Often an item on our bucket list, swimming with turtles – or watching them nest on the beach – is one of the ultimate eco holiday experiences. Sadly, though, most species of sea turtles are now endangered…
If you want to do your bit to help preserve the future for these gentle, beautiful creatures, here’s what you can do while you’re enjoying your next beach break to make sure your timeshare holiday is “turtle-friendly”!
1) Put Down the Plastic
Even if you’re careful enough to ditch the plastic bottles or cups in the bin when you’ve hit the beach, far too many plastic items end up in the ocean. Turtles (and especially baby turtles) can eat floating plastic or get caught up in it, which tragically can kill them. Avoid this by taking water and drinks to the beach in reuseable bottles, and always choose biodegradable packaging when it comes to eating food.
2) Wear Enviro-Friendly Sunscreen
Many chemical sunscreens can be damaging to marine life when you go for a swim in the sea. Once the toxins build up, it can be potentially fatal for fish and turtles. Instead, go for natural brands of SPF that are designed to be used in the sea, or cover up with clothing.
3) Buy Sustainably Sourced Fish
Turtles often gather around busy fishing areas, with more than 250,000 are accidentally captured, injured, or killed by U.S. fishermen alone every year. Wherever you can, buy wild-caught fish and seafood where fishermen use turtle-friendly nets.
4) Stay at Turtle-Friendly Resorts
Sadly, many hotels and resorts exploit sea turtles by digging up nests and bringing the eggs back to private hatcheries. They then sell the chance to release the hatchlings into water, which can put the at risk of predators. If you’re staying at a beach resort, ask if there is a turtle preservation society nearby – a great day out for the kids!
5) Turn off the Lights
Light pollution can be incredibly damaging to sea turtles, which can confused hatchlings and cause nesting turtles to flee the beach. If you’re staying in a hotel or accommodation on the beach front, then turn off the lights as much as you can at night – or be sure to use turtle-friendly LED lights.