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Research Article

Sea turtles of Madagascar – their status, exploitation and conservation

Berthin Rakotonirinaa1 and Andrew Cookea1 p1

a1 Institut Halientique et des Sciences Marines (IHSM), BP 141, Toliara, Madagascar.

Abstract

Five species of sea turtles are known from Madagascar's coastal waters. Fishermen on the western and south-western coasts take green turtle Chelonia mydas, loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta and olive ridley Lepidochelys olivacea for their meat. The hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata is taken mainly for its shell and for making stuffed specimens while the leatherback Dermochelys coriacea is seldom caught. Anecdotal evidence of fishermen and dealers in turtle products, measurement of captured animals and personal observations of the authors all point to declines in numbers and average size for green and hawksbill turtles, coupled with marked declines in nesting rates for these and the olive ridley.

Correspondence:

p1 Centre for Tropical Coastal Management Studies, Ridley Building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.

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