For Immediate Release
Galveston, Texas (March 26, 2015) – Conservation groups are taking a hard look at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s environmental record in advance of his expected campaign announcement in June. Turtle Island Restoration Network published an op-ed this week in the Houston Chronicle highlighting how Jindal has failed to protect the endangered sea turtles in his home state of Louisiana.
Jindal’s state is currently the only state in the United States that refuses to enforce federal regulations that require shrimp trawls to put Turtle Excluder Devices, known as TEDs on their nets. TEDs act as an escape hatch that allows trapped sea turtles to escape shrimp nets rather than drown entangled in nets. Jindal’s lack of enforcement is not only irresponsible from an environmental standpoint; it has also caused Louisiana shrimp to be red-listed by the Seafood Watch Program.
“If Governor Jindal doesn’t save the smallest sea turtle in the world, maybe ‘President’ Hillary Clinton will,” said Carole Allen, the Director of the Gulf of Mexico Office of Turtle Island Restoration Network. Turtle Island tried reaching out to Jindal and delivered nearly 4,000 petitions to his office asking him to enforce TEDs in Louisiana waters, but he has thus far failed to take action.
Background on Turtle Excluder Devices: All but one coastal state where the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle swims make sure their shrimp industry uses Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on their trawls to allow turtles to escape. Additionally, fishermen in 20 other countries use TEDs. As pointed out in the op-ed by Homer Aridjis, the president of Mexico’s foremost ecology organization, and Todd Steiner, founder and director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network with offices in Texas and California, Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal could save hundreds of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles by enforcing a federal law of the Endangered Species Act in his own state waters, but thus far has chosen to do nothing. Without the use of TEDs, it is likely that more than 60,000 sea turtles of various species would drown every year in U.S. waters (the majority in the Gulf of Mexico).
Background on Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles: Kemp’s ridleys are the smallest sea turtles in the world. They nest in mast ‘arribadas’ and arrive on shore at once. They eat primarily crabs, some fish, jellyfish and mollusks. They are critically endangered, with numbers again declining after the BP oil spill, migrate through Louisiana’s shallow waters as well as forage for food. With no enforcement of the TED regulations in Louisiana waters, Kemp’s ridleys drown in shrimp nets. Learn more: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/kempsridley.htm
Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org) works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/why-jindals-waiting-announce-presidential-campaign