Species in the Spotlight: Priority Actions 2016-2020, Pacific Leatherback Turtle
In 2015, NOAA Fisheries announced a new program to focus and redouble our efforts to protect eight species that are currently among the most at risk of extinction in the near future. This 5-year action plan focuses on priority actions for the Pacific leatherback turtle.
The Species in the Spotlight initiative is a concerted agency-wide effort to spotlight and save the most highly at-risk species. This initiative includes targeted efforts vital for stabilizing their populations and preventing their extinction. The approach involves intensive efforts by us and our recovery partners to stabilize these species. Our goal is to stabilize or reverse their declining trend so that the species will become a candidate for recovery in the future.
Pacific leatherbacks face significant threats from entanglement and/or hooking in fisheries (bycatch), direct harvest—including eggs and adults—coastal development, pollution, marine debris, disease, and climate change. Reducing interactions with fisheries, maintaining and increasing nesting beach protection to reduce community-based harvest and predation, mitigating the effects of habitat loss from climate change, implementing measures to improve reproductive output, and reducing pollution in the marine environment are critical components of this holistic strategy in the Pacific.