Texas will Better Be Able to Protect Endangered Sea Turtles
The United States Congress has appropriated $500,000 for a Joint Enforcement Agreement between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service. The money will be used for the enforcement of regulations dealing with reef fish, highly migratory species and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are very glad that these funds have been received,” said Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. “Dead sea turtles have started washing up on Texas beaches as shrimping activity has increased. Twenty-one were found dead last week. Consistent law enforcement is the only way to save the sea turtles.”
“The protection of natural resources found in the Gulf of Mexico is a task taken very seriously by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens and without the necessary funding, effective enforcement would have been in jeopardy,” said TPWD Chief of Fisheries Enforcement Larry E. Young. “These funds will enable game wardens to continue an increased presence in the Gulf waters off the coast of Texas to enforce regulations pertaining to reef fish, highly migratory species, and endangered sea turtles.”
The Joint Enforcement Agreement is the second that the state has entered into. Money will be used for new fully equipped off-shore patrol boats, fuel and maintenance for new and existing boats. The operations plan submitted by the state commits the game wardens to working on land, sea and in the air to enforce regulations. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project and HEART (Help Endangered Animals-Ridley Turtles) sent letters of support for the funding of this important work. The office of Texas Senator John Cornyn worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife to acquire the funding.
Fisheries Chief Young says the money will be put to use immediately and enforcement increased.