Degree of Threat: A : Very threatened throughout its range communities directly exploited or their composition and structure irreversibly threatened by man-made forces, including exotic species
Comments: Threatened through direct exploitation for food (including eggs) and curio materials, incidental take (chiefly by drowning in shrimp trawls), and by habitat degradation, including beach development, beachfront lighting (Peters and Verhoeven 1994, Salmon and Witherington 1995), ocean pollution (including marine debris, which may be ingested), and dredging (direct kills and injuries). Beach armoring, including sea walls, rock revetments, riprap, sandbag installation, groins, and jetties, can result in loss of nesting beaches due to accelerated erosion, prevention of natural beach and dune accretion, and interference with females attempting to reach suitable nesting sites. Beach cleaning operations can destroy nests or produce tire ruts that inhabitat movement of hatchlings to sea. The effect of beach restoration may depend on sand type used and subsequent management. Additional threats include predation and/or trampling of eggs and young by raccoons and feral mammals, trampling/crushing of eggs or young by vehicles or human pedestrians, deaths caused by collisions with boats (e.g., in southeastern and southern Florida and shallow coastal bays of the Gulf of Mexico) and intentional attacks by humans (fishermen) (Mitchell 1991). Long-term threats include sea level rise which, coupled with inland urbanization, may reduce available nesting beaches. Since sexual differentiation depends on incubation temperature, there is concern that global warming may result in an imbalance in the sex ratio (Mrosovsky and Provancha 1989). Annual mortality due to drowning in shrimp nets has been estimated at 5000-50,000 in the southeastern U.S.; an additional 550-5500 may die each year from other human activities (CSTC 1990). The fall bottom fishery and black drum fishery may be having adverse effects on loggerheads that use Chesapeake Bay (Mitchell 1991). Susceptible to entanglement and drowning in pound net hedging in Chesapeake Bay (Lutcavage and Musick 1985). In Georgia, predation by the imported fire ant may be a serious threat to eggs and hatchlings (Moulis 1997). See USFWS (1998) for detailed information on certain threats, including beach erosion, beach armoring, beach nourishment, artificial lighting, beach cleaning, increased human presence, recreational beach equipment, exotic dune and beach vegetation, nest loss to abiotic factors, predation, and poaching.