (767) 448-7999 pswillimas@cwdom.dm Dominican RepublicJos Miguel Martinez Sub-Secretario de Recursos Naturales Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura Autopista Duarte Km 61/2 Jardines del Norte A.P. 1472, Santo Domingo Repblica Dominicana Tel: (809) 547-2189 Fax: (809) 227-1281 / -1186 / -532-5312Surena@codetel.net.do Ramn Ovidio Snchez Pea Director Departamento de Vida Silvestre Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura Autopista Duarte Km 61/2 Jardines del Norte A.P. 1472, Santo Domingo Repblica Dominicana Tel/Fax: (809) 227-6550 Vida.silvestre@codetel.net.do Gloria Santan Zorrila Enc. Divisin de Fauna Departamento de Vida Silvestre Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura Autopista Duarte Km 61/2 Jardines del Norte A.P. 1472, Santo Domingo Republica Dominicana Tel/Fax: (809) 227-6550 Vida.slivestre@codetel.net.do Matilde Mota Universida Autnoma de Santo Domingo Facultad de Ciencias Departamento de Biologia Ciudad Universitaria Tel: (809) 686-3346 / [casa] 682-7590 M atilde.Mota@codetel.net.do 150 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 170

151 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 France (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique)Luc Legendre Technicien Direction Regionale de l’Environnement (DIREN) B.P. 105-97102 Basse-Terre Cdex Guadeloupe FWI Tel: (590) 41.04.56 Fax: (590) 41.04.62 nat971@outremer .com GrenadaNot presentGuatemalaJorg Alberto Ruiz Ordoez Delegado Regional para el Caribe Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) Va 5, 4-50, zona 4 Edificio Maya, 4o.Nivel Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala Tel: (502) 332-0463 Fax: (502) 332-0464 Conapbarrios@guate.net jaruizo@c.net.gt GuyanaNot presentHaitiRobert Badio Director, Pesca y Acuacultura Ministere de l’Agriculture, des Ressources Naturelles et du Developpement Rural Damien, Route Nationale No. 1 B.P. 1441 Port-au-Prince, Haiti Tel: (509) 558-0560 / 222-1867 / 249-4005 / 245-8655 (Alt.) Tel: (509) 245-8550 (Home) Tel/Fax: (509) 245-1371 / 245-1008 Jrobert@haitiworld.com focusvideo@yahoo.com HondurasMaria Gabriela Pineda de Arias Biloga Departamento de Investigacin y Tecnologa DIGEPESCA Apartado 4652 Tegucigalpa, Honduras Tel/Fax: (504) 232-4054 Tel: Central Office DIGEPESCA (504) 232-8600 Email: noneJamaicaAndrea Donaldson Director Wildlife Unit Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) 10 Caledonia Avenue Kingston 5, Jamaica Tel: (876) 754-7550 / 754-7570 Fax: (876) 754-7595 NRCA@infochan.com Fmcdonald@agcdot.org MexicoDr. Ren Marquez M. Coordinador Nacional Programa de Investig. y Manejo de Tortugas Marinas SEMARNAP / INP Playa Ventanas s/n. A.P. 591, Manzanillo Colima 28200 Repblica de Mxico Tel: (52) (333) 23 750 Fax: (52) (333) 23 751 rmarquez@bay .net.mx MontserratJohn Jeffers Fisheries Assistant Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Environment P. O. Box 272 Grove Botanic Station Montserrat Tel: (664) 491-2075 / -2546 Fax: (664) 491-9275 minifish@candw .ag Netherlands AntillesPaul Hoetjes Policy Advisor Nature and Environment Section Department of Health and Environmental Hygiene Government of Netherlands Antilles Heelsumstraat z/n, Curaao

