Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SCDNR Sea Turtle Trawl Experience

SCDNR's Mike Arendt with a loggerhead sea turtle

A Florida Fighting Conch came aboard as bycatch

Devil Fish, also known as Manta Ray

Kemp's Ridleys turtles are not as large as loggerheads
Accepting an offer from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, I went on a two-day cruise aboard the 75-foot trawler Lady Lisa as an embedded journalist. Departing the docks at Fort Johnson on Monday July 2 at 6 a.m. - the crew of ten headed to sea. Using large-mesh shrimp nets that did not utilize Turtle Excluder Devices (TED's) the mission of the turtle survey is to catch sea turtles, submit them to a brief physical exam, and then return them to the Atlantic Ocean. Each turtle is tagged three places, one tag each on each front flipper, and one tag equivalent to a microchip. All of the SCDNR actions are permitted by the National Marine Fisheries office, and the data they are collecting is supplied to many other researchers, all focused on conservation of sea turtles. When a loggerhead sea turtle came aboard during the first trawl on July 2nd, it became evident how fortunate I was to be right beside this ancient species of turtle that lives right in our coastal waters. We cruised south on day one and ended up dropping anchor right off of Edisto Island, catching a second loggerhead that afternoon.  Tuesday July 3 got off to a great start when a Kemp's Ridleys turtle was hauled aboard, and again I found myself in the presence of a long-distance swimmer that had likely traveled from the Gulf of Mexico. SCNDR's sea turtle biologist Mike Arendt explained to me about the work his team is completing and we made a brief video about their examination of one of the loggerhead turtles.

To view past blog entries about sea turtles click here.

1 comment:

  1. I guys,

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    a comprehensive catalogue of marine species to sea lovers.


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