Main reason why sea turtles are being threatened is because of human activity. One human activity that puts sea turtles at risk is beach nourishment. Beach nourishment consists of pumping, trucking, or depositing sand on the beach to replace what has been lost to erosion. This can disturb nesting turtles and even bury turtle nests during the nesting season. “The sand brought in might differ from native beach sediments and can affect nest-site selection, digging behavior, incubation temperature, et.” (Committee on Sea Turtle Conservation et. Al). Another dangerous human activity is increased human presence.
Resident and tourist use of developed nesting beaches can affect nesting turtles, incubating egg clutches, and hatchlings. According to the Committee on Sea Turtle Conservation et. Al, nesting beaches heavily used by pedestrians might have low rates of hatchling emergence, because of compaction of the sand above nests, and pedestrian tracks can interfere with the ability of hatchling turtles to reach the ocean. Poaching is another human activity that compromises the lives of sea turtles. Sea turtles are poached for their meat and sometimes their body parts. Its skin is often times used to make accessories such as purses, shoes, jewelry, etc. (Shattuck, Foran). In addition, sea turtle shells are often traded. Hawksbill sea turtles are recognized for their gold and brown shells. They have been hunted for centuries to make luxury items and as a result, these turtles are listed as critically endangered. Turtle eggs and meat are also illegally traded. Turtle eggs are considered to be an aphrodisiac in many places and their meat is still consumed even though both are illegal in most places.
Another human activity that endangers sea turtles is shoreline armoring. Shoreline armoring is the construction of barriers or structures for the purpose of preventing coastal erosion. “By altering water flow and erosion and deposition and creating physical barriers, some types of shoreline armoring prevents sea turtles from reaching their nesting sites on shore. Fishing also puts the sea turtles at risk. The development of highly industrialized fisheries contributes to the endangerment because “the most economical fishing method involves pulling multiple nets under water for extended periods of time” (Blanchfield). As juvenile sea turtles approach the adult stage, their risk of death at the hands of humans increases because they tend to start making habitats where fishermen work. Because of this, it is possible for a sea turtle to take the bait of a recreational fisherman or drown in commercial gill nets (Spotila 78).
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