PAGE 171

Netherlands Antilles Tel: (599-9) 465-5300 Fax: (599-9) 461-2154 paul@mina.vomil.an NicaraguaSandra Varinia Tijerino Meja Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Km. 12 1/2 Carretera Norte Apartado Postal 5123 Managua, Nicaragua Tel: (505) 233-1173 / 263-1271 / -1273 Fax: (505) 263-2595 / -1274 mins-mar@adnnic.org.ni PanamaNot presentSt. Kitts & NevisRalph Wilkins Fisheries Officer Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, and Housing Government Headquarters P. O. Box 186 Basseterre, St. Kitts Tel: (869) 465-2521 Fax: (869) 465-2635 fmusk@caribsurf .com St. LuciaSarah George Fisheries Biologist Min. Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Environment P. O. Box 709, Castries Waterfront St. Lucia Tel: (758) 468-4145 Fax: (758) 542-3853 DeptF ish@slumaffe.org Dr. Marie-Louise Felix Fisheries Biologist Min. Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry and Environment P. O. Box 709, Castries Waterfront St. Lucia Tel: (758) 468-4145 Fax: (758) 542-3853 DeptF ish@slumaffe.org St. Vincent & The GrenadinesRaymond Ryan Fisheries Officer Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Labour Richmond Hill Kingstown, St. Vincent St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tel: (784) 456-2738 Fax: (784) 457-2121 F ishDiv@caribsurf .com SurinameHarrold Sijlbing Director STINASU P. O. Box 12252 Paramaribo, Suriname Tel: (597) 47 6597 / 42 7102 / 42 7101 Fax: (597) 42 1850 / 42 2555 (alt.) stinasu@sr .net Trinidad & TobagoStephen Poon Wildlife Section Min. Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources Farm Road, St. Joseph, Trinidad Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 662-5114 Fax: (868) 645-1203 W ildlife@trinidad.net Turks & Caicos IslandsNot PresentUnited States of America (Puerto Rico, USA, US Virgin Islands)Earl Possardt International Sea Turtle Specialist U.S Fish and Wildlife Service University of West Georgia Department of Biology Carrollton, Georgia 30118-6300 USA Tel: (770) 214-9293 Fax: (770) 836-6633 Earl_P ossardt@hot.fws.gov VenezuelaBegoa Mora Celis Biloga Direccion de Fauna Ministro del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales Renovables (MARNR)152 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme

PAGE 172

153 “Marine Turtle Conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region — A Dialogue for Effective Regional Management” Santo Domingo, 16–18 November 1999 Torre Sur, Piso 26. Centro Simn Bolvar Caracas 1010, Venezuela Tel: (582) 482-6279 / 408-1038 Fax: (582) 484-6045 P rofauna@marnr .gov .ve PresentersDr. F. Alberto Abreu G. Presidente IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Estacin Mazatln Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia Univ. Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (UNAM) A.P. 811, Mazatlan, Sinaloa 82000 Repblica de Mxico Tel: 52 (69) 85-28-45 / -46 / -47 / -48 Fax: 52 (69) 82-61-33 abreu@ola.icmyl.unam.mx Biol. Diego F. Amorocho Asociacin WIDECAST-Colombia Calle 4B #38A-37 A.A. 44060 Cali, Colombia Tel: (572) 557-4265 Fax: (572) 680-6711 widecast@widecast-col.org Nelson Andrade-Colmenares Coordinator Regional Coordinating Unit UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme 14-20 Port Royal Street Kingston, Jamaica Tel: (876) 922-9267 Fax: (876) 922-9292 nac.uneprcuja@cwjamaica.com Lic. Didiher Chacn Chaverri Coordinator Proyecto de Conservacin de las Tortugas Marinas Programa Marino y Humedales Asociacin ANAI Apdo. 170-2070, Sabanilla San Jos, Costa Rica Tel: 506-224-3570 Fax: 506-253-7524 tortugas@sol.racsa.co.cr anaicr@sol.racsa.co.cr Crispin d’Auvergne Sustainable Development, Science and Technology Officer Ministry of Finance and Planning P. O. Box 709 Castries, St. Lucia Tel: (758) 468-4461 Fax: (758) 451-6958 (Alt.) Fax: (758) 452-2506 dcrispin@hotmail.com Dr. Karen L. Eckert Executive Director WIDECAST: Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network 17218 Libertad Drive San Diego, California 92127 USA Tel: (858) 451-6894 Fax: (858) 451-6986 widecast@ix.netcom.com Dr. Nat B. FrazerProfessor and Chairman Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida P. O. Box 110430 Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA Tel: (352) 846-0552 Fax: (352) 392-6984 F razerN@wec.ufl.edu Dr. John (‘Jack’) Frazier Research Associate Conservation Research Center Smithsonian Institution 1500 Remount Road Fort Royal, Virginia 22630 USA Tel: (540) 635-6564 Fax: (540) 635-6551 / -6506 kurma@shentel.net Dr. Julia Horrocks Senior Lecturer Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences University of the West Indies — Cave Hill Campus P. O. Box 64 Bridgetown, Barbados Tel: (246) 417-4320, 422-2087 Fax: (246) 417-4597, 422-0692 horrocks@uwichill.edu.bb Rhema Bjorkland Kerr, M.Sc. Curator Hope Zoological Gardens

