With the help of our supporters, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project made the following progress with protecting sea turtles and their ocean home in 2008:
We successfully maintained fishing closures within the Leatherback Conservation Area off the California and Oregon coasts, protecting this important Pacific leatherback foraging area from drift gillnetting.
We wrote and distributed a comprehensive report, Death By A Thousand Hooks, on the impacts of longline fishing off the U.S. West Coast.
Our resolution was adopted by the California Ocean Protection Council, opposing the opening of a new longline fishery for swordfish along the California coast in favor of protecting endangered leatherback sea turtles. We also gained the support of the California legislature to oppose federal proposals to permit this fishery.
We released No Fair Warning, a report revealing continued failure by restaurants and supermarkets to post adequate consumer advisories about potentially unsafe levels of mercury in commercial seafood.
We developed and launched a mobile phone version of the Got Mercury online mercury-in-seafood calculator, which protects public health by enabling consumers conveniently to check the mercury levels of fish as they shop and dine.
We distributed a public service announcement (PSA) to Texas television stations which for the very first time called on the public along the entire Texas coast to watch for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings during the April through August nesting and hatchling season and to report them to the authorities.
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, three of our resolutions were adopted, calling for improved protection of Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles and global conservation policy for the protection of sharks and whales.
At the IUCN meeting we successfully garnered international support for protection of Las Baulas National Marine Park, Costa Rica, and halted development threats at Playa Grande, a critical nesting beach for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
Working with PRETOMA, we compelled the President of Costa Rica to enforce a law that foreign vessels must be landed at docks with public infrastructure so that catch can be regulated, thus lessening the impacts of barbaric shark-finning, which relies heavily on longlining and precipitates a devastating bycatch of sea turtles.
We worked with artisanal fisher folk in the newly created Marine Protected Area of the Caletas-Arios Wildlife Refuge to ensure that they are using biologically-sound methods, in order to protect stocks for future generations.
Through our partnership with PRETOMA, our sea turtle nesting beach protection program in Costa Rica expanded so that biologists working with volunteers now monitor 25 continuous miles of beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.
Working with six villages in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, we gained community support and made strong progress towards developing Conservation Deed Trusts in order to protect endangered leatherback sea turtle nesting habitat as well as fulfill community needs.
We convened the first international forum on seabed mining in the Western Pacific region, kicking off a grassroots campaign to thwart efforts by Nautilus Incorporated, a Canadian mining company to conduct the world's first seabed mining operation in the biologically rich waters off the PNG coast.