Green Turtle

All 8 species of sea turtles, including the green turtle, are endangered or threatened due to vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts during all life-stages.

Green turtles, like other sea turtle species, are particularly susceptible to population declines because of their vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts during all life-stages: from eggs to adults.

A number of incidental threats impact green turtles around the world. These threats affect both terrestrial and marine environments and include bycatch in marine fisheries, habitat degradation at nesting beaches and feeding areas, and disease. Mortality associated with entanglement in marine fisheries is the primary incidental threat. Responsible fishing techniques include drift netting, shrimp trawling, dynamite fishing, and long-lining.

Degradation of both nesting beach habitat and marine habitats also play a role in the decline of many green turtle stocks. Nesting habitat degradation results from the construction of buildings, beach armoring and re-nourishment, and sand extraction. These factors may directly, through loss of beach habitat, or indirectly, through changing thermal profiles and increasing erosion, serve to decrease the quantity and quality of nesting area available to females, and may evoke a change in the natural behaviors of adults and hatchlings.

Habitat degradation in marine environments results from increased effluent and contamination from coastal development, construction of marinas, increased boat traffic, and harvest of nearshore marine algae resources. Combined, these impacts diminish the health of coastal marine ecosystems and can adversely affect green turtles. Degradation of marine habitats has also been implicated in the increasing prevalence of the tumor-causing Fibropapilloma disease.

Sources: (Ackerman, 1997; George, 1997; Lutcavage, Plotkin, Witherington, & Lutz, 1997; National Geographic Society; Seminoff, 2004)
Image: Dustin Haney


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