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Sea Turtle Swimming in Gulf

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Sea Turtle Swimming in Gulf

Picture by: US Coast Guard, Robert Simpson Picture taken on: October 21st, 2010

Tags: boat turtle seaweed southeast deepwater

Scientific understanding of sea turtle physiology, ecology, and behavior guided the multi-pronged effort to rescue, rehabilitate, and relocate sea turtles to minimize the harmful effects to them from the oil spill. The heightened scrutiny of Gulf waters and coasts also exposed and helped document the existing problem of sea turtles caught in fishing nets. Regulations requiring turtle excluder devices are on the books, however there are some fisheries that do not require such devices and there is a need for more enforcement of existing regulations to prevent healthy sea turtles from drowning in fishing gear. “The worst fears that we might lose most of an entire sea turtle species did not occur,” said Barbara Schroeder, NOAA Fisheries National Sea Turtle Coordinator. “But the observed and unobserved mortalities, including those both caused and brought to light by the spill, are significant for these already endangered and threatened animals. We must redouble our efforts to address the most significant human threats to the sea turtles of the Gulf of Mexico and their habitat to put these animals back on a more secure path to recovery.”

Related Story: Sea Turtle Swimming in Gulf