How Beachgoers can help Marine Turtles Thrive
Posted on October 1st, 2020
Central Queensland has some of the most important marine turtle nesting sites in the world!
Fitzroy Basin Association is the proud host of Team Turtle CQ, a citizen science initiative engaging volunteers across the Curtis and Capricorn Coasts to monitor and record turtle nests, tracks and hatchlings over the October-March period.
In last year’s season, 36 Team Turtle CQ volunteers recorded 282 marine turtle tracks across the Curtis and Capricorn Coasts. That’s roughly at least one turtle track for every kilometre of CQ’s coastline!
With only 1 in 1000 hatchlings surviving past adolescence, it is critical that we take whatever steps we can to reduce human impacts on turtle hatchling survival
Here’s how you can give these vulnerable to extinction or endangered animals the best chance at surviving:
Keep Dogs on Leads
Hatchlings have enough predators to dodge without adding domestic animals to the mix. If you are walking the beach in hope of sighing hatchlings, please keep your pets at home. Additionally, keep your dog on a lead when walking the beaches during nesting and hatchling season
Do not Disturb
If you’re lucky enough to spot a marine turtle (or evidence of a nest) observe but don’t disturb. Queensland became the first jurisdiction in the world to protect all marine turtle species within its borders and as such anyone found interfering with them in any way will face substantial fines.
By now most people have been shocked by the image of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose, however, the damage that rubbish does on marine life doesn’t stop there. Discarded plastic bags, fishing tackle and other rubbish doesn’t just disappear – it remains in the environment for a long, long time. By disposing of rubbish correctly, you can actively prevent adult and hatchling turtles from getting caught on their way to and from the ocean.
Do not Start Fires
Beach fires change the sand’s biology making the sand darker, increasing its temperature and making it an unsuitable nesting habitat. Turtles also prefer the dark, associating light with humans. Beach fires can deter turtles from laying their eggs and wasting more energy in finding another location to lay.
Lower your glow
Artificial lights near breeding beaches disorientate hatchlings leading them to wander onto land. Cut the glow to help turtles go..
Watch where you go
If you’re out and about in your boat keep an eye out for turtles afloat. Boat and propeller strikes are a major cause of turtle injury.
To report a stranding of sick, injured or dead marine animals please call the Queensland Department of Environment and Science on 1300 130 372.