Despite global efforts to protect and conserve sea turtles, turtle populations have declined significantly, and of the seven species found in the world, three are classified by the United Nations as Endangered, and three as Critically Endangered.
In Australia sea turtles are protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Most of the significant nesting areas (‘rookeries’) for all species of turtles in eastern Queensland have been declared protected habitat under this Act and include key sites such as Mon Repos Conservation Park, Woongarra Marine Park and the Moreton Bay Marine Park.
Here on the Gold Coast, we have a number of sea turtle species visiting that are listed as nationally vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered in Australia. ‘Vulnerable’ means that the species may become endangered if threats to survival continue where as ‘Endangered’, indicates that the species may become extinct if the threats to survival continue.
It is an offense to handle or interfere with sea turtles at any life stage. Please become familiar with the responsible turtle watching guidelines discussed in the following lessons.
If you find a sick or injured sea turtle, call Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) on 1300 130 372 or the Sea World Rescue Team who are available 24/7 on 07 5588 2222 (9:00am to 5:00pm) or 07 5588 2177 (After Hours).
If you assist in anyway (e.g. remove a lure) you must inform QPWS within 72 hours.