The sea turtles heading to Florida’s shores for their annual nesting ritual are true survivors. Unlike some of their kind, they’ve avoided getting snagged on commercial fishing lines that stretch for miles offshore. One particular trouble spot is the bottom longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
A snapshot of the statistics shows why…
When the NMFS ruled in 2005 that longline fishing boats could catch up to 113 “hard shell” sea turtles (several species except leatherbacks) during a three-year period without jeopardizing the turtles’ survival, they later found how off the mark they were. Nearly 1,000 turtles were caught in just a two year period, and many of them drowned. That’s eight times the limit.
Florida’s loggerhead population is crucial to the species’ worldwide survival. That’s why it’s disheartening to note that in Florida, the number of loggerhead sea turtle nests plunged by 40 percent over the past decade.
The Obama administration can do two things; monitor fisheries data and provide adequate field observes to closely to prevent another slaughter like the one that occurred a couple of years ago.
For the rest of us, we can make our voices heard by signing on to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project’s petition.
And we can learn how our seafood choices affect sea turtle survival at http://blog.conservation.org/author/blueoceaninstitute/
Let’s not vote any more turtles off the beaches this year by sitting on the sidelines.