- Dodd says the rebound can likely be traced to two key conservation measures taken up decades ago. States have stepped up monitoring and protection of sea turtle nests since loggerheads were listed as a threatened species in 1978. And shrimp boats trawling in U.S. waters since 1987 have been required to equip their nets with escape hatches for sea turtles.
Scientists suspect those decades-old efforts are showing big results now because female loggerheads don’t reach full maturity and start nesting until they’re about 30 years old.
“They’ve been able to survive to maturity and reproduce and come back to lay eggs,” said Michelle Pate, who leads the sea turtle program for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “It’s been a long haul, but I think we’re finally seeing it pay off.”