5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Save Sea Turtles
1. Avoid Using Plastic Bags. One of the foods that Sea Turtles consume are Jellyfish. These can easily be mistaken for plastic bags. If ingested, plastic bags can cause blockages within a Sea Turtle's digestive systems and eventually lead to their death. How do the plastic bags get into the ocean? Most trash reaches the ocean via rivers, and 80% originates from landfills and other urban sources.
Right here in South Florida, a known popular Sea Turtle breeding ground, I have removed over 105 pounds of trash - mostly plastic from the New River in Fort Lauderdale from my kayak.
I can tell you from first hand experience that there is unfortunately a lot of plastic in our local rivers as well as other waterways. Recuding the use of plastic bags will definitely help.
2. Fisheries Bycatch. Approximately 40% of all animals caught in fisheries are discarded as trash. Trawls, longlines, driftnets, gillnets, pots, and traps are all responsible for the death of marine creatures by incidental capture or entanglement. You can help eliminate fisheries bycatch by choosing seafood that is sustainable and fished according to regulations.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium SeaFood Watch program offers a section on their SeaFoodWatch.org website called What Consumers Can Do.
Check out each of the links on their site to learn more about making ocean-friendly choices when you eat seafood and be sure to download their app so that you have the information readily available to you where ever you go.
3. Light Pollution. If you or someone you know lives near a Sea Turtle breeding area, make sure that you avoid using certain lights during the breeding season. The video below explains how light pollution effects baby Sea Turtles.
Contact your local Sea Turtle conservation organization for how your area prepares for Sea Turtle breeding season.
4. Properly Dispose of Fishing Materials. Improperly discarding monofilament fishing lines can have devastating effects on all marine life, especially Sea Turtles. They can get entangled in it or ingest the line which unfortunately leads to their death. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has a Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program. The program makes it possible for these recycling bins (pictured below) to be placed throughout the state near fishing spots.
5. Leave the beach as you found it. Everyone loves building sand castles but these can create an unwanted obstacle course for Sea Turtles trying to come ashore to lay their eggs. Holes from lounge chairs and umbrellas can also be a problem for Sea Turtles. We want to make it as easy as possible for them, as well as for the babies, to get back to the ocean once they hatch. So be sure to return the sand to a nice, even level for them once you are done for the day. This includes picking up all of your trash as well. Trash creates a problem for the adult Sea Turtles as well as for the babies.
Bonus: Reduce Your Waste and Save Money in the process
You can learn more about reducing the amount of trash that you produce by downloading our Free Zero Waste Cheat Sheet (written by zero waste artist Sarah a.k.a. Gemini Baubles). It will show you some really easy ways to reduce your waste as well as save money. Simply fill out the form below and we will email you a copy right away.
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