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.

The community told us their views and helped to prioritise key projects from the draft plan. Consultation closed on June 16, 2023.

Survey results from Draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback on the Draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan.

The Draft Marine Turtle Conservation Plan and the Action Plan were available for consultation from 19 May to 16 July 2023.

Two engagement opportunities were offered at The community was asked to use a participatory budget tool that identified ten new actions that would be delivered under the draft plan. Further feedback was also provided under an open comment field.

Five community members/organisations submitted further feedback via email.

Summary of feedback

It’s clear our community love and highly value our Sunshine Coast marine turtles.

Overall, the community was very supportive of the draft plan and the feedback heavily focused on creating darker beaches for turtles.

The most highly prioritised actions by both spend and votes for the two projects to reduce light pollution impacts to marine turtles.

Specifically, the top three supported actions in the plan (by votes and spend) were:

  • Addressing the existing problematic public lighting in sensitive areas.
  • Development of a light pollution toolkit.
  • Create a locally refined marine turtle dune vegetation plan (by votes) and equally,
  • A permanent extension officer role for Kabi Kabi First Nations person (by spend).

Based on the feedback there are minor changes required to the draft Marine Turtle Conservation Plan. The purpose/intent of the plan and all desired outcomes are supported.

It is recommended to make the following changes to the MTCP Part 1 – Plan.

  • Addition of aligned UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Removal of actions relating to a marine turtle discovery centre, tourism opportunities for turtles as these were not supported by community engagement.
  • Removal of the light pollution case study on private land due to conjecture on outcomes provided by a resident.
  • Addition of actions that address potential threats to turtle populations through willful vegetation damage and dogs off-leash.
  • Addition of language to ensuring funding obtained through sponsorship include external partners that are appropriate.
  • Modification of volunteer targets from 1000 volunteers to 500 volunteers by 2033 in line with resourcing limitations.

It is recommended to make the following changes to MTCP Part 2 – Action Plan:

For a detailed report of the consultation feedback and council’s response please read the Draft Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan Engagement Summary.

Next steps

At the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 24 August 2023, council endorsed the final Sunshine Coast Marine Turtle Conservation Plan.

Council is now working towards delivering on the plan.

For more information on turtle conservation visit

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.