A Preliminary Report of Plastic Ingestion by Hawksbill and Green Turtles in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

Lyndsey K. Tanabe*, Jesse E.M. Cochran, Royale S. Hardenstine, Kirsty Scott, Michael L. Berumen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


(1) Background: Plastic pollution is a major environmental concern confronting marine animals. Sea turtles are considered a bio-indicator of plastic pollution, but there is little information regarding plastic ingestion by turtles in the Red Sea. With large-scale development projects being built along the Saudi Arabian coast, it is important to have a baseline for plastic ingestion before construction is complete. (2) Methods: Ten deceased sea turtles (four hawksbill and six green turtles) were collected along the Saudi Arabian coastline. Necropsies were conducted, and the entire gastrointestinal tracts were extracted and the contents were passed through a 1 mm mesh sieve. (3) Results: We found that 40% of the turtles in this study had ingested plastics. Thread-like plastics were the most common plastic category, and multi-colored was the most prevalent color category. (4) Conclusions: Monitoring of the plastic ingestion by marine megafauna should be conducted as a long-term assessment of the developments’ impacts. Additionally, conservation efforts should be focused on removing plastics (namely ghost nests and fishing lines) from the reefs and reducing the amount of plastic entering the sea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number314
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Chelonia mydas
  • endangered species
  • Eretmochelys imbricata
  • marine debris
  • pollution
  • threat assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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