Tracking turtle movements in the ATS

Impact of ghost nets on sea turtle populations

NAMRA researcher

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Lost and abandoned fishing gears, including “ghost nets”, pose a major threat to marine animals when they become entangled in the gear and drown or die of exhaustion or starvation. The Arafura Timor Seas (ATS) is a region with exceptionally high levels of mortality of sea turtles due to entanglement in ghost nets. Six sea turtle species nest in and migrate through the ATS and some populations are already heavily depleted and on the brink of becoming extinct.

This project aims to determine the spatial distribution and movements of ghost nets in the ATS, and identify the demographic composition and origin sea turtle found entangled in those nets.

Key NAMRA partners on this project are AIMS (Hydrodynamic modelling), ANU (genetics) and NT Government (Marine Wildwatch program).