Recovery Plan For Bermuda’s Resident Turtles

December 10, 2014

The Department of Conservation Services has recently completed a management plan, in consultation with scientists and sea turtle specialists, which describes the actions needed to conserve our resident populations of green and hawksbill turtles.

“The principal aim of this plan, entitled Recovery Plan for Bermuda’s Resident Green and Hawksbill Turtles, is to protect the species and their habitats and to contribute to national, regional, and global conservation efforts for marine turtles through knowledge-sharing and participation in international agreements,” a spokesperson said.

“The Plan, which was mandated under section 7 of the 2003 Protected Species Act, discusses the conservation efforts required to meet these goals.

“The greatest perceived threats to turtles are associated with human activities.

“These include:

  • collision with motor boats and jet skis;
  • entanglement in discarded monofilament fishing line;
  • loss of seagrass habitat [green turtles feed on seagrasses] through dredging activities, damage from boat moorings and ecological processes;
  • and incidental catch from fishing activities [both offshore long-lining and local shoreline fishing].

The Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden said: “Bermuda has a long history of progressive legal protection for its sea turtles. Beginning in 1620, the First Bermuda Assembly passed a law prohibiting the taking of young turtles.

“Further laws protecting sea turtles were passed in 1937, 1947, 1963, 1972 and 1978 which placed various restrictions on weight limits, seasonal fishing activities and ultimately imposed a total fishing ban on all sea turtles within Bermuda’s territorial waters.

“In 2012 four species of sea turtles were listed under the Protected Species Act: the green turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead turtle and leatherback turtle. All are present around Bermuda, but only the first two species actually reside here year-round.

“I wish to commend the Department of Conservation Services for their efforts in continuing to protect these beautiful creatures,” added Minister Atherden.

“The Plan makes several recommendations including the undertaking of an accurate assessment of the current population status of both species; increasing education regarding the human threats towards sea turtles and their critical habitats in Bermuda; and increasing the number of international agreements signed by Bermuda pertaining to the regional management and protection of sea turtles,” a spokesperson said.

“The Department of Conservation Services would also like to take this opportunity to encourage members of the public to continue reporting sick, injured and dead sea turtles that are encountered in the environment to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo [BAMZ] at 293-2727. The information that is learned from each incidence helps researchers to determine sources of injury and mortality.

“Additionally, the staff at BAMZ work hard to rehabilitate those turtles that can be released back into the wild.”

The contact names and numbers for animal strandings [marine mammals, turtles, birds] are publically available here.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Micro says:

    Great, now how about a recovery plan for our land creatures and vegetation? And the eradication of invasive and destructive pests like feral cats, chickens and Mexican peppers.

    • Conservationist says:

      Micro many of our terrestrial native and endemic flora and fauna all have recovery plans in place for quite some time now the problem is with a lack of funding majority of these plans get tossed under the rug, the sooner we realize the true significance of our unique species the more bermudians should be behind wanting to conserve them. Sadly the preseravation of the ecosystem has always been a low prioirty on the Governments radar and that is the root problem that needs fixing, with all the intrest on tourism we need to learn how to preserve what we have that no other part of the world has to offer. Numerous species from giant land crabs to diamondback terrapins and skinks have protection in place but little or no emphasise on pushing for captive breeding oppurtunities or simple education about them. I agree also that a large portion of the problem lies in our ferals and invasives not being properly controlled and thus they spill out and affect our native wildlife, from the cats to red earred sliders, rats, chickens and the “beloved” greater kiskadee flycatchers.

  2. NotSuchAMeanGirl says:

    Yawn. Feral cats/chickens hey?! Any excuse to have a go. Leave them alone and let them be. Their lives matter no less than any other creatures, yours included. Go away and learn something positive and worthwhile.

    • Conservationist says:

      I’m afraid you’ve gotten the “all gods creatures” speech, let us be real for a second, majority of the problems stem from man introducing species that are not naturally found here with all of our native and endemics being isolated to small pockets simply because they are being outcompeted for basic necessities THEY require and are entitled to survive. It’s now our jobs to realize the mess we’ve made and clean it up. All life is not equal and we need to learn that some species even if it isn’t their fault they’ve been brought into the world as such, must be removed for the protection and safety of those species that have made this island home long before man even set foot. Wherever man has traveled he has reeked hell upon any species that lay in his path simply because we feel the earth is here for our exploitation, we now know that concept is long outdatted and its about preservation of the gifts mother nature or “God” has given us.

  3. Terry says:

    “Micro”.

    Bawahaaaaaaa
    Free range chicken.
    Beetz Kay Aff Cee………………….anne hitz freee.
    I need a rum…..

  4. Turtle Grass says:

    Has The Recovery Plan been published? If so, is it available online?
    Will there be enforcement of slow speeds in feeding areas? More signs?
    Maybe even areas where they rarely feed be suggested as alternative routes?

  5. Alison says:

    Yes, the recovery plan is available on the Department of Conservation Services website along with many other recovery plans for other fauna and flora.