East Coast Beaches Labeled Critical for Loggerheads
by Jim Waymer
Federal regulators plan to designate more than 700 miles of beach from North Carolina to Mississippi — including most of Brevard Count, Florida’s shoreline, as well as large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico — as “critical habitat” for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.
The rule would have little effect on most beachfront property owners or fishermen, federal officials say.
But in some cases, people who look to build or repair certain seawalls will face additional scrutiny from wildlife officials to ensure the walls do not harm critical loggerhead habitat.
And fishermen worry stricter rules will one day result…
(read more: Florida Today)
photo: Craig Rubadoux/florida today

East Coast Beaches Labeled Critical for Loggerheads

by Jim Waymer

Federal regulators plan to designate more than 700 miles of beach from North Carolina to Mississippi — including most of Brevard Count, Florida’s shoreline, as well as large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico — as “critical habitat” for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.

The rule would have little effect on most beachfront property owners or fishermen, federal officials say.

But in some cases, people who look to build or repair certain seawalls will face additional scrutiny from wildlife officials to ensure the walls do not harm critical loggerhead habitat.

And fishermen worry stricter rules will one day result…

(read more: Florida Today)

photo: Craig Rubadoux/florida today

Free Sea Turtle Posters

from the Sea Turtle Conservancy

The Florida Sea Turtle Life History Posters Project was funded by a grant from the Sea Turtle License Plate Program. This project involved the development and distribution of a life history poster for each of the five species of sea turtles found in Florida. A set of posters is being provided at no cost to Florida sea turtle groups, rehabilitation and educational facilities, schools, environmental centers, libraries, and other groups requesting the materials.

Each poster is 3’ tall by 2’ wide. If you would prefer to print out your own smaller version of the poster, please click here.

Please note: Currently, STC can only provide free shipping for one set of posters per Florida address. If a person at your school, group or center has already requested a set of posters, or if you are outside of the state of Florida, or if you would like more than one set of posters, you will need to pay for postage. You will be contacted via email and asked to provide payment information if postage is required.

Underwater Robots Search for Sea Turtles
Scientists test out a new tool for keeping track of endangered populations of sea turtles: submersible robots withside-scan sonar.
From the deck of a small research boat, Rob Downs, a sonar expert with NOAA’s National Ocean Service, lowered an automated underwater vehicle into the waves. The AUV was bright yellow, about 6 feet long, and shaped like a torpedo. Like the AUV that is currently searching the bottom of the Indian Ocean for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, this one was equipped with side-scan sonar. But its first-of-a-kind mission was to find something much smaller than an airplane. It was searching for sea turtles.
All species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and NOAA Fisheries scientists need to keep tabs on their populations. Larisa Avens, who leads sea turtle research at the NOAA Fisheries lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, is one of them.
“Sea turtles are often surveyed from the air,” Avens said, “but flights can be expensive, and you only see the turtles when they surface to breathe.” Avens and Downs, along with their academic and state agency research partners, hope to help solve that problem using sonar…
(read more: NOAA Fisheries)
photo:  Larisa Avens, a biologist with the NOAA Fisheries lab in Beaufort, NC, with a male loggerhead sea turtle. Photo courtesy of Larisa Avens.

Underwater Robots Search for Sea Turtles

Scientists test out a new tool for keeping track of endangered populations of sea turtles: submersible robots withside-scan sonar.

From the deck of a small research boat, Rob Downs, a sonar expert with NOAA’s National Ocean Service, lowered an automated underwater vehicle into the waves. The AUV was bright yellow, about 6 feet long, and shaped like a torpedo. Like the AUV that is currently searching the bottom of the Indian Ocean for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, this one was equipped with side-scan sonar. But its first-of-a-kind mission was to find something much smaller than an airplane. It was searching for sea turtles.

All species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and NOAA Fisheries scientists need to keep tabs on their populations. Larisa Avens, who leads sea turtle research at the NOAA Fisheries lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, is one of them.

“Sea turtles are often surveyed from the air,” Avens said, “but flights can be expensive, and you only see the turtles when they surface to breathe.” Avens and Downs, along with their academic and state agency research partners, hope to help solve that problem using sonar…

(read more: NOAA Fisheries)

photo:  Larisa Avens, a biologist with the NOAA Fisheries lab in Beaufort, NC, with a male loggerhead sea turtle. Photo courtesy of Larisa Avens.

