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US Fisheries Service Announces Plan to Curb Sea Turtle Deaths After 900 Wash Ashore in the Gulf

US Fisheries Service Announces Plan to Curb Sea Turtle Deaths After 900 Wash Ashore in the Gulf

Environmentalists Denounce the Plan as ‘Too Little Too Late” Vowing Court Action
After the lifeless carcasses of over 900 endangered sea turtles have washed up on Gulf beaches from Texas to Florida in the past few months, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has finally decided to consider action,announcing plans today to begin a lengthy process to address the carnage.  This action comes after Turtle Island Restoration Network along with partner conservation groups, notified the agency May 31 of its intent to sue over the government’s failure to protect endangered sea turtles from entanglement and drowning in shrimp trawls.

Click here to download the NMFS plans for EIS scoping.
"With nearly a 1,000 dead sea turtles already washed up on Gulf beaches, NMFS actions to start a multi-month process while the slaughter continues is unconscionable," said Dr. Chris Pincetich of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
“The government knows that turtles die when there is shrimping activity, but they have delayed action for months,” said Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director of Sea Turtle Restoration Project.  “Even as scoping sessions are held, more turtles will die. This is too little, too late for hundreds of sea turtles.”  She continued,  “The government has always known that Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) are needed on all types of shrimp trawls,” said Allen. 
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that biologists at the federal agency were aware of the problem, but could not get decision-makers in their agency to act. An internal email between Fisheries biologists stated:

“A defeatist attitude has sunk in with regard to increasing/improving    enforcement efforts and thereby improving TED compliance in the fishery. Basically nothing would be done unless a mandate came down from Dr. Lubchenco stating that this would be an enforcement priority.”

Federal inspectors in Louisiana found only 3of 29 shrimping nets had legal TEDs, and 21 were found with TEDs which “would result in the capture and death of a sea turtle” including several of the escape hatches that were sewn shut. No fines or penalties were assessed by NMFS despite the obvious violations. Click here to download emails and TEDs inspection reports from the FOIA.
All five species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico are endangered; yet, virtually no action has been taken to protect them after record numbers of dead turtles have been reported this Spring. The over 900 dead turtles that have washed ashore this year represents nearly 18,000 drowned turtles, according to NMFS’ own formula that assumes only one in 20 dead turtles will wash ashore and are found.

A statement from James Lecky, Director of the NMFS Office of Protected Resources, states that NMFS will evaluate a “range of reasonable alternatives” to reduce sea turtle bycatch and mortality in the shrimp fishery of the southeastern United States.  They will consider requiring all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls and butterfly trawls in the Atlantic and Gulf area to use TEDs in both state and federal waters.

"After sea turtles in the Gulf were hammered by the BP oil spill, they need more protection, not less, yet the very agency (NMFS) responsible for their protection has announced a plan designed to cover their butts, instead of taking the obvious action necessary to end the carnage," said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network.

"NMFS has a legal obligation to close down shrimping until they can guarantee that they can enforce the law of the land– that every active shrimp net has a properly installed TED.  If they don’t act to stop the massacre immediately, we’ll see them in Court very soon” Pincetich concluded.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network is an international marine conservation organization with offices in Texas and California whose 35,000 members and online activists work to protect sea turtles and marine biodiversity in the United States and around the world. For more information, visit www.SeaTurtles.org.

Sea Turtle Restoration Project • PO Box 370 • Forest Knolls, CA 94933, USA
Phone: +1 415 663 8590 • Fax: +1 415 663 9534 • info@seaturtles.org

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Man rescues dogs seen on Fukushima plant’s webcam — TEPCO demands they be returned during “ghoulish and bizarre” conversation

June 27th, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Return our dogs, TEPCO demands, The Australian, June 28, 2011:

The Australian yesterday revealed the story of animal rescue “guerilla” Hiroshi Hoshi’s mission to the plant to grab two Japanese Shiba dogs spotted wandering around on a webcam trained on the facility.

Yesterday, Mr. Hoshi said one of [TEPCO]‘s managers, who called himself Mr Igarashi, made a “ghoulish and bizarre” phone call to him soon after he rescued the dogs, suggesting they had become company property.

“He sounded that those dogs actually belong to TEPCO, because they were found at privately owned area of the plant,” Mr. Hoshi told The Australian. [...]

Return our dogs, TEPCO demands

A MAN who snatched two dogs to safety from the grounds of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has revealed the plant’s disgraced operator TEPCO later rang him to assert ownership over them.

The Australian yesterday revealed the story of animal rescue "guerilla" Hiroshi Hoshi’s mission to the plant to grab two Japanese Shiba dogs spotted wandering around on a webcam trained on the facility.

Yesterday, Mr. Hoshi said one of the plant’s managers, who called himself Mr. Igarashi, made a "ghoulish and bizarre" phone call to him soon after he rescued the dogs, suggesting they had become company property.

"He sounded that those dogs actually belong to TEPCO, because they were found at privately owned area of the plant," Mr. Hoshi told The Australian.

"We will never give them away — we are the guardians of those two dogs."

The dogs, thought to be sisters, were first seen at the plant earlier this month, three months after the nuclear accident, and were found to have absorbed significant amounts of radiation.

Nevertheless, they have been given a clean bill of health and were given to a couple in Yokohama.

Mr Hoshi, 55, has been making a series of unauthorized missions into the radioactive zone to rescue distressed animals. Yesterday, he received an offer to collaborate on rescue efforts from an NGO called Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue, comprising Japan’s best-known animal welfare organizations.

The organization has government permission to operate within the 20km perimeter around the nuclear plant, but Mr. Hoshi has been critical of the slowness of its members to act to ease the suffering of the thousands of animals in the area.

"I am still deciding whether I should accept this offer to join forces," he said.


JAPAN

Animal Lovers Raid Fukushima to Save Radioactive Dogs

Sam Biddle — There may be many lost animals of Fukushima, but you can strike two off that list: daring civilians spotted two pooches on a Fukushima livestream, then slipped behind nuclear lines to rescue the "atomic dogs." This, my friends, is heroism.

The pooch raiders, part of the Hachiko Coalition of Japanese animal welfare enthusiasts, infiltrated the evacuation dead zone (and the perimeter of the plant itself) in search of two dogs they caught on the plant’s live webcam, roaming without food, care, or protection from constant radiation.

According to the Hachiko crew (itself named after a beloved Japanese dog, legendary in the annals of canine history), these dogs were not only a tragic sight, but posed a threat to humans—what happened if they got dosed up on radiation and then wandered back to civilization? TEPCO and the Japanese government have been letting critters roam free this entire time, despite repeated calls for a thorough animal removal plan.

So they did it themselves. Donning hazmat suits, the volunteers drove to the plant, found the dogs, and sped out of there to a nearby veterinary hospital, where the two dogs were decontaminated and treated for their radiation exposure. The furry couple received two and three μSv of radiation respectively, which is low for humans, but for dogs—we’re not sure. We’ll keep track of the atomic duo for you, but for now, they appear to be happy, healthy and in (non-radioactive) hands.

This is probably the single happiest story to come out of Fukushima, so go ahead and soak it up. [via Hachiko Coalition]

Video: Fukushima 1F LIVE 20110602a

Gizmodo.com

Related:

Japanese Risk Radiation in Evacuation Zone to Rescue Stranded Dogs

Against All Odds:  Japanese Dog Found Weeks After Tsunami

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , | 1 Comment

   

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