Marine turtles

Turtle hatchlings

Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle have been recorded in Moreton Bay, including loggerhead, green, hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley and flatback turtles. Green and loggerhead turtles are the most commonly encountered in coastal waters.

The Moreton Bay Region is also privileged to have small numbers of loggerhead turtles nesting annually on Bribie Island. Loggerhead turtles have also nested sporadically on Redcliffe's sandy beaches.

Loggerhead turtle facts

  • Loggerhead turtles are long-lived and do not breed until around 30 years of age. Nesting females will return to nest near the beaches where they were born.
  • A nesting female will lay an average of 125 eggs per clutch and usually lays several clutches of eggs in a season. Females nest every 2-6 years.
  • As part of their development loggerhead turtle hatchlings undergo transoceanic migration and are observed in waters off the coast of South America. It is presumed they spend approximately 16 years in this phase before returning to foraging areas off the east coast of Australia.
  • Turtle hatchlings may be disoriented by artificial lighting in developed coastal areas, causing them to head landward instead of to the ocean. Bright lights may also prevent adult turtles from nesting and cause them to dump their eggs at sea.
  • Other threats to loggerhead turtles include marine debris (plastics and discarded fishing gear), boat strike, fisheries by-catch, vehicle damage to nests, and predation of nests by feral animals such as pigs and foxes.

What is Council doing?

  • Council carries out ongoing rehabilitation of sand dunes through native species plantings in turtle nesting areas.
  • Council has commenced sand back-passing trial at Woorim Beach to replenish areas of beach.
  • Council has worked with volunteer turtle monitors on Bribie Island to install shade cloth barriers behind turtle nests to reduce turtle hatchling disorientation.
  • Council implemented a temporary lighting shut-off trial during the 2019/2020 turtle nesting season (November 2019 to March 2020), at two Council locations adjacent to Woorim beach.

Council is investigating the modification of light fixtures in public areas along foreshores to reduce spillover onto turtle nesting beaches, with due consideration to public safety.

What can residents do?

  • Keep off sand dunes - these are highly sensitive areas and provide critical habitat for nesting turtles.
  • Dispose of plastics and unwanted fishing gear responsibly.
  • Avoid shining bright lights on the beach at night during turtle nesting season between November and April. For residents who live adjacent to beaches, consider switching off unnecessary lights and close your curtains and blinds from 7:30 PM.
  • When operating vessels, reduce speeds in estuaries, sandy straights and shallow inshore areas, and adhere to go slow areas for turtles and dugong.
  • Join a Council Bushcare group. Bushcare provides community members with the opportunity to participate in hands-on conservation and restoration activities.

Further information