Barrow Island is an important nesting area for sea turtles.
For more than 40 years, it has been home to an active oil field and turtle rookery.
Sea turtles nest on its beaches between October and March each year – peaking in December and January.
Chevron has worked hard to ensure the protection of sea turtles and their habitats on Barrow Island, using scientific research to build on our knowledge base and guide management decisions.
We have conducted baseline studies of sea turtles nesting in the area. This involves turtle tagging, counting sand tracks of nesting adults and emerging hatchlings and nest success data.
Sea turtles also are tracked on their migration paths via a fitted satellite-linked tracking device.
Each tagged turtle can be monitored by the public via an independent website specifically designed to track the migration of various sea turtles.
Our Barrow Island Flatback Turtle Research Program is the largest of its kind in the world for this species.
An Ongoing Commitment
Chevron and the Gorgon venture participants are committing AU$62.5 million over the life of the Gorgon Project to establish a North West Shelf Flatback Sea Turtle Conservation Program to increase the protection of the whole population.
This program will include activities to survey, monitor and research turtle populations including their feeding and breeding locations.
The findings of all these studies, as well as input from the Turtle Expert Panel, build our understanding of the turtle population in order to better predict, monitor and manage potential impacts associated with the construction and operation of the Gorgon Project on the island.
During operations, monitoring studies will continue, ensuring that any potential impacts are identified, understood and minimised.
The ongoing conservation efforts have been reflected in stringent environmental conditions set by the State and Australian Governments as part of the Gorgon Project approval process.
Marine Scientists Kellie Pendoley and Paul Tod fit a satellite tracking device to a Flatback Turtle with the assistance of a volunteer. Photo Acknowledgement: Anna Vitenbergs
Involving the Community
Our Barrow Island Flatback Turtle Research Program is the largest of its kind in the world for this species. To date, the program’s success is built on the involvement of more than 200 volunteers from all walks of life who devote time and energy to tagging activities.
The program draws a diverse group of volunteers from primary and secondary school teachers, university students and new graduates, local Pilbara residents, Chevron staff and family members.
The volunteers, or "Citizen Scientists", not only contribute greatly to the data collection program, but also benefit through training and education during a unique field experience.
Many return each year to participate, thereby enhancing the quality of the research and assist Chevron in its commitment to sea turtle management and research.