Want to know more about Leatherbacks?
Posted by Mike Milne on April 22nd, 2008
While online the other day, I came across this fascinating—albeit abit geeky—video on Leatherback turtle biology presented by Dr. Scott Eckert, Ph.D. a Scientist from Duke University interested in Marine Science & Conservation and an expert on sea turtles. This video may be long, but its worth watching as it describes some of the amazing talents and adaptations that made the Pacific Leatherback the only sea turtle to survive the asteroid that killed of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
For instance, @ 51:55, Dr. Eckert begins to describe how Leatherbacks use their flippers in an entirely different way than other sea turtles, and how this allows Leatherbacks to make the transoceanic voyages across the entire Pacific Ocean from nesting beaches in Indonesia to feeding areas along the US West Coast. Their unique way of swimming—as well as their body shape and other qualities—makes them incredibly efficient at swimming long distances. In fact, satellite-tracking data suggests Leatherbacks travel an average of approximately 6,000-miles/year roaming around the oceans—that’s about 16.5 miles almost every single day of every year for decades on end.
For the Love of Tuna
Posted by Teri Shore on April 17th, 2008
Last night I had dinner at the school cafeteria at Dominican College in San Rafael, CA, with author Richard Ellis (Empty Ocean, many other books, new book is Tuna - a Love Story due out in July) whose lecture that evening was hosted by Pt. Reyes National Seashore. The meeting was interesting and inspiring because I also got to hobnob with Don Neubacher, Pt Reyes superintendent, and his staff Sarah Allen, marine mammal expert, Ben Becker, biologist, and Jessica the new outreach coordinator.
Mr. Ellis previewed his upcoming book "Tuna - A Love Story," due out in July from Alfred A. Knopf. Ellis is fascinating with his tales of the power and beauty of the big bluefin tuna. He also described the species' decline from penning and "farming" around the world to provide sashimi primarily for Japan.
I was mesmerized by these magnificient predators when I saw them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Interesting facts include:
- Bluefin tuna and other tuna are warm blooded unlike other fish and can turn on and off this function
- Tuna penning/farming in the Mediteranean, South Australia and other parts of the world is devastating the species
- The Tokyo fish market has recently closed to outsiders to avoid criticism over Japan's voracious consumption of disappearing fish
- South Australians have for the first time ever bred wild bluefin in captivity.
Mr. Ellis has published numerous books and articles on the oceans and marine life, and is an accompllished painter. He also served on the International Whaling Commission, trying to stop commerical whaling around the globe. He generously signed my copy of "Empty Ocean." His next book is on polar bears!
WESPAC votes to remove longline set limits
Posted by Mike Milne on April 16th, 2008
In 2001, a court found that the HI-based swordfish longline fishery violated federal law and closed the fishery. In 2004, NMFS reopened the fishery with detailed regulations requiring special gear and limiting the amount of fishing that could take place each year. The US government limited the maximum number of longline sets that
could be fished at 2,120 sets/yr. They concluded that additional
fishing would jepoardize the Pacific leatherback and Loggerhead turtle.
This past Monday, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) recommended that NMFS eliminate the limits on the number of longline sets/year. If approved, WESPAC's decision would rollback this critical regulation protecting sea turtles from shallow set longlines--a method 10x more likely than deep set longlines to capture and kill Pacific leatherbacks and loggerheads.
Thus, it appears that the Hawaii-based longline fishery is gearing up for a dramatic increase in swordfish fishing, with deadly consequences for imperiled sea turtles, whales, seals, and seabirds. At a time when WESPAC should be looking for ways to further decrease the impacts of longlining on ever shrinking populations of turtles, they are posed to allow even more fishing and by-catch of sea turtles. WESPAC and NMFS will be hearing from us and our members in the next couple months as we work to stop this myopic plan.
First Kemp's Ridley Nest Found in Texas!
Posted by on
South Padre Island was the site of the first Kemp's ridley nest recorded in Texas for the 2008 nesting season. The turtle was seen by a patrol from Sea Turtle, Inc., a conservation organization started by the late Ila Loetscher. The turtle had no tags or showed any evidence of being raised in captivity and laid 104 eggs which will be protected.
