Today (5 March 2022) is the start of Seaweek Australia, celebrating and raising awareness of our oceans and marine creatures. So, let’s talk about this beautiful Australian marine animal!
The Leatherback Turtle, the world’s largest turtle, sometimes visits the Hawkesbury-Nepean estuary. In the 1970s, Leatherbacks would frequent the waters of Broken Bay. Sadly, now you would be lucky to see one as they are currently endangered in NSW.
Jellyfish are Leatherbacks’ meal of choice, but they also eat sea urchins, squid, fish and floating seaweed. They can eat up to twice their whopping 900kg body weight every day!
Unfortunately, plastic bags and other plastic waste can be mistaken for jellyfish. When eaten, the plastic can cause intestinal blockages which can be deadly.
Collisions with boats and accidental entanglement with fishing gear have also played a role in reducing Leatherback Turtle numbers.
Here is a list of suggestions of how we can help our Leatherback Turtles:
- Say no to single-use plastic
- Join river/beach clean up events
- Pick up litter on your walks and at the beach
- If you are a boat user, take care to avoid hitting turtles with boats or propellers