Saving marine turtles poses a range of challenges, mainly a function of their unique biology and life cycle characteristics:
- Marine turtles are long-lived and require several decades to mature sexually, which means that conservation efforts have to be sustained for decades to make a difference.
- A single marine turtle will make seasonal migrations over vast areas through the waters of several countries and the open ocean - in some cases over 12,000 km - making conservation and management a shared responsibility between many countries.
- Marine turtles need a wide range of habitats to complete different life-cycle stages - including beaches, tropical and subtropical coastal waters, sea grass meadows, coral reefs, and open ocean pelagic waters. This requires coordinated management actions between land and sea.
All round-benefits of conservation
Marine turtle conservation activities will benefit not only turtles, but will also help to make fisheries sustainable, ensure good governance of marine resources, and secure access to and benefits from, marine resources for local communities.
By taking concrete and cooperative action through the regional initiatives, WWF's Asia-Pacific Marine Turtle Programme will assist governments, communities and industries to better manage one of their major economic assets: the ocean and its valuable natural resources.
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"Mortality from human-induced threats at all stages of marine turtles' life cycles, means that many populations cannot recover from the sustained pressure on their numbers."