Little Loggerheads at Sea

Richard Farman, Director of Aquaium des Lagons, holds a satellite-tagged loggerhead turtle prior to release.

Richard Farman, Director of Aquarium des Lagons, holds a satellite-tagged loggerhead turtle prior to release.

46 satellite-tagged, juvenile  loggerhead turtles were released, one-by-one, from the container ship Matisse, about 195 miles out of Noumea, New Caledonia on the way to Sydney.

46 satellite-tagged, juvenile loggerhead turtles were released, one-by-one, from the container ship Matisse, about 195 miles out of Noumea, New Caledonia on the way to Sydney.

Satellite-tags on forty-four juvenile loggerhead turtles continue to transmit locations 51 days after the turtles were released on the high seas, 195 miles off New Caledonia. Denise Parker of the Marine Turtle Research Program (PIFSC MTRP) updated the maps from the turtles’ tracks; all are heading south and have spread out into the Tasmanian Sea.

Forty-six loggerheads were originally released on September 22, 2012 from the 300 meter container vessel, Matisse. Richard Farman (Director of Aquarium des Lagons) and George Balazs (MTRP) accompanied the turtles at the invitation of the CMA CGM shipping company. The pelagic ocean deployment of these captive-reared turtles represents the culmination of three years of international partnership planning and collaborative work involving PIFSC Ecosystems and Oceanography Division (EOD), PIFSC Protected Species Division (PSD)/ MTRP, Aquarium des Lagons, the Hawaii Preparatory Academy, and Pacific Islands Regional Office’s (PIRO) International Fisheries Division. Tracking the movements of southern stock loggerheads is providing vital science-based information to evaluate and potentially mitigate loggerhead interactions with high-seas fisheries of the South Pacific.

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