Sea Life marking World Turtle day by revealing dangers of our discarded plastic

Sea Life at Great Yarmouth is marking World Turtle Day

Sea Life at Great Yarmouth is marking World Turtle Day - Credit: Sea Life Great Yarmouth

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is World Turtle Day… and marks the launch of a special mission to help endangered sea turtles by Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is World Turtle Day… and marks the launch of a special mission to help endangered sea turtles by Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

The centre's partner charity the Sea Life Trust is making sea turtle protection and conservation its primary focus over the next 12 months.

Under the banner Team Turtle the Great Yarmouth team along with their Sea Life colleagues across the world will be doing their bit to tackle plastic pollution and fisheries bycatch, the two biggest killers of sea turtles.

Visitors will be asked to make pledges to help by for example, never using or buying plastic straws or only using re-usable water bottles and coffee cups.l


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'We will be hosting a beach clean later in the summer to remove as much hazardous plastic from our shoreline as possible,' said Sea Life Great Yarmouth's Maxine Culleton.

'We'll be bringing back what we find and displaying it in the Centre and explaining just how long it takes for different types of plastic to break down.

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'A simple plastic drinks bottle for example takes 450 years to start to break down, and even then it just degrades into smaller and smaller particle. It never actually disappears.'

Maxine and her colleagues will also be taking part in a sponsored Cross The Oceans event to raise funds which the Trust will spend on vital field work to try and ease the plight of the world's seven species of sea turtle.

It has already funded a pioneering scheme using LED lights attached to fishing nets to reduce the number of turtles being accidentally caught and drowned.

'Early results suggest the lights cut down the casualties by more than 50pc,' said Maxine.

'The trial involves 10 kms of surface gillnet in turtle-rich waters off the coast of Peru and is being conducted with the full support of local fishermen.

'It could save around 1,500 sea turtles over the course of two years, and if the system were rolled out across the world it could save hundreds of thousands.'

In another Sea Life Trust-funded research project an Exeter University student found when examining the stomach contents of 35 recently hatched green turtles washed up in Queensland, Australia that every single one had swallowed plastic.

'We have the perfect ambassador for wild turtles in our own resident green turtle Noah,' said Maxine.

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