Marine Turtle Stock Identification & Fisheries Bycatch Assignment
Assigning Stock Identification
The MTGP provides science support to NOAA-Fisheries and RFMO partners engaged in fisheries bycatch assessment, management, and sea turtle recovery. We analyze samples collected by fisheries observers from all species of incidentally caught sea turtles in order to determine nesting population origin. We also conduct analysis to determine the origin of sea turtle strandings, juveniles and adults at sea, and stock composition of foraging populations. This information is used to help delineate stock boundaries in the marine environment, and entails identifying the genetic makeup of key nesting sites using mtDNA and nDNA markers and determining where turtles in foraging areas originate. The ability to identify stock origin requires baseline information on stock structure for each species, and genetic tools to identify the defined stock.