“Regional Collaboration” are two words that tip the balance in an effort to conserve and protect sea turtles. On March 7, the Fiji waters received a visiting green turtle from a small atoll island of Marlon Brando near Tahiti. What was special about this particular turtle was the little box attached to its back as it transmitted signals to a remote satellite that was tracking its movement.
As the latest map suggests the International Ambassador, “Vaharinii Myssy” was in the vicinity of the of the Yasaga cluster of islands near Ogea Levu and she appears to be swimming deeper into Fiji territory. Following Vaharinii’s tagging, two more adult green turtles were satellite tagged and also show signs of heading to the West of Tahiti and on its way to Fiji waters.
This migration pattern supports the idea that Fiji is an important feeding and foraging ground for sea turtles. It also reinforces the need and the importance of regional partnerships.
According to the Senior Scientist from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr George Balaz, “These trackings, in near real-time, can be excellent for opening up meaningful discussions between conservationists, researchers, and others in French Polynesia and areas to the west.”
“Areas to the west are known (from past satellite taggings, and from flipper taggings) to live the greater portions of their time in foraging pastures. The turtles are vulnerable to over-harvesting hunting in both regions- while nesting and foraging.”
“So proper care is needed in both places to ensure sustainability and prevent population decline.”