Surprisingly, the Sargasso Sea itself has approximately
70,000 metric tons of tar (Musick 392). Sea turtles are constantly around the
pollution of oil and tar due to currents in the seas. “… Sea turtles
that continually emerge in search of air in a spot of oil to breathe will
experience less immersion times and their growth rate will be lower”
(Shore). The breathing method of sea turtles allows oil vapors to enter their
lungs and, sometimes, they eat a contaminated food or a ball of tar that
carries it to their intestines (Milton). Nesting beaches can also be affected
by oil and tar pollution. Oil deposits on beaches could affect embryos in the
egg nest (Milton). In addition, the oil could pose a mortal danger to the
offspring. Oil and tar always affect the seas in a negative way. The impact
they have on sea turtles is a big concern and should not be taken lightly.
Humans have and are still polluting
the seas with plastic and non-biodegradable waste. Many animals in the sea are
affected by debris, this does not exclude sea turtles. Sea turtles are
entangled in debris that eventually lead to their death. The result of the study of the debris intake
by green, loggerhead, and leatherback turtles in southern Brazil showed the
total of sea turtle that was found
to have ingested plastic which were a stranded of 92 sea turtles, of which 56
green turtles, 16 loggerhead turtles and 2 leatherback turtles were measured,
and 38, 10 and 2 intestinal contents were collected, respectively. (Bugoni,1331) This indicates that most of the sea
turtles have been affected by the human’s action.
Sea turtle entanglement generally occurs with desert fishing gear (Musick 396). Leatherback turtles have been found trapped in active crab pots, lobster pots, and even in buclean lines (398). The production and use of plastic has increased in the last forty years. There has been an increase in metric tons of plastics in the oceans (398). Tangle can reduce the movement that makes the turtle more venerable for predation. Remnants can also become entangled around their heads or fins and kill the sea turtle (398). Ten percent of all mortalities of sea turtles are due to shrimp fishing (Musick 399). The shrimp trawl is, according to the research, the most important factor in the mortality of sea turtles related to human impacts. Sea turtles get trapped in these traps and can not take air and die. The shrimp trawl was killing such an enormous amount of sea turtles, that is why in 1978 the National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States and the Sea Grant Program developed the sea turtle excluder device (TED) (Musick 399). Then, in 1987, the regulations required the seasonal use of TED in high seas shrimp trawlers from the coast of North Carolina to Texas (Milton 115). TED has reduced the morality rate of many of the sea turtle species. On the coast of South Carolina; It is believed that TED reduces the annual mortality rate of loggerhead turtles by forty-four percent (Musick 399).