Talking turtle is subject of October conference

Talking turtle will take place Oct. 17 at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources office located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio.

During the meeting, the Ohio Division of Wildlife will present information about Ohio turtle biology, review Ohio snapping and softshell-turtle regulations, adjustments to the 13-inch minimum shell length for possession, and trade issues, according to Rich Carter, executive administrator of DOW fish management and research.

An inaugural turtle conference last year was well received with good feedback from stakeholders, according to Carter.

There has been a substantial demand for live turtles in Asia where wild turtle populations have been declined through overharvest for food, according to a DNR news release. U.S. export of live turtles to Asian markets has increased in the past several years.

Ohio adopted a 13-inch minimum shell length possession limit in 2012 to protect snapping and softshell turtle populations, which are the only turtles permitted to be harvested in Ohio. The shell length requirement "protects the majority of the turtles during their prime breeding years and give them an opportunity to nest," Carter said in an interview. Turtles can live up to 20 years, he said. 

In Ohio, a lot of turtles are harvested in season in waters and marshes adjacent to Lake Erie, Carter said.

Individuals interested in attending the turtle conference are asked to contact Sharelle Jones by Oct. 14 by phone: (614) 265-6343, e-mail: sharelle.jones@dnr.state.oh.us, or by mail:

Sharelle Jones, Wildlife Central Office,
2045 Morse Road, Building G-3, 
Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693.

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