Friday, 30 January 2009 10:10 AM

Turtle Tag Recoveries Go Online

Press Release - For the first time, tagged turtles recovered throughout the Pacific can be reported quickly and easily to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) using a simple online form.

Anyone now finding a SPREP-tagged turtle can transmit information on the recovery using a form available at http://www.sprep.org/turtles/topics/tagging.htm.

The online form allows for more convenient transmittal of tag recovery data by those finding the tags and for more accurate and immediate incorporation of this data in the Turtle Research and Monitoring Database System (TREDS) maintained by SPREP.

Those without Internet access will still be able to transmit this information by mail to the address listed on the back of the tags.

Tagging is an important tool to learn more about the behaviour and distribution of marine turtles in the region, according to Anne Trevor, SPREP's Associate Turtle Database Officer.

"The whole purpose of the tagging program is to allow us to monitor their movements and to find out how many turtle species are nesting or foraging in certain areas. Turtles are highly-migratory species that in most cases do not stay within the boundaries of any single country or territory. In turn we can use the information from the taggings to formulate agreements at the regional level to conserve important turtle sites in the Pacific region," Trevor explained.

Since the programme began in 1991, more than 7,000 turtles have been tagged and nearly 500 recovered.

The TREDS system includes data on strandings, taggings, nestings, emergence and beach surveys as well as other biological data on turtles.

TREDS was developed through a collaborative effort by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, NOAA Fisheries, Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency, South-East Asia Fisheries Development Centre and the Marine Research Foundation.

The rollout of the online recovery reporting is just one of a number of SPREP activities in preparation for the 29th Symposium on Sea Turtle Conservation to be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 17-19 February 2009.

More information on SPREP's marine species programme and its turtle tagging and tracking activities is available online at http://www.sprep.org/topic/marine.htm.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province