On Thursday September 2nd, Andy Bowen, a regular cetacean observer spotted a 8ft leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) in Carmarthen Bay. The turtle stayed on the surface for approximately ten minutes and Andy managed to take a great photo (see below). The leatherback was following a large jellyfish at the time.
Leatherback turtles are found in wide ranges throughout temperate waters during the summer and autumn months. Atlantic populations are known to migrate from tropical breeding grounds such as the Caribbean to temperate waters such as the Irish Sea. One of the reasons for this huge migration is thought to be the pursuit of jellyfish on which they feed. Large aggregations of some species of jellyfish form in the Irish Sea in the summer months which may attract these turtles to our waters. Leatherback turtle sightings are now recorded in UK waters most years.