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A Call to Action: Together For The Conservation of Our Oceans and Sea Turtles

A Call to Action: Together For The Conservation of Our Oceans and Sea Turtles

Oceans cover most of our planet and are vital for life. A few days ago, on June 8th, World Ocean Day was celebrated. Established by the United Nations, its goal is to create conscience about the importance of these vast water bodies and promote their conservation.  World Sea Turtle Day happened some days later, on June 16th.

These dates are an opportunity to reflect on our commitment to the environment. At Quivira Los Cabos we always try to implement sustainable practices and promote environmental education, including the preservation of sea turtles.

Our oceans

Oceans represent more than 70% of our planet’s surface and are home to a great variety of sea life. They are an important source of pure air, food and even medicines. However, they also suffer from overfishing, climate change and plastic pollution. In fact, around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the sea each year. At this pace, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea if we do not take urgent measures to reduce our environmental footprint.

Actions to protect our oceans

Several actions have been carried out globally, such as the following:

  • Creating protected marine areas: Governments and international organizations have established a network of protected marine areas whose objective is to preserve critical habitats, preserve endangered species and promote the recovery of degraded marine ecosystems.
  • Reducing plastic pollution: Several actions have been implemented across the world such as prohibiting single-use plastics, promoting circular economy and awareness about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics. These measures seek to prevent plastics from entering the oceans and reducing their impact on marine life.
  • Promoting sustainable fishing. Fishing management measures have been taken worldwide, such as the adoption of fishing quotas, promotion of selective fishing practices and the prohibition of illegal unregulated fishing. By promoting sustainable fishing, the aim is to maintain the health of fish stocks and protect marine ecosystems.
  • International agreements on climate change. International treaties such as the Paris Agreement seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the increase in global temperature.  The High Seas Treaty was recently signed with the objective to protect 30% of the oceans, invest in marine conservation and regulate the use of marine resources.

The crucial role of sea turtles

Sea turtles are among the longest living animals; they exist since 110 million years ago. Their role is very important in ecological balance as they transport nutrients, remove sand from the beaches and they feed on sponges and jellyfish, with which they keep control of the population and our ocean’s health.

There are seven species of sea turtles: the flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus),  

the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), the hawskbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea, one of the most common species in the Los Cabos beaches), and the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii).  Three species nest at the Quivira beaches on a regular basis: olive ridley, leatherback and the green one. 

Unfortunately, they are at risk due to fishing and their habitat being destroyed. Not only do developments and plastic destroy their nesting places; their meat, shells and eggs are highly valued. Climate change also affects them.

Measures to protect sea turtles

  • Legal protection: Many countries have created laws to protect these species.
  • Educational campaigns: With local fishermen to promote sustainable practices.
  • National programs dedicated exclusively to monitoring and researching local populations.
  • Habitat preservation: It’s important to protect places where turtles nest and lay their eggs.

In Mexico, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) performs inspections and surveillance in order to protect sea turtles in Mexican shorelines. It is also in charge of guaranteeing that the Sea Turtles Excluding Devices (DET) are properly installed and used in shrimp trawling done by the Mexican fleet to prevent sea turtle bycatch. 

At Quivira Los Cabos, we have protected this endangered species since 19 years ago. Each year we release around 200 thousand turtle hatchlings. Besides, our beaches are an important nesting area and boost their breeding cycle.

Five fun facts about turtles

  1. Only one in each 1,000 turtles reaches adulthood because of predators such as crabs, foxes and birds. 
  2. They can lay more than 150 eggs per nest and can nest many times per season, with which they compensate the high mortality rates.
  3. Turtles go back to spawn to the beach where they were born.
  4. Along their lives, turtles migrate thousands of miles at a speed between 17 and 22 mph, looking for beaches to nest.
  5. Turtles go back to the same beach but at a different location, which is why we at Quivira have built a corral that is always changing position, to protect them from humans and predators.

As part of this planet, we should all be committed to the protection and preservation of our ecosystems. Remember that sustainable practices that care for our environment can be promoted with small and big actions.