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NOAA Fisheries Celebrates Sea Turtle Week 2016

A Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries
June 13, 2016

More Information

Sea Turtle Week 2016

Reddit AMA: Sea Turtle DNA Detectives

VIDEO --Species in the Spotlight: Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Recovery

VIDEO -- The Science Behind a Florida Sea Turtle Study

PODCAST -- Putting the World in World Sea Turtle Day

Nothing is more beautiful or fun to watch than a sea turtle wending its way through the water. Unless perhaps seeing newly hatched sea turtles scurrying across the beach toward the waves. It doesn’t get much better than that, especially if you are devoted to the conservation and recovery of these fascinating creatures.

This is our third annual Sea Turtle Week at NOAA and we are celebrating all things sea turtles and highlighting the conservation work that we and our partners do every day. This year we are diving deeper into our Species in the Spotlight Initiative to focus on the conservation of the critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle. To help tell the story, we developed a new  video that highlights eastern and western Pacific leatherbacks. Tragically, since the 1980s, eastern Pacific leatherbacks have declined by 97 percent and western Pacific leatherbacks by 80 percent. Through our Action Plan, we have identified critical actions to reverse the decline. To highlight some of these activities, we are debuting a new podcast about work with local communities in Indonesia, where most of the remaining western Pacific leatherbacks nest.

In addition to our focus on Pacific leatherbacks this year, we have a new story about our work to assess the harm to green, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtles from the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. This oil spill necessitated the largest response effort ever to rescue sea turtles at sea and on nesting beaches, and will require a similarly extensive program to bring sea turtles and their habitats back to where they were before the spill.

On World Sea Turtle Day, June 16, we will host a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with Dr. Peter Dutton of our Southwest Fisheries Science Center to discuss how we use genetic tools to learn about and conserve sea turtles.

The conservation and recovery of sea turtles is a long-term commitment. Public support for our work is critical to sustain these important conservation efforts. Sea Turtle Week is an opportunity to share with our friends, families, colleagues and our larger communities why it is important to conserve and recover sea turtles, as well as what we can do to help preserve these magnificent animals.  There is so much each of us can do, such as making efforts to reduce bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries; boating carefully in areas where sea turtles nest, feed, and migrate; choosing sustainable seafood caught in ways that do not harm sea turtles; and cleaning up debris on the beaches and in the water. Check out our "What Can You Do?" page to learn how you can make a difference. Please join me this week and do one thing to improve sea turtle conservation and recovery.



Eileen Sobeck
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries