Bahamas Sea Turtle Network cONSERVATION CORNER BY CEI The Bahamas Sea Turtle Network was established in 2016 as a collaborative effort to educate and provide a vehicle for reporting nesting,illegal poaching,tags,and fibropapilloma in sea turtles in the Bahamas. Partners include the Bahamas Department for Marine Resources, the Bahamas National Trust, B.R.E.E.F, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research in Florida, Family Island Research and Education and the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Sea turtles are a vital part of the ecology of the Bahamas and also a star attraction for tourists who come to the Bahamas to dive and snorkel and enjoy the beautiful marine environment. Due to dramatic population declines around the world, the government of the Bahamas passed a law in 2009 that prohibits the harvest of any sea turtle in the Bahamas. The research at the Cape Eleuthera In-
stitute is aimed at better understanding the populations of sea turtles around Eleuthera, including their habitat needs and longer term population trends. It is too early to know how the 2009 ban is affecting sea turtle numbers in the Bahamas and since turtles are long lived animals (they take 30-50 years to mature and reproduce!) conservation measures take a long time to take effect. We do know that the turtles we see in our waters are from countries throughout the Atlantic and that protecting turtles here is valuable for many western Atlantic sea turtle populations. Aside from illegal harvest, habitat destruction, marine debris and disease (e.g. the fibropapilloma virus) are affecting sea turtle populations. If you have any information to provide or questions to ask please get in touch! Follow the Bahamas Sea Turtle Network and Cape Eleuthera Institute on Facebook!
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