Boaters are being urged to report sightings of turtles as part of a drive to discover more about the animals' movements in UK waters.

Boaters are being urged to report sightings of turtles as part of a drive to discover more about the animals’ movements in UK waters.

The Marine Conservation Society launches its Scottish Turtle Roadshow tomorrow (Tuesday 22 February), with the first of a series of presentations in ports and fishing harbours around the Scottish coast and islands.

Five species of turtle have been recorded in UK and Irish waters, with four of these – the Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Green – in Scottish waters. Some other species occur as wind-blown strays.

Critically-endangered Leatherbacks visit Scottish waters each summer to feed on jellyfish.

Dr Martin Gaywood, Species Officer at Scottish Natural Heritage, which is funding the roadshows, said: “Little is known about the ecology of leatherback turtles while they visit Scottish waters, but through the roadshow, we are hoping more people will become aware of these exotic visitors.

“If we receive more reports of turtles spotted in Scotland’s seas, then we will begin to find out more about them and have a better understanding of their conservation needs.”

The first presentation will be held at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther at 7pm on 22 February, followed by a second talk held at Eyemouth Fishermen’s Mission at 7pm on 24 February.

Those wishing to report sightings can contact Peter Richardson, MCS Species Policy Officer, at peter@mcsuk.org or call the MCS office. Tel: 01989 566017.

Picture: PETER RICHARDSON/MCS