From October until January mother marine turtles will arrive on our central Queensland beaches to dig their nests and lay eggs. Marine turtles have been repeating this process annually for over 150 million years, however, with six of the seven species struggling to survive this event is more magic and important than ever. To give the next generation of turtles a fighting chance Team Turtle CQ volunteers and Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) are already working hard and are asking all central Queenslanders for help.
Central Queensland has some of the most important marine turtle nesting sites in the world. Four species of endangered marine turtles nest along our Curtis and Capricorn beaches and welcome the next generation of hatchlings each year. While tourists flock to our beaches in the hopes of spotting a shelled creature, our region’s turtle guardians have the significantly less glamourous job of around the clock observing, monitoring and reporting.
Marine debris affects marine turtles throughout their lifecycles. Mother turtles may give up on laying eggs if they cannot dig through the rubbish on nesting beaches. Hatchlings may never find their way from egg to ocean if they become disorientated or entangled in land-based rubbish. In the ocean, turtles may eat plastic waste (especially plastic bags that look like jellyfish) which can cause injuries to their internal organs and sometimes result in death.
You can help turtles by trying to reduce, avoid and recycle!
Reduce the amount of plastic that you consume by looking for waste-free alternatives;
Avoid microplastics. Microplastics are pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm, are found in many supermarket products and can be harmful to sea turtles and other marine species.
Recycle and be mindful of where your rubbish might end up. The streams and rivers in our region all lead to the Great Barrier Reef and the connected oceans. Ensure that your rubbish doesn’t get ingested by a sea turtle by disposing of your rubbish thoughtfully.
If you spot an injured marine turtle or one in need please contact 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625). For more information visit this Department of Environment and Science webpage.