I read this very interesting article from e-magazine about sea turtles in San Diego Bay. Having lived all my life in San Diego and spent tons of time in San Diego Bay, I have never seen a Sea Turtle. Apparently San Diego has a group of Green Turtles (also known as black turtles since the 1850’s) in our Bay.
From E-mag- Even most locals in Chula Vista, California—the second-to-last city you pass through before crossing the Mexican border into Tijuana—are unaware of what lies beneath San Diego Bay. Strange how a colony of 60 to 100 sea turtles has somehow thrived, virtually undetected, in one of the busiest, most developed natural harbors in the world. These particular Eastern Pacific green turtles are supersized, some bettering 550 lbs., an unprecedented enormity, almost doubling the normal size records of the same species in other habitats.
“They’re monsters, I tell ya,” says Jeffrey Seminoff, ecologist and assistant team leader for the Marine Turtle Research Program, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA’s) Southwest Fisheries Science Center. He’s wearing orange coveralls and flip-flops, standing at the Boston Whaler’s pedestal helm as we glissade over the dusky water. Twice a month, he and his team use two 17-foot Whalers to make sweeps of an area called South Bay, netting green turtles and hauling them back to shore to be weighed, tagged, sampled and released as part of a new pathbreaking study.
There are four of us crammed in the little boat, including NOAA Fisheries ecologist Tomoharu Eguchi. He’s the man with all the stats—including those showing that some of these enigmatic turtles are growing eight to 10 centimeters a year. “That’s quadruple the rate of green turtles at other sites,” he shouts over the outboard motor. Genetically similar green turtles in the Sea of Cortez only grow about two centimeters a year and rarely top 300 lbs.
South Bay is a unique habitat of intertidal mudflats and salt marshes, granting refuge to over-wintering birds. Hidden in the murky waters, green turtles take sanctuary among the eelgrass beds. The one we’re going after is just ahead. It struggles in the buoyed net, flippers wind-milling and splashing, head breeching for air. It’s a 350-lb. female, so burdensome she makes the boat’s starboard gunwale dip underwater as three men grunt her aboard. Read the full article from emagazine here