Restoration Potential: Pattern of nesting on natal beach may inhibit natural recolonization of breeding sites of decimated populations.
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Local foraging populations may consist of individuals from widely separated nesting populations. For example, mtDNA data indicate that a foraging population of juveniles from Hutchinson Island, Florida, consisted of individuals from Costa Rica, United States and Mexico, and Aves Island (Venezuela and Surinam; another population of juveniles from the Bahamas represented Costa Rica, United States and Mexico, Aves Island and Suriname, and Ascension Island and Guinea Bissau (Bass and Witzell 2000). Thus the success of preserves for foraging juveniles may depend on cooperative international management (Bass and Witzell 2000).
Management Requirements: Frazer (1992) emphasized the primary need for clean and productive marine and coastal environments; installation of turtle excluder devices in shrimp trawl nets and use of low pressure sodium lighting on beaches were suggested as appropriate sea turtle conservation technologies, whereas headstarting, captive breeding, and hatcheries were regarded as ineffective at best. "Head-starting" and broad-scale nest translocation remain unproven as effective management measures (Ehrhart and Witherington 1992). See Bjorndal (1982) for several papers containing management and research recommendations and discussion of conservation issues.
See NMFS (Federal Register, 19 December 1996, pp. 66933-66947) for recent amendments to regulations pertaining to the use of turtle excluder devices along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the southeastern U.S. See NMFS (1993) for recent shrimp trawling regulations for an area off the coast of North Carolina (allow tow-time limits as an interim alternative to the use of turtle excluder devices).
If beach lighting cannot be eliminated, low pressure sodium vapor lights may be the least disruptive to nesting turtles (Witherington 1992).
A recovery plan is available; see Marine Turtle Recovery Team (1984). See also recovery plans for U.S. Pacific and east Pacific populations (NMFS 1998) .
[Move to GPROTNEED: Ehrhart and Witherington (1992) emphasized the need to protect nesting areas in southern Brevard and northern Indian River counties in southeastern Florida.]
Biological Research Needs: Better information is needed on demography, migrations, and developmental requirements.