The founder of a marine debris collection service in the Whitsundays says there is strong demand for a turtle triage centre.
Ecobarge this week installed its fourth quarantine tank and has so far cared for 15 of the animals since May.
Libby Edge says floating syndrome is the most common cause of illness, with some animals also ingesting parts of tarpaulins and fishing line.
She says the turtle population is struggling.
“There’s not one week that I wouldn’t have around about three calls for a dead turtle at least, minimum,” she said.
“So I feel that they’re having a hard time out there.
“When you get a healthy turtle, it’s quite amazing, they’re so energetic and feisty but the turtles that we have, they’re not even moving. They’re a sad sight indeed.”
She says there are a number of things making the turtles sick.
“We’ve had a couple with fishing line and rope also blue tarpaulin that they’ve ingested but what we most commonly find is the float and they can’t dive for their normal food source,” she said.
“That’s something that really touches my heart because they’re a reptile and they die the slowest death possible. They’re dying of starvation.”