SLOW DOWN: Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committee chair Karl French in 2016.
SLOW DOWN: Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committee chair Karl French in 2016.

The important message for boaties to protect marine life

BOATIES are being urged to take care around shallow waterways with an increase in reported turtle strikes.

Gladstone's Local Marine Authority Committee said they were dealing with at least one dead turtle a week caused by propeller strikes from small to medium watercraft.

The group has reported finding the turtles around the region including at least two on Lilley's Beach, one near South Trees and others around the islands.

LMAC chairperson Karl French said the cooler weather was causing the turtles to come closer to the surface.

"It's more common in the winter because turtles being reptiles, they rely on the warmer temperature so they tend to be a bit slower,” he said.

"If they're up basking near the surface trying to warm up and people are going fast over those areas they can't get away quick enough.”

Mr French said the simple solution was for boaties to simply slow down and keep an eye out for marine life near the surface.

Turtles struck by boats can result in punctured lungs if a propeller goes through their shell and bone.

Their lungs then fill with water causing them to die before they can be found and taken into care.

Residents can report injured turtles through the strandings network or call 1300 ANIMAL.

Mr French said turtle numbers have been fluctuating in the area based on issues such as availability of food.

"The numbers are fluctuating in the harbour, what's causing that we're not really sure,” he said.

"I've been out recently with turtle research program and numbers have been down over the last couple of trips, but that is part of a natural cycle because they do move around.

"They're a pretty iconic species and it's nice to be able to have them in our harbour and share our waterways with them.”