Friday, October 19, 2007

Tell Florida Senators: Help Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are in danger of extinction. A new federal review shows loggerhead sea turtles that nest in Florida are dwindling. The National Marine Fisheries Service has released a five-year status report on Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle populations and found the most drastic decreases were in the nesting populations along the Florida panhandle and along the coast of south Florida.
>>Take Action: Tell Florida Sens Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez about sea turtle extinction today!

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Florida has one of the two largest loggerhead nesting areas in the world, yet nesting in this region has decreased by 39.5 percent since 1998. Incidental capture, known as bycatch, is the most significant man-made factor affecting conservation and recovery of loggerheads, according to the report.Tens of thousands of loggerhead sea turtles are killed by commercial fisheries each year in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with bottom trawls, longlines, dredges and gillnets being responsible for the majority of these deaths.Loggerhead sea turtles are threatened as listed under the Endangered Species Act. Therefore the National Marine Fisheries Service is required to protect them in water, and the Fish and Wildlife Service must protect them on land. It's time for the federal government to better regulate and enforce sea turtle bycatch in commercial fisheries before loggerheads become merely a memory.For loggerhead sea turtle populations to recover, the federal government must provide better protection, which includes closing important habitat areas to fishing and monitoring of commercial fishing fleets more closely.Please take a moment to contact Senators Nelson and Martinez today and ask them to help save sea turtles. We need political support to help make sure Florida continues to have sea turtles.
For the oceans,Elizabeth Griffin Marine Wildlife ScientistOceana

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