Sens. Feinstein, Harris and Capito Introduce Federal Legislation to Ban “Driftnets” in Commercial Fishing Industry

Sens. Feinstein, Harris and Capito Introduce Federal Legislation to Ban “Driftnets” in Commercial Fishing Industry
Bipartisan legislation proposed on the heels of undercover investigation of controversial fishing practice

(California, April 26) – Just two weeks after a coalition of animal protection and ocean conservation organizations released undercover video footage documenting the cruelty of the California driftnet fishery for swordfish, U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced legislation to phase out this fishery by 2020.

Consider the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

In the wake of the Trump administration scaling back national monuments and gutting protections for America’s wildlife, Turtle Island Restoration Network, an ocean and coastal watersheds conservation group, is petitioning the U.S. National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), to designate critical habitat for the Kemp’s ridley, the world’s smallest and most endangered sea turtle, in the Gulf of Mexico.

After Being Sued, Feds Agree to Review Whale Killing Driftnet Fishery

Less than two months after Turtle Island initiated a lawsuit to protect endangered whales from the California drift gillnet fishery, the National Marine Fisheries Service has agreed to conduct a review to determine whether this fishery is violating the US Endangered Species Act.

Say No to Texas Senate Bill 103

Say NO to Texas Senate Bill 103
Texas State Senators are voting on Senate Bill 103 which will ultimately allow the use of plastic bags throughout the State. We have two days to Just Say NO!

Salmon & Steelhead Spawner Update

A total of 15 nests (called “redds”) have been counted on Arroyo creek and 16 redds have been counted on Woodacre creek, for a total of 31 confirmed redds so far this season.

Redwood Creek Walk Tours are Here!

Winter creek walks are here! SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tours explore our watershed and teach participants about the ecology of our endangered native population of coho salmon.

Marin-Based Non-profit Turtle Island Featured in New United Nations Publication

Turtle Island Restoration Network, a leading ocean and marine conservation organization, is featured in the United Nation’s newest publication The Future of the World Heritage Convention for Marine Conservation, for their work tracking migrating marine wildlife like hammerhead sharks and green sea turtles in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Turtle Island is the primary author of the article, and the organizations scientific findings have showed how the Eastern Tropical Pacific is a region is more connected than previously thought.

One Tam, Two Mountains

We are delighted to have Bay Area writer, editor and author of Citizen Scientist Mary Ellen Hannibal guest blogging for us today! Read her reflections on living near Mount Tamalpais.

Marin-Based Wildlife Group Slams EPA Pick

Turtