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Sea Turtle Strandings in the Gulf of Mexico

  kemp's ridley turtle
Kemp's Ridley Turtle
(Lepidochelys kempii)
Photo: NOAA


» Sea turtle photos

Increase in Sea Turtle Strandings

The Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) has documented large numbers of stranded sea turtles in the north-central Gulf of Mexico since 2010. The majority of these turtles have been endangered Kemp's ridleys, loggerhead, and green turtles. The STSSN is monitoring and investigating this increase. Please refer to our FAQs for more information.

Data

Data are compiled through the efforts of network participants who document sea turtle strandings in their respective areas and contribute those data to the centralized STSSN database.

2013 Sea Turtle Strandings Documented in AL, LA, MS, and TX (upper TX coast: zone 18)
545 total strandings in 2013, through August 25, 2013

Alabama
Strandings
2013
Total
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec
2013
Loggerhead 6 0 0 0 2 2 2 0 0 - - - -
Green 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 - - - -
Leatherback 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 - - - -
Kemp's ridley 29 0 0 2 11 10 3 3 0 - - - -
Unidentified 4 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 - - - -
Total 44 0 0 3 13 15 8 5 0 - - - -
 
Louisiana
Strandings
2013
Total
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec
2013
Loggerhead 6 0 1 0 0 3 1 0 1 - - - -
Green 4 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 - - - -
Leatherback 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - -
Kemp's ridley 145 0 1 4 67 73 0 0 0 - - - -
Unidentified 42 1 0 0 11 30 0 0 0 - - - -
Total 198 1 3 5 79 108 1 0 1 - - - -
 
Mississippi
Strandings
2013
Total
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec
2013
Loggerhead 11 0 0 1 1 4 3 1 1 - - - -
Green 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 - - - -
Leatherback 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - - - -
Kemp's ridley 176 0 0 2 94 55 17 6 2 - - - -
Unidentified 6 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 - - - -
Total 196 0 0 3 95 62 22 10 4 - - - -
 
Texas
Strandings
(for the
Upper Coast:
Zone 18)
2013
Total
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec
2013
Loggerhead 19 0 0 0 4 5 5 3 2 - - - -
Green 19 4 1 0 5 6 2 1 0 - - - -
Hawksbill 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 - - - -
Kemp's ridley 66 0 0 1 41 15 1 5 3 - - - -
Unidentified 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - - - -
Total 107 4 1 1 51 27 8 10 5 - - - -

2013 Map of Sea Turtle Strandings in the Gulf of Mexico

This map represents the sea turtle strandings documented from January 1, 2013-July 14, 2013 for which location information has been received. Each species is shown in a different shape.

map of turtle strandings 2013




2012 Sea Turtle Strandings Documented in AL, LA, MS, and TX (upper TX coast: zone 18)
466 total strandings in 2012

Alabama
Strandings
2012
Total
Jan
2012
Feb
2012
Mar
2012
Apr
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
Aug
2012
Sep
2012
Oct
2012
Nov
2012
Dec
2012
Loggerhead 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Green 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0
Leatherback 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kemp's ridley 52 0 0 6 19 5 7 8 2 0 2 3 0
Unidentified 5 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Total 65 0 0 8 21 6 9 9 3 1 2 5 1
 
Louisiana
Strandings
2012
Total
Jan
2012
Feb
2012
Mar
2012
Apr
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
Aug
2012
Sep
2012
Oct
2012
Nov
2012
Dec
2012
Loggerhead 3 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Green 9 2 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1
Kemp's ridley 100 3 4 37 20 16 8 6 2 1 1 0 2
Unidentified 15 0 0 0 3 2 1 0 7 0 2 0 0
Total 127 5 5 41 23 18 10 7 11 1 3 0 3
 
Mississippi
Strandings
2012
Total
Jan
2012
Feb
2012
Mar
2012
Apr
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
Aug
2012
Sep
2012
Oct
2012
Nov
2012
Dec
2012
Loggerhead 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Green 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kemp's ridley 153 2 0 56 47 20 14 6 0 3 3 1 1
Unidentified 5 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total 162 4 0 58 49 20 14 8 0 4 3 1 1
 
