Leatherback Sea Turtles Are in Deep Trouble
According to a new report, all seven populations of leatherback sea turtles are at high risk of extinction. The West Pacific population, which migrates to California, has dwindled by a third since 2007 — and it's still in decline. Leatherbacks in the Northwest Atlantic have decreased steadily for more than a decade, with low success in hatching eggs, and will decline by half within 30 years if trends continue.
For more than 20 years, the Center has defended leatherbacks from their biggest threat, entanglement in fishing gear. After we sued, California agreed in 2019 to evaluate the risk of leatherback entanglement when deciding when to open and close its Dungeness crab fishery. Last year we also won a suit challenging federal longline fishing permits issued off the West Coast because the agency had disregarded its own science.
Said Center attorney Catherine Kilduff, "To save these magnificent creatures, we have to confront the problems they face, from climate change and plastic pollution to lethal entanglement in fishing nets."