of sea turtle deaths reported this year is unprecedented.
Conservation Foundation Sea Turtle Researcher Kelly Sloan said: “Our average
for the entire year is usually around 30 or 35, but we’ve had 53 in June and
explained that only 1 in 1,000 loggerhead turtles reach maturity, which takes
25 to 30 years – meaning that the potential for repopulation is severely compromised
by the upswing in mortality rate.
Red Tide is
a naturally occurring phenomenon – an algal bloom so dense that it changes the
appearance of surrounding waters, and can be toxic to local sea life.
predominantly kills smaller animals, such as crab and bottom feeders, Sloan
says she is ‘very confident’ that this year’s bloom is the cause of the sea turtle deaths.
believe that climate change is at the root of particularly aggressive algal
Shlasko of the Coastal Wildlife Club said: “Red Tide is caused by a
combination of warm water temperatures and low salinity and nutrients.”
to the website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, even in
instances where the climate-exacerbated blooms are nontoxic, they can create uninhabitable
environments for sea life, decreasing oxygen levels, ‘blocking out sunlight’ and ‘clogging fish gills’.