Fox News followed the Sea Turtle Restoration Projectís Dr. Chris Pincetich and his team of volunteers on an expedition to search for oiled sea turtles in the Gulf. Local expert marine biologist Scott Porter and wildlife guide Captain Al Walker joined Chris, STRP volunteers, and representatives from the National Wildlife Federation, Oceanic Defense, Sea Shepherd, Ocean Defender and Mission Blue to bring back independent documentation of oil slicks that remain, subsurface oil that plagues the entire Gulf, and any observations of struggling sea turtles. See below for the FOX News video, expedition maps, and a complete list of partners.
Underwater footage taken by locals Scott Porter and Al Walker, who represent EcoRigs and Gulf Wildlife Rescue Unit, respectively, was shared with Fox News and broadcast in the report. A Kempís ridley sea turtles was observed among coral encrusted columns along with schools of hardtails, amberjacks, a few triggerfish, and several sharks. We failed to see any sargassum seaweed rafts, which shelter juvenile sea turtles and fish, and encountered a large, brown oil slick that remained on the water. The STRP team documented all wildlife sightings, took water samples to be analyzed for oil and dispersants, and documented the entire trip using Trimbleís Map the Spill application.
Sea turtles continue to struggle in the damaged Gulf ecosystem. BPís dispersants, often applied illegally in Louisiana State waters, have caused oil slicks on the surface to disappear and spread the hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil throughout the water column. Sea turtles that were rescued May through July are now being released into this polluted, damaged ecosystem. Visible evidence of oiled sea turtles is now very difficult to find on Gulf waters but it was easy to see that the marine ecosystem is at the very beginning of a long, slow recovery. This recovery will take years or decades and will require our fishing, oil drilling, and other negative impacts to be reduced in the Gulf to speed the recovery of endangered sea turtles.
Expedition maps created with Trimbleís Map the Spill mobile application
August 20, Barataria Bay oiled wetlands and experimental "Bio-Booms"August 23, Underwater investigations in the Gulf of Mexico
Sponsors for our Gulf of Mexico BP Spill expeditions include donations from Patagonia, Trimble, and several private organizations.
Partners for our Gulf of Mexico BP Spill expeditions that provided invaluable expert, pro-bono and discounted assistance; National Wildlife Federation, Mission Blue, Oceanic Defense, Sea Shepherd, Ocean Defender, Gulf Wildlife Rescue Unit, EcoRigs, The Boat Yard, and On Wings of Care.