Monday, 9 February 2009 6:06 AM

Sea Turtle Reseach Database for the Pacific to be Released

Press Release- A seven-year effort to develop a Pacific region database on sea turtle research will culminate with the launch of the Turtle Research Database System (TREDS), 5:30 to 6:00 pm, Feb. 17, 2009, at the 29th Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia.

TREDS collates and standardizes marine turtle data and is critical to understanding population trends throughout the Pacific. The launch event will include a briefing, demonstration and question-and-answer opportunity. CD copies of the database system will be distributed.

Over the last few decades, various institutions throughout the Asia-Pacific and the Pacific Islands region have been tagging turtles and collecting a variety of data. While these efforts generated large volumes of information, there was little overall coordination of the work. In 2002, based on recommendations from participants who attended the Western Pacific Sea Turtle Cooperative Research and Management Workshop, the Hawaii-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council began coordinating and supporting the development of TREDs.

The central database for the Pacific Islands region will be housed at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa, and plans are underway for a second central database to be managed by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (SEAFDEC MFRDMD) in Malaysia. Together these agencies will manage and consolidate turtle research data for their 31 member countries in the Pacific Ocean.

TREDS can store tag information (flipper, PIT and satellite), nesting beach and foraging ground data, clutch and hatchling information, and biological sampling (such as genetic data). It can systematically inventory tags used per project, generate project-specific and/or site-specific summary reports, and help standardize data collection protocol.

TREDS is a joint initiative of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, SPREP, SEAFDEC, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Marine Fisheries Service-Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center and the Marine Research Foundation in Malaysia.

For more information, contact Asuka Ishizaki at asuka.ishizaki@noaa.gov, Anne Trevor at annet@sprep.org or Milani Chaloupka at m.chaloupka@uq.edu.au.