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Tagging Leatherback Turtles

June 13, 2023

Scientists tag leatherback sea turtles to learn where they are and how they use the water so we can better protect them from bycatch and other threats.

Two white men, one on a small white raft and one on a larger orange boat, lean into the water to hold a leatherback sea turtle.

Scientists in the panhandle of Florida capture leatherback sea turtles and apply satellite tags to them. The tags provide us with location, temperature, and dive depth data. They tell us where leatherbacks are distributed in the Gulf seasonally, how they're using the water column, and it also tells us the amount of time they spend at the surface.


Watch as these researchers pull a leatherback turtle—which can weigh up to 1,000 pounds!—onto the boat. They evaluate its health, take photographs, and tag it before releasing it back into the wild. The information collected by the tags help us protect them from bycatch in commercial fisheries, which is the main threat to their survival globally.

Last updated by Office of Communications on June 13, 2023

Sea Turtle Week