Target: U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife
Goal: Create legislation to ban the use of “J hooks” for commercial fishing.
The Leatherback Sea Turtle is critically endangered and is facing almost imminent extinction in the Pacific Ocean. Only 30,000-40,000 turtles are estimated to remain, and this population is decreasing every year. The Leatherback is the only species of turtle with a soft, leathery, back instead of a hard shell. As a result, they are often accidentally snagged by commercial fishermen, whose elongated fishhooks penetrate and kill the turtles.
Conservation experts with World Wildlife Fund believe that hundreds of turtles are killed each year by these elongated fishhooks, known as “J hooks.” A safer and equally effective alternative exists, which could replace the “J hook” in commercial fishing and stop the unnecessary deaths of Leatherback Turtles. These safer hooks are called “Circle hooks,” and their circular shape are less likely to snare turtles , but just as effective for swordfish and tuna fishing.
Leatherback turtles have been on this planet for more than 150 million years. They are an important part of marine ecosystems and fill an ecological niche in the depths of the ocean. Please help save this creature from extinction by asking the Department of Fish and Wildlife to ban the use of “J fishhooks” in commercial fishing.
Dear the Department of Fish and Wildlife,
The Leatherback Sea Turtle is nearly extinct. Populations are estimated between 30,000-40,000 worldwide and decreasing rapidly. As you know, the Leatherback Sea Turtle is the only species of turtle that has a softer, leathery back in lieu of a hard shell. Experts at the World Wildlife Fund believe that part of the cause of the declining population for Leatherbacks is because commercial fishermen accidentally hook the leathery shells of these turtles with “J hooks.”
Safer and equally effective alternatives exist for these hooks. “Circle hooks” are far less likely to snare turtles and still function for catching swordfish, tuna, and other large ocean fish. By creating legislation that would ban the use of “J hooks” for commercial fishing, your department can help prevent the extinction of this wonderful marine creature. Leatherbacks are an important part of the marine ecosystem and measures must be taken to ensure their survival. Please ban the use of “J hooks” for commercial fishing to prevent the needless killing of Leatherback Sea Turtles.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lazaro Ruda at Living Sea.com via Flickr.com