Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) dynamic recovery plan
The East Pacific green turtle is listed as Endangered throughout its range. This regionally important population of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas, although see Taxonomy), has exhibited an extreme decline over the last 30 years. This decline was undoubtably caused by the massive overharvest of wintering turtles in the Sea of Cortez between 1950 and 1970, and the intense collection of eggs between 1960 and early 1980 on mainland beaches of Mexico. Primary threats to the species in U.S. waters are from entanglement in debris and boat collisions. Primary threats in Mexico are the (illegal) harvest of turtles and eggs.
CC-BY Brocken Inaglory [source]
The recovery goal is to delist this regionally important population.
To consider de-listing, all of the following criteria must be met:
- All regional stocks that use U.S. waters have been identified to source beaches based on reasonable geographic parameters.
- Each stock must average 5,000 (or a biologically reasonable estimate based on the goal of maintaining a stable population in perpetuity) females estimated to nest annually (FENA) over six years.
- Nesting populations at “source beaches” are either stable or increasing over a 25-year monitoring period.
- Existing foraging areas are maintained as healthy environments.
- Foraging populations are exhibiting statistically significant increases at several key foraging grounds within each stock region.
- All priority #1 tasks have been implemented.
- A management plan to maintain sustained populations of turtles is in place.
- International agreements are in place to protect shared stocks.
Six major actions are needed to achieve recovery (not in order of priority):
- Minimize boat collision mortalities, particularly within San Diego County, California.
- Minimize incidental mortalities of turtles by commercial fishing operations.
- Support the efforts of Mexico and the countries of Central America to census and protect nesting East Pacific green turtles, their eggs and nesting beaches.
- Determine population size and status in U.S. waters through regular surveys.
- Identify stock home range(s) using DNA analysis.
- Identify and protect primary foraging areas in U.S. jurisdiction.