Sea Turtle Strandings in Southern California
Responding to marine turtle strandings across San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties
If you are visiting this site to report a stranded sea turtle, please call the
sea turtle stranding hotline at (858) 546-7162 or (562) 506-4315
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center marine turtle stranding team responds to strandings across San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles counties and relies on the cooperation of other stranding network members to respond to strandings up and down the U.S. west coast. Citizens and beach officials are usually the first people to come across a stranding and our team relies on their reports to find and examine stranded animals. We have records going back to the 1980s. These long-term records are useful in looking at how stranding patterns change over time.
Although we only respond to strandings within southern California, we collect and analyze scientific samples taken from stranded turtles throughout the U.S. west coast. Skin samples along with the humeri (arm bones) are usually collected from all dead sea turtles. These tissues provide information into the demography and life history of wild sea turtle populations. All samples that come to the Southwest Fisheries Science Center become part of our Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research Tissue Collection.
Southwest Fisheries Science Center partners with SeaWorld San Diego to respond to strandings. SeaWorld's veterinary staff responds to live stranded sea turtles, with the goal of rehabilitating them for eventual release back into the wild. Southwest Fisheries Science Center's biologists respond to dead sea turtles, and when possible, we bring the animals back to our laboratory where we conduct necropsies to determine the causes of death.
Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are the most commonly stranded sea turtle species along the US west coast. Other species of stranded turtles include loggerheads (Caretta caretta), olive ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) and, rarely, leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata).
Help Reduce Boat Strikes
Getting the word out to help reduce boat strike impacts in coastal waterways of southern California.