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
… is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world, with an estimated 800,000 nesting females annually. On Rushikulya Beach in India, an estimated 200,000 turtles nested during a single “arribada ” (mass nesting period). Arribada’s are mass nesting events when females nest in the same place, at the same time. Only ridley species, olive and Kemp’s, nest in this way. (Learn more: NOAA Fisheries)

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

… is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world, with an estimated 800,000 nesting females annually. On Rushikulya Beach in India, an estimated 200,000 turtles nested during a single “arribada ” (mass nesting period). Arribada’s are mass nesting events when females nest in the same place, at the same time. Only ridley species, olive and Kemp’s, nest in this way.

(Learn more: NOAA Fisheries)

Sea turtle nesting is in high gear at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in FL. The nest count is now 3,000+ for loggerheads, 45 for leatherbacks, 10 for greens and 1 for Kemp’s Ridleys. Guided nighttime sea turtle walks now thru July give visitors a chance to get up close and personal with a sea turtle laying eggs. 
Photo: Vince Lamb
(via: USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System)

Sea turtle nesting is in high gear at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in FL. The nest count is now 3,000+ for loggerheads, 45 for leatherbacks, 10 for greens and 1 for Kemp’s Ridleys. Guided nighttime sea turtle walks now thru July give visitors a chance to get up close and personal with a sea turtle laying eggs.

Photo: Vince Lamb

(via: USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System)

Welcome Visitors:  Sea Turtles Stall Seaweed Cleanup on Galveston Island, TX
by Alice Barr
The beaches of Galveston can get pretty packed this time of year, but there’s a different kind of visitor joining the crowds right now: the green sea turtle.
“It’s definitely neat to see them just because they’re such unique, beautiful animals,” said Andy Krauss, a NOAA-affiliate research assistant at Galveston’s NOAA Sea Turtle Facility.
But Krauss says we shouldn’t be seeing them at such a small size and young age, at least not so many.
“This year we have a lot more greens coming in with the sargassum,” said Krauss.
That’s that seaweed you’ve been seeing all over the Galveston shore. It’s a nuisance to folks trying to enjoy the beach, but to the green sea turtle, it’s home…
(read more: KHOU - 11 - Houston)

Welcome Visitors:  Sea Turtles Stall Seaweed Cleanup on Galveston Island, TX

by Alice Barr

The beaches of Galveston can get pretty packed this time of year, but there’s a different kind of visitor joining the crowds right now: the green sea turtle.

“It’s definitely neat to see them just because they’re such unique, beautiful animals,” said Andy Krauss, a NOAA-affiliate research assistant at Galveston’s NOAA Sea Turtle Facility.

But Krauss says we shouldn’t be seeing them at such a small size and young age, at least not so many.

“This year we have a lot more greens coming in with the sargassum,” said Krauss.

That’s that seaweed you’ve been seeing all over the Galveston shore. It’s a nuisance to folks trying to enjoy the beach, but to the green sea turtle, it’s home…

(read more: KHOU - 11 - Houston)

 The first two clutches of Kemp’s ridley eggs found on the Texas coast are due to start hatching any day. The hatchlings will likely be ready for release sometime between June 13 and June 18. Our first public release will be held on one of those mornings IF we are able to accurately predict when they will be ready for release and it is one of those mornings. However, the fewer clutches of eggs hatching at once the more difficult that it is to accurately predict and schedule a release.

We hold about 20-30 public hatchling releases each year. The dates depend on when the eggs hatch and the hatchlings become ready for release. Releases are held at 6:45 am in front of the Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore, on North Padre Island, and are open to the public free-of-charge.
View the Facebook page or call our Hatchling Hotline at (361) 949-7163 for the latest information on releases.
Visit our website at www.nps.gov/pais for the projected release date ranges for hatchlings from the eggs currently held in our incubation facility. The nesting season could continue for another month, so if more nests are found more release dates will be added.
Please Help the Sea Turtle Conservancy
You can now donate to us directly through Facebook. Just visit our Facebook page and click on the little turtle hatchling poking out of his shell. Your donation can help sea turtles in many ways… $10 helps to provide educational posters for two classrooms, $25 helps to provide leatherback turtles with flipper tags, $50 aids in the continuation of anti-poaching patrols in Costa Rica. 
Just click here.
Thanks for your support!

