Natural history and research and management of Raine Island’s green turtle rookery.

An amazing wildlife show and a critical bottleneck to future security of Torres Strait and northern Great Barrier Reef green turtle populations

Raine Island, a 27.5 hectare cay situated on a detached reef and located in the far northern Great Barrier Reef is, along with the adjacent Moulter Cay, the focus of approximately 90% of all nesting effort of the Northern Great Barrier Reef (NGBR) green turtle genetic stock (Limpus 2008).

Figure 1 Tag recoveries from nGBR green turtles

This population is considered the largest left in the world (Raine Island Management Statement, QLD Government 2006) and ranges widely through the tropical waters of north-eastern Australia, the Torres Straits, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia and continues to be culturally and nutritionally significant to the people of the area. Recent monitoring and research at the island indicates that successful incubation rates of green turtle nests is well below what might be expected for this location (QPWS internal report 2013). This is believed to be leading to low recruitment back to inshore feeding areas and combined with other pressures on the population may see numbers plummet in the coming decades (Limpus 2008, Limpus et. al. 2003). Management actions are underway in an attempt to solve some of these problems.

This the first section of "Raine Island" eatlas book, written by Neil Mattocks from Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service. To read on, see the links at the bottom of the page.