Oman is located on the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, where it borders the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The country boasts 3,165 km of coastline.
While Oman is probably not the country that first comes to mind when one thinks of turtles, it has some of the most important nesting grounds in the Indian Ocean for green turtles as it supports up to 20,000 nesting individuals per year at the Ras al Jinz turtle reserve.
Oman also plays host to one of the largest nesting areas for loggerhead turtles in the world, Masirah Island, which has up to 11,000 nesting females per year.
Five of the seven sea turtle species have been recorded in Oman: the green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley turtles.
Our work is based on the Musandam peninsula, which is a part of Oman but separated from the main country by a section of the UAE. The peninsula stretches out into the Strait of Hormuz at its northernmost point and covers an area of 1,800 km2 (690 sq mi).
The coastline is extremely rough and mountainous, which gives it a landscape that has been likened to the fjords of Norway. However, unlike Norway, below the waters adjacent to the mountains are beautiful fringing reefs thriving with marine life.
Main Activities & Key Objectives
The population of sea turtles on the Musandam peninsula is largely understudied. By conducting sea turtle photo-ID research we can assess the population of sea turtles here and gain a better understanding of their distribution and habitat connectivity.
It is our aim to extend the initiative together with citizen scientists to the entire country of Oman.
The Musandam peninsula is home to a large fishing community with many towns and villages only accessible by the sea. As a result, ghost gear is a problem in the area. To remove ghost gear in Oman requires a permit and we collaborate with the local authorities, such as the Environment Authority of Oman to obtain the permits and remove the gear.
Using Musandam to lead by example, we hope to set a precedent for removing ghost gear across the country’s coastline.