Recovering Green Sea Turtles Downlisted to Threatened on Pacific, Florida Coasts

Even as Sea Turtle Populations Continue Declining Elsewhere

WASHINGTON— Federal regulators announced today that, as a result of Endangered Species Act protections, several populations of green sea turtles that nest on Florida beaches and the Pacific Coast of Mexico have increased to levels that will allow them to be downlisted from “endangered” to “threatened” status. Today’s proposal from the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service included downlisting  Hawaii’s green sea turtles to “threatened” status. But the agencies emphasized that ongoing federal protections are essential to this population due to the growing threat of climate change and sea-level rise on the low-lying nesting beaches in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

“The dramatic improvement of green sea turtle populations in U.S. waters, at a time when sea turtle populations in other parts of the world continue to decline, shows that the Endangered Species Act saves wildlife,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Now we have to take big, brave steps to protect sea turtles from threats like climate change and rising seas."

Today’s proposal was part of a global review of the green sea turtle’s conservation status, and concludes that the sea turtle should be classified into 11 distinct population segments. Although some sea turtle distinct populations segments are improving significantly due to the protections of the Endangered Species Act, several populations in other parts of the world, which do not benefit from the protections of the Act, continue to struggle. The Mediterranean, South Pacific and western Pacific populations remain in danger of extinction and will remain listed as “endangered.”

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Learn more about our Oceans program.

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita


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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos

Banner photo courtesy Flickr/lalo pangue; marbled murrelet photo courtesy Flicr/rexb