Green turtles find refuge in Marine Protected Areas

26 September 2012

A study published in the scientific journal Global Ecology and Biogeography looked at the movements of green turtle populations which had been tracked by satellite. They found that 35 per cent of them spend most of their time in shallow seas protected by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The international scientific team conducted a global study of 145 green turtles tagged with satellite tags, and mapped their movements from their nesting beaches to their foraging areas.

The study showed that turtles aggregate in designated MPAs far more than would be expected by chance when considered globally: 35% of all turtles were located within MPAs! With a maximum of 67% in the Atlantic. Furthermore, it showed that the larger and longer-established the protected areas are, the more turtles they support. This finding highlights the importance of large and well-established reserves.

These findings constitute compelling evidence of the world-wide effectiveness of extant MPAs for large marine vertebrates.