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An assessment of the marine turtle fishery in Grenada, West Indies Research Paper

The marine turtle fishery of Grenada was assessed using interviews with marine turtle fishermen and by examination of turtle catch data from a major landing site. An estimated 782 turtles, mainly Endangered green turtles Chelonia mydas and Critically Endangered hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata, were caught around Grenada and its sister island Carriacou each year between 1996 and 2001 during an annual 8-month open season, with only a small percentage being officially recorded at a landing site. Turtles were primarily caught with nets and spearguns, with more green turtles caught by net fishermen and more hawksbill turtles by spear fishermen. Catch per unit effort data suggested that relative abundance had declined since the previous estimate was made in 1969. Few adult green or loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta were caught, indicating the relative scarcity of this size class of these two species around Grenada. Adult-sized hawksbill turtles were caught regularly, with larger adults being caught in the non-breeding months of the open season than in the breeding months. A higher percentage of adult hawksbill turtles present during the breeding season are likely to be animals that nest in Grenada, and their smaller size may result from historically heavy fishing pressure. The larger sized adults caught during the non-breeding season are likely to be animals that forage around Grenada but breed elsewhere in the Caribbean where they are protected.

Area of Interest: Grenada

Year 2007

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