Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are marine reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers that are well-adapted to life in the ocean. Six species are found in U.S. waters, all of which are listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act

Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females lay their eggs on land. They migrate hundreds to thousands of miles every year between feeding grounds and nesting beaches. Leatherback turtles are among the most highly migratory animals on earth, traveling as many as 10,000 miles or more each year.

Sea turtles face significant threats around the world including:

  • Bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries
  • Loss and degradation of nesting and foraging habitats due to coastal development, pollution, and climate change
  • In some areas, killing of turtles and collection of eggs for consumption
  • Entanglement in marine debris
  • Vessel strikes

In the United States, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have shared jurisdiction for recovery and conservation of threatened and endangered sea turtles. We lead the conservation and recovery of sea turtles in the marine environment, while the U.S. FWS has the lead for the conservation and recovery of these animals on nesting beaches.

Internationally, the conservation and recovery of sea turtles requires multilateral cooperation to ensure the survival of these highly migratory species. We work to ensure the global conservation and recovery of sea turtles by working closely with other nations through diplomatic channels, capacity building, and scientific exchange.

Learn more about sea turtles


Multimedia

Galv_loggerhead_turtle_t._moore_noaa_via_wikimedia_750_500.png Loggerhead turtle. Credit: T. Moore (CC0 1.0)
Biologist on a ship collecting data during buoyless lobster trap tests. A Northeast Fisheries Science Center biologist collecting data during buoyless lobster trap tests.
Oceanic whitetip shark swimming in the open ocean. Oceanic whitetip sharks, so named for the patch of white on their dorsal fins, are a threatened species. Credit: Andy Mann.

Research

Peer-Reviewed Research

Publications by Northeast Passive Acoustic Research Staff

Our staff regularly publish their findings in scientific journals and Center-produced documents…

Peer-Reviewed Research

Use of Drift Studies to Understand Seasonal Variability in Sea Turtle Stranding Patterns in Mississippi

In this study stranded sea turtles provide valuable information about causes of mortality.

Developing Viable On-Demand Gear Systems

On-Demand gear development at the Center continues to evolve with the help of industry.

Borrow from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Gear Library

The gear library is a collection of on-demand or “ropeless” systems, built with help and donations from environmental and academic organizations, that we lend to fishermen for testing.

Recovery of Endangered and Threatened Species

Learn how NOAA Fisheries works with partners to protect and recover endangered and threatened marine species.

Hawaiian monk seal

Species

6 species match your filter criteria.