Discipline: Biological Sciences
Akofa Kekeh - Norfolk State University
The North Pacific population of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtles is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The understanding of the distribution of this species is extremely essential for effective conservation efforts, however; such information is still limited. The objective of this study is to improve the understanding of the biology, ecology, and threats for this population. Additionally, identify key conservation actions and promote recovery of this population and habitat in the North Pacific through the establishment of a recovery plan between Japan, Mexico, and the United States. We compiled information on the distribution and population size, status and trends, and life history and habitat from recently published research papers on this population. We identified current and on-going conservation efforts by Japan, Mexico, and the United States. We analyzed the gaps in the conservation efforts by each country contributing to the current status of this species. The results of the education effort indicate that the Sanriku is an important oceanic foraging habitat while the Baja California Peninsula is an important neritic foraging habitat for this population of loggerheads. In addition, the results of this study indicate that bycatch is the greatest threats to this population. Based on analysis of conservation accomplishments, Japan, Mexico, and the United States have established bycatch limits and gear regulation, all in effort to reduce commercial fisheries interaction and restore population demographics. This study will provide a greater understanding of the current conservation measures for the North Pacific loggerheads and identify conservation challenges to be addressed. Furthermore, the study will aid the formulation of the first tri-national recovery plan for this distinct population segment.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration; NOAA Educational Partnership Program Team; National Marine Fisheries Service.
Faculty Advisor: Alexis Gutierrez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I contributed to the research by performing the literature reviews and drafting the conservation accomplishment section of the recovery plan. I also drafted recommendations of conservation strategies for the Recovery Team to consider.