Sunday, February 1, 2009

New fishing rules aimed at protecting sea turtles

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has voted to close fishing with long-line gear in the shallow waters off the coast of Florida. The six-month closure follows studies showing that this method of fishing is killing a large number of sea turtles that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The article quotes Dave Allison, a senior campaign director at the conservation group Oceana as saying that the shutdown by itself will not be enough to prevent certain species from going extinct:
"What we need to do is [pass] a Sea Turtle Protection Act to give sea turtles the same kind of protection that mammals get," Allison said. "There are a lot of other issues, as the fishermen point out. There are problems with nesting beaches, with lights on the beaches, with the armoring of the coast."
Be sure to watch the video linked in the story that shows the release of loggerhead turtles at Sebastian Inlet. Also, you can check out Oceana's campaign to protect turtles at saveseaturtles.org.

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