Making tracks together

The Draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan has been prepared in collaboration with Kabi Kabi First Nation Peoples, Queensland Government, an independent Technical Advisory Panel, and TurtleCare, Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, Bribie Island Turtle Trackers citizen science volunteers.

Have your say

This is an advanced draft prepared with significant contribution from the stakeholders above and with expert independent technical review throughout.

Please fill in the survey to help prioritise key projects from the draft plan before consultation closes on June 16, 2023.

Learn more about the plan

This Marine Turtle Conservation Plan supports efforts by the Queensland and Australian Governments to stop the decline of marine turtle populations. The Plan will guide council decision making to achieve future conservation and management goals for nesting marine turtles and hatchlings within the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area (LGA). It is particularly focused on the nesting and hatchling success of the critically endangered loggerhead and vulnerable green turtle populations.

“Marine turtles surviving and thriving on the Sunshine Coast, co-existing in harmony with people.”

Supporting the recovery of self-sustaining populations of marine turtles on the Sunshine Coast by reducing threats, improving habitat quality, and strengthening community-based management.

To achieve our long-term vision and primary goal, this Plan sets out desired outcomes and strategic directions under three overlapping and mutually supportive themes:

Theme 1. Strategic planning and policy guidance for turtle-sensitive lighting and coastal development.

Theme 2. Regional marine turtle recovery actions.

Theme 3. Sunshine Coast community based TurtleCare program delivery.

The Plan identifies strategic directions and actions under each of these themes —to further strengthen the existing highly successful community-based volunteer TurtleCare program and associated citizen science activities.

These actions include strong education, awareness, and ongoing engagement with Kabi Kabi First Nation Peoples and the broader community, ensuring people and marine turtles co-exist in harmony on the Sunshine Coast.

The Plan also proposes improved governance arrangements to coordinate ongoing implementation, evaluation, and improvement of the Plan, in partnership with a range of stakeholders across the broader Sunshine Coast region.

All marine turtles found on the coast are depleted or severely depleted and subject to ongoing threats to the point that now every nest and every egg matter to population recovery, and direct management intervention will be increasingly required.

Greater levels of human intervention are likely to be required to achieve the nesting and hatchling success rates necessary for recovery of stocks found on the Sunshine Coast.

Therefore, an adaptive management approach has been identified as essential to allow appropriate response, ensure learning, and improve approaches from ongoing experience.

Theme 1 - Strategic planning and policy guidance for turtle-sensitive lighting and coastal development

By 2033 the desired outcomes (DO) are to have:

DO1. Strategic planning and policy guidance tools in place including:

(i) a regulatory framework for coastal development in the Sunshine Coast LGA that appropriately integrates State interests and the MTCP

(ii) educational guidance tools to support the development sector, property owners and residents to seek to achieve world best practice turtle sensitive development outcomes.

DO2. Development and implementation of lighting policies and standards that deliver a commitment to Dark Sky objectives and a naturally dark coastline at night, with minimisation of direct light sources and ambient light visible from sensitive nesting beaches and adjacent marine areas.

DO3. Nesting beaches identified as future climate refugia and protected as part of integrated coastal hazard management.

Theme 2 - Regional marine turtle recovery actions

By 2033 the desired outcomes (DO) are to have:

DO4. The identified threats (that are under the influence of the Sunshine Coast Council) reduced to lowest residual risk level to minimise negative impacts on nesting marine turtle populations.

DO5. Sufficient resilient essential habitat to support effective marine turtle nesting, foraging and courtship behaviour.

DO6. Maintain current male to female ratios on the Sunshine Coast to ensure continued recruitment of male turtles to the breeding population.

Theme 3 - Sunshine Coast community based TurtleCare program delivery

By 2033 the desired outcomes (DO) are to have:

DO7. The Sunshine Coast is recognised as a national and international leader in community-based marine and the TurtleCare program is fully integrated into Queensland and Australian strategies.

DO8. Secure, adequate funding for TurtleCare (and allied programs) allows optimal contribution to monitoring, managing, and recovering marine turtles in line with world best-practices.

DO9. Kabi Kabi First Nation Peoples are fully integrated into marine turtle management – the knowledge, culture and traditions, traditional rights, interests, management capacity and customary obligations are respected, strengthened, valued, and promoted.

DO10. A community of residents and visitors value marine turtles and are engaged in turtle conservation –community custodians/stewards.