Of the 7 sea turtle species in the world, 6 of them nest in the United States and all six are classified as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
June 16th is World Sea Turtle Day, but we want to spread awareness and make a difference for sea turtles year-round. Here are 10 ways you can support the conservation of wild sea turtles around the world:
1. Say NO to plastics! Sea turtles and other marine animals often mistake plastic as food. It is estimated that more than 100 million marine animals die each year from ingesting or getting entangled in plastic. Invest in reusable bags, bottles, and straws to help eliminate waste.
2. Reduce your carbon footprint. Climate change impacts coral reefs, nesting beaches, affects male-to-female sex ratios of hatchlings, and more. Learn 5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
3. Choose responsibly caught seafood. Sea turtles often become untangled in commercial fishing methods like trawling, longlines, and gillnets. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch (also available as an app) to find turtle-friendly seafood options!
4. Leave only footprints. When you visit the beach, don’t forget to look around and pick up everything before you leave. Things like beach furniture, sandcastles, and holes can create difficult obstacles for a nesting sea turtle and could even cause death. Leave the beach clean and clear for all wildlife.
5. Volunteer! There are countless ways that you can volunteer your time to make a difference for sea turtles. Organize or attend a clean-up day - even if you don’t live near a beach, parks are important too! If in your area, join a sea turtle nesting patrol to help researchers determine nesting data. Most importantly, talk to anyone and everyone about ways they can help save sea turtles every day.
6. Minimize beach lighting. The moon guides nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, so flashlights or bright lights at beach houses can disorient turtles. Turn off exterior lighting or switch to sea turtle friendly fixtures. When walking on the beach, place a red filter over your flashlight or invest in a red-light flashlight.
7. Don’t disturb nesting females, nests, or hatchlings. We totally get it, seeing a sea turtle can be an exciting experience. Turtles can get easily spooked when starting to nest and may return back to sea without nesting, also known as a “false crawl”. Keep your distance from sea turtles and nests to ensure a safe and stress-free experience for everyone.
8. Stay alert when boating. Sea turtles are air breathing reptiles, so they need to come up to the surface fairly often. Boat and propeller strikes can seriously injure or kill turtles. Stay alert, stay in channels, avoid running over their habitat like seagrass beds, and slow down if you see a sea turtle nearby.
9. Hold the balloons! Celebrations can be just as fun without balloons, and they aren’t much fun when they come back down. Helium balloons can travel long distances and can entangle land and marine animals. Skip the balloons and check out some eco-friendly alternatives from Balloons Blow.
10. Be the voice for the voiceless. We must take a stand for those who can’t do so for themselves by spreading awareness and fighting for change. That’s why we created our Sea Turtle Conservation Collection. With every wear, you’re spreading the message for sea turtles and with every purchase we donate 10% of the proceeds to The Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Together, we can help save sea turtles - and many other species that depend on our oceans!
How much do you know about sea turtles? Put your knowledge to the test and take our sea turtle quiz!