Marine turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands: Remnant rookeries, regionally significant foraging stocks, and a major turtle fishery

Peter B. Richardson, Michael W. Bruford, Marta C. Calosso, Lisa M. Campbell, Wesley Clerveaux, Angela Formia, Brendan J. Godley, Aaron C. Henderson, Kate McClellan, Steven Newman, Kristene Parsons, Martin Pepper, Susan Ranger, Jennifer J. Silver, Lorna Slade, Annette C. Broderick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This study reviews the status of marine turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) using data gathered during a multidisciplinary study involving field surveys, questionnaire-based interviews, and molecular genetics between 2002 and 2006. Large aggregations of foraging turtles in the archipelago's waters are dominated by juvenile green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), with provisional mixed-stock analysis of these species suggesting that the aggregations originate predominantly from larger and relatively proximate source rookeries in the Wider Caribbean region. This study also suggests that the islands host remnant nesting populations of turtles, with hawksbill turtle nests recorded more frequently than green and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nests. The TCI islanders retain a culture of turtle use, with the current regulated and legitimate harvest likely to be one of the largest among the Caribbean Islands. This study suggests that historic and current harvest of turtles and their eggs in the TCI may have contributed to the apparent decline in the country's nesting populations. In order to address this conservation concern, changes to the regulation and management of the TCI's turtle fishery are necessary, but further research is needed to inform these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-204
Number of pages13
JournalChelonian Conservation and Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Caribbean
  • Chelonia mydas
  • Cheloniidae
  • Conservation
  • Eretmochelys imbricata
  • Green turtle
  • Harvest
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Reptilia
  • Sea turtle
  • Status
  • Testudines
  • Use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Marine turtles in the Turks and Caicos Islands: Remnant rookeries, regionally significant foraging stocks, and a major turtle fishery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this