Happy World Turtle Day, everyone!
This is one of the increasing number of “holidays” that completely lack tradition, festivities or fun. Even if you like turtles–and who doesn’t?–what can you do to celebrate them or help them in any way?
–Move them to the side of the road, the side they were headed to. My cousin Andy Johnson saved this soft-shelled turtle on Sanibel last week.
–Don’t keep them as pets
–Don’t eat turtle soup
–Be careful with your plastic bags around the ocean. Silly turtles mistake them for jellyfish.
–Don’t eat shrimp from other countries–or Louisiana. Turtles get caught in shrimping nets and drown. Shrimp boats catch 1.8 million tons of marine life every year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program says. Conservation groups fought a long hard battle to get the U.S. to require turtle excluder devices on fishing boats in our waters and later on anybody we import from.
Some didn’t care. TEDS cut mortality, but only by 20-40%, not the 90-95% biologists were expecting if they had full compliance, SeaTurtle.org says. Louisiana even banned its fisheries police from busting fishermen and many suspected fishermen weren’t using them after the gulf oil spill, the New York Times reported. Far more turtles than usual washed up dead. They didn’t show signs of oil; instead they showed signs of drowning in fishing nets. Some had shrimp in their throats (something they don’t usually eat). And results this year show the same, the Times reported. Meanwhile, Mississippi tightened its rules. Nobody would want to punish Louisiana fishermen after all they’ve been through, but their state’s rules aren’t fair on Mississippi fishermen, other Americans or turtles.
Just last month Sea Turtle Conservation urged people to contact NOAA about enforcing the excluders. In 2010 the U.S. even banned imports of wild-caught shrimp from Mexico, but let them in seven months later.
Seafood watch comes up with some alternatives to imported shrimp; they rate wild-caught and farmed U.S. shrimp as “Good Alternative,” with pink shrimp from Oregon, and spot prawn from British Columbia as “Best Choices.”
|Where to SEE TURTLES & TORTOISES|
|SEE ANIMALS IN THE SOUTH (AL, AR, GA, KY, MS, LA, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)|