In the wake of BP's big oil spill, sea turtles need our help now more than ever! Additionally, they are faced with drowning in fishing nets not outfitted with TEDs (Turtle Exclusion Devices), because many refuse to use them and are granted the right not to through various loopholes. And then, some fishermen even slaughter them when they do encounter them, because they are so angered at being dictated to that they have to use the TEDs. Growing up in Alabama, I am most familiar with the Sea Turtles of the U.S. Gulf Coast. When in college at Auburn University, I had the chance to partake in a two month career development program/Spanish language class in Costa Rica. While there, we visited Tortuguero National Park and I was blessed to see both a Green and Hawksbill sea turtle laying their eggs. It was unbelievable. Then, a few years ago, I had the chance to see a nest of Loggerhead and Kemp's Ridley turtles hatching! It was awesome.
All of our sea turtles are listed under the Endangered Species Act. If you want to help, click here and check out Alabama's Share the Beach Program.
And finally, this from Defenders of Wildlife:
It's a terrible way to die: Trapped in shrimp trawling nets, sea turtles desperately try to surface for air. But with no escape, these ancient sea mariners slowly drown.
Tens of thousands of endangered and threatened sea turtles are accidentally trapped by shrimp trawls each year. And without Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) -- special equipment that provides sea turtles an escape -- many face the grim fate of drowning at sea.
You can help save threatened and endangered sea turtles now -- speak out in support of the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) proposal to strengthen TED requirements.
Record numbers of sea turtles wash shore in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011. When scientists looked closely at these turtles, they found that many likely died after being forced underwater by shrimp trawls.
TEDs are required on many shrimp trawlers. But a loophole in current regulations exempts certain types of fishing gear from these otherwise mandated sea turtle-saving devices. This exemption can lead to tens of thousands of sea turtles being accidentally captured with many drowned each year.
Federal officials have now proposed to close this deadly loophole by requiring all shrimp trawls to use TEDs -- and provide endangered sea turtles with a chance at recovery.
Close this deadly loophole for sea turtles: Urge federal officials to require life-saving TEDs on all shrimp trawls before the July 9th deadline.
Gulf shrimping remains the number one killer of sea turtles in the U.S. -- but TEDs have had an enormous impact on sea turtle recovery. Properly used TEDs have been shown to be 97% effectivein releasing sea turtles unharmed -- and they've allowed the critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle to slowly recover from the brink of extinction.
But TEDs also help other marine species by allowing fishermen to more narrowly target the shrimp they are trying to catch, reducing accidental catch of other fish like red snapper . They also help reduce harmful debris from shrimp nets, cutting down on expensive damage and leading to cleaner, more profitable catch for fishermen.
Please take action today to speak out for stronger protections for threatened and endangered sea turtles. The deadline for comments is Monday, July 9th.
Thanks for all you do to speak out for sea turtles and other wildlife.