Turtle deaths in the Port Stephens and Greater Lakes Marine Park

A much younger Mike Colecliffe with the giant turtle he found years ago on Bull Island in Lemon Tree Passage.

 

IT is not uncommon in Port Stephens to find dead or injured turtles wallowing in the shallows or dead on the sands.

Indeed, with increasing use of the waterways by recreational fishermen and boaties, between five and ten of these creatures fall victim to propeller strikes each year.

They were also drowned by becoming enmeshed in ‘witches hats’ crab traps before they were banned.

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There are three distinct types of turtles which frequent the waters of the Port Stephens and Greater Lakes Marine Park.

These are the green turtle, the hawksbill and the loggerhead.

What’s more they are tagged and radio tracked.

They even have individual names, such as ‘Crabby,’ ‘Jodie,’ ‘Lucy,’ and ‘Max’.

Long time local Mike Colecliffe, a sailor and Marina Manager, sees quite a few.

“Years ago I found a dead one on Bull Island but I think it died of natural causes as there were no marks on the shell,” he said.

“I also recall our Coast Guard vessel rescuing one in distress,” he added.

“There are still a lot of them around and we have to keep a weather eye out for them during our Sunday races off Tanilba Sailing Club,” he concluded.

 

By Geoff WALKER

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