Sea Turtles Being ‘Temporarily Relocated’

May 7, 2017 | 38 Comments

[Updated] In “anticipation of intense boating activity in the Great Sound,” the America’s Cup Bermuda is “coordinating a temporary sea turtle relocation project,” in which “sea turtles will be netted based on methods used successfully for turtle tagging operations and temporarily relocated inside a purpose-built ocean enclosure” near the Aquarium in Flatts.

The statement from the Government said, “In anticipation of intense boating activity in the Great Sound in late May and June 2017, America’s Cup Bermuda [ACBDA], in consultation with the Ministry of the Environment and relevant environmental organisations, is coordinating a temporary sea turtle relocation project.

“The aim of the temporary relocation is to significantly reduce the risk of harm to sea turtles due to the increased volume of marine traffic in the Great Sound over the coming weeks.

Sea Turtles Being ‘Temporarily Relocated’ Bermuda May 8 2017

“Sea turtles will be netted based on methods used successfully for turtle tagging operations and temporarily relocated inside a purpose-built ocean enclosure near the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo [BAMZ] in Flatts. The area was chosen for its favourable location, depth of seawater, low impact on other species and proximity to expertise in animal husbandry.

“BAMZ will be responsible for caring for the turtles and will follow guidelines for holding sea turtles in captivity. Collection is beginning now in order to minimise the time in captivity. By July the turtles will be back in the same area where they were originally collected.

“ACBDA has worked closely with the Ministry of the Environment, BAMZ and a variety of experts with years of experience in the field in order to facilitate this project.”

Mike Winfield, CEO of the ACBDA said “There will be a vastly increased level of marine traffic in the Great Sound in late May and June. We turned to Bermuda Environmental Consulting, our Environmental advisors, and they have coordinated a multi-agency group bringing in the needed expertise from the Government of Bermuda’s Environmental team for all aspects of this operation.

“We began and continue with the objective of capturing the turtles safely, looking after them during the enhanced traffic volume period and then returning them to their habitats.”

Dr. Ian Walker, Principal Curator of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo said “The ACBDA came to the scientific community expressing concern about the level of marine traffic in the Great Sound in May and June and asking for assistance in minimizing the risks this could present to marine wildlife.

“Working with local sea turtle experts, the team collectively developed a plan to capture and relocate these animals in late May and June which is expected to reduce the risk to animals while keeping them in a safe and humane manner.

“BAMZ is experienced in caring for sea turtles for long periods both for exhibits and for rehabilitation and we are committed to providing the best care possible for them before returning them back to their natural habitat at the conclusion of the event.”

The Ministry added, “Local boaters will be aware that the numbers of turtles in Bermuda’s near shore waters have increased significantly over the past couple of years. In part this is thanks to successful turtle conservation efforts both locally by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, BAMZ and the Bermuda Zoological Society and others throughout the Greater Caribbean region.

“The boating public is encouraged to assist in the conservation of sea turtles by travelling at slower speeds and strictly observing no wake zones, being on the watch for turtles and encouraging other boaters to also be on the lookout for turtles. If you find an injured or deceased sea turtle call the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre on 297 1010 or VHF Channels 16 or 27.”

Update: Photos of the enclosure:

Turtle Enclosure Bermuda, May 2017-002

Turtle Enclosure Bermuda, May 2017-001

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Comments (38)

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  1. sage says:

    Turtles going lock-up. How many have they struck during practice?

    • VJ says:

      I would venture that they’ve struck one or two. Perhaps that’s what brought the issue to their attention??

      • sage says:

        Well since pointing out the obvious or revealing the truth is considered “being negative” by most lemmings nowadays I suppose no one will ask them and we will never know.

    • Onion says:

      Their practice areas are in deep water where there are no turtles. Turtles hang out in the shallows.

      • James says:

        Nonsense I have always seen turtles in the sound. Maybe you are not in a boat often enough!

        • Onion says:

          I’m routinely out in the sound sailing for hours at a time.

          Most people never go to where the AC boats sail because it’s outside of any normal travel route.

          • Triangle Drifter says:

            WHAAAAA???

          • ABM says:

            What are you talking about??? I’m in the water week in and week out and can factually tell you that the turtles are everywhere!! just as the article tells you, the turtles are being captured and relocated for safety reasons. If what you said is true then they would not be doing this. Please, stop lying so openly.

      • Kathy says:

        Not true at all!

      • Spit Bouy says:

        @ Onion,

        Really?? Lol. Do you honestly believe that or are you just trolling??

