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LAGUNA DE ROCHA , A CRITICAL HABITAT FOR SEA TURTLES IN URUGUAY. Daniel González-Paredes 1
LAGUNA DE ROCHA , A CRITICAL HABITAT FOR SEA TURTLES IN URUGUAY. Daniel González-Paredes 1

LAGUNA DE ROCHA, A CRITICAL HABITAT FOR SEA TURTLES IN URUGUAY.

Daniel González-Paredes 1,2 , Alejandro Fallabrino 1 and Andrés Estrades 1

1) Karumbé NGO. Av. Rivera 3245. 11600. Montevideo. Uruguay. karumbemail@gmail.com 2) Hombre y Territorio Association. C/ Betania #13, 41007. Seville, Andalusia, Spain. contacto@hombreyterritorio.org

Seville, Andalusia, Spain. contacto@hombreyterritorio.org LAGUNA . D E . ROCHA Laguna de Rocha Protected Area Map
LAGUNA . D E . ROCHA Laguna de Rocha Protected Area Map A. FOR N
LAGUNA . D E . ROCHA
Laguna de Rocha
Protected Area Map
A.
FOR
N
SEA . TURTLE S
2 km
I
N
.
.
URUGUAY
INTRODUCTION
Five of the seven species of marine turtles are present in
Uruguay. The Uruguayan waters represent a key fora-
ging and development area in the temperate latitudes of
Southwestern Atlantic Ocean for at least three of these
species; leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), green
turtle (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta ca-
retta). Meanwhile, olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)
and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) are also present
but are listed as “rare” species in Uruguay (Carreira &
Maneyro 2015).
Laguna
UY
de
Rocha
STUDY AREA
The Uruguayan coast consists of a succession of sandy
beaches of variable extension separated by rocky out-
crops. These linked habitats conform a relevant biologi-
cal corridor for marine turtles, finding abundant food re-
sources. One of these spots is the coastal protected area
of Laguna de Rocha. Laguna de Rocha was included as
“Protected Landscape” to the SNAP (National System of
Protected Areas of Uruguay) in 2010. It is located on the
Atlantic coast of the department of Rocha. The area oc-
cupies 22,000 hectares, which includes the 7,200 water
bodies, hillocks, plains, the coastal strip and part of the
oceanic platform. The aim of this report is to highlight the
importance of Laguna de Rocha into this corridor for sea
turtles arriving the Uruguayan coast.
La Paloma
26/01/12
19/06/07
UY
23/06/10
Species
15/01/13
19/03/06
16/04/03
29/01/10
D.
coriacea
07/11/04
11/06/07
C.
caretta
22/04/05
19/04/07
C.
mydas
18/01/10
L.
olivacea
17/01/10
08/06/01
E.
imbricata
LEATHERBACKS (n=6)
LOGGERHEADS (n=3)
GREEN TURTLES (n=3)
RESULTS
Karumbé NGO has been recording the presence of sea
turtles in Laguna de Rocha and adjacent waters during
the last decade. These records of sea turtles consist of:
CCL mean: 131.3 ± 14.0 cm
CCL range: 118.0 - 146.0 cm (adults)
Records: 1 Bycatch and 5 Strandings in
January and June.
Observations: This species feeds on
large groups of gelatinous organisms in
the Uruguayan waters (Lopez-Mendila-
harsu et al. 2009).
CCL
mean: 74.0 ± 16.6 cm
CCL
range: 64.2 - 95.6 cm (2 juveniles
CONCLUSION
We determined the main threat affecting sea turtles in
Laguna de Rocha is the incidental capture in different fis-
hing gears operating in the area, including sports fishing,
artisanal gill nets and coastal trawls. Moreover, it should
be mentioned there is a circumstantial illegal trade as a
consequence of these incidental mortalities, when some
carapaces are extracted from the dead turtles and then
selling or used as decorative items.
These records might indicate this area supports relative
densities of sea turtles. Therefore Laguna de Rocha
should be considered as a critical habitat for sea turtles
into the biological corridor of the Uruguayan coast. We
suggest more effort should be directed to the as-
sessment of the occurrence of marine turtle species in
the Laguna de Rocha. Monitoring and systematic sur-
veys along the area and throughout the year should be
maintained in order to improve our knowledge on the cu-
rrent distribution of these species in Uruguayan waters.
and 1 adults)
Records: Strandings from April to June
Observations: This species feeds mainly
on crabs, snails and other marine inver-
tebrates in the Southwestern Atlantic
(Martínez-Souza et al. 2013).
CCL mean: 35.2 ± 0.9 cm
CCL range: 33.1 - 38.5 cm (juveniles)
Records: 1 Bycatch and 2 strandings
from November to January.
Observations: These juveniles showed a
feeding preference on macroalgae and
gelatinous macrozooplankton in these
latitudes (Vélez-Rubio et al. 2016).
OLIVE RIDLEY (n=1)
Hawksbill x Loggerhead (n=1)
CCL : 70.1 cm (adult)
Records: Stranding in March 2006.
Observations: This species is conside-
red as “rare” in the Uruguayan coast,
with only 12 records (González-Paredes
et al. 2017).
CCL
: 56.5 cm (juvenile)
Records: Stranding in June 2007 (A.
Estrades and S. Vilaça, pers. comm.)
Observations: The hybridization bet-
ween E. imbricata and C. caretta has
been reported previously in the region
(Southern Brazil) (Proietti et al. 2014).
ATLANTIC
OCEAN
REFERENCES
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Authors are really greateful to all members and volun-
teers who are or once formed part of Karumbé for their
support and efforts to do this report.
This poster was made possible through the support of the
ISTS38 sponsors highlighted in the printed Program.
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