Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Satellite tagged green turtles reveal shortcomings in marine protection areas

Unique research by scientists from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, has been using satellite tracking to monitor tagged green turtles in the Indian Ocean.

The findings indicate that even the largest Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) – some covering hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of sea – may need to be buttressed with smaller networks of protected areas.

It has been discovered that the turtles travel much further from their breeding grounds than previously suspected to forage for food.

The international team from Deakin, Swansea University in Wales and the Seychelles located green turtles nesting ashore at night and fitted them with satellite tags.

They then used satellites to monitor their movements in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, one of the largest protected marine parks in the world, covering 640,000 sq km, and renowned for its pristine coral reefs and schools of endangered species.

“Over the last few years, governments around the world have declared some massive marine parks, typically around ocean islands,” said Prof Graeme Hays, Deakin Chair of Marine Science. “How well these protect marine life has been heavily debated.”


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