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Sea Turtles: Overview

hawksbill sea turtleSea turtles have been swimming the world's oceans for more than 100 million years, persisting through natural predators, climatic events and even the mass dinosaur extinction.

However, their existence on Earth is now in jeopardy from human threats that are proving to be too much for sea turtle populations to handle.

With the advent of new gear and boat technologies, fishing has become one of the greatest sources of mortality to sea turtles around the globe. Each of the six sea turtle species found in United States waters is listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act which means that they may go extinct in the foreseeable future.

Even with protection under the Endangered Species Act, longlines, trawls, gill nets, dredges and other types of fishing gear  in and around United States waters kill thousands of sea turtles and injure even more each year. Other threats to sea turtles caused by humans include ingestion of or entanglement in marine debris, pollution, coastal development, poaching, vessel strikes, climate change and predation by invasive species.

Oceana's campaign to save sea turtles is dedicated to the protection and restoration of sea turtle populations in the world's oceans. The campaign works to reduce sea turtle bycatch in fisheries, protect sea turtle habitat and develop legislation to protect sea turtles.

Actresses Kate Walsh ("Private Practice"), Angela Kinsey ("The Office") and Rachael Harris ("The Hangover") have joined Oceana in the fight to save sea turtles. Go to oceana.org/turtlesoffthehook to watch their PSAs and bonus footage and take action to protect sea turtles!