Laniakea turtle takes five-month journey and returns home

Jade Eckardt

HALEIWA—The North Shore’s Laniakea Beach is also known as “Turtle Beach” because of the many green sea turtles that spend time at Lani’s basking in the sun while laying on the reef. While as estimated 30 turtles regularly spend time on the beach, often causing traffic because of the large amount of visitors crossing the road to the beach, 21 have been micro-chipped and studied by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Turtle Research Program.

An older female turtle known as L-2, or Hiwahiwa, recently became the first NOAA-tracked sea turtle to successfully travel to her nesting ground and back, a journey that lasted about five months and 1,000 miles, North Shore News reported. Hiwahiwa also completed a record-breaking dive of 570 feet, the deepest dive ever recorded for a green sea turtle. Hiwahiwa’s results were recorded with a time depth recorder and satellite GPS NOAA fitted the turtle with.

The data collected from this group of turtles will be used to help in the management of the threatened species.

According to the program’s website, the Marine Turtle Research Program was established at the La Jolla Lab of the Southwest Marine Fisheries Service to address the priority actions identified in the U.S. Pacific Sea Turtle Recovery Plans.

These include:

1. Monitoring and protection of nesting populations

a. Identify stocks
b. Assess population
c. Eliminate take of nesting females and eggs

2.Monitor and reduce incidental take in fisheries

3.Determine abundance and distribution of adults and juveniles in marine environment

a. Identify migratory routes and study dive behavior
b. Identify and monitor forage areas
4.Internationally — Support existing and new international agreements to protect sea turtles