Entanglement in marine debris can cause restricted mobility, drowning, starvation, smothering and wounding, which can also lead to infections, amputation of limbs and death.

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Marine Turtle Information

Marine turtles have been swimming in the oceans since the time of the dinosaurs. These ancient mariners have stood the test of time, but as time goes by it becomes increasingly obvious that they need our help!

The Great Barrier Reef is known to be home to six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles; the green, flatback, hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley and loggerhead turtle. Some are frequently encountered such as the green and loggerhead, whilst others are seldom seen such as the olive ridley and leatherback. Each of these are considered to be vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (the flatback turtle is considered data deficient but is also likely also to be experiencing population decline).

Marine turtles are highly mobile animals, travelling hundreds of kilometers between feeding, breeding and nesting sites throughout their lifetime. They are long lived creatures with a long maturation time, meaning they need to survive anywhere between 20 – 45 years before they can reproduce and create the next generation of turtles!

It is both natural and human induced threats that are impacting the marine turtle populations, with turtle strandings being reported along the Queensland coastline in alarming numbers in recent years. It is therefore essential that local communities become involved in protecting these animals.

In the Whitsunday region some of the biggest threats to our marine turtles include fishing activities, marine debris, poor water quality and boat strikes. With so much activity in the waters surrounding the Whitsunday Islands, and indeed all the way along the Queensland coast, it is not surprising to find that 15% of the turtle strandings in Queensland are related to boat strike.

 

 

 

 

Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 171,316 kilograms