Marine Turtle conservation being ramped up as populations decline
Reproduced from my personal site:
Marine turtle populations have declined drastically over recent years and now of the known 7 species, all are considered protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). By acknowledging the bleak situation we have created for sea turtles, multi-national programs have began to collaborate resources in an effort to protect the nesting grounds and ocean habitats needed for a recovery of marine turtle populations.
Many factors have contributed to the decline including the over harvesting of eggs, destructions of habitats, pollution, fishing nets, and contact with ocean vessels. These actions combined with the low survival rate of hatchlings due to predators, have escalated the need to provide a working program to address the situation.
In the Philippines and Indonesia, Green turtle eggs are being poached and collected at unsustainable record highs. Entire ecosystems deteriorate with the loss of sea turtles as eggs and even decaying hatchlings help provide nutrients to areas that lack other natural means of plant production. Also, marine grasses are dependent on grazing animals such as sea turtles, to maintain a healthy production of wide spread grass beds, as opposed to taller blades that block out sunlight to the ocean floor. These sea beds provide shelter and sustenance to many other marine animals and the decline of the sea turtle has consequences for them all.
Some species, like the Pacific leatherback, are at a critical level with fewer than 500 females coming home to nest on the beaches of Mexico and Costa Rica. Alongside natural threats, poaching appears to be the top cause of their decline. Because some females take 30 years to mature, the effects of over harvesting and fishing can take years to remedy.........