COSEWIC Assessment - Leatherback Turtle

Assessment Summary - May 2001

Common name
Leatherback turtle

Scientific name
Dermochelys coriacea

Status
Endangered

Reason for designation
The leatherback turtle is undergoing a severe global decline (> 70 % in 15 years). In Canadian waters, incidental capture in fishing gear is a major cause of mortality. A long lifespan, very high rates of egg and hatchling mortality, and a late age of maturity makes this species unusually vulnerable to even small increases in rates of mortality of adults and older juveniles.

Occurrence
Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean

Status history
Designated Endangered in April 1981. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2001.