The Marine Turtle Conservation Project was launched by EWS-WWF in April 2010 to pinpoint the migration patterns and locate feeding grounds in the Gulf of the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) using satellite tracking technology.
Hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Harvesting eggs at nesting beaches, loss of adequate nesting habitats, incidental mortality due to marine fisheries and degradation of marine habitats all contribute to the massive decline in marine turtle populations around the world. In addition there is little data on marine turtles in the waters surrounding the Arabian Peninsula, and even less is known about their migration patterns and foraging grounds.
Satellite transmitters are fitted to the top of the turtle’s shell in a painless process and secured using a combination of fibreglass and resin. The transmitter sends a signal when the turtle surfaces to breathe giving the EWS-WWF conservation team the location of that turtle on a map.
Spanning three-years, it is hoped that the outcome of this project will lead to conservation policies and plans to manage areas essential for the turtles’ survival.
The project aims to raise awareness of the needs of these animals at regional levels, identify their foraging grounds and share tracking data with relevant authorities to contribute to the development of a regional marine turtle conservation plan. In the first year, 20 turtles were tagged, a further 24 turtles were tagged in the second year and 31 this year bringing the total number to 75. The EWS-WWF conservation team has worked with partners in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Iran as part of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project.
Marine Research Foundation based in Malaysia is the scientific advisor to the Marine Turtle Conservation Programme. EWS-WWF also works with government authorities, as well as environmental and research organisations in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Iran. These partners are integral to the success of the project.
Project 12253443 location - United Arab Emirates, Asia