23 Feb 2016
February 23, 2016

What you need to know about sea turtles?

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Sea turtle nests are mainly found on the beaches in the Bundaberg region, south of the Whitsundays. However, they are also popular in the Whitsundays & to assist you when you are out on the tours, below is information provided via the Great Barrier Reef Marina Park Authourity  (GBRMPA).

Do your best to keep informed about our underwater world in the Whitsundays so everyone has a wonderful experience.

In general

  • Never touch, grab or lean on turtles, hatchlings or eggs
  • Do not try to feed turtles
  • Do not light campfires on turtle nesting beaches.

When viewing from boats

  • Be on the look out for surfacing turtles in areas such as shallow reef flats and seagrass beds. Travel slowly in these areas, with no wake
  • If a turtle is close to your vessel, engage neutral and allow the animal to move freely
  • Do not encircle or trap turtles with vessels. Allow an escape route
  • Do not drive your vessel over a turtle
  • Do not pursue turtles if they try to avoid the vessel or flee the area.

When viewing turtle nesting

  • Do not approach a turtle emerging from the water or moving up the beach
  • On sighting a turtle emerging from the water, keep still and turn off all lights until laying begins
  • Do not alter the environment in any way
  • Limit the use of light by turning torches off whenever possible and viewing with ambient light. Turtles may get confused by artificial light and may not finish nesting
  • Use low wattage torches (less than three-volt, two-cell) with red cellophane or a filter over the bulb
  • Never shine lights directly onto turtles – angle the light towards the sand at the side of the turtle
  • Stay well clear (at least two metres) of turtles nesting, covering their nest and moving up or down the beach – never stand in their pathway or make them alter their course
  • Keep still and quiet – sudden movements will disturb turtles
  • Remain behind turtles as they dig and lay their eggs – do not stand in front or where they can see you
  • Restrict use of flash photography to a minimum and only take flash photos during the egg laying phase. Always take these photos from behind the turtle
  • Turn off all lights and do not use flash photography when the turtle is returning to the sea
  • Remove lights and back away from the turtles if they appear stressed
  • Watch where you step to avoid crushing eggs or hatchlings. Do not disturb or dig up nests.

Marine Parks Legal Requirements

  • You must not ‘take’ turtles or their eggs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park unless you have a Marine Parks permit. Note: ‘Take’ includes removing, gathering, killing or interfering with, or attempting to take. There may be special arrangements for Traditional Owners.

To view this information in detail, please click on this link  –

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/visit-the-reef/responsible-reef-practices/around-turtles