Threats to Sea Turtles

Sea turtles face a number of threats both on land and at sea in The Gambian waters some of which we have listed below. There are steps we can all take to help the sea turtles, whether it is refusing a one time use plastic straw or plastic bag, turning off coastal lights at night, respecting and not disturbing nesting sea turtles or only buying fish from sustainable sources there is something each one of us can do!

More common threats to sea turtles of The Gambia include:

  • Inadequate penalties under the Fisheries and Conservation Act for the use of illegal fishing gear such as drag nets
  • Limited sensitization of both coastal communities and fishermen due to limited funding
  • Insufficient inspection of fishing trawlers operating on the high sea
  • By-catch of turtles in both commercial and artisanal fisheries causing high mortality rates
  • Loss of nesting habitat due to construction of hotels, beach bars and beach riding on the coastline
  • Bright lights along the coastline can deter nesting turtles and also disorientate hatchlings
  • Illegal sand mining on the coastline leading to increased coastal erosion and habitat loss
  • Over-development by businesses along the coastline to attract investors
  • Poaching of nesting turtles for their meat
  • Poaching of nests for their eggs

Turtles are facing many threats but at Smile For Life we are working to reduce these threats. To learn more about what we are doing please go to Our Work.