In-water Sea Turtle Monitoring and Research in Florida: Review and Recommendations
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-38
This work provides an overview of historical and current research and monitoring projects investigating the occurrence, distribution, abundance, and representation of life stages of sea turtles in Florida waters. This report provides a framework for a cooperative network from which regional-population estimates could be produced. Because sea turtles in the water are difficult to count, status and trends assessments have considered the in-water abundance and distribution of sea turtles only in a rudimentary way. In contrast, counts of sea turtle nests on Florida beaches have provided detailed measures of abundance and distribution for reproductively active females. The need for assessing populations of both immature and mature sea turtles in the water to complement nesting beach-based assessments has been widely recognized (Magnuson et al., 1990; National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1991a, 1991b, 1992; Turtle Expert Working Group, 1998, 2000; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, 1992).