Pollution

Water pollution both by organic or inorganic compounds (e.g. oil, garbage, and sewage) interferes in sea turtle feeding and movements, interfering with their life cycles. The ingestion of plastic bags (whcih are often confused for jellyfish and other soft-body animals), or entanglement of sea turtles in abandoned fishing nets, often leads to the death of these animals.

I was diving in the Malaysian's water off Pulau Tioman. My buddy spotted this drift-net with a trapped turtle. After photographing it, we call all the other divers in to cut up the nets and disposed it when we get back on land. The net measured up to about 30m in length. Sad to say the turtle did not make it.

The excess on nutrient discharges near the coastal areas are also be very damaging not only for the sea turtles but to all living beings as well. The excess nutrients may cause algal blooms, that may clog up the water column, reduce water quality affecting numerous species, and promote the growth of nocive disease-causing bacteria.

 

Activities like drilling, exploitation, extraction and exportation of gas and oil have intensified in the last years, activities which will continue in the near future. These activities present different threat levels and intensities to sea tutles and their critical habitats, such as nesting, foraging, resting and development grounds, as well as migratory routes. The ipacts can be both short as well as long-term, depending on the type of activity and timing of the year.

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Bjorndal-restoration-oil-spill-Gulf-of-Mexico-Science-2011

The impact of oil products and their toxicity in sea turtles are largely unknown; nevertheless it is known that these animals are vulnerable to oil spills at all the stages of their life cycle. The documented effects include increased mortality rate, embryo deformations, and health complications as a result of exposure and contact of the oil with the skin, blood, digestive tube, immunologic system and salt glands of the turtles, for example.