Degree of Threat: A : Very threatened throughout its range communities directly exploited or their composition and structure irreversibly threatened by man-made forces, including exotic species
Comments: Greatest threat is harvest for commerical (e.g., tortoiseshell trade) and subsistence (meat, eggs,) purposes (NMFS and USFWS 2007). Over the past 100 years, millions of hawksbills have been killed to supply the tortoiseshell trade. Due to extensive movements of this species, significant harvests in one location can affect populations in other locations (NMFS and USFWS 2007). Other significant threats include destruction/degradation of breeding locations by beach development and illumination, incidental take in fisheries, increased exposure to heavy metals and other contaminants (e.g., from oil tanker discharges) in some regions, entanglement in persistent marine debris (Meylan 1992), and hybridization with other sea turtle species in some areas (NMFS and USFWS 2007). Also, climate warming and imperfect egg hatchery strategies may be increasing bias in sex ratios (NMFS and USFWS 2007), but the overall severity of this threat is uncertain.
See USFWS (1998) and NMFS and USFWS (2007) for detailed information on threats, including beach erosion, beach armoring, beach nourishment, sand mining, artificial lighting, beach cleaning, increased human presence, recreational beach equipment, predation, and poaching.