The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a protected marine wildlife in Taiwan. The main spawning grounds in Taiwan are at the Penghu Islands, Orchid Island (Lanyu), Little Liuqiu and Taiping Island in Spratly Islands. The number of female turtles laying eggs in Little Liuqiu also reached a record high this year (2022). With the recent spike in visitor numbers to Little Liuqiu, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) reminds the public to be more careful when conducting various recreational activities in the sea and not to disturb or harm the green sea turtles when laying eggs or hatchlings (baby turtles) in order to avoid breaking the law.
The OCA stated that there are seven beaches on Little Liuqiu, namely Zhong'ao, Yuchengwei, Lobster Cave, Geban Bay, Shanfu Ecological Corridor, Duzaiping and Beauty Cave, etc. In the past years, the beaches where most of the sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs were in Duzaiping and Geban Bay. By the end of July, there were eight female turtles coming ashore to lay eggs and 15 nests were laid, a record high, with new female turtles spotted laying eggs. This year, Zhong’ao Beach was more preferred by female turtles and there were 8 nests identified, which shows that Little Liuqiu is an important spawning habitat for Taiwan's green sea turtles.
The green sea turtle spawning season generally lasts from May to October each year, with July and August being the peak months. To prevent tourists from interfering with or harming the turtles and to allow the hatchlings to return to the sea, the OCA commissioned a team from the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium to erect "Do not touch, avoid stepping" warning signs on the beach around the egg nests this year. The OCA again urges visitors to minimize nighttime activities on the beach and to avoid the use of strong lights. The OCA also reminds local businesses to remove paddleboards and kayaks from the beach after dusk to create an open beach for turtles to find suitable spawning grounds, so that we can create a turtle-friendly environment and maintain the sustainability of the sea turtle population.
The OCA noted that recently there are hatchlings on the beaches day and night, so the public are reminded to carefully watch their steps. For visitors who bring pets to the beach, pet leashes should always be secured to avoid pets attacking hatchlings or spawning female turtles. When female turtles or hatchlings are spotted, please keep distance and do not touch or harass the animals. Sea turtles are protected marine wildlife according to the Wildlife Conservation Act, do not arbitrarily harass, hunt, kill or use them for any other purposes; violators may face criminal liabilities. Please be careful when carrying out recreational activities in the sea during the breeding season from May to October. If you find any suspected illegal activities, please help to collect all the evidence and report to the local marine conservation authorities or report to the "118" hotline, so that we can work together to protect the green sea turtles and marine resources.
Responsible Authority and Spokesperson: Wu Long-Jing, OCA Deputy Director-General
Contact number: 07-3383202 or 0919-613-467
Release date: July 28, 2022