Lawsuit Could Save Thousands of Sea Turtles
by Amanda Keledjian
On March 1, the sea-turtle nesting season officially began in Florida, with the wondrous appearance of leatherback sea turtles returning to lay their eggs. Later this spring, loggerhead and green sea-turtles will follow suit, flocking to Florida’s beaches in large numbers. The state is an important destination for these marine reptiles; of the seven different sea-turtle species in the world, five call these warm waters home at some point during their migrations. In fact, Florida’s beaches host more nesting turtles than any other state.
Driven by an incredible instinct to return to the same beaches where they themselves were born, these turtles might not know that they are swimming into waters used by shrimp trawlers, one of sea turtles’ most dangerous and deadly obstacles.
Shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. southeast Atlantic kill or injure an estimated 53,000 sea turtles — every year — as the ships tow huge nets the width of football fields slowly through the water, trapping almost everything in their wake.
These nets pose a significant danger to the sea turtles, a vulnerable population. Sadly, all five sea-turtle species are considered threatened or endangered with extinction in the United States. This is why, last month, Oceana and three other groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. federal government, urging it to accurately analyze the impacts of shrimp trawls on sea turtles…
(read more: Live Science)
photos: Projeto Tamar Brazil/ Marine Photobank and NOAA