Coral Triangle turtles
Turtles are a fundamental link in the Coral Triangle’s fragile chain and they help maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs. Turtles also have major cultural and social significance, and attract visitors from around the world. For local residents, these visitors are a vital source of income.
Leatherback and loggerhead marine turtles are at risk of vanishing from the Pacific Ocean altogether. In the Coral Triangle, several factors threaten all turtle species, including illegal trade and direct consumption (meat, eggs, shell, leather, curios), bycatch (trawlers, longlines, gill nets), habitat destruction and alteration (coastal tourism, industrial development), pollution, disease and climate change. In Indonesia, alone, it is estimated that as many as 7,700 turtles are accidentally killed each year in shrimp trawls and tuna longlines.
The benefits of saving marine turtles go far beyond simply protecting these remarkable creatures. Conservation efforts will make fisheries more sustainable and provide benefits to small communities. But to be effective, turtle conservation calls for protection of the full range of destinations visited by turtles during their lifetime – beaches, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, the open ocean and migratory paths that span multiple countries.