Abstract

There is limited information on postnesting dispersal of green turtles Chelonia mydas from nesting sites in the Arabian region. Understanding habitat connectivity can promote effective conservation programs across a wider range of critical sea turtle habitats. We present postnesting migration data for 9 green turtles departing from Ras Al Hadd in Oman, one of the largest and most important nesting sites for this species in the northwest Indian Ocean (NWIO). Turtles migrated to Eritrea (n = 1), India (n = 2), Oman (n = 4), and the United Arab Emirates (n = 2), demonstrating connectivity for this species across the NWIO and linkages to known green turtle foraging areas. Turtles used deep international waters of the NWIO, and coastal waters of Eritrea, India, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Alongside the potential for fisheries bycatch, ghost fishing, entanglement, and direct take in waters near nesting sites and at the dispersal destinations, these movement patterns reveal a need for coordinated efforts to address sea turtle mortality in fisheries at a regional level. These data enhance our knowledge of sea turtle distribution and connectivity in the Arabian region and will contribute to ongoing efforts to conserve sea turtles in the NWIO.

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