A new survey of sea life in the Pacific suggests that some endangered sea turtles are making a comeback. The survey showed that populations of green sea turtles in waters around Hawaii and other nearby areas have either remained stable or increased from 2002 to 2015.
The survey, described in the journal Plos One, provides compelling evidence that conservation efforts are working. Though same surveys suggested that another population of turtles, hawksbill turtles, remain perilously low.
The survey effort began on a research expedition to count fish populations along coral reefs. Divers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found themselves counting turtles too.
Researchers decided to formalize the survey. Over 13 years, divers trained to count green sea turtles and hawksbills visited 53 coral reefs across the Pacific Ocean. Towed along 4,500 miles, researchers counted more than 3,400 turtles.
The survey showed that “turtle density,” the estimated number of animals in a given area based on the survey, has increased by as much as 8 percent each year in some of the regions studied.