US Calling for Halt to Endangered Sea Turtle Deaths in Baja Mexico Fishery
Teri Shore - Indybay.org
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December 24, 2013
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)
House members have urged Obama officials to pressure Mexico to immediately end the needless drownings of Pacific loggerhead sea turtles in a Baja California fishery - a global hot spot for turtle bycatch.
A Congressional letter (PDF) seeks to pressure the Obama administration to step up its efforts to end the excess sea turtle bycatch in Mexico. The U.S. requires its fishermen to stop netting and hooking loggerheads, but Mexico refuses to do the same. Instead Mexico is denying that fishing nets are killing the sea turtles.
The bycatch rate of loggerheads in Baja Mexico gillnets is among the highest in the world — and it is jeopardizing their continued survival. Last summer a horrific 600 percent increase in dead sea turtles was observed in Gulf of Ulloa along Baja's Pacific coast. A shocking 705 loggerheads washed up dead on one stretch of shoreline in just two months. Sea turtle scientists estimate over 2,000 loggerheads were killed last year in gillnets alone off of Baja's coast.
Take action at the Sea Turtle Restoration Project
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