Nest Monitoring

If you are interested in using the Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System to manage sea turtle monitoring data in your area, please contact nestdb@seaturtle.org.

 

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Monitoring is taking place at sea turtle nesting beaches around the world. The nesting data collected at these monitoring sites is typically gathered by local (individual beach) organizations and aggregated at the state or national level under the direction of a state or national coordinator. In most cases the exact data collected and the method of storage (database format and software) varies from state to state and in some cases between individual organizations within a state.

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This makes it difficult to compare data across broad geographic scales, something that is critical to the proper monitoring and assessment of threatened and endangered sea turtle species that ignore state and national boundaries. SEATURTLE.ORG has created the Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring System as a data management network to help organizations distributed around the world to collect and store data in a standardized format for real-time comparison and monitoring of all participating nesting beaches. The system has been designed in cooperation with sea turtle coordinators in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

 

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Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean.There has been some movement to protect these areas. On the east coast of Florida, parts of the beach known to harbor turtle nests are protected by fences. Conservationists have monitored hatchings, relocating lost baby turtles and relocated them to the beach.

 

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 Since hatchlings find their way to the ocean by crawling towards the brightest horizon, they can become disoriented on developed stretches of coastline. Lighting restrictions can prevent lights from shining on the beach and confusing hatchlings. Sea turtle-safe lighting uses red or amber LED light, invisible to sea turtles, in place of white light.

 

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Eggs sold on a market of Malaysia
Another major threat to sea turtles is black-market trade in eggs and meat. This is a problem throughout the world, but especially a concern in China, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and the coastal nations of Latin America. Estimates reach as high as 35,000 sea turtles killed a year in Mexico and the same number in Nicaragua. Conservationists in Mexico and the United States have launched "Don't Eat Sea Turtle" campaigns in order to reduce this trade in sea turtle products.

 

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These campaigns have involved figures such as Dorismar, Los Tigres del Norte and Maná. Sea turtles are often consumed during the Catholic season of Lent, even though they are reptiles, not fish.

Consequently, conservation organizations have written letters to the Pope asking that he declare sea turtles meat illegal to eat.