Species in the Spotlight: Priority Actions 2021-2025, Pacific Leatherback Turtle
The Species in the Spotlight initiative is a concerted agency-wide effort to spotlight and save marine species most at-risk of extinction in the near future. This plan focuses on priority actions needed in 2021-2025 for the Pacific leatherback turtle.
In 2015, NOAA Fisheries launched the Species in the Spotlight initiative to provide immediate, targeted efforts to halt declines and stabilize populations of the species most at-risk of extinction in the near future. The priority action plans are part of a strategy to focus resources within and outside of NOAA, guide agency actions where we have discretion to make investments, increase public awareness and support for these species, and expand partnerships. The 2021-2025 Priority Action Plans outline actions that are needed in the next 5 years to address the most urgent threats to the species.
Pacific leatherbacks face significant threats from bycatch in fisheries (entanglement and/or hooking), direct harvest of both eggs and turtles, coastal development, and the effects of climate change (habitat loss due to sea level rise, alteration of hatchling sex ratios, and decreased nest success). Additional threats include vessel strikes, ingestion of plastics, and entanglement in marine debris, including lost or discarded fishing gear.