Only 130 leatherbacks have been documented off the coast of BC since the 1930’s.
“The only sea turtle species that can thrive in British Columbia’s cold water are Leatherback turtles and they come to our coast for the plentiful supply of jelly fish.”
That is a line from a new video animation released this week by The Marine Education and Research Society in time for World Oceans Day.
It uses the endangered Leatherback turtle as an example of how humans are treating our oceans.
“Because Leatherbacks are transiting across the entire pacific ocean and they’re coming here for jellyfish to eat, the one connection that’s been made is that jellyfish and plastic bags in the ocean, the way they (bags) act in the ocean are very similar and a Leatherback can’t distinguish the difference” said Lisa Spaven, a Research Technician with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
There have only been 130 documented sightings of the huge reptiles off the coast of BC since the 1930’s.
They can be as big as a small car but when they think a plastic bag is a jelly fish, it can mean almost certain death.
And on Oceans Day the message is that most other life in the oceans is negatively affected by humans as well.
“Threats from these animals can range depending on the species from things like debris and plastics in the ocean but also noise impacts, disturbance, chemical pollution and impacts to their immune systems” added Spaven.
At Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria on Sunday, many people were taking in Ocean’s Day activities.
“We really want to teach people about the ocean that you live so close by and that you get so much enjoyment from. We want to teach you how to keep it healthy” said Kirsten Denham of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.