Patrols began in earnest on the entire Texas coast on April 1. 128 nests were found in 2007 breaking all previous records. The Kemp's ridley was near extinction in 1985 when only 350 females were known to exist. Mexico and the United States have worked together for 30 years to protect beaches and adult turtles. Legislation requiring Turtle Excluder Devices on shrimp trawls to allow sea turtles to escape has been an important part of increasing numbers of this endangered sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico.
Carole H. Allen, Gulf Office Director
First Kemp's ridley nest in Texas
Posted by Teri Shore on April 14th, 2008
Carole Allen, our Gulf Director, just send me the news that the first Kemp's ridley nest of the season was found on the South Texas coast. Read the news.
Salmon fishery closed, but swordfish open?
Posted by Teri Shore on April 11th, 2008
Pacific fishery managers shut down the California salmon fishery due to a crisis of crashing fish stocks. This was a critical and courageous move.
But today they OK'd the opening of a destructive new swordfish fishery in protected sea turtle habitat along the West Coast -- on behalf of a single commercial fishing operation run by Peter Dupuy.
The so-called experiemental permit would allow him to set more that 65,000 large hooks in prime leatherback foraging habitat during the fall of 2008.
We fought and defeated this same outrageous permit last year with the help of the California Coastal Commission, and plan to do the same this time around with the help of sea turtle and oceans activists as well as the scientific commnity and more "sane" fishers.
The following fishery council members should be commended for voting AGAINST the longline permit and Dupuy's fishing cronies (who apparently insulted and attacked enviros who spoke at the public hearing this afternoon).
THANK YOU TO THESE FISHERY COUNCIL MEMBERS:
Maria Vojkovich, Dan Wolford, Michele Culver, Mark Cedergreen, Dale Meyer
New sea turtle classroom video
Posted by Teri Shore on April 3rd, 2008
"A Struggle to Live -- The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle" is a new DVD
offered at cost of mailing to teachers and other groups interested in
educating students and the public about these endangered sea turtles.
To order a copy, contact Gulf Director Carole Allen at email@example.com or 281-444-6204.
Sea turtles to sharks with Randall Arauz
Posted by Teri Shore on April 2nd, 2008
Our Central American campaigner Randall Arauz is in town this week from Costa Rica sharing his incredible work to save endangered sea turtles and sharks. On Monday night at the Dance Palace in Pt. Reyes Station in West Marin (north of San Francisco), he offered an amazing program about plans to expand nesting protection on the Pacific coast of Costa Rican to more beaches in order to stop the decline of the leatherback.
Photo by George Duffileld
He also told about how his working tagging hammerhead sharks in the Cocos Islands has resulted in new discoveries about the migrating patterns of these large, and disappearing, predators. Shark-finning is taking a huge toll on these unique sharks.
As a result of his findings on leatherback and hammerhead swimming patterns, we are preparing to launch a new campaign to protect the marine swimways off the coasts of Costa Rica and Ecuador from detrimental fishing and other activities. Come back to learn more.
Randall's presentation on sea turtles, sharks and Cocos Islands will soon be posted on our website.
Welcome to the STRP Blog!
Posted by Sea Turtle Restoration Staff on March 3rd, 2008
Welcome to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project blog at www.seaturtles.org.
After 18+ years at the forefront of the environmental movement with our innovative campaigns to protect sea turtles, we are happy to announce our new website. It has been quite a scramble to transfer to the new site, and as such, the site will continue to grow over the next couple of months as time permits.
We are excited about the new tools and information we have available to motivate people like you to become active in protecting sea turtles, marine biodiversity, and the oceans.
Keep checking out this blog for updates on our exciting campaigns - from working with the tribal villages in Papua New Guinea to protect leatherbacks to challenging the US federal government's efforts to expand destructive industrial fishing in the Pacific, from strengthening Kemp's ridley nesting beach protections in Texas to protecting sharks and sea turtles in the waters off Costa Rica.
We'll keep you updated with dispatches from the field and fisheries meetings, and informed about new ways to help us protect the turtles, our oceans and ourselves.
Thanks for supporting our work. We couldn't do it without you.