Have your say on protecting our marine turtles and ensuring they thrive

The public has up until June 16 to share their thoughts on the draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan. Photo: Contributed  

A NEW plan has set us on the right track to help save one of the Sunshine Coast’s most beloved marine animals. 

Its goal is to support the recovery of self-sustaining populations of marine turtles on the Sunshine Coast by reducing threats, improving habitat quality and strengthening community-based management. 

It is particularly focused on the nesting and hatchling success of the critically endangered loggerhead and vulnerable green turtle populations—the two species that arrive every year to lay their eggs on our Sunshine Coast beaches. 

Now, Sunshine Coast Council is calling on the community to view the draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan and help prioritise some of its actions at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au before June 16, 2023. 

Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said the plan envisioned a future where marine turtles were not only surviving but thriving on the Sunshine Coast, co-existing in harmony with people. 

“The populations of loggerhead turtle species nesting along the Queensland coastline – including Sunshine Coast beaches – has reduced significantly since the 1970s to the point that they are now critically endangered,” Cr Cox said. 

“Three generations of sustained population growth are needed to remove marine turtles from the threatened species list. 

‘With only one in 1000 turtle hatchlings surviving to adulthood, every nest and every egg is critical to the ongoing survival and recovery of this critically endangered population. 

“We can all play a part to achieve the plan’s vision and live in a wildlife-friendly biosphere.” 

A strong partnership across the region has led to the plan’s development with Sunshine Coast Council, councillors, Kabi Kabi First Nation Peoples, Queensland Government, an independent Technical Advisory Panel and community leaders of TurtleCare, Coolum and North Shore Coast Care and Bribie Island Turtle Trackers volunteers all collaborating on the draft plan. 

It supports efforts by the Queensland and Australian governments to stop the decline of marine turtle populations and will guide Council decision-making to achieve future conservation and management goals for nesting marine turtles and hatchlings within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area.  

It sets out desired outcomes under three overlapping and mutually supportive themes: 

1. Strategic planning and policy guidance for turtle-sensitive lighting and coastal development. 

2. Regional marine turtle recovery actions. 

3. Sunshine Coast community-based TurtleCare program delivery. 

The community can provide feedback on the draft plan by visiting Council’s Have Your Say website at haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au before June 16, 2022.  

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