Survey Records Record Number of Nesting Green Turtles at East Island, French Frigate Shoals

In late July 2008, Irene Nurzia-Humburg returned to comforts of the office after more than 2 months of intensive field work monitoring nesting green turtles at East Island, French Frigate Shoals. East Island accounts for the majority of nesting by the threatened Hawaiian green turtle population. During her nightly monitoring rounds, Nurzia-Humburg recorded 580 turtles, the highest number yet observed in the 36 consecutive seasons of surveys at this location. All turtles are identified with uniquely numbered tags, enabling researchers to identify them on subsequent encounters. One of the turtles observed by Nurzia-Humburg was originally tagged in 1973 by staff of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (University of Hawaii) during the first season of monitoring at East Island. The annual nesting survey is now conducted by PIFSC in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates a field station at French Frigate Shoals.

For more information contact: George Balazs