It’s sea turtle season again on the Crystal Coast! We’ve got you covered with this Sea Turtle Tracker for 2019 to keep up to date on how many nests and eggs are laid on our local beaches. Check out the counts in Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Indian Beach, Cape Lookout, and Fort Macon below!
Did you know there are only seven species of sea turtles worldwide, and six are listed as threatened or endangered in the United States?
Although the most common species in North Carolina is the Loggerhead sea turtle, five sea turtle species regularly visit North Carolina waters: the Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Green, and Hawksbill. However, only Loggerhead, Green, and Leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs on North Carolina beaches. These species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered in the United States.
Many sea turtle populations worldwide are declining. The existing seven species face different dangers, both on nesting beaches and in the ocean. Some of the threats that turtles face in North Carolina include
development and heavy traffic on beaches that can disrupt adults or destroy incubating eggs
indirect capture by fishing nets, which can lead to injury or death
accidental collisions with boats
beach renourishment activities that can uncover or compact sea turtle nests
general ocean pollution – especially plastic bags. Sea turtles can confuse these plastic bags with one of their main food sources – jellyfish.
What You Can Do to Help
Because our native sea turtles are endangered, it is important to do our best to preserve their natural habitat. For the health and well-being of our sea turtles, please make sure to take these tips seriously when vacationing on the Crystal Coast with us.
Use red filters on flashlights when walking on the beach at night
Do not disturb turtle nests or nesting sea turtles
Turn off all outside lights facing the beachfront during the nesting season
Keep dogs on a leash
Fill in all the holes you dig
Remove all tents, toys, and beach gear overnight
Reduce beach traffic around sea turtle nests to prevent nest compaction
Dispose of trash in an appropriate manner
Be careful when navigating watercraft to prevent turtle collisions and injuries
Join a conservation organization to remain updated on current sea turtle conservation efforts.
Call the Emerald Isle Police non-emergency number at (252) 354-2021 or the Atlantic Beach Police non-emergency number at (252) 726-2523 if you see an injured, nesting, or hatching turtle – OR if you see anyone disturbing a marked turtle nest area