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Solomon Islands largest hawksbill turtle rookery shows signs of recovery after 150 years of excessive exploitation.

Hamilton RJ, Bird T, Gereniu C, Pita J, Ramohia PC, Walter R, Goerlich C, Limpus C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Our results and the results of others, reveal that many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the ACMCA forage in distant Australian waters, and that nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter.Our results also provide the first known evidence of recovery for a western pacific hawksbill rookery, with the number of nests laid at the ACMCA and the remigration rates of turtles doubling since the establishment of the ACMCA in 1995.The Arnavons case study provides an example of how changes in policy, inclusive community-based management and long term commitment can turn the tide for one of the most charismatic and endangered species on our planet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: The Nature Conservancy, Asia Pacific Division, 245 Riverside Drive, West End, Brisbane, QLD, 4101, Australia; ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australia.

ABSTRACT
The largest rookery for hawksbill turtles in the oceanic South Pacific is the Arnavon Islands, which are located in the Manning Strait between Isabel and Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. The history of this rookery is one of overexploitation, conflict and violence. Throughout the 1800s Roviana headhunters from New Georgia repeatedly raided the Manning Strait to collect hawksbill shell which they traded with European whalers. By the 1970s the Arnavons hawksbill population was in severe decline and the national government intervened, declaring the Arnavons a sanctuary in 1976. But this government led initiative was short lived, with traditional owners burning down the government infrastructure and resuming intensive harvesting in 1982. In 1991 routine beach monitoring and turtle tagging commenced at the Arnavons along with extensive community consultations regarding the islands' future, and in 1995 the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA) was established. Around the same time national legislation banning the sale of all turtle products was passed. This paper represents the first analysis of data from 4536 beach surveys and 845 individual turtle tagging histories obtained from the Arnavons between 1991-2012. Our results and the results of others, reveal that many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the ACMCA forage in distant Australian waters, and that nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter. Our results also provide the first known evidence of recovery for a western pacific hawksbill rookery, with the number of nests laid at the ACMCA and the remigration rates of turtles doubling since the establishment of the ACMCA in 1995. The Arnavons case study provides an example of how changes in policy, inclusive community-based management and long term commitment can turn the tide for one of the most charismatic and endangered species on our planet.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Migrations of adult female hawksbill turtles to and from Kerehikapa beach, Arnavon Islands.Data are derived from three flipper tag recoveries (---); (A2436, [26]), (X03, Vaughan and Spring [25]) and this study (K11060). The migrations of two female turtles that were fitted with telemetry tags (——) on Kerehikapa beach in July 2001 (R22009) and August 2001 (R22011) are also shown.
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pone.0121435.g002: Migrations of adult female hawksbill turtles to and from Kerehikapa beach, Arnavon Islands.Data are derived from three flipper tag recoveries (---); (A2436, [26]), (X03, Vaughan and Spring [25]) and this study (K11060). The migrations of two female turtles that were fitted with telemetry tags (——) on Kerehikapa beach in July 2001 (R22009) and August 2001 (R22011) are also shown.

Mentions: The movements of five female hawksbills between their foraging grounds and the Kerehikapa nesting beach are shown in Fig. 2. The earliest record was an adult female that was tagged at Kerehikapa in December 1976 (Tag number: X03) and killed on its foraging grounds at Fisherman’s Island, Central Province, Papua New Guinea in February 1979 [25]. The second record was a female (Tag number: A2436) that was first tagged on its foraging grounds at Sakeman Reef, Torres Strait in March 1979, and was observed laying at Kerehikapa in February 1980 [26]. The third record was a female turtle (Tag number: K11060) that was captured six times between 1998 and 2011. The female was first captured as an immature foraging female on Coombe Reef, northern GBR in 1998 and 1999, and in 2005 and 2008 as a foraging adult [27]. She was also recorded nesting on Kerehikapa in June 2004 and May 2011. Also shown is information from two nesting female turtles that were deployed with satellite transmitters in July and August 2001 [13]. The first of these turtles (Tag number: R22009) was tagged at Kerehikapa in July 2001, and by mid-September 2001 it had travelled back to its foraging grounds at Tagula Island in eastern Papua New Guinea. The second turtle (Tag number: R22011) was tagged in August 2001, and by late October 2001 it had travelled back to its foraging grounds in the southern end of the GBR of Australia. The minimum linear distances travelled by these five turtles ranged from 800–1650 kilometres.


Solomon Islands largest hawksbill turtle rookery shows signs of recovery after 150 years of excessive exploitation.

