Every now and again even us seasoned marine scientists encounter something really amazing under the sea. When we observed this school of mesmerizing lookdown fish, I found I could not get enough of looking at them swimming speedily around us and darting back and forth. One freediver reported hearing their pectoral fins flapping rapidly. They sure did swim fast! Intermixed with the lookdown fish were juvenile Atlantic spadefish and grey snapper. The water was mirky after Franklin, so we'll be planning a return trip with scuba gear to film them longer, hoping they are still there!
On Dec 19, 2016 Jamani Balderamos was diving with Turneffe Flats at a dive site south of Crickozeen and observed an endangered hawksbill sea turtle less than 2 ft in length with flipper tag BZ1340 on the left front flipper .
The Belize Fisheries Department checked their sea turtle tag database and confirmed the tag was applied by MAR Alliance. Rachel Graham of Mar Alliance confirmed they tagged this turtle on April 19, 2015 on the west side of Turneffe Atoll. The turtle weighed roughly 25 pounds and was about 1.5 feet in length. The size of the turtle indicates it is a juvenile turtle.
Sea turtles are flipper tagged by researchers to monitor migration patterns. Almost two years later BZ1340 was found foraging in the same area. This recapture suggests that juvenile sea turtles forage in the same general area and do not migrate far from their preferred feeding grounds.
MAR Alliance is a member of the Belize Sea Turtle Conservation Network and conducts Mega Fauna surveys throughout Belize. If you observe a sea turtle with tags do not attempt to capture the turtle. The public is reminded that all sea turtles are protected under the Laws of Belize.
NOAA, GCFI and partners launched the Invasive Lionfish Portal website which includes information on Education & Outreach, Research & Monitoring, Control & Management. There's a lot of good information in one location for those interested in lionfish! For more information visit http://lionfish.gcfi.org/
ECOMAR, St George's Caye and sea turtles are featured in the most recent children's book by Ed Moldenhauer in the Spin the Globe series. "Turtles of the Reefs" features the Belize Barrier Reef, Blue Hole, sea turtles and introduces the different cultures living in Belize. Each series follows the main character, Frederick von Wigglebottom, as he travels the globe. In this series, Fred visits Belize, the Pearl of the Caribbean. Frederick grabs his trusty journal and prepares to explore St George's Caye and the coral reefs of Belize. Join Frederick and his new friends, K'ayab and Hayá, as they release two rehabilitated sea turtles into the sea and learn about the marine and jungle animals of this tiny Caribbean nation, the diverse Belizean, Garinagu and Mayan history and cultures. You can purchase a copy on Amazon or contact ECOMAR for sales locally.
Satellite tags donated by Dr Todd Rimkus, Marymount University & Hawksbill Hoped used to document sea turtle migration patterns in Belize!
In response to a question posed on "turtle friendly" beach lighting on the Sea Turtle listserver this response outlines how you can check your beach and see if it meets the recommendations of sea turtle scientists.
For approved sea turtle lighting in Florida please visit: http://myfwc.com/media/418417/SeaTurtle_LightingGuidelines.pdf
Check back each week for new updates on our activities and reports shared by volunteers in the field!