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A Trump administration proposal to continue allowing oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of offshore fracking chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico violates federal law and threatens imperiled marine wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity warned this week.

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A Kemp's ridley hatchling makes its way to the water on Padre Island, Texas. Terry Ross, CC BY-SA

By Pamela T. Plotkin

On beaches from North Carolina to Texas and throughout the wider Caribbean, one of nature's great seasonal events is underway. Adult female sea turtles are crawling out of the ocean, digging deep holes in the sand and laying eggs. After about 60 days turtle hatchlings will emerge and head for the water's edge, fending for themselves from their first moments.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A short-finned pilot whale hangs lifelessly in a California drift gillnet. NOAA

The new federal administration withdrew a proposed rule Monday that would have protected endangered species—including whales, dolphins and sea turtles—caught and killed in the drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish off California. Monday's decision demonstrates the administration's blatant disregard for recommendations of its own fishery advisors and reverses course on commitments made by the previous administration.

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It's only the half-way point of sea turtle nesting season in Florida, and some beaches are already breaking records.

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Less than two weeks after publishing the graphic images of poached sea turtles on the French island of Mayotte, Sea Shepherd's conservation team interrupted another slaughter on the night of July 7, and this time—as captured on video footage shown above—it turned violent.

When the volunteers arrived at the beach known as Moya 1, one of the most popular tourist beaches on the Petit Terre island, they spotted a 4x4 vehicle, its lights switched off as it waited to pick up poached turtle meat. The guards, who should have been there to protect the turtles who come to lay their eggs, were nowhere to be seen.

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Endangered Sea Turtle Recovering After Being Trampled, Beaten by Selfie-Taking Tourists

Selfie-obsessed mobs are tormenting animals all over the world for "likes" on social media.

Animals

By Danny Prater

A loggerhead sea turtle is recovering from injuries sustained after being dragged from the ocean by beachgoers for a twisted photo-op, according to multiple reports.

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Trending

Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

A Trump administration proposal to continue allowing oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of offshore fracking chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico violates federal law and threatens imperiled marine wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity warned this week.

Read More Show Less
A Kemp's ridley hatchling makes its way to the water on Padre Island, Texas. Terry Ross, CC BY-SA

By Pamela T. Plotkin

On beaches from North Carolina to Texas and throughout the wider Caribbean, one of nature's great seasonal events is underway. Adult female sea turtles are crawling out of the ocean, digging deep holes in the sand and laying eggs. After about 60 days turtle hatchlings will emerge and head for the water's edge, fending for themselves from their first moments.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A short-finned pilot whale hangs lifelessly in a California drift gillnet. NOAA

The new federal administration withdrew a proposed rule Monday that would have protected endangered species—including whales, dolphins and sea turtles—caught and killed in the drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish off California. Monday's decision demonstrates the administration's blatant disregard for recommendations of its own fishery advisors and reverses course on commitments made by the previous administration.

Read More Show Less

It's only the half-way point of sea turtle nesting season in Florida, and some beaches are already breaking records.

Read More Show Less
www.facebook.com

Less than two weeks after publishing the graphic images of poached sea turtles on the French island of Mayotte, Sea Shepherd's conservation team interrupted another slaughter on the night of July 7, and this time—as captured on video footage shown above—it turned violent.

When the volunteers arrived at the beach known as Moya 1, one of the most popular tourist beaches on the Petit Terre island, they spotted a 4x4 vehicle, its lights switched off as it waited to pick up poached turtle meat. The guards, who should have been there to protect the turtles who come to lay their eggs, were nowhere to be seen.

Read More Show Less

Endangered Sea Turtle Recovering After Being Trampled, Beaten by Selfie-Taking Tourists

Selfie-obsessed mobs are tormenting animals all over the world for "likes" on social media.

Animals

By Danny Prater

A loggerhead sea turtle is recovering from injuries sustained after being dragged from the ocean by beachgoers for a twisted photo-op, according to multiple reports.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Center for Biological Diversity

Mexico faces the threat of a trade embargo from the U.S. for failing to protect endangered North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles from getting entangled in fishing gear off the Baja California’s Gulf of Ulloa. Last week state government officials in Mexico reported that 705 loggerheads have stranded dead along a 30-mile shoreline so far this year, most during the summer fishing season, including 30 dead turtles in a single day. That’s more turtles than normally wash ashore annually along the U.S. coast from Texas to the Carolinas. Long-term scientific studies show that the leading cause of these deaths is preventable drowning in fishing gear; yet Mexican officials have claimed that only one percent of the reported turtle deaths were caused by bycatch.

Loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Damien du Toit

“Loggerhead sea turtles are dying by the thousands along the Mexico coast,” said Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The United States can ban the import of fish and other wildlife products from nations that fail to protect imperiled species, and this is a clear case where such strong action is necessary.”

The Pelly Amendment gives the U.S. the authority to embargo fish and other wildlife products from countries that violate wildlife-protection treaties, including the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles. A separate law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, authorizes sanctions against countries that allow excessive bycatch of U.S.-protected species, like loggerhead sea turtles.

Loggerhead mortality rates in the Gulf of Ulloa, as reported by the Mexican government as well as numerous scientific studies over the past decade, are among the highest documented in the world.

“Based on two decades of collaborative research we concluded that the main cause of these deaths is bycatch in fishing nets,” said Wallace 'J.' Nichols, Ph.D., a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. “Even the Mexican government’s own scientists have pointed to bycatch.”

The Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Mexican National Commission for Protected Areas, and the Mexican National Institute of Fisheries, all Mexican government agencies, have acknowledged research that identifies bycatch as the main cause. Studies conducted at the Gulf of Ulloa, backed by research in the U.S., show that turtles washed ashore represent a small fraction of the thousands killed.

“The Mexican government has ignored their own science and misrepresented the cause of turtle deaths in an attempt to appease the fishing industry and mislead the U.S. government,” said Juan Carlos Cantu, program director of Defenders of Wildlife Mexico. “In the announcement of the latest loggerhead mortality figures they claimed that a survey of the carcasses showed that only one percent of deaths were caused by bycatch. When turtles drown in gillnets, however, there is almost never any physical proof that can be gathered short of performing an autopsy.”

The Mexican state government put forth the purportedly low bycatch rate without performing the procedures necessary to support its claim.

“Proven sustainable fishing solutions can solve the high loggerhead mortality rate, but Mexico has shown an insufficient willingness to act,” said Alejandro Olivera of the Baja California Sur-based Mexican Center for Environmental Rights (CEMDA). “It is in their interest to do so before this becomes an international crisis. It would be tragic for this situation to lead to an embargo when we have world-class science and viable solutions available.”

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

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