Suzie, a green turtle tagged for satellite tracking, recently swam 900km in 28 days, giving valuable data on the species’ migration routes. She was released from Turks and Caicos Islands the end of June, spent two months in those waters, and then swam straight for the British Virgin Islands.
The tracking system showed Suzie began migrating on September 1. She swam 820km to BVI and, after a week there, swam 120km to the waters of Anguilla.
Suzie was caught and named by fishermen on South Caicos, according to Wesley Clerveaux, director of the country’s department of environment and coastal resources.
He said: ‘Our project officers on the island are putting up the maps of Suzie’s journey on walls and notice boards each day and doing a great job of keeping the South Caicos locals informed.’
Suzie has made quite a name for herself. Peter Richardson of the MCS said: ‘Suzie’s journey is a remarkable first. She was the first turtle ever to be fitted with a satellite tag in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Her journey has told us, for the first time, that three of the UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, hundreds of kilometres apart, share green turtle populations.’
Of the UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, currently only the government of Anguilla has imposed a ban on all turtle fishing, until 2020, to allow populations to recover. Scientists plan to tag six turtles, aiming to reveal the full range of the endangered green turtle and the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.