|Sea turtle fishery management draft ready for review|
|Thursday, 18 August 2011 09:04|
After two years of studying sea turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Amdeep Sanghera has returned from the U.K. to complete work on proposed measures to improve the management of the country’s traditional turtle fishery.
“Many people across the TCI participated in helping to decide these new turtle management measures,” said Sanghera, TCI Turtle Project officer. “So I’m glad to be back to show everyone what we’ve come up with together.”
Following his extensive community discussions last year, Sanghera will be touring the islands to gather local opinion proposed new measures, which were drafted by project partners Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the University of Exeter in the U.K.
The proposed management measures have been designed using the information collected by Sanghera and colleagues during the first two years of the project. They gathered biological data about TCI turtles, social information about the use of turtles and their importance to islanders, and the opinions of fishermen and community members across the TCI on the future management of the TCI turtle fishery.
Currently, the only TCI laws protecting turtles prohibit taking a turtle while it is nesting and catching a turtle that is under 20 inches in diameter.
In the coming weeks, Sanghera will again talk to as many fishermen and other interested parties as possible throughout the islands to record further opinion about the proposed new measures. This information will then be used to fine-tune a final turtle fishery management plan and proposed regulations to be presented by the DECR to the Advisory Council for approval later this year.
The DECR asks that anyone who wants to have input on the proposed measures should call Sanghera at 332-8325 so that he can arrange a meeting.
Sanghera also returns with three new satellite transmitter tags to attach to large green turtles.
During the first two years of the project, Sanghera and colleagues attached satellite tags to two adult green turtles and four adult hawksbill turtles. Suzie, the first green turtle tagged in June 2009, surprised everyone with her 3,700-mile round trip around the Caribbean.
Last year the other tagged green turtle, Shyvonne, migrated 466 miles to her feeding grounds off St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In contrast, the four hawksbills have not left TCI waters since they were tagged in the fall of 2009.
Sanghera hopes to attach the new tags, one of which is sponsored by the Amanyara Resort, to large green turtles captured on the Caicos Banks. The turtles will then be tracked via satellite and online to discover how these animals behave in the dynamic tidal environments found on the banks.
Sanghera’s research is part of an effort going on throughout the U.K.’s overseas territories in an attempt to establish sustainable management of turtle fisheries through a scientifically informed fishery management plan and legislative amendments.
Photo: Amdeep Sanghera
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Links to environmental documents and laws