You can now donate to us directly through Facebook. Just visit our Facebook page and click on the little turtle hatchling poking out of his shell. Your donation can help sea turtles in many ways… $10 helps to provide educational posters for two classrooms, $25 helps to provide leatherback turtles with flipper tags, $50 aids in the continuation of anti-poaching patrols in Costa Rica.

Just click here.

Thanks for your support!

Meet the 7 Species of Sea Turtle

There are seven species of sea turtles, which are marine reptiles that need to breathe air to survive. Six of the seven species are found in US waters, and the flatback turtle is only found in the Western Indo-Pacific. Most of their lives are spent at sea, with some species diving to depths of 3000 feet (900 meters). They return to the shore to lay eggs, often making long journeys to go to specific beaches year after year. 
Their wide-reaching movement and the small amount of time they spend on land means that it is hard to measure just how many sea turtles remain, or how many there used to be. (One estimate is that millions of green sea turtles were in the Caribbean at the time of Christopher Columbus.)
Now all six of the species found in US waters are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and those six are also found on the IUCN Red List where their listings range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. They have many human-induced threats including entanglement in fishing gear, marine debris, coastal habitat destruction, poaching of adults and eggs, and climate change…
(read and see more: Smithsonian Ocean Portal)

Meet the 7 Species of Sea Turtle

There are seven species of sea turtles, which are marine reptiles that need to breathe air to survive. Six of the seven species are found in US waters, and the flatback turtle is only found in the Western Indo-Pacific. Most of their lives are spent at sea, with some species diving to depths of 3000 feet (900 meters). They return to the shore to lay eggs, often making long journeys to go to specific beaches year after year. 

Their wide-reaching movement and the small amount of time they spend on land means that it is hard to measure just how many sea turtles remain, or how many there used to be. (One estimate is that millions of green sea turtles were in the Caribbean at the time of Christopher Columbus.)

Now all six of the species found in US waters are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and those six are also found on the IUCN Red List where their listings range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered. They have many human-induced threats including entanglement in fishing gearmarine debris, coastal habitat destruction, poaching of adults and eggs, and climate change

(read and see more: Smithsonian Ocean Portal)

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Going home!

Several loggerhead sea turtles are back home in the Atlantic after being successfully rescued and rehabilitated. One of the lucky loggerheads was actually rescued back in February by FWC officers and sea turtle biologists after a concerned boater reported the injured animal. The boater spotted the turtle floating abnormally in the Intracoastal Waterway in southern Martin County, with its left side substantially more buoyant than the right, preventing it from staying submerged for extended periods.

After a successful rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando, it was time to send the turtle back home. It took several people to carry him to the water at Hobe Sound Beach because he weighed 135 pounds! Loggerheads are among the largest sea turtles, with adults weighing an impressive average of 275 pounds. They are named for their massive, block-like heads and are the most common sea turtle in Florida, which makes them the only species that has a population high enough to be listed as threatened; all other sea turtle species are classified as endangered…

(read more: Florida Wildlife Commission)

______________________________________________

Video of the release:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyNf7Wi9lmQ

February rescue: https://www.facebook.com/MyFWC/posts/10152201846533349

For more on sea turtles, you can visit:
http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/fl-sea-turtles/

How to enjoy sea turtles without harming them
Nesting season has begun in Florida, home to 90 percent of the sea turtle nests in the United States.
by John Platt   
Turtle nesting season has officially begun. Every year around May 1, thousands of sea turtles climb out of the water and onto the beaches of Florida. The massive, endangered animals (including green, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtles) haul themselves away from the water, dig deep into the sand, and lay their eggs. Volunteers will spend the next two months monitoring the nests until the eggs hatch and tens of thousands of newly born turtles emerge and attempt to return to the sea.
 
