The HEPCA TurtleWatch 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.
The Red Sea Turtle Project needs more data which is fundamental to implement a proper management plan for the conservation of this wonderful species.
The overall goal of this project is to characterize both green and hawksbill turtle populations inhabiting the Southern Egyptian coast of the Red Sea, focusing on in-water behavior, feeding ecology, reproductive biology and causes of mortality to come out with a clear applicable plan to conserve marine turtles, their nesting and feeding grounds, as well as to reduce the mortality causes.
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.
The TurtleWatch program is open to all dive centers working in the Egyptian Red Sea area and their guests. As a contributor, you will receive the TurtleWatch package that contains all the information you need to conduct a survey. In the manual as part of the package is all the necessary information to involve recreational divers in the survey. As well, this program is also suitable for snorkelers.
The package is relatively easy to understand and self-explanatory. However, if needed, we can provide 30-minute training for your team how to run the survey and report data to us. The data collected from the dive centers is 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 are 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.
Contact us, if you are interested in taking part in the Red Sea TurtleWatch.
The TurtleWatch package
As a participant, you will receive by e-mail the TurtleWatch package which includes:
- TurtleWatch Manual (in .pdf)
- TurtleWatch survey form (in .pdf)
- TurtleWatch logo/ban that you can add to your website
- Set of Red Sea turtle identification sheets (in .pdf)
- 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.
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 sea turtles sightings on a regular basis. The following items are not included in the package, but could assist in gathering more precise data:
- an underwater camera
- a marked stick or object to estimate the turtle straight carapace length a computer and internet connection to send us your data.