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Make Sea Turtles the Mascot for New Obama Ocean Policy

Public Comment from the Ocean Task Force Hearing in San Francisco:

I am asking that the Obama administration give top priority in its Ocean policy to research and assist sea turtles, whose populations are decreasing at this alarming and unacceptable rate and whose ultimate peril or survival is effected by the same threats and protections that impact all the creatures of our seas.

Having survived cataclysmic changes to the earth for a continuum of 100 million years, the sea turtle is to me, the most articulate ambassador of the sea, and we will benefit most profoundly by giving her voice. We are offered a rare and perhaps fleeting opportunity to save thousands of species by focusing on one creature: the sea turtle.

-By studying the depletion of sea turtle populations, we will understand in greater depth and breadth, why our oceans are dying and how we can help them to recover.

Why study the sea turtle? Sea turtles shared the planet with dinosaurs, outliving climatic and other changes to the sea and earth that few species ever have. Its remarkable adaptability and resilience makes the sea turtle the ideal subject to study the foundational issues that threaten our oceans as well as the baseline legislation required to guarantee the barest survival of our seas.

What else makes the sea turtle the ideal subject of study?

1) First, they are among the easiest sea creatures to tag and monitor, and several committed organizations already have projects are underway, but are in need of assistance to continue and expand these studies.
2) Second, the sea turtle is migratory, and following their routes helps us to identify areas of the oceans that are most gravely effected by various threats and which are most in need of protection.
3) Third, the sea turtle is intimately effected by the major issues threatening our all sea creatures—over-fishing and destructive fishing policies and practices; biological, chemical, and consumer-related pollution; and over-development of coastal regions. By studying the impact of these and other threats to sea turtle populations in particular, we learn with the greatest possible ease and the least possible expense, how to protect and recover the ecosystems of oceans in general.

I ask respectfully and with urgency that you please make the study and rescue of sea turtles a very top priority in this administration’s ocean policy.  Thank you for your kind attention and consideration.

Jennifer Sauer
Mill Valley, CA