Steep decline in giant sea turtles seen off US West Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Leatherback sea turtles have been plying the world’s oceans for tens of millions of years, but scientists say a rapid decline in their numbers means they could disappear from U.S. West Coast waters within decades.

All seven distinct populations of leatherbacks in the world are troubled, but a new study shows an 80% population drop in just 30 years for one extraordinary sub-group that migrates 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to feed on jellyfish in cold waters off California.

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Scientists say international fishing and the harvest of eggs from nesting beaches in the western Pacific are to blame.

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