By Jamie Rule
Turtle researchers say lighting at coastal developments and ports in Queensland is confusing the animals and will increase its mortality.
James Cook University (JCU) researchers are studying the effect of artificial light on hatching turtles.
Artificial light can cause turtles to wander inland and swim in the wrong direction from the shore.
JCU researcher Dr Mark Hamann says the nesting sites of four of the six Australian marine turtle species are affected.
He says the lights cause the turtles and hatchlings to get lost when they are trying to find the water.
"In terms of the overall impact what we know now is that there are some areas of Australia that have a lot of light pollution, a lot of altered light horizons such as south-east Queensland around Bundaberg and also the North-West Shelf of Western Australia," he said.
Dr Hamann says the problems caused by artificial light have not been adequately addressed.
"It's previously been only addressed at very small scale," he said.
"We talk about one beach or one resort etcetera adjusting their light management strategies for that particular area.
"This study has basically shown us that addressing at one beach while that might be useful, it really needs to be scaled up to a population size."