Endangered Sea Turtles: What to Know

by Skylar Belden

Of the seven species of sea turtles we have, six are listed as threatened or endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Three of them being classified as critically endangered. This is a direct result of human activities and pollution over the years.

Shared Planet has paired with Sea Turtle Conservancy to help spread awareness for dwindling turtle populations, and conservation efforts. Also, shared Planted will donate 10% of all sales from its newest release – Sea Turtle Highlighter Palette – to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Threats to Sea Turtles

Underwater image of a sea turtle swimming

Five major threats to endangered sea turtles include:

1. Fisheries

    Sea turtles are easily threatened by fisheries, as they can become fatally trapped in fishing equipment. They can be especially susceptible to equipment like longlines, trawls, or gill nets. Fisheries can cause death not only from fatal entanglements, but also through the destruction of endangered sea turtles’ natural habitats.

    Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are accidentally caught in the bycatch of fisheries. This may cause them to drown without access to the surface for air. As the fishing industry continues to grow, so does its threat to sea turtles.

    2. Coastal Development

    Sea turtles are also losing natural habitats due to coastal development. Destruction of habitats along shorelines and at nesting sites is becoming more and more common along with the rise in coastal development. Seafloor dredging can also cause destruction of endangered sea turtle habitats.

    3. Illegal Trades and Overharvesting

      Throughout the world, sea turtles are killed for their by-products. Sea turtles are killed for their parts and their eggs are taken for consumption. The shell, leather, and oils can be harvested from the turtles. Though international trading of sea turtles and their parts is illegal, it persists.

      4. Climate Change

        Climate change has affected weather and current patterns world-wide ultimately affecting sea turtle populations. Extreme weather can result in nesting sites being destroyed, and cause degradation to other sea turtle habitats. Sea turtles’ lives are heavily impacted by environmental factors such as temperature – this can even determine the sex of their offspring.

        5. Pollution

          Plastics, fishing gear, and improperly discarded waste found in the ocean can pose a threat to sea turtles through entanglement or ingestion.

          Sea turtles may mistake floating plastic for jelly fish and try to eat it. This could result in fatal outcomes. Lost of discarded fishing gear has also proven to be a thread to sea turtles. They may find themselves in fatal entanglements or getting injured by the gear.

          Trash on beaches may prevent hatchlings from reaching the beach. Or provide obstacles that make them more susceptible to prey before they reach the beach. Oil spills also pose a threat to endangered sea turtles.


          Importance of Sea Turtle Conservation 

          Image of a sea turtle underwater.

          Sea turtles have existed for over 100 million years but are now considered an endangered species. Right now, human activities pose the biggest threats to endangered sea turtles, which means humans also hold the power to making change!

          Sea turtles contribute many benefits to their ecosystem. Both marine and dune ecosystems would face negative effects if sea turtle populations continue to decline.

          A species is not considered extinct until the last living being of the species dies. Once this happens, a species cannot be recovered. This means that if sea turtles become extinct, we will not be seeing them on the planet again.

          How Shared Planet is Supporting the Cause

          Shared Planet will be donating 10% of all process from their newest release, the Sea Turtle Highlighting Palette, to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The Sea Turtle conservancy is the world’s oldest sea turtle conservation group, and they are dedicated to preserving, and recovering sea turtle populations.

          Take Action

          Sea turtle swimming under water 

          If you’re looking to learn more or get involved with Sea Turtle conservation, here’s where to start!

          1. Educate Yourself

            As always, educating yourself is the first step to taking action!

            Educate yourself on the threats posed to endangered sea turtles, their habitats, as well as current conservation efforts. If you’re looking for a place to start, our partner, Sea Turtle Conservancy, has plenty of information on their page to get you started!

            Once you have educated yourself on the topic you can implement small changes into your life to make a difference. Examples include reducing your use of single-use plastic, buying sustainable seafood, voting for representatives that protect marine life, etc.

            3. Have Conversations

              Having conversations is great way to spread information you have recently learned. It allows you to introduce friends, family, or peers to subjects they may not have information on.

              Conversations can spark a desire for change, and therefore action. Having conversations about the conservation of endangered species may be difficult, but it is necessary.

              Introduce your family and friends to the world of sea turtle conservation by sharing some facts with them. To continue the conversation, ask them for their thoughts on the matter and share your own!

              Reach out to your local organizations and public advocacy groups working to protect endangered sea turtles. Ask how to get actively involved with sea turtle conservation near you!

              4. Donate

                For those who have the means to do so, donating is a great option. Donating to sea turtle conservancies may help fund things like research, rehabilitation programs, and education programs relating to conservation efforts.

                Do your research before donating, to make sure you choose the right organization for you.

                Shared Planet has paired with Sea Turtle Conservancy. 10% of all sales from its newest release – Sea Turtle Highlighter Palette (internal link: NOT RELEASED) – will be donated to the Sea Turtle Conservancy to help protect endangered sea turtles.

                You can donate directly to the Sea Turtle Conservancy here.