Last Update: 09 September 2012

TurtleWatch

The HEPCA TurtleWatch program is based on the principle of “Observe to Conserve” and is designed to collect information from professional and recreational divers on sea turtle abundance and distribution. Data collected by volunteers at sea have proven to be very useful in a number of surveys targeting coral reefs, marine mammals, fish and now turtles. Recent studies suggest that many recreational divers consider being involved in data collection or observation programs as an opportunity to contribute to the conservation of the marine environment. Marine turtles are easily identifiable species that usually occupy the same areas used by divers. For this reason, they are particularly suitable for this type of monitoring project that requires the help of non-professional users.
  • Green Turtle © Natalia Pryanishnikova
  • Hawksbill ©Natalia Pryanishnikova
  • Hawskbill ©Elke Bojanowski

Who can participate?

The TurtleWatch program is open to all dive centers working in the Egyptian Red Sea area and their guests. As contributor, you will receive the TurtleWatch package that contains all the information you will need to conduct a survey. In the manual included in the package, you will find also all the necessary information to involve recreational divers in the survey. Remember that this program is also suitable for snorkelers.

The package was thought to be easy to understand and self-explanatory. However we can also provide a 30-min training to explain your team how to run the survey and report data to us. Please contact us for further details: agnese@hepca.com.

 

The TurtleWatch package

As a contributor of this project, you will receive by e-mail the TurtleWatch package which includes:

  • the TurtleWatch Manual (in .pdf);
  • the TurtleWatch survey form (in .pdf);
  • the TurtleWatch logo/ban that you can add to your website;
  • a set of Red Sea turtle identification sheets (in .pdf);
  • a database where to report your sightings (in .xls).

Why an on-line package? The idea of an on-line package is to reduce the amount of printed paper, reduce the costs and of course minimize the impact on the environment. However, if you do not have a printer or you prefer to have a paper copy of all the material, please let us know so we can provide one for you.

 

What does the TurtleWatch package not include?

To participate in a TurtleWatch survey, you only need to be a good observer and be committed to report to us sea turtles sightings on a regular basis. The following items are not included in the package, but could help you gather more precise data:

  • an underwater camera;
  • a marked stick or whatever object you can use to estimate the turtle straight carapace length (see the manual for further explanation);
  • a computer and internet connection to send us your data.

 

How data will be used?

The data collected from the dive centers will be reviewed by our staff, inserted in our Red Sea Turtles database and will be used to generate spatial and temporal distribution maps of sea turtles but also to estimate population trends and abundance. Reports will be published on a regular basis on our website and your contribution will be acknowledged. If you are interested in receiving regular follow-ups of the project, you can subscribe to our newsletter on our website (www.hepca.com).

 

Contact us

If you owe or represent a dive center and are interested in taking part to the Red Sea TurtleWatch, please contact us at: agnese@hepca.com

You are a recreational diver and you would like to take part to one of our TurtleWatch surveys? Check the list of dive centers offering this opportunity available below, or contact us for more information at: agnese@hepca.com.

 

NEW!! Check our dynamic TurtleWatch Map!

Do you want to know where our partners spotted turtles while diving or snorkeling? Check our TurtleWatch map, click on the icon to see pictures taken by divers and read more about the sighting!

 

Resources

PDF

Red Sea Turtle Report 2011

Results of HEPCA's scientific work on sea turtles in 2011

( 3 Bytes )
PDF

List of Dive Centers doing TurtleWatch Surveys (updated 02/03/2013)

( 150 Bytes )