|© Doug Perrine/Seapics.com|
Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director of STRP, challenges President Bush to make a positive move for sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico before leaving office.
Dear President Bush:
An article in today's issue of the Houston Chronicle states that "the White House" is planning a last round of deregulation that would "weaken rules that protect consumers and environment." I am writing to ask you to, instead, take a positive step toward protecting the most endangered sea turtles in the world that lives in your "backyard" in the Gulf of Mexico and was helped tremendously by your father's courageous action during his administration. He allowed the passage of the "turtle excluder device" (TED) regulations which forced the shrimp industry to use equipment that allows sea turtles to escape drowning in their trawls.
The use of TEDs in the Gulf of Mexico combined with Mexico's efforts to protect their nesting beaches has led to a beginning recovery of the Kemp's ridley. Last year, 195 Kemp's ridley nests were found on Texas beaches breaking all previous records.
We need more protection for these sea turtles, especially adjacent to the Padre Island National Seashore where more than half of the 195 nests were found. If you were to declare a protected area for the Kemp's ridleys, recreational fishermen would also benefit since the shrimp industry wastes tons of juvenile fish each season through bycatch which dies while shrimp are being sorted out.
I am sending you several hundred requests from STRP members all over the United States who want to see more protection for the Kemp's ridley sea turtles. If you were to take action to declare a marine protected area or perhaps a "national monument," it would establish a legacy for you while also honoring your father for taking the momentous action that he did to stop the drowning of thousands of sea turtles in the Gulf.