Hamilton RJ, Bird T, Gereniu C, Pita J, Ramohia PC, Walter R, Goerlich C, Limpus C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Migrations of adult female hawksbill turtles to and from Kerehikapa beach, Arnavon Islands.Data are derived from three flipper tag recoveries (---); (A2436, [26]), (X03, Vaughan and Spring [25]) and this study (K11060). The migrations of two female turtles that were fitted with telemetry tags (——) on Kerehikapa beach in July 2001 (R22009) and August 2001 (R22011) are also shown.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4390367&req=5

pone.0121435.g002: Migrations of adult female hawksbill turtles to and from Kerehikapa beach, Arnavon Islands.Data are derived from three flipper tag recoveries (---); (A2436, [26]), (X03, Vaughan and Spring [25]) and this study (K11060). The migrations of two female turtles that were fitted with telemetry tags (——) on Kerehikapa beach in July 2001 (R22009) and August 2001 (R22011) are also shown.
Mentions: The movements of five female hawksbills between their foraging grounds and the Kerehikapa nesting beach are shown in Fig. 2. The earliest record was an adult female that was tagged at Kerehikapa in December 1976 (Tag number: X03) and killed on its foraging grounds at Fisherman’s Island, Central Province, Papua New Guinea in February 1979 [25]. The second record was a female (Tag number: A2436) that was first tagged on its foraging grounds at Sakeman Reef, Torres Strait in March 1979, and was observed laying at Kerehikapa in February 1980 [26]. The third record was a female turtle (Tag number: K11060) that was captured six times between 1998 and 2011. The female was first captured as an immature foraging female on Coombe Reef, northern GBR in 1998 and 1999, and in 2005 and 2008 as a foraging adult [27]. She was also recorded nesting on Kerehikapa in June 2004 and May 2011. Also shown is information from two nesting female turtles that were deployed with satellite transmitters in July and August 2001 [13]. The first of these turtles (Tag number: R22009) was tagged at Kerehikapa in July 2001, and by mid-September 2001 it had travelled back to its foraging grounds at Tagula Island in eastern Papua New Guinea. The second turtle (Tag number: R22011) was tagged in August 2001, and by late October 2001 it had travelled back to its foraging grounds in the southern end of the GBR of Australia. The minimum linear distances travelled by these five turtles ranged from 800–1650 kilometres.

Bottom Line: Our results and the results of others, reveal that many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the ACMCA forage in distant Australian waters, and that nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter.Our results also provide the first known evidence of recovery for a western pacific hawksbill rookery, with the number of nests laid at the ACMCA and the remigration rates of turtles doubling since the establishment of the ACMCA in 1995.The Arnavons case study provides an example of how changes in policy, inclusive community-based management and long term commitment can turn the tide for one of the most charismatic and endangered species on our planet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: The Nature Conservancy, Asia Pacific Division, 245 Riverside Drive, West End, Brisbane, QLD, 4101, Australia; ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australia.

ABSTRACT
The largest rookery for hawksbill turtles in the oceanic South Pacific is the Arnavon Islands, which are located in the Manning Strait between Isabel and Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands. The history of this rookery is one of overexploitation, conflict and violence. Throughout the 1800s Roviana headhunters from New Georgia repeatedly raided the Manning Strait to collect hawksbill shell which they traded with European whalers. By the 1970s the Arnavons hawksbill population was in severe decline and the national government intervened, declaring the Arnavons a sanctuary in 1976. But this government led initiative was short lived, with traditional owners burning down the government infrastructure and resuming intensive harvesting in 1982. In 1991 routine beach monitoring and turtle tagging commenced at the Arnavons along with extensive community consultations regarding the islands' future, and in 1995 the Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA) was established. Around the same time national legislation banning the sale of all turtle products was passed. This paper represents the first analysis of data from 4536 beach surveys and 845 individual turtle tagging histories obtained from the Arnavons between 1991-2012. Our results and the results of others, reveal that many of the hawksbill turtles that nest at the ACMCA forage in distant Australian waters, and that nesting on the Arnavons occurs throughout the year with peak nesting activity coinciding with the austral winter. Our results also provide the first known evidence of recovery for a western pacific hawksbill rookery, with the number of nests laid at the ACMCA and the remigration rates of turtles doubling since the establishment of the ACMCA in 1995. The Arnavons case study provides an example of how changes in policy, inclusive community-based management and long term commitment can turn the tide for one of the most charismatic and endangered species on our planet.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus