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Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)



Species Action Statement

This species has been assigned to the Partnership species management stream under the Saving our Species program.

Justification for allocation to this management stream

Less than 10% of the species' total population occurs within NSW.

Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Endangered

Management objectives

This action statement aims to secure critical populations of this species in NSW in the long-term.

Species sightings and management sites across NSW

OEH is currently developing a targeted approach for managing Partnership species species. In the interim, the following management actions have been identified for this species.
  • Monitor mortality of marine turtles due to entanglement in, or ingestion of, marine debris. This should include determining the source of the debris.
  • Undertake action to reduce the mortality of marine turtles due to marine debris. This will include a community awareness component that targets debris of land-based origin as well as vessel-based.
  • Develop and trial shark control methods that reduce marine turtle mortality.
  • Identify areas of high boat strike of marine turtles and consider appropriate boat speed zoning.
  • Consent and approval authorities will consider impacts of developments and activities on marine turtles. This will include marine-based developments (e.g. aquaculture) as well as land-based developments near the coast or with marine-based offsite impacts
  • Assist with any Australia-wide development of marine turtle monitoring protocols. A central NSW database should be developed to contain all NSW marine turtle monitoring data.
  • Monitor key NSW nesting beaches.
  • Undertake consultation with Aboriginal groups to determine the cultural significance of marine turtles. Information gained from this consultation will be taken into account when undertaking marine turtle conservation activities.
  • Support any state or Australia wide studies into marine turtle population viability studies.
  • Support any research into marine turtle genetic studies.
  • Protect known nesting beaches from vehicular traffic and predators such as foxes and pigs.
  • Liaise with relevant local and state government agencies to reduce the adverse effects of artificial lighting near nesting beaches.
  • Consider if a nomination of land-based or marine-based critical habitat is warranted for the species or for marine turtles as a whole.
  • Promote soft start procedures for seismic surveys in NSW state waters.
  • Liaise with the Australian and other state governments over the implementation of the national marine turtle recovery plan.
  • Support research into the causes, frequency and management of disease in marine turtles.

Are you or is someone you know doing conservation work for this species or in this area?

Contact us to tell us about the work. Your input will help OEH evaluate the status of threatened species and provide a broader picture of conservation work across NSW.