This is the Great Fiji SHARK Count; why are we counting Turtles?
ALL sea turtles are considered Endangered or Critically Endangered all over the world. There are many organisations devoted to protecting turtles from overfishing and from people who dig up their nests and eat their eggs.
Most turtles cannot lay their own eggs until they are around 20 years old, (some species much older) and it is getting harder and harder for a turtle to live long enough to lay its own eggs, or for those eggs to hatch. Turtles are on the brink of extinction.
In Fiji, the law protects turtles and makes fishing for them without a permit illegal, and it is totally illegal to catch turtles even with a permit during their nesting season (November to February).
Turtles are tagged and nesting beaches recorded to gather more data to see whether these protective measures are working, but there is very little data about where they live and feed underwater.
When you are counting sharks, you are going to be looking for large animals swimming just off the reef and out in deep water. This is exactly where you are most likely to see turtles, so by recording them as well as sharks, we can give data to agencies working with turtle protection in Fiji.