Protocol for Pilots Transporting Sea Turtles

  • Kelli O'Donnell NOAA Fisheries
  • Kate Sampson NOAA Fisheries
Keywords: Endangered Species, Protected Species, Sea Turtle, Rehab, Stranding, Aviation, Transport, Pilot


NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) and NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office (SERO) collaborated to develop a standardized approach to transporting sea turtles by flight. This protocol will ensure consistency in best practices for all flights and increase efficiency during transportation planning. Given the recent increase in the use of aviation for more timely transport of sea turtles, this standardized protocol will be provided to pilots ahead of transport, minimizing questions and providing an easy reference throughout the transport event. This standardized approach was informed by: a) GARFO staff experience with sea turtle transport needs and requirements; b) SERO staff experience with transport flights and aviation needs; and c) Turtles Fly Too experience with general aviation.