Letters, Faxes and E-mails to Gov. Bush and Texas Officials Needed Now To Support Proposed Marine Reserve in Texas

Date: May 8, 2000
Contact: Gary Appelson
Phone: (352) 373-6441

How You Can Help

Loggerheads nesting on Florida beaches are washin gup dead on Texas shores!

DEADLINE: May 31, 2000

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) has proposed closing the South Texas coast to shrimp trawling as a key element of its revised shrimp management regulations. This is the first step in creating a Marine Reserve. Texas Governor George W. Bush and the state leadership of Texas need to hear from people around the country NOW or the proposal could be killed by the shrimp industry. They must hear from us and see a huge show of support before a key May 31 TPWD regulatory committee meeting. If you are from Florida please stress that Texas’s failure to protect sea turtles is compromising Florida’s sea turtle protection program!!

Every year during the shrimp fishing season hundreds of loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtles are incidentally captured and killed in shrimp trawls along the Texas coast despite federal regulations that require shrimp boats use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in their nets to protect sea turtles. This yearly sea turtle carnage in Texas waters has resulted in a national outcry by conservation groups and sea turtle biologists and a call for the establishment of a no-commercial fishing marine reserve along Padre Island on the south Texas coast. The number of turtle deaths declines significantly during the annual Texas closure which prohibits shrimp fishing in state and federal waters (out to 200 miles from shore) from mid-May through mid-July.

Scientific research indicates that a large percentage of the loggerheads foraging and spending time along the Texas coast actually nest on Florida’s beaches during the summer months. Consequently Texas’s refusal to enforce sea turtle protection measures is directly compromising the efforts of thousands of Floridians dedicated to the protection of Florida’s nesting sea turtles and their nesting beaches.

Loggerheads, as well as Kemp’s ridleys, need added protections along Texas shores. Texas is a hot spot for strandings of the Kemp’s ridley, the most endangered sea turtle in the world. Now it’s clear that threatened loggerheads protected on Florida beaches, as well as in other states and Mexico, also face danger when traveling the Texas coast.

Stranded loggerheads in Texas are most likely from the nesting populations in south Florida, where the state and non-profit groups spend millions on extensive sea turtle recovery efforts. These efforts are wasted when the sea turtles are killed in Texas waters, mostly drowning in the nets of the state’s large shrimping fleet.

Texas Gov. George Bush has taken no effective action to stop sea turtle deaths in Texas and the state has no sea turtle recovery plan. In contrast, in Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush has supported sea turtle recovery and sea turtles receive high levels of protection. The state of Florida, coastal counties, and private foundations have invested tens of millions to buy and protect Florida’s nesting beaches and the coast is protected by a 3-mile net ban.

Some of the stranded loggerheads may also be coming from the northern stock of loggerhead turtles that nest in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, all states with active sea turtle recovery programs.


Please write, fax or email Texas Gov. George W. Bush now. Copy the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission and key coastal legislators.

Please write your own letter. Essentially just insist that Gov. Bush stop the killing of sea turtles along the Texas coast and support the establishment of a marine reserve that is off limits to commercial shrimping.

Contact Information:

Governor George W. Bush
Officer of the Governor
P. O. Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Phone: 512-463-1782
FAX: 512-463-1849 (Governor’s Office)
or 512-637-8800 (Bush for President)


Honorable Lee Marshall Bass, Chairman Parks and Wildlife Commission 201 Main Street Fort Worth, TX 76102 817-390-8400 FAX – (817) 390-8408 Honorable Carol E. Dinkins, Vice-Chair Parks and Wildlife Commission 1001 Fannin, Suite 2416 Houston, TX 77002-6760 713-758-2528 FAX – (713) 615-5311
Honorable Ernest Angelo, Jr., Member Parks and Wildlife Commission 410 North Main Midland, TX 79701 915-684-4449 FAX – (915) 684-7691 Honorable John Avila, Jr., Member Parks and Wildlife Commission 900 Summit Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76102 817-335-3394 FAX – (817) 877-5507 javila@tsbyrne.com
Honorable Richard W. (Dick) Heath, Member Parks and Wildlife Commission 2121 Midway Road Carrollton, TX 75006 972-934-1518 FAX – (972) 341-3098 Honorable Al Henry, Member Parks and Wildlife Commission P. O. Box 111157 Houston, TX 77293-0157 713-631-1483 FAX – (713) 631-3959
Honorable Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Member Parks and Wildlife Commission 4519 Westway Avenue Dallas, TX 75205 214-522-6035 FAX – (214) 522-2793 Honorable Nolan Ryan, Member Parks and Wildlife Commission P. O. Box 670 Alvin, TX 77512 281-585-1722 FAX – (281) 585-2238
Honorable Mark E. Watson, Member Parks and Wildlife Commission P. O. Box 6886 San Antonio, TX 78209 210-824-4546 FAX – (210) 824-0166 Perry R. Bass, Chairman-Emeritus Parks and Wildlife Commission 201 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 817-390-8400 FAX – (817) 338-2699