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Mexico Risks US Trade Embargo for Failing to Protect Loggerhead Turtles

infoZine
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September 17, 2013
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Pacific Loggerhead Turtles: In Whose Hands? Because fisheries bycatch off the Baja California peninsula is currently the greatest documented threat to the critically endangered North Pacific loggerhead turtle, the future of this ocean- and culture-connecting migratory species is primarily in the hands of Mexican fishers. Ironically, it is difficult for many of Baja California's halibut and shark fishers to understand that loggerhead turtles are endangered because they can catch up to twelve turtles in a single day. (hoytpeckham)

Mexico faces the threat of a trade embargo from the United States for failing to protect endangered North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles from getting entangled in fishing gear off the Baja California’s Gulf of Ulloa. Last week state government officials in Mexico reported that 705 loggerheads have stranded dead along a 30-mile shoreline so far this year, most during the summer fishing season, including 30 dead turtles in a single day. That’s more turtles than normally wash ashore annually along the U.S. coast from Texas to the Carolinas.

Long-term scientific studies show that the leading cause of these deaths is preventable drowning in fishing gear; yet Mexican officials have claimed that only 1 percent of the reported turtle deaths were caused by bycatch.

“Loggerhead sea turtles are dying by the thousands along the Mexico coast,” said Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The United States can ban the import of fish and other wildlife products from nations that fail to protect imperiled species, and this is a clear case where such strong action is necessary.”

... Loggerhead mortality rates in the Gulf of Ulloa, as reported by the Mexican government as well as numerous scientific studies over the past decade, are among the highest documented in the world.

Read the rest at infoZine

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