Texas
Strandings
(for the
Upper Coast:
Zone 18)
2012
Total
Jan
2012
Feb
2012
Mar
2012
Apr
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
Aug
2012
Sep
2012
Oct
2012
Nov
2012
Dec
2012
Loggerhead 15 0 1 1 6 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 1
Green 34 1 0 0 7 8 1 4 0 4 2 1 6
Leatherback 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hawksbill 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kemp's ridley 60 1 2 18 13 7 2 2 3 3 1 3 5
Unidentified 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 112 2 3 19 27 19 4 7 3 8 3 5 12

2012 Map of Sea Turtle Strandings in the Gulf of Mexico

This map represents the sea turtle strandings documented from January 1, 2012-November 9, 2012 for which location information has been received. Each species is shown in a different shape.

map of turtle strandings 2012
(click for larger image)




2011 Sea Turtle Strandings Documented in AL, LA, and MS
525 total strandings in 2011, through December 31, 2011
*2011 data are pending validation

Alabama
Strandings
2011
Total
Jan
2011
Feb
2011
Mar
2011
Apr
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
Aug
2011
Sep
2011
Oct
2011
Nov
2011
Dec
2011
Loggerhead 10 0 1 1 1 0 4 1 0 0 1 1 0
Green 4 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kemp's ridley 66 0 0 6 21 11 11 8 7 1 2 0 0
Unidentified 14 0 0 1 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Total 94 2 1 9 27 16 16 10 7 1 3 1 1
 
Louisiana
Strandings
2011
Total
Jan
2011
Feb
2011
Mar
2011
Apr
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
Aug
2011
Sep
2011
Oct
2011
Nov
2011
Dec
2011
Loggerhead 19 1 0 4 1 5 3 0 0 0 0 5 0
Green 6 0 2 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kemp's ridley 104 0 2 15 24 13 21 10 0 3 5 7 4
Unidentified 19 1 0 3 1 1 7 0 0 3 1 0 2
Total 148 2 4 22 29 19 32 10 0 6 6 12 6
 
Mississippi
Strandings
2011
Total
Jan
2011
Feb
2011
Mar
2011
Apr
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
Aug
2011
Sep
2011
Oct
2011
Nov
2011
Dec
2011
Loggerhead 4 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Green 7 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Kemp's ridley 265 2 1 47 128 31 31 14 3 4 2 2 1
Unidentified 7 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
Total 283 3 1 48 134 33 33 17 3 5 2 3 1

2011 Map of Sea Turtle Strandings in the Gulf of Mexico

This map represents the sea turtle strandings documented from January 1, 2011-December 31, 2011 for which location information has been received. Each species is shown in a different shape.
*2011 data are pending validation

map of turtle strandings 2011
(click for larger image)


FAQs

What is the STSSN?

The Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) was formally established in 1980 to collect information on and document strandings of marine turtles along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. The network encompasses the coastal areas of the 18 states from Maine through Texas, and includes portions of the U.S. Caribbean.

What is a "stranding"?

Strandings are defined as turtles that wash ashore, dead or alive, or are found floating dead or alive (generally in a weakened condition).

What is causing the increase in strandings?

There are many possible reasons for the increase in strandings in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, both natural and human caused. We are working with the STSSN and the states to investigate potential causes, including:

Efforts are underway to collect sea turtle carcasses for examination to try to determine the cause of death. A cause of death in sea turtles is often difficult to pinpoint, especially in carcasses that are not fresh. Most sea turtle carcasses wash ashore moderately or severely decomposed and some are too decomposed to provide meaningful information.

What sea turtle species can be found in the area?

There are 5 species of sea turtles known to inhabit the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Atlantic, and all are protected under the Endangered Species Act:

More Information

To learn more about sea turtles and how NOAA was involved in their rescue during the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, please visit our websites.

Updated: August 28, 2013

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