Since 2002, the BVI Conservation & Fisheries Department has been tagging & capturing foraging sea turtles to gain an understanding of local populations and migratory behaviours. With over 1500 turtles tagged locally and several scientific journal articles published, the BVI Sea Turtle Research Team has only just begun to tap into understanding the importance of turtles locally, within the Caribbean region and globally.
Now tagging turtles has become more than just collecting data, it has transformed into creating a business that not only provides the funding to continue environmental research but also provides a unique experience for people that would otherwise never be able to participate in conservation efforts this up-close and personal.
A day in the life assisting a marine biologist
With a member of the local research team (we've been doing this for 15 years!!), you will get to participate in the on-going, front-line efforts towards sea turtle conservation.
Your half-day adventure will start with a presentation on everything you need to know about sea turtles from their evolution 220 million years ago to those sea turtles that still exist today, their life-cycles and the regional and global conservation efforts used today to protect the species.
Then it is off on a boat to look for turtles! Looking for foraging sea turtles is half the fun when “power” snorkelling in areas with little human impact. Sighting turtles is always exciting but catching one is exhilarating. The researcher on-board will explain techniques how to catch them free-diving. Once a turtle is captured and transferred to the boat, the researcher will show you how to properly take its measurements, tag it and safely release it back into the water.
All data collected is then entered into our local database for analysis so the more turtles we catch, the more we learn about them. You will not only experience being a turtle researcher for the day but you also play a part in local and regional efforts towards sea turtle conservation.
Members of the BVI Sea Turtle Research Team
Thanks to the hurricanes, we have temporarily stopped the Turtle Encounter Project since all of our programme partners had extensive damage to their facilities.
We will soon be adding 2018 dates later this summer!
If you have a group of people interested, please contact ARK and we will work with you to set up a tagging experience. In most cases, we charter a boat and will require a minimum number of participants.