Sea turtle populations are declining worldwide through many threats; most of which are man-made. Coastal development, commercial fishing, climate change and illegal harvesting are just a few. Because of their slow rate of reproduction, populations have a hard time keeping up with the pressures facing them. Not all of these problems can be addressed overnight, but many are direct consequences of human actions. Read below about the threats facing sea turtles and how you can help.
Leave No Trace
- Bright lights from residential and commercial buildings often confuse and frighten nesting females and disorient hatchlings leading to high mortality rates and low nesting numbers. Turn off unnecessary exterior lights and cover any beach facing windows after dark.
- Beach furniture can obstruct and entangle nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Remove furniture from the beach every night by hand when possible and keep all furniture at least five feet from any marked nest. Any furniture left on the beach overnight will be collected and discarded per the Leave No Trace Ordinance.
- Knock down any sandcastles and fill holes at the end of the day to keep turtles from getting stuck as they make their way to or from the ocean.
- Dogs (and other pets) can dig up nests and chase hatchlings. Always keep dogs on a leash and away from marked nests.
- Food left on the beach isn’t just unisghtly—it’s dangerous. Food can attract predators like raccoons, birds and stray cats and dogs who prey on eggs and hatchlings.
- Marine debris is a serious problem for all sea creatures. Plastic rings and netting can entangle turtles and plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish, leading to serious health problems. Pollution left on the beach can entrap hatchling turtles, leading to starvation, dehydration and death. Stow all trash properly and do your part by cleaning up pollution when you see it.
Report a Leave No Trace Behind Issue