I got this in my e-mail this morning, and just on the off-chance that someone actually reads this I thought I would pass it on here. It’s from Oceana.org:
Pacific leatherback sea turtles need your help right now.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the government agency responsible for fisheries management, is considering allowing hundreds of miles of fishing lines and baited hooks to be set inside the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area off California and Oregon under what is known as an “Exempted Fishing Permit.” The permit would be for the catch of swordfish, but would also allow for the catch of up to five endangered leatherback sea turtles, a short-finned pilot whale and other marine life as well.
Take action: Protect Leatherback Sea Turtles
Pacific leatherback sea turtles are among the ocean’s most extraordinary creatures. They can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds, grow to nine feet in length, and travel thousands of miles from nesting beaches in Indonesia to feeding areas off California and Oregon each year. Though they have managed to survive for millions of years with only their shells for protection, leatherback sea turtles are in serious trouble. In the last couple of decades Pacific leatherback populations have declined 95 percent, and to survive the challenges of today they need a lot more than just their shells-they need help from all of us.
This proposed government permit would allow pelagic longline fishing inside an area currently being considered by the federal government for designation as “critical habitat” for leatherbacks under the Endangered Species Act. Due in part to concerns about the risks to sea turtles, this type of gear is currently prohibited off the U.S. West Coast. Putting deadly hooks and lines into vital turtle habitat is clearly a step in the wrong direction, and may well open up the door for a larger such fishery off California and Oregon.
Unfortunately there’s not much time to act on this one, apparently they will only accept comments through tomorrow, May 27, 2008. If you don’t mind signing a petition the turtles and I would appreciate it. As usual there’s a form letter, which you are free to edit and add any additional comments you’d like.