Target: Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan
Goal: Strengthen environmental regulations in Turkey to protect endangered marine life from harmful coastal development
Rampant overfishing and sprawling coastal development threaten endangered populations of dolphins and porpoises in Turkish waters. Overfishing of prey species, underwater noise pollution from boats, and coastal habitat loss due to uncontrolled development of tourism infrastructure have all contributed to the decline of dolphin and porpoise populations. The Turkish government must protect the country’s diverse marine life before it’s too late.
According to Environment 360 writer, Sulmaan Khan, “Turkey’s rapid coastal development and rampant overfishing pose existential threats to populations of dolphins and porpoises that once were among the largest in the world.” Khan suggests that the root of the problem lies with the aggressive economic policies of Prime Minister Erdogan, who has consistently pursued development “at the expense of the environment.”
The government has failed to take action because they prioritize economic development and protecting commercial shipping instead of vulnerable marine life. Existing environmental legislation is insufficient and often ignored to benefit unregulated development projects.
Currently, less than three percent of Turkey’s territorial waters are designated marine protected areas (MPAs). The Turkish government must recognize the need for MPAs in habitats where dolphins and porpoises are known to commonly feed and reproduce. If unchecked, these unsustainable fishing practices and uninhibited coastal development will lead to the disappearance of dolphins and porpoises in Turkish waters.
We urge the Turkish government to respond swiftly to this threat by passing and enforcing environmental legislation to adapt to Turkey’s rapidly increasing population and expanding tourism industry.
Dear Prime Minister Erdogan,
This petition urges you to recognize the value of Turkey’s biodiversity and protect threatened marine life through strict regulations on fisheries and coastal tourism development.
The Turkish government’s emphasis on unregulated economic development has allowed populations of dolphins and porpoises to dramatically deteriorate. Severe overfishing and sprawling coastal development remain unchecked in order to protect economic interests, with no consideration given to the environment.
Future development must occur in harmony with the environment to be viable in the long-term. This will require establishing marine protected areas where dolphins and porpoises commonly feed and reproduce, preventing fisheries from depleting their own resources, and passing legislation to control coastal development when it impedes on marine life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Andrew Hurley via Flickr