A global decline in sea-turtle populations is threatening jobs, tourism and coastal economies, particularly in developing countries, the World Wide Fund for Nature warned last...

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GLAND, Switzerland — A global decline in sea-turtle populations is threatening jobs, tourism and coastal economies, particularly in developing countries, the World Wide Fund for Nature warned last week.

“Sea turtles are worth more to local communities alive than dead,” said Carlos Drews, the environmental group’s coordinator for turtle conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Developers, politicians and community leaders should start to see marine turtles as a valuable asset, generating revenue and jobs.”

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The group compared revenue generated from killing turtles and collecting their eggs with the economic benefits of tourism at 18 sites in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Turtle tourism has become increasingly popular since it began in the 1980s, and about 175,000 people take sea-turtle tours to more than 90 sites in 40 countries each year, according to WWF, known as the World Wildlife Fund in the United States. At the biggest and most established conservation site, Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, turtle tourism generates $6.7 million annually.

The conservation group found that populations are declining in areas where turtles are exploited through overharvesting of turtles and their eggs for food; where they are accidentally caught and killed in fishing nets; or where nesting beaches are being turned into holiday resorts.