      • Clarity says:

        Wrong. Lots of turtles in great sound

  2. Cow Polly says:

    Very cool. Thank you Americas Cup Bermuda

  3. Interesting says:

    Even the wild life have to sacrifice for AC! They usually say pay attention to your atmosphere – it tells you more than you want to know!! Save the turtles – I agree but let’s hope none die in relocation!

    • Truth says:

      The motor boats in Bermuda drive irresponsibly and the conservationists know it. AC is so environmentally friendly driven that they are prepared to pay for the extra mile and protect them. Thank you AC for all that you are doing for Bermuda and its environment.

  4. puzzled says:

    After the Turtle has left the grass stable.
    Irony.
    More bull…t from the money side.

  5. bdaboy says:

    “Even the wild life have to sacrifice for AC! ”

    Hyperbole much?
    What did you have to sacrifice?

    • Say Whaat says:

      Tank water, for one. Grand Atlantic housing for those who can’t afford it. Education scholarships, financial assistance (money taken from them to give to AC).

      This list goes on.

      • bdaboy says:

        The government is forcing you to give the AC rain water that you’ve collected?
        Are they giving away condos too?
        Do you seriously think anyone believes your incredible stories?

      • Grizz says:

        @Say What – Well said!! The forgotten sacrifices

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    Good news. As silent & as fast as those cats are, turtles don’t stand much of a chance seeing or hearing them. Now, if only something could be done about the jetskis. Turtles don’t have a hope against them.

    • Comfortably numb says:

      Jet skis do not have propellers and I have yet to hear of any turtles being hit by jet skiers. I have arranged for 5 dead turtles to be taken to the Aquarium for autopsies. Two had strangled on abandoned fishing line, the other three had deep lacerations consistent with being struck by a propeller.

  7. Gray Matter says:

    Jet Skis are turtle killers. Everyone goes like a bat out of hell on them! As far as AC and their use of the waterways where turtle feed, we can ignore it and many will die or we can work hard to protect the turtles and keep as many as possible as safe as possible with people who know how to do that. Thus the choice to protect is the best. I for one am grateful for the efforts.

  8. Hope says:

    I was at the Aquarium this weekend and wondered what the poles in the water were for, now that makes sense.

    How can I volunteer to assist somehow?

  9. Long bay trading says:

    Agreed @Gray Matter. A hugely important and positive preventive act. The protection and safety of our turtles by professionally trained people is a unintended consequence but nonetheless significant output of ACBDA. Thank you.

  10. Comfortably numb says:

    Grey matter and Triangle Drifter, jet skis do not have propellers and I have yet to hear of any turtles being hit by jet skiers.As a jet ski tour guide I have arranged for 5 dead turtles which I have come across to be taken to the Aquarium for autopsies. Two had strangled on abandoned fishing line, the other three had deep lacerations consistent with being struck by a propeller.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      While no-one can dispute your experiences or observations it must be remembered that a vessel doesn’t need to have propellers to kill a turtle .

  11. Spit Bouy says:

    It may seem like nonsense but I think it will be a good thing as it will definitely save turtles from injury and death. Pity more isn’t done like this when we have power boat racing in Ferry Reach a well know turtle area.

    • James says:

      When was the last time you saw a dead turtle down at Ferry Reach that was caused by a racing boat? Hint: not recently

  12. Make a new plan Stan says:

    Wow talk about spin……be honest…….this is all about saving expensive boats from being damaged. Everyone is happy that the AC is concerned about the turtles but I watched a video this weekend of one of those catamarans, traveling at a nice clip, hitting something (the commentator said it may have been a dolphin) and it stopped DEAD.

  13. Just the facts says:

    Will gangsters be rounded up and put in prison because of the AC too?

  14. Keep Bermuda Beautiful says:

    We are very fortunate to have an abundance of environmentalist and marine researchers in Bermuda. Why not contact any one of them, or the Aquarium, the Ministry of the Environment, or the organizers of the Bermuda Turtle Project for answers to your many questions posed in the comment section. Wouldn’t that be more helpful than speculation?

  15. puzzled says:

    The AC will finish.
    The turtles will be set free.

    And we will still be beaching and moaning and Billions in debt.

    Happy 2017.
    Enjoy.

  16. wahoo says:

    Why not institute a 5 knot rule for the Great Sound an hour before and after the races? This would reduce the impending mayhem at least from the spectator fleet as a boat traveling at 5 knots will have a chance of seeing a turtle in time to avoid it. My concern is that turtles swim so taking some out of the race course does not negate more swimming into the area.

  17. Brain Brain says:

    having millions of boats in a tiny island location which is home to endangered sea turtles…..genius way to kill them all off extinct.

    congrats!

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