Everything You Need To Know About World Sea Turtle Day
Did you know that there is a day set aside for the sole purpose of celebrating sea turtles? There is! What better way to pay tribute to these amazing aquatic reptiles than by making this year's World Sea Turtle Day extra special and meaningful. None!
So how much do you know about World Sea Turtle Day? Let's find out.
When is World Sea Turtle Day?World Sea Turtle Day happens every June 16th. (For the record, there's also a World Turtle Day on May 23 that encompasses all species of turtles and tortoises.)
What is World Sea Turtle Day?
Why is World Sea Turtle Day important?
World Sea Turtle Day is a constant reminder of what we can do on our local beaches and along our coastlines to preserve and protect nesting female sea turtles, sea turtle hatchlings and the greater sea turtle population at large. With deadly threats at every stage of their lifecycle, it's imperative that we are informed and proactive as human beings who share the Earth with this long-time residents.
According to the World Wildlife Federation:
"Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster and tuna. Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and traveled our seas for the last 100 million years. Turtles have major cultural significance and tourism value."
The four biggest threats to the sea turtle population are:
- Bycatch: The incidental capture of non-target species when fishing.
- Illegal Trade & Consumption: Used for meat, eggs, shell, leather, curios.
- Habitat Loss: Uncontrolled coastal development destroys or disturbs nesting beaches.
- Climate Change: Global warming could skew sex ratios, resulting in more females.
How can you help?The good news is that everyone can help! Whether you're vacationing on the beach or sitting at your desk in your home office or discussing it around the dinner table, there really is something everybody can do to make a difference in the world of a sea turtle.
Here are a few of the best ways to help sea turtles near and far:
»Adopt a sea turtle.«
If you're on the beach during sea turtle nesting and hatching season, remember to keep these things in mind:
- If you see a turtle nest, leave it alone! Nests are protected by federal and state laws, and harming one can lead to hefty fines and even prison.
- Turn out the lights at night near nesting beaches. Artificial light may disorient hatchlings and distract them from making their dash to the sea.
- When you leave the beach, level the playing field for sea turtles. Knock down your sand castles, fill in holes, and remove everything you brought with you, including gear, food and trash.
- Dispose of trash properly and use reusable bags. Litter on the beach is just one wind gust away from becoming marine debris. Turtles can mistake plastic bags for food and get tangled up in kite strings, six-pack rings and fishing lines.
- Never release balloons outdoors. Balloons that find their way to the ocean are choking hazards for many types of marine life, including sea turtles.
Happy World Sea Turtle Day!
What's one thing you can pledge to do this World Sea Turtle Day? We'd love to hear it!