Date: April 5, 2012
Marydele Donnelly, Sea Turtle Conservancy, (352) 373-6441
Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), the world’s oldest sea turtle conservation organization, is donating a boat to Mexico’s Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) to assist in protecting marine resources and enforcing environmental regulations in the Gulf of Mexico.
PROFEPA is committed to enforcing Mexico’s regulations for turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, to ensure that shrimpers do not accidentally drown sea turtles, including endangered Kemp’s ridleys. TEDs are inserts for shrimp nets designed to allow trapped turtles to escape.
PROFEPA currently conducts most TED enforcement at the dock because its boats are small and personnel are at risk of serious injury when trying to board working vessels. Without observing fishing practices on open waters, enforcement officers cannot identify and correct problems with TEDs.
“Adequate TED training and enforcement in Mexican waters are key to the survival of the Kemp’s ridley and four other species of sea turtles in the Gulf,” said Marydele Donnelly, Director of International Policy for Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Mexico and the United States share jurisdiction for the Kemp’s ridley, the world’s smallest sea turtle, found only in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic seaboard. Thirty years ago, Kemp’s ridleys hovered on the brink of extinction as a result of extensive egg collection and drowning by shrimp boats. By 1985, the nesting population had been reduced from tens of thousands of females to fewer than 300. Conservation efforts have helped increase Kemp’s ridley populations, but drowning in U.S. and Mexican shrimp nets continues to be a major threat.
Purchased with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), this boat will provide PROFEPA’s dedicated personnel with a safe boarding platform and help them ensure Mexican fishermen are using TEDs effectively.
“NFWF’s efforts to save endangered sea turtles are Gulf-wide,” said Jeff Trandahl, CEO and executive director of NFWF. “This is an excellent opportunity to assist our international partners in protecting turtle populations and boosting their recovery.”
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. The Foundation works with a full complement of individuals, foundations, government agencies, non-profits, and corporations to identify and fund the most intractable conservation challenges. In 27 years, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and leveraged $576 million in federal funds into $2.1 billion for conservation. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
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