Sea Turtle- Endangered Species

By: Charlotte Baker

What is an Endangered Species?

An Endangered Species is at risk of extinction because of...
  • Human Activity
  • Climate Change
  • Predator-Prey ratios
Endangered Species are also considered to be able to completely die off within 20 years.

Endangered Sea Turtles

Habitat & Range

Most sea turtle range in the tropics and the Mesoamerican Reef, Coastal East Africa, Coral Triangle, The Galapagos, and the Gulf of California.

Food Sources

Hawksbill: Sea Sponges
Green: Sea Grass, algae, and seaweed
Leatherback: Jellyfish, tunicates, and sea squirts
Olive Ridley: Crabs, shrimp, lobster, urchins, jellies, algae, and fish
Loggerhead: Crabs, conchs, whelks, and horseshoe crabs
Kemp's Ridley: Crabs, fish, jellyfish, molluscs, and shrimp

How Are They Becoming Endangered?

Over-harvesting & Illegal Trade
The amount of sea turtles that are being harvested has vastly increased over the years. Turtle meat and eggs are a food source for many and provide a needed paycheck. Some are even killed for religious purposes. While illegal to capture and harvest them, illegal trafficking still exists.
Habitat Loss
Human beach activities have greatly disturbed the amount of space depended on by the sea turtles nesting areas. Onshore activities also affect the coral reefs, feeding grounds for the turtles.
Climate Change
The new warm temperatures have been causing uneven ratios of the offspring gender. It is resulting in more females, and less males. Climate change also greatly effects the foraging grounds, and storms destroy beaches for nesting.
Catching
An increasing problem for sea turtles is accidentally getting caught in local fisheries shrimp nets. When caught the turtle can not reach the surface to breath causing them to drown. Incidental catching is the biggest problem the turtles are facing, and will not improve with the increase in fisheries. (Hundreds of thousands each year)

Solution 1

Setting off a Section of the Ocean and Beach Off limits to Fisheries and Local Water Activities

A solution to the growing problem of accidental catching, is setting off an area of the ocean strictly protected from fishing and capture.
Pros:
  1. Fishing wold not happen in the area
  2. Would increase population
  3. Keep trash out of the ocean
  4. Could keep the water clean
  5. Nests would be undisturbed
Cons
  1. Sea turtles will wander out of the area
  2. The population of fish could grow, messing with the ecosystem
  3. the size of the area might not accommodate them
  4. it would be hard to protect in the ocean

Solution 2

Preventing Bycatch

Another solution, solving the problem of accidental catching is the turtle-friendly fishing hook. it would prevent the hook from latching on to the sea turtle.
Pros
  1. Would reduce the amount of turtles caught
  2. Would continue to allow fisheries to be there
  3. Could keep ecosystem in balance
Cons
  1. Would be hard for fishers to adjust to a new hook
  2. The affection on the environment
  3. The expense would be hard for low income fishers

Solution 3

Satellites Tracking Turtles

A solution presented by the WWF was a satellite tracker put in turtles to track them.
Pros
  1. Could help track illegal poachers
  2. Would help guide turtles to food
  3. Could keep turtles away from local activities
  4. Understand migration patterns to help prevent bycatching
Cons
  1. Would be hard to guide the turtles
  2. The tracker could break off
  3. This is not known to sea turtles and not tested

Solution 4

Minimizing Climate Change Impact

This would involve providing shade for nesting sites, raising awareness, and assisting turtles to be more resilient to change.
Pros
  1. They would maintain a good temperature
  2. The nests would be safely monitored
  3. Awareness would be raised for funding
  4. More resistant to new temperatures
Cons
  1. Not addressing fishing issue
  2. Cost of planting
  3. would not increase ocean habitat

Which Solution is the Best?

Setting Off a Section of the Ocean and Beach Off-Limits to Fisheries and Local Water Activities

Using this solution to help the endangered sea turtles will be the best option to confront these growing problems. If an area is set off on the beach, it will not only regain the sea turtle population, it will effect the entire ecosystem greatly. Many reasons support the sea turtles by making this change. The Nests and habitat will be completely protected, with employees to enforce this rule. The Coral reefs, a food source will grow better, not affected by local water activities. Also, the turtles will not have to migrate because of the surfing, snorkeling, fishing, etc. in affect to the entire environment, trash would be kept out of the ocean, cleaning the water. This solution would be useful in the Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, and off the coasts of Africa. Soon, we will hope to be seeing these protected areas for turtles popping up all over the world!