Chelonia mydas

Around World Sea Turtle Day, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU) celebrated its 20th Anniversary.

25 Jun 2021

Da Nang/Viet Nam, 24 October 2019 – The 8th Meeting of the Signatories (MOS8) to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU) concluded today after four days of intense deliberations.

24 Oct 2019

The 2nd meeting of the Northern Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (NIO-MTTF) established by the CMS IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU took place 29-30 January hosted by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka in Colombo. Opened by Secretary Douglas Nanayakkara of the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, the meeting’s main aim was to reach agreement on concerted regional actions to conserve marine turtles.

30 Jan 2018

Representatives and observers from 25 countries have reached agreement on a suite of measures that will strengthen efforts to conserve marine turtles in and around the Indian Ocean.

12 Sep 2014

Bonn, 12 September 2014 - Representatives and observers from 25 countries have reached agreement on a suite of measures that will strengthen efforts to conserve marine turtles in and around the Indian Ocean.

12 Sep 2014

Next week, delegates and experts from more than 25 countries across the Indian Ocean – South-East Asia region will assemble in Bonn, Germany, to tackle a packed agenda focusing on marine turtle conservation. Perhaps best known as birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven and the former capital of West Germany, Bonn is also home to IOSEA's parent organization, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

03 Sep 2014
Description: 

The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles, growing up to one meter long and weighing 130-160 kg. In the western Indian Ocean adult females are larger than males, and have a more "bullseye" pattern in the scutes of the carapace.

Adult green turtles are unique among sea turtles in that as large immatures and adults they are primarily herbivorous, feeding on seagrasses and algae. Green turtles take between 20 and 50 years just to reach sexual maturity.  Females return to their natal beaches (i.e., the same beaches where they were born) every 2 to 4 years to nest, laying several clutches of about 125 eggs at roughly 14-day intervals several times in a season. However, very few hatchlings survive to reach maturity – perhaps fewer than one in 1,000.

The green turtle is globally distributed and generally found in tropical and subtropical waters along continental coasts and islands roughly between 30°N and 30°S. Green turtles primarily use three types of habitat: oceanic beaches (for nesting), convergence zones in the open ocean, and benthic feeding grounds in coastal areas.

Adults migrate from foraging areas to mainland or island nesting beaches and may travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers each way. After emerging from the nest, hatchlings enter the sea and swim offshore where they enter longshore currents that take them to various oceanic areas where they are believed to get caught up in major oceanic current systems and live for several years, feeding close to the surface on a variety of pelagic plants and animals. Once the immatures reach a certain age/size range, they leave the pelagic habitat and travel to nearshore foraging grounds. Once they move to these nearshore benthic habitats, large immature and adult green turtles are almost exclusively herbivores, feeding on sea grasses and algae.

The Indian Ocean hosts some of the largest nesting populations of green turtles anywhere, particularly on oceanic islands in the southwest and on islands in SE Asia. Many of these populations are now recovering after intense exploitation in the last century dramatically reduced the populations.  However, some populations are still declining. The green turtle is one of the most widely distributed and commonest of the marine turtle species in the Indian Ocean. Interactions with fishing operations are especially important threats in coastal fisheries where nets are employed, but trawl fisheries may also have important impacts.

During the 19th and 20th centuries intense exploitation of green turtles provided onboard red meat for sustained cruises of sailing vessels before the time of refrigeration, as well as meat and calipee for an international market. Several nesting populations in the Indian Ocean were devastated as a result.

The preceding biological information on marine turtle species found around the Indian Ocean is derived partly from the NOAA Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources, website:(http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/), supplemented by other sources (such as a website of the Australian Government, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts -- for information on the Flatback turtle), and additional information supplied by Dr. Jack Frazier (IOSEA Advisory Committee Chair). 

Assessment information
CMS InstrumentsCMS, IOSEA Marine Turtles, Atlantic Turtles
IUCN StatusEndangered
Date of entry in Appendix I1979
Date of entry in Appendix II1979
Geographic range
Countries Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen
Common names
EnglishGreen Turtle
FrenchTortue Verte
SpanishTortuga verde
GermanPazifische Suppenschildkröte
Taxonomy
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudinata
FamilyCheloniidae
Scientific name Chelonia mydas
Author(Linnaeus, 1758)
Standard referenceEckert, K.L., Bjorndal, K.A., Abreu-Grobois, F.A. and Donnelly, M. (Eds) (1999). Research and management techniques for the conservation of sea turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No.4.

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Other details
Additional notesIn Effect 7/1/1999

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