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Report of the Technical Expert Workshop: Developing Recommendations for Field Response, Captive Management, and Rehabilitation of Sea Turtles with Fibropapillomatosis
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  • Description:
    Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a disease of sea turtles that primarily manifests as tumors of the skin. Strandings of green turtles with this disease have dramatically increased in the Southeast U.S. over the last decade, necessitating a review of various practices related to the capture, handling, and treatment of afflicted turtles. NOAA and USFWS hosted a workshop in St. Petersburg, Florida on September 6, 2017 to seek input on the development of recommendations to address the following key issues regarding green turtles with FP: 1) disposition when encountered under various circumstances (e.g., strandings, research activities, incidental capture, opportunistic observations); 2) rehabilitation and release; 3) response options if rehabilitation capacity is exceeded; and 4) biosecurity measures to prevent anthropogenic spread of the disease. Federal and state resource agency staff and rehabilitation veterinarians were invited to this workshop to provide input for these recommendations. A review of rehabilitation practices and outcome was shared with participants to inform discussions related to rehabilitation and stranding response. Draft recommendations were prepared for the meeting and participants were asked to share their opinions during moderated discussions and via a written feedback instrument. This input was considered and applied to amend the recommendations, which were also peer-reviewed by six additional veterinarians and a stranding biologist with expertise in sea turtles, rehabilitation medicine, and fibropapillomatosis. The intended use for the completed Fibropapillomatosis and Sea Turtles: Recommendations for Field Response, Captive Management, and Rehabilitation is to assist resource agencies with management planning and decisions related to green turtles with FP and to inform relevant aspects of policy, permits, and authorizations under federal and state regulations.
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