Discussion article on conservation efforts in Carteret County related to protection of endangered and threatened sea turtles in NC, their nesting habitats, and coastal ecosystems.
Readers of this article are encouraged to discover topics they are interested in below, then use the comment form at the bottom to comment on that topic. We will then add your discussion to the main article under the appropriate topic along with links to your social media streams if you choose to add them. Additionally, be sure to subscribe to comments to get notifications of replies.
Readers are also encouraged to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about Carteret County NC beaches and communities.
News and event information at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and along the communities of Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach and Salter Path, and Emerald Isle below.
Nesting Habitats Along Bogue Banks Beaches, Cape Lookout, And Shackleford Island – Topic 1
Discussions on the beach nesting habitats of loggerhead, green sea, and leatherback sea turtles near Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle on Bogue Banks. Additionally, information in this section will focus on the protected areas of Cape Lookout and Shackleford backs and their efforts to help endangered and protected species in NC coastal waters. Hatching season is from May till September along the Outer Banks and barrier islands in Carteret County NC. Have you been on the beach and watched the hatching process? What is the latest research on nesting and new innovations in helping endangered and threatened species begin to thrive?
Conservation Efforts After Weather Events Such As Hurricane And Tropic Storms – Topic 2
During tropical storm and hurricane season in the months of late July, August, and September, these storms can have a devastating impact on conservation efforts and nesting habits. In 2018, Hurricane Florence had a catastrophic impact on hatching season followed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Thankfully, officials and researchers in North Carolina tell us that most nest survived Dorian. What can be done to mitigate damage to coastal habitats during hurricane and tropical storm season?
If you are a researcher or graduate student at the UNC Marine Sciences Institute, NC State Marine Sciences Program, or Duke Marine Lab and want to document research information under your credentials, please CONTACT US.
Beach Erosion And Nourishment – Topic 3
Beach erosion during storms have a significant impact on nesting areas, and beach nourishment along Bogue Banks does as well. What can be done about the need to maintain the beaches of NC with sufficient sand and vegetation while protecting vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species of turtles and their hatchling? It is important to remember only loggerhead sea turtles, leatherback, and green sea species lay eggs on the beach and female turtles always return to the same beach area from where they were born to lay eggs. What is the latest research on beach erosion and beach nourishment on turtle habitats?
Commercial And Recreational Fishing Mitigation Efforts – Topic 4
Commercial fishing and recreational fishing in NC are very popular, but when fishermen and commercial nets hook or net any of the 5 species of turtles in coastal waters in NC, it can have a tremendous impact on their survival. What is the latest research and ways that fishermen can dispose of plastic, fishing line, and new innovations in commercial nets that can mitigate damage to these marine reptiles?
Climate Change In Coastal NC Waters Near Carteret County – Topic 5
Climate change is a hotly debated issue all over the world, not just in North Carolina. But climate change drastically affects coastal regions where threatened and endangered species live and lay their eggs. Human waste in the form of fishing line, plastic, netting, and other garbage can have an impact as well. What more can be done in regards to mitigating climate change and changes in sandy beaches and aquatic ecosystems these marine reptiles live in?
Efforts To Remove Plastics And Fishing Line From Area Beaches And Ocean – Topic 6
Latest education and research on the affects of plastic garbage, fishing line, netting, and other contaminants that threaten ecosystems and habitats in the coastal regions of the Outer Banks, Bogue Banks, Cape Lookout, Shackleford Banks, and other barrier islands in Carteret County NC.
NC Aquarium At Pine Knoll Shores Education, Research, And Rehabilitation Efforts – Topic 7
If you are visiting the Crystal Coast, then the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has a dedicated team devoted to education, research, and rehabilitation of sick and hurt sea turtle species that inhabit NC oceans, beaches, and waterways. Everyone from marine biologist, other researchers, volunteers, and organizations and businesses help fund these efforts at the aquarium. Tell our readers about the latest conservation efforts and rehabilitation efforts coming out of the NC aquariums.
January 2020 – Eight cold stunned turtles were released after being rehabilitated. This process involved taking the turtles to the Coast Guard station at Fort Macon where they will be transported to warmer waters. The issue of these animals developing hypothermia-like symptoms that prevents them from swimming is an ongoing issue along the NC coast that requires volunteers and conservationist to intervene.
Endangered And Threatened Status Of Sea Turtle Species In Coastal NC – Topic 8
Green Sea Turtle – Topic 8a
One of the largest hard-shelled species on Earth that lays eggs and nests in over 80 countries, while inhabiting coastal waters near 140 countries. The greatest threat to green sea turtles is bycatch recreational fishing, commercial fishing, being hit by boats and propellers, loss of nesting habitats, and entanglement of human made marine debris. This species does lay eggs on sandy beaches in NC.
Loggerhead – Topic 8b
This species is the most abundant in Atlantic Ocean and coastal region in NC. Loggerhead sea turtles also lay eggs and create nests on sandy beaches near Bogue Banks, Cape Lookout, Shackleford Island, and other barrier islands in the region. This species is also listed as threatened and vulnerable under the U.S. Endangered Species Act requiring significant protection and conservation efforts. The main threats to loggerheads is bycatch fishing, improper fishing line disposal, illegal netting, and careless handling after being hooked by recreational fishermen. Other marine debris such as aluminum and plastics play a big part in endangering these marine reptiles.
Kemp’s Ridley – Topic 8c
The most endangered species in North America and Atlantic waters requiring strict protection. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico, but are infrequently found near offshore and inshore waters along the Atlantic Coast.
Leatherback – Topic 8d
The largest species on the planet and have a status of endangered. These turtles are highly migratory and can swim tens of thousands of miles as they migrate. The leatherback sea turtle is one of the turtles that lays eggs in nesting along Atlantic Coast beaches and barrier islands near Carteret County NC.
Hawksbill – Topic 8e
Listed as endangered because of the highly exotic and beautiful shells that poachers sell in various markets. The loss of coral reef habitats are the main threat to Hawksbill sea turtles. Nesting for this species typically happens in tropical environments near the Caribbean though they are found in Atlantic Waters near North Carolina.
Mating Habits – Topic 9
Discussions related to the mating habits and regions of Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific waters for vulnerable species. What is the latest research and education on the species listed in this article? Which species lays eggs on NC beaches and why? What direct threats are there to mating habits and what can humans do to mitigate damage? How does climate change threaten these species?
If you come across a stranded, hurt, or vulnerable sea turtle along Carteret County beaches please call the NC Wildlife Resource Commission’s North Carolina Stranding Response Team at 252-241-7367. To learn more about viewing hatchlings coming from nest, we encourage you to call or visit researchers and staff at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.
Readers and users of this article are also welcome to suggest new topics using the form below.
Local News And Events
Conservation efforts at coastal beaches have led to a NC loggerhead sea turtles nesting record being broken for the first time. Environmentalist say that in 2016 there were 1,622 recorded nesting areas along NC beaches and the new numbers tallied in 2019 show 1,640 nesting areas. This is good news for the very vulnerable and rare loggerhead sea turtles and the efforts many conservationist and environmentalist in our area have been working for going on many decades.
August 16 2019: The National Association of Zoos and Aquariums has announced that the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is their winner for the $25,000 prize in their Planet Video series.
July 2019: The National Association of Zoos and Aquariums has a contest called “Party for the Planet Video” and has announced the the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores is one of ten finalist for a $25,000 prize if they win. This association made their decision based on the aquarium’s work with sea turtle conservation and videos they made to get their message out.