In the Spotlight: An Assessment of Beachfront Lighting at Four Hotels and Recommendations for Mitigation Necessary to Safeguard Sea Turtles Nesting in Barbados, West Indies
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Artificial beachfront lighting is an increasing problem for sea turtle hatchlings and adult females. Barbados, the easternmost Caribbean island, exhibits particularly acute light pollution on the south and west coasts, which overlap one of the largest hawksbill sea turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, rookeries in the region. A predominant source of arti-ficial beachfront lighting is from hotels. To address the industry’s impact, and following the recommendations of a 2000 national workshop titled, “Sea Turtles and Beachfront Lighting: An Interactive Workshop for Industry Professionals and Policy-Makers in Barbados,” four leading hotels participated in a six-month voluntary lighting assessment. The lighting assessments followed standard guidelines and a ranking system was devel-oped to objectively evaluate each light fixture based on intensity. The ranking system highlights fixtures most detrimental to sea turtle orientation, and encourages hoteliers to evaluate progress made toward sea turtle friendly lighting regimes over time. The results of the assessment were presented to the four hotels in user friendly assessment reports that included mitigation recommendations for each fixture type. The assessment reports establish a lighting baseline for future assessments and act as a clearing house of recom-mendations for problematic lighting schemes. The hotel industry bears responsibility for the effects of their properties on sea turtle nesting grounds; therefore, encouraging them to rectify beachfront light pollution is crucial to the management of sea turtle populations in the Caribbean and throughout the world. The study, and the willingness of major beachfront hotels to participate, provides a replicable model for other countries to follow.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
artificial beachfront lighting
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