Movement patterns of loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta in Cuban waters inferred from flipper tag recaptures
FEDERICO ALBERTO ABREU GROBOIS
ARTURO FABIAN EDUARDO MUHLIA MELO
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" Understanding the spatial movements of threatened marine species, such as sea turtles, is essential as a means of informing appropriate conservation management. Although novel techniques for tracking spatial movements are becoming more widely available (such as satellite tracking), simple techniques such as mark-release-recapture remain effective. A flipper tagging and recovery program in Cuba tagged 210 loggerhead turtles over 14 yr and recovered 7% of the tags between 2 d and 3 yr later (mean = 296 d). All but one turtle was recaptured in Cuban waters, and data showed limited movement of turtles between northern and southern coasts. A further 50 turtles were recovered that had been tagged in foreign projects, the majority of which were from the USA (but also Mexico, The Bahamas, Canary Islands and Spain). A range of life stages of loggerhead turtles are found in Cuban waters year-round, and given that Cuba has the second largest reef in the Caribbean, it likely provides foraging habitat for significant numbers of loggerhead turtles from at least 6 different countries."