SARASOTA, Fla. — Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium says more turtles have died from boat strikes already this year than in all of 2019, and social distancing might be to blame.
Mote scientists said in 2019, they saw a total of 18 sea turtles die from boat strikes. With four months left in 2020, they said they've already passed last year's total number of sea turtle boat strike deaths. Mote said in an Instagram post, 50-percent of all sea turtle stranding cases this year have been from boat strikes. In 2019, that number was 25-percent.
Out of the 23 boat strike cases so far in 2020, 18 happened from April to now, since people started social distancing, Mote researchers said.
Mote scientists said of all the sea turtle boat strike cases in 2019 and 2020, they have only been able to successfully rehabilitate one sea turtle because the injuries were that bad.
Here is what people can do to help:
- Abide by slow wake zones
- Use a spotter to watch for manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins
- Use polarized lenses to better detect shapes in the water
- If you see an animal in distress, DO NOT attempt to assist the animal. Call Mote’s 24/7 hotline at 941-988-0212 or FWC's 24/7 hotline at 888-404-3922.
You can find more information on Mote's sea turtle conservation and research here.
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