May 1 also marks the beginning of turtle tourism, as thousands if not millions of people descend on Florida for a rare chance to see these incredible animals, either as they are laying their eggs or as the hatchlings emerge. It’s a great opportunity to see sea turtles, but Florida residents and tourists need to take care not to disturb these creatures, which are protected under state and federal law…

(read more: MNN.com)

photograph: Florida Fish and Wildlife/flickr

How to enjoy sea turtles without harming them

Nesting season has begun in Florida, home to 90 percent of the sea turtle nests in the United States.

by John Platt   

Turtle nesting season has officially begun. Every year around May 1, thousands of sea turtles climb out of the water and onto the beaches of Florida. The massive, endangered animals (including green, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtles) haul themselves away from the water, dig deep into the sand, and lay their eggs. Volunteers will spend the next two months monitoring the nests until the eggs hatch and tens of thousands of newly born turtles emerge and attempt to return to the sea.
 
May 1 also marks the beginning of turtle tourism, as thousands if not millions of people descend on Florida for a rare chance to see these incredible animals, either as they are laying their eggs or as the hatchlings emerge. It’s a great opportunity to see sea turtles, but Florida residents and tourists need to take care not to disturb these creatures, which are protected under state and federal law…
(read more: MNN.com)
photograph: Florida Fish and Wildlife/flickr
Flatback turtle migration routes mapped
by Signe Cane
The migratory paths of the little-studied flatback sea turtle have been mapped by a satellite tracking study
An important migratory corridor for Australia’s only endemic sea turtle has been mapped. More than half of the route travelled by flatback turtles (Natator depressus) is protected by marine protected areas.
The study by a team of international reserachers, published this week in Marine Biology, highlights the value of using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to aid conservation efforts of vulnerable and endangered marine species.

“The flatback and other marine species in the area may be susceptible to accidental mortality, such as through collision with vessels and as fishery bycatch,” says Professor Graeme Hays, an animal movement expert from Deakin University.

Researchers from Deakin University, Swansea University (UK), and Pendoley Environmental consultancy in Western Australia spent seven years tracking turtle migration from their breeding grounds off the coast of Pilbara region in Western Australia…
(read more: Australian Geographic)
photo: Pendoley Environmental

Flatback turtle migration routes mapped

by Signe Cane

The migratory paths of the little-studied flatback sea turtle have been mapped by a satellite tracking study

An important migratory corridor for Australia’s only endemic sea turtle has been mapped. More than half of the route travelled by flatback turtles (Natator depressus) is protected by marine protected areas.

The study by a team of international reserachers, published this week in Marine Biology, highlights the value of using Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to aid conservation efforts of vulnerable and endangered marine species.

The flatback and other marine species in the area may be susceptible to accidental mortality, such as through collision with vessels and as fishery bycatch,” says Professor Graeme Hays, an animal movement expert from Deakin University.

Researchers from Deakin University, Swansea University (UK), and Pendoley Environmental consultancy in Western Australia spent seven years tracking turtle migration from their breeding grounds off the coast of Pilbara region in Western Australia…

(read more: Australian Geographic)

photo: Pendoley Environmental

Lawsuit Could Save Thousands of Sea Turtles

by Amanda Keledjian

On March 1, the sea-turtle nesting season officially began in Florida, with the wondrous appearance of leatherback sea turtles returning to lay their eggs. Later this spring, loggerhead and green sea-turtles will follow suit, flocking to Florida’s beaches in large numbers. The state is an important destination for these marine reptiles; of the seven different sea-turtle species in the world, five call these warm waters home at some point during their migrations. In fact, Florida’s beaches host more nesting turtles than any other state.

Driven by an incredible instinct to return to the same beaches where they themselves were born, these turtles might not know that they are swimming into waters used by shrimp trawlers, one of sea turtles’ most dangerous and deadly obstacles.

Shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. southeast Atlantic kill or injure an estimated 53,000 sea turtles — every year — as the ships tow huge nets the width of football fields slowly through the water, trapping almost everything in their wake.

These nets pose a significant danger to the sea turtles, a vulnerable population. Sadly, all five sea-turtle species are considered threatened or endangered with extinction in the United States. This is why, last month, Oceana and three other groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. federal government, urging it to accurately analyze the impacts of shrimp trawls on sea turtles…

(read more: Live Science)

photos:  Projeto Tamar Brazil/ Marine Photobank and NOAA