PAGE 173

Ministry of Agriculture Kingston 6, Jamaica Tel: (876) 927-1085 Fax: (876) 977-4853 rhemaker@bellsough.net Dr. Cynthia Lagueux Associate Conservation Zoologist Wildlife Conservation Society 185th Street and Southern Boulevard Bronx, New York 10460 USA Correspondence address: Apartado Postal 59 Bluefields, RAAS, Nicaragua Tel/Fax: (505) 822-1410 or 822-2344 clagueux@wcs.org Maria ngela Marcovaldi Presidente Fundao Pr-Tamar Caixa Postal 2219 Salvador-Bahia CEP:40210-970, Brazil Tel: (55 71) 876-1045 / -1020 Fax: (55 71) 876-1067 neca@e-net.com.br Dr. Ren Mrquez M. See “Delegate” (Mxico) Flix Moncada Gaviln, M.Sc. Bilogo Pesquero Programa de Tortugas Marinas Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras Barlovento, Santa F 5ta. y 2248 La Habana, Cuba Tel/Fax: (537) 24 5895 cubacip@ceniai.inf .cu Barbara Schroeder National Sea Turtle Coordinator NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources F/PR3 (Rm 13657) 1315 East West Hwy Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 USA Tel: (301) 713-1401 Fax: (301) 713-0376 Barbara.Schroeder@noaa.gov Dr. Jeffrey Sybesma Faculty of Law University of the Netherlands Antilles Jan Noorduynweg 111 P. O. Box 3059, Curaao Netherlands Antilles Tel: (599-9) 868-4422 ext. 231 Fax: (599-9) 869-1765 j.sybesma@una.net Logistical CoordinatorsYvonne Arias President Grupo Jaragua El Vergel No. 33, El Vergel Santo Domingo Repblica Dominicana Tel: (809) 472-1036, 566-2798 jaragua@tricom.net emys@tricom.net Marydele Donnelly Program Officer IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group 1725 DeSales St. NW #600 Washington, D.C. 20036 USA Tel: (202) 429-5609 ext. 684 Fax: (202) 872-0619 mdonnelly@dccmc.org Miguel Jorge Regional Marine and Freshwater Coordinator Latin America and Caribbean Program World Wildlife Fund 1250 24th Street NW Washington, D.C. 20038 Tel: (202) 778-9624 Fax: (202) 296-5348 Miguel.Jorge@wwfus.org Rapporteur Verna G. Sybesma-Garmes Panoramaweg 19 Curaao Netherlands Antilles Tel: (5999) 4 653-629 jsybesma@curinfo.an 154 Karen L. Eckert and F. Alberto Abreu Grobois, Editors (2001) Sponsored by WIDECAST, IUCN/SSC/MTSG, WWF, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme


  Home | About dLOC | Collections | Governance | Digitization | Outreach | FAQ | Contact  
  Powered by SobekCM
Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement  
© All rights reserved   |   Citing dLOC