Extinction risk analysis of exploited green turtle stocks in the Indo-Pacific

Authors

  • K. E. M. Dethmers,

    1. Department of Environmental Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. The Ecology Centre and Centre for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, Australia
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  • P. W. J. Baxter

    1. The Ecology Centre and Centre for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld, Australia
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  • Editor: Trent Garner

  • Associate Editor: David Reed

Correspondence
Kiki Dethmers. Current address: DNRETAS – Marine Biodiversity, PO Box 496, Palmerston, NT 0830, Australia.
Email: kdethmers@gmail.com

Abstract

In parts of the Indo-Pacific, large-scale exploitation of the green turtle Chelonia mydas continues to pose a serious threat to the persistence of this species; yet very few studies have assessed the pattern and extent of the impact of such harvests. We used demographic and genetic data in an age-based model to investigate the viability of an exploited green turtle stock from Aru, south-east Indonesia. We found that populations are decreasing under current exploitation pressures. The effects of increasingly severe exploitation activities at foraging and nesting habitat varied depending on the migratory patterns of the stock. Our model predicted a rapid decline of the Aru stock in Indonesia under local exploitation pressure and a shift in the genetic composition of the stock. We used the model to investigate the influence of different types of conservation actions on the persistence of the Aru stock. The results show that local management actions such as nest protection and reducing harvests of adult nesting and foraging turtles can have considerable conservation outcomes and result in the long-term persistence of genetically distinct management units.

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