Cooperative Turtle Tagging Research Underway in the Mariana Islands

CNMI DFW researchers Jessy Hapdei and Joe Ruak prepared to release a satellite-tagged hawksbill turtle in Garapan, Saipan.
CNMI DFW researchers Jessy Hapdei and Joe Ruak prepared to release a satellite-tagged hawksbill turtle in Garapan, Saipan.

PIFSC staff in the Marine Turtle Assessment Program formalized a research partnership with the U.S. Navy in the Marianas Range Complex to study nearshore habitat use by sea turtles in Guam, Tinian, and Saipan in the western Pacific. In August 2013, PIFSC biologist T. Todd Jones traveled to the region to partner with staff of the Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Division of Fish and Wildlife (CNMI DFW) in capturing and tagging green and hawksbill turtles. Jones and colleagues captured 20 sea turtles and deployed GPS-satellite transmitters on 6 subadult turtles. Jones and PIFSC colleague Kyle Van Houtan will return to the region twice in FY 2014 to increase in-water research on sea turtles in a growing partnership with the local agency staff.