Turning the tide for Sea Turtles

Editorial

Loss of nesting habitat is the most serious threat for critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles

Hawksbills must locate a beach that is wide enough for their eggs to complete the 60 day incubation without being washed over by the sea. The sand needs to be deep enough to allow the safe burial of up to 150 eggs. Turtles prefer to nest on dark beaches where natural vegetation grows. Here their hatchlings can reach the sea without being disorientated by lights.
Beachfront property owners, developers, and hotel managers can help by ensuring that seaward boundaries are at least 10m from the High Water Mark. A post and chain link fence or a hedge can be used to delineate a boundary without impeding access to sea turtles. 
 
Storms and seasonal sand erosion are natural phenomena in the Caribbean. Preserve native plant species (e.g. goats foot yam, sea grape, seaside mahoe, manchineel and West Indian almond) as they can help to stabilize the beach. A healthy beach is the best barrier between a property and the sea.