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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

Dogs of Distressed Gulf Families Land in NJ

August 15, 2010 – 1:43 PM | by: Peter Doocy

In the wake of the BP disaster in the gulf region, many people are being forced to give up their pets because they no longer have the resources to take care of them.  As a result, shelters in the area are overwhelmed, and are now sending dogs to other states in an effort to save their lives.  “Its kind of sad and our heart kind of breaks, because you can tell these people really love their pets,” said Charlotte Bass-Lilly with Animal Rescue New Orleans.  “It’s kind of shades of Katrina again.”

This week, the largest pet transport so far took place: 94 dogs to eight shelters in New Jersey.  Some of them landed at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, and they are some of the Garden State’s most popular new residents.  “The community support and outpouring for them has just been incredible.  It was kind of like a bar on St. Patrick’s Day, and we had 20 in and 20 out, because we had so many people waiting to see them.”

Debbie and Andrew Silberstein brought their kids Zachary and Noah to St. Huberts today, where they adopted Sasha Bee, who just last week lived in a completely different part of the country.

Mom Debbie sympathizes with those forced to part ways with their pets.  “It’s very sad that these people had to do that and we feel sorry,” she said.  “But they should know that we’ll give this dog lots of love and attention and we’ll really love her like part of our family.”

The dogs here at St. Huberts have been through a lot since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.  One dog, Casper, was surrendered to a New Orleans shelter because his owner started working with BP to clean up oil, and no longer had the time to take care of him.  Another dog, Yoda, is here because his owner was forced to downsize to an apartment that did not accept animals.

The dogs were squeezed onto a big rig operated by the Humane Society, and with two drivers, made the trip from the bayou to a suburb of the Big Apple in 18 hours.

The most striking thing about seeing these canines up close is that they are all very good looking, and very well behaved.  These aren’t dogs from the street.  Until recently, they were members of families.  And anyone that rescues one of these dogs will be doing a great service to those distressed families in the gulf: ensuring that the pet they love finds a loving new owner.

If you are interested in rescuing one of these resilient animals, go to www.petfinder.com, or www.sthuberts.or

I am absolutely against government bailouts and the stimulus (I,II, or whatever number we are one now), but if we are going to spend this money and spend it on bridges to nowhere, an airport only used by one of our cheating U.S. Senators and send billions of our TARP money to European banks… there should never be a need or incident of another pet/animal being euthanized because “we” couldn’t wait to find them a home or take care of them.  Demand No More Killing of Pets… and some of that bailout money that lined the fat cats’ pockets to go to animals.  There should also never be a shortage of many of children’s homes and abused or abandoned children.  Let us stand up and stop the insanity!!  There is $421 billion dollars unaccounted for and leftover from the “crisis created” stimulus I Bill.  Now about some of that goes to homeless and abused children and pets/animals instead of politicians and International bankers?

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 16, 2010 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pets, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories | , , , , , | Leave a comment