Target: William Stelle, Western Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service
Goal: Protect sea turtles from drowning in deadly nets
Every year, hundreds of endangered pacific loggerhead sea turtles off the coast of Southern California are killed by careless fisheries. The federal government failed to enforce a drift gillnet fishery closure in an area where loggerhead turtles were prominent during certain months of the year, prompting the Turtle Island Restoration Network and Center for Biological Diversity to file a lawsuit to protect this at-risk species. Tell the National Marine Fisheries Service to out into place regulations that will prevent the slaughter of these animals and bring to justice fisheries that ignore these protections.
Through the lawsuit, proper protection for loggerhead turtles would be offered by requiring the National Marine Fisheries Service to establish the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area. This fishery closure is used during the months of June, July, and August of predicted El Niño years. Pacific loggerhead turtles migrate to this area to feed during the predicted time of year as the waters are warmer than usual.
Unfortunately, drift gillnet fishery, which uses mile-long nets soaked overnight to catch swordfish and certain shark species, catches and drowns more sea turtles during El Niño conditions. Closing this area off to drift gillnet fishery would not only save many Pacific loggerhead turtles, but would save many other marine animals that get caught and killed in these fishing nets. These nets form dangerous underwater walls that entangle and entrap whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, species of sharks, and other ecologically important fish, eventually causing species that need air to survive to drown.
The federal government has a duty to protect our oceans and marine life, and closing this area off to such fisheries for a few short months would provide much-needed protection to endangered species such as the pacific loggerhead turtle. Sign this petition to urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to keep its word and give loggerheads the protection they were promised.
Dear Regional Administrator Stelle,
I am concerned and appalled that a lawsuit needed to be filed in order to put the proper protections in place for pacific loggerhead sea turtles. A species that is already on the endangered list, these turtles’ livelihood needs to be taken seriously and acted upon.
Pacific loggerhead turtles require particular habitat conditions to feed, breed, and live and migrate to the coast of Southern California during certain years for its warmer waters. During these special circumstances, consider the threat that drift gillnet fishery has on them and on other vital marine life. Please put the proper protections into place and ban drift gillnet fishery, if not permanently, for the time that endangered loggerheads live off Southern California’s coast.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Marine Science Today