Today is World Sea Turtle Day, so it is timely to consider just how good you too could look at 70 to 100 on a diet of green seaweed, like Chelonia mydas (wet tortoise) the Green Turtle.
A most ancient, long-lived and patient marine friend.
We refer to them as marine friends because the Green Turtles are also seaweed farmers of sorts, living and grazing the freshest most nutritious tips of seaweed in an area, and supporting its regrowth.
However, let’s not forget that the short-lived existence of humans on earth has been potent enough to threaten the existence of one of the longest-lived monarchs of our seas.
A great ancestor to the green turtle existed as long as 72 million years ago, where remains were found in Mexico.
Compare that to more distant ancestors of ours which are found from about 20 million years ago.
Just 14 pieces of human pollution in a turtle gut tips the balance point towards death, and this seems like such a mundane and unworthy end to a life that has graced our oceans for so long.
And remember, green turtle need to breathe air like us - so if they get tangled in fishing gear they drown.
The green turtle is listed as endangered by the IUCN and CITES, and the reasons are ones that we can turn around - let’s just ….
I have had the privilege to swim with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, but not many would know how far south Green Turtles can swim. I have swum over a Green Turtle at Mollymook beach while ocean swimming, and bumping into them while doing algae surveys in St George's Basin and in Jervis Bay.
This is a 3 hour drive south of Sydney and far away from the Great Barrier Reef, so obviously, the Nemo current is not just for Nemo.
Maybe they like the taste of our local seaweeds, considering that most of a Green Turtles diet will comprise seaweed. The reason they are called green is because of the rich pigments they ingest and store in a layer of tissue between their organs and shell - so their cartilage and energy tissue is green.
Let’s take this day to reflect that each of our commitments on the above threats will turn the trajectory around for our Green Turtles, and ponder on whether we can be as good looking at 100 on a seaweed diet - try some today and 5% goes to the turtles.