1947 Mexican scientist films arribada of an estimated 40,000 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.
1966 Sea turtle preserve established at primary nesting beach in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico
1973 All sea turtles that occur in US waters are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
1994 Mexico establishes a no-fishing zone in the waters off Rancho
Nuevo. US begins to assist Mexican conservation efforts at Rancho Nuevo.
US begins a "headstarting" program in which eggs from Mexico are
brought to the US, the hatchlings are raised in captivity, and later
released from Padre Island, TX, in order to create a secondary nesting
mid-1980s The impacts of a historic turtle fishery, poaching, and
shrimping reduce the global population of Kemp's nesters to less than
1988 Kemp's Ridley Headstart Experiment discontinued.
1989 The US issues regulations, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act,
requiring US shrimpers to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on their
1990 National Academy of Sciences concludes that shrimp trawling kills
more sea turtles in US waters than all other human means combined.
1994 Sea turtle deaths along the Texas coast soar, totaling more than 500, almost half of which are Kemp's.
1994 STRP , HEART and HSUS filed lawsuit against NMFS to halt all
shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico until the agency stops the deaths of
sea turtles and improves enforcement of Turtle Excluder Devices in
1996 Billboards posted in Texas asking "How many endangered Texas sea
turtles get killed for your shrimp?" In 1996, there were 450.
1997 Undercover investigation by Humane Society of the US and Sea
Turtle Restoration Project reveals that compliance with federal TEDs
law is about 60%, despite federal claims of nearly 100% compliance.
1998 National Research Council recommends that 20% of our oceans should be set aside in permanent marine protected areas.
1998 In response to ongoing sea turtle deaths in Texas (including
mutilations), the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and the Humane Society
of the US demand immediate closure of Texas shrimp fishing, as well as
offer $5,000 reward to find shrimpers caught mutilating sea turtles
Federal report links shrimp season with increased turtle mortality in Texas.
1998 Sea Turtle Restoration Project becomes the first to call for
permanent shrimping closure off the waters of Padre Island and the
creation of a Kemp's Ridley Marine Reserve.
1998 Sea Turtle Restoration Project and the Group of 100 (Mexico)
publish op-ed calling for the creation of the marine reserve.
Editorials follow in the Dallas Morning News, Austin
American-Statesman, and the Christian Science Monitor.
1998 Texas holds first public sea turtle workshop about Kemp's
ridley strandings and remedies. STRP calls for the creation of the
Kemp's Ridley Marine Reserve.
1998 STRP pressure prompts increased TEDs enforcement. National
Marine Fisheries Service dispatches two boats to monitor Gulf of Mexico
shrimp fleet. Next year results are 20-25% noncompliance.
1999 Record number (16) of Kemps ridleys return to nest in South Texas
1999 International Sea Turtle Symposium, consisting of the
world's top sea turtle scientists, pass a resolution calling for the
creation of the Texas marine reserve
1999 STRP places two ads in the New York Times calling on then-Texas
Governor Bush to take lead in protecting Kemp's ridleys by creating
marine reserve. Protesters hound Bush at three California campaign
1999 Reports come in of record numbers of sea turtles dying in
Texas. Loss of Loggerhead sea turtles in Texas soars to 20-year high.
2000 Protestors dressed in sea turtle costumes march on Texas
Capitol in Austin. Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection
Institute and EarthFirst! begin participating in effort.
Hundreds of students begin entering art entries and poems
in Marine Reserve Art Contest. First student awarded prize.
More than 30 turtles wash up dead in Texas, including some with flippers tied with rope and holes drilled in shells.
STRP sends Texas Parks & Wildlife a three-inch stack of petitions signed by more than three thousand people.
Scientific report proves Florida sea turtles are being killed in Texas Waters.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission forwards proposed shrimp
regulations that include a closure (marine reserve) along South Texas.
Sea turtle supporters rally outside Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department weakens proposed shrimp
regulations by 75% and shrinks proposed Southern Closure, despite
strong public support.
2000 Sea turtle supporters testify at public hearings on shrimp regulations held in coastal cities in Texas and write thousands of letters in favor
of the permanent year-round closure along the South Texas coast.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department holds closed Shrimp Working Group
meetings without public participation; only shrimpers, fishers and
selected enviro groups invited (not STRP, HEART or HSUS) with goal of
weakening proposed closure and other shrimp regulations.
Sea Turtle Restoration Project runs full-page ad in New
York Times calling on Gov. Bush to publicly support Kemp's Ridley
Marine Reserve and TPWD proposed year-round shrimp closure. Bush
Top Texas newspapers publish strong editorials in support of permanent
year-round shrimp closure (marine reserve): Houston Chronicle, Dallas
Morning News, Austin American Statesman, Galveston Daily News. Corpus
Christi Caller Times, San Antonio Express News.
Sea Turtle Art Contest Exhibit displayed at Texas State Capitol in
Austin, Austin Central Library and Austin Zoo. Students from Groesbeck
Middle School give Kemp's Ridley Marine Reserve presentation at
STRP-sponsored press conference at Capitol.
Just five days before the final vote, Texas Parks & Wildlife
Department weakens shrimp regulations and reduces closure to seasonal,
December to July.
Nearly all public comments (96%) favor the original shrimp regulations
including the permanent year-round shrimp closure. But Texas Parks
& Wildlife Commissioners succumb to shrimp industry pressure and
approve seasonal closure out to 5 miles from December to July along
South Texas coast on Aug. 31, 2000. Closure takes effect Dec. 1, 2000.
Sea turtle strandings in Texas begin to rise and two
Kemp's ridleys are found cut in half. Dredging is ruled out as the
cause. Several adult Kemp's ridleys found dead. Turtles wash up with
heads and flippers cut off.
2002-2005 Thousands of letters and names on petitions have been sent to
Governor Rick Perry asking for a marine reserve at the Padre Island
2005 51 Kemp's ridleys nested on the Texas coast with 28 nesting at the
Padre Island National Seashore increasing the need for a marine reserve
with no commercial fishing allowed.
August 2005 Gulf Office Director Carole Allen appeared before the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Commissioners to request a marine reserve and the
extension of the South Texas closure from 7 1/2 months to year around.