The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified five significant hazards to sea turtles:
Sea turtles virtually everywhere are affected by fisheries, especially longlines, gill nets, and trawls. The most severe of these impacts are death after entanglement, habitat destruction, and food web changes.
2. Direct Take
People throughout the world kill sea turtles and their eggs for food, and products including oil, leather, and shell.
3. Coastal Development
Sea turtle habitats are degraded and destroyed by coastal development, shoreline and seafloor alterations, such as nesting beach degradation, seafloor dredging, vessel traffic, construction, and change of vegetation.
Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement. Light pollution disrupts nesting behavior and causes hatchling death by leading them away from the sea. Chemical pollutants can weaken sea turtles’ immune systems, making them susceptible to disease.
5. Climate change
Climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events, resulting in loss of nesting beaches, and cause other alterations to critical sea turtle habitats and basic oceanographic processes. It may impact natural gender ratios of hatchlings and increase the likelihood of disease outbreaks for sea turtles.
Sources: Caribbean Conservation Corporation and Todd Steiner, Sea Turtle Restoration Project.