The North Shore beaches of Oahu, Hawaii will be closed from September 15th to December 15th, 2021 to protect the endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles during their nesting season. The closure aims to prevent hatchling disorientation, injury, and prevent hatchlings from making it to the ocean, which would be fatal for them. The closure also preserves the natural habitat of the nesting sites and protects the marine ecosystem in the vicinity. Visitors can watch the turtles at safe locations and participate in educational events to learn about the cultural and environmental significance of these endemic creatures.
Oahu’s North Shore Beaches to Be Closed for Turtle Hatchling Season
The North Shore beaches of Oahu, Hawaii are famous among surfers for their giant waves. However, the beaches also serve as a nesting site for the endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. In order to protect the turtle hatchlings, Oahu’s Department of Land and Natural Resources has announced that several North Shore beaches including Laniakea, Haleiwa, and Waimea Bay, will be closed for turtle hatchling season starting from September 15th through December 15th, 2021.
The turtles lay their eggs on the sand and, after approximately two months, the hatchlings emerge and make their treacherous journey towards the ocean. Officials say that closure of the beaches during the nesting season helps protect the hatchlings from the human disturbances that can result in hatchling disorientation, or worse yet, injury, and can prevent hatchlings from successfully making it to the ocean, which would be fatal for them.
The hatchlings are small and fragile, and the journey from the nest to the ocean can be a life or death situation for them. Hence, it’s very important to respect the beach closure and help these hatchlings complete their journey.
The North Shore beaches also hold an incredible marine ecosystem that nurtures many species; sharks, dolphins, and monk seals, among others. The closure of beaches also helps in protecting these life forms during the nesting season.
Beaches that will be closed for the nesting season
The beaches that will be closed for the nesting season include:
1. Laniakea beach – a picture-perfect beach adored by surfers, visitors, and locals. The turtles are protected at Laniakea by volunteers that help in keeping an eye on the nesting turtles.
2. Haleiwa Beach Park – a sandy entry point to the beautiful Haleiwa estuary. A favorite spot for paddlers, kayakers, and picnic lovers.
3. Waimea Bay – one of the world’s most renowned surfing spots that hosts an annual Eddie Aikau invitational event.
Why the beaches will be closed?
Beaches will remain closed to encourage people to maintain a respectful distance from the turtles and their eggs. Pathways around the nesting areas will also be roped off to preserve the hatchlings’ natural habitat. People who violate the closure could face a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Drone operators should also be aware of the closure and refrain from flying their drones over the nesting sites.
Safe Places to Watch the Turtles
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is holding educational events for visitors and locals alike, to educate them about the cultural and environmental significance of the turtles and their nests. The department also recommends specific locations where the turtles can be watched safely.
These locations include:
1. Turtle Bay – a resort that provides an incredible view of the turtles and their natural habitat.
2. Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District – a Local landmark that serves as a habitat for the local fauna.
3. Kaena Point – A north-western tip replete with a range of wild-life to witness along with the turtles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When do Oahu’s North Shore beaches close for the nesting season?
The North Shore beaches are closed from 15th September to 15th December and will be reopen for visitors.
Q. What species of turtles nest on these beaches?
The beaches are the nesting grounds for Hawaiian green sea turtles.
Q. Can visitors see the turtles during the nesting season?
Yes, they can. Visitors can witness the turtles making their way to the ocean after hatching.
Q. Can I fly a drone to get a closer look at the turtles?
No, drone flying is prohibited within the nesting areas during the closure period. Violators can face a fine and one year in jail.
Q. Can I visit the beaches after the nesting season ends?
Yes, the North Shore beaches reopen for visitors after the nesting season ends on December 15th.
In a nutshell
The North Shore beaches of Oahu, Hawaii, are closed to the public during the nesting season to protect the endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, which nest on the islands. The hatchlings of these turtles are fragile and face many dangers as they make their way to the ocean. The closure of North Shore Beaches helps in providing a safe environment for their growth, while also helping maintain the ecosystem in the vicinity. Visitors to these beaches can watch the turtles at safe locations and learn about the cultural and environmental significance of these endemic creatures.