Eretmochelys imbricata

By Brad Nahill & Alexander Robillard, SEE Turtles

05 Apr 2022

Launched today at a workshop held as part of the 40th International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS40) is the third in a series of species-focused assessments undertaken by the Advisory Committee of the IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU. This review provides an overview of what is known about Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Indian Ocean South-East Asia (IOSEA) region.

25 Mar 2022

Published on 21 March was a review of the literature and overview of the contemporary use of aquatic megafauna (cetaceans, sirenians, chelonians, and crocodylians) in the global tropics and subtropics, for 37 species listed on the Appendices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

22 Mar 2022

By: Amani S.Y. Al-Zaidan(1), Abdullah S. Al-Zaidan(2), Shurouq A. Al-Marzooq(2)

(1) Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait.

(2) Kuwait Environment Public Authority (KEPA), P.O. Box 24395, Safat 13104, Kuwait.

21 Jan 2022

Prof. John MK Wong
Ministry of Environment & Climate Change, State of Qatar

09 Dec 2021

On 29 November 2021, the first ever Meeting of the North-Western Indian Ocean held independently of a Meeting of Signatory States (MOS) convened online. Thirty participants joined the meeting, including delegates from six Signatory States (Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and two non-Signatory Range States (Kuwait and Qatar).

30 Nov 2021

The IUCN Red List of Threatened species relies on national or regional groups such as IOSEA Task Forces to guide collection of systematic metrics on population size and trends in abundance over time. An important goal of the IOSEA Conservation and Management Plan is to increase understanding of sea turtle population status by countries across the region.

17 Feb 2021

Cousine Island is a small granitic island (25.7 ha) within the Republic of Seychelles containing a singular beach on its eastern, windward side. It is situated five kilometres from the second most populated island in the Seychelles, Praslin, and only two kilometres from the neighbouring island of Cousin (a nature reserve managed by Nature Seychelles since 1998). Since the purchase of Cousine Island by the current owner in 1991, conservation activities to monitor the nesting hawksbill females on the beach have been implemented as well as efforts to improve hatching success rates and the number of hatchlings released to sea.

27 Jan 2021

On 13 November 2020, the Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam convened a ceremony to recognize Con Dao National Park as the 11th Site of the Network of Sites of Importance for Marine Turtles in the Indian Ocean - South-East Asia Region.  Con Dao National Park was accepted as a Site following the decision of the 8th Meeting of Signatory States to IOSEA in October last year in Da Nang, Viet Nam. Con Dao National Park offers important nesting beaches, as well as feeding habitats for Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).

30 Nov 2020

Da Nang/Viet Nam, 23 October 2019– The listing of Con Dao National Park, Viet Nam, in the IOSEA Network of Sites, gives a further boost to the protection of marine turtles.

During 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), the proposal to include Con Dao National Park, Viet Nam into the IOSEA Network of Sites of Importance was officially accepted.

23 Oct 2019

Bonn, 7 March 2019 - the global ban on the international trade of marine turtles and their products under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

07 Mar 2019

At the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) held last year in Dubai, Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands passed a resolution titled: The enhanced conservation of coastal marine turtle habitats and the designation of key areas as Ramsar Sites. Five out of seven species of marine turtles are endangered, three of them being critically endangered, according to the endangered species list of the IUCN. One of the main threats to the animals is the degradation of the nesting habitats on the coast, where female turtles lay their eggs and where turtle hatchlings start their lifetime journeys.

28 Jan 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

Individuals and organizations engaged in marine turtle conservation work outside of the United States and its territories again have the opportunity to apply for a grant from the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund (MTCF).

04 Jan 2018

The 7th Meeting of the Task Force took place on 2 November 2017 in Dar es Salaam, as a Special Session of the WIOMSA Scientific Symposium. The morning session was an open session to share information on current sea turtle research, conservation and management initiatives in the WIO region. In the afternoon the 7th Meeting of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Turtle Task Force (WIO MTTF) was held. Members from Comoros, Kenya, France, South Africa and Tanzania, as well as the Secretariat of the IOSEA MOU, attended.

09 Nov 2017
Description: 

The hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtle is small to medium-sized compared to other sea turtle species. In the Indian Ocean region, adults weigh 45 to 70 kg, but can grow to as large as 90 kg. Female hawksbills return to their natal beaches every 2-3 years to nest. A female hawksbill may lay 3-5, or even more, nests per season, each of which contains an average of 130 eggs.

Hawksbill turtles, like other marine turtles, use different habitats at different stages of their life cycle, but this species is most commonly associated with coral reefs. Post-hatchlings (oceanic stage juveniles) are believed to occupy the pelagic environment. After a few years in the pelagic zone, small juveniles recruit to coastal foraging grounds. This shift in habitat also involves a shift in feeding strategies, from feeding primarily at the surface to feeding below the surface, primarily on animals associated with coral reef environments.  Their narrow, pointed beaks allow them to prey selectively on soft-bodied animals like sponges and soft corals.

Hawksbill turtles are circumtropical, typically occurring from 30°N to 30°S latitude. In modern times hawksbills are solitary nesters (although some scientists postulate that before their populations were devastated they may have nested on some beaches in concentrations) and, thus, determining population trends or estimates on nesting beaches is difficult. 

Although generally not found in large concentrations, hawksbills are widely distributed in the Indian Ocean. There, the largest nesting populations  – which are among the largest in the world – occur in the Seychelles, Indonesia and Australia.  Adult hawksbill turtles are capable of migrating long distances between nesting beaches and foraging areas, although the migration distances are generally not as long as those for green turtles.

Exploitation of hawksbills, primarily for their "tortoise shell" (the thick, overlapping, horny scutes that cover the shell), dates back millennia in the Indian Ocean. The shell was sought after for manufacture of diverse articles in both the Orient and Europe, and it constituted one of the most important trade commodities in a well developed trade network in the Indian Ocean. Many populations were decimated.  However decades-long protection programmes in some places, particularly at several beaches in the Indian Ocean, have resulted in population recovery. Today, interactions with fisheries are especially important in coastal fisheries where nets are used.

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 StatusCritically endangered
Date of entry in Appendix I1985
Date of entry in Appendix II1979
Geographic range
Countries Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, São Tomé and Príncipe, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen
Common names
EnglishHawksbill Turtle
FrenchTortue Imbriquée, Caret
SpanishTortuga carey
GermanEchte karettschildkröte
Taxonomy
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudinata
FamilyCheloniidae
Scientific name Eretmochelys imbricata
Author(Linnaeus, 1766)
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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Additional notesIn Effect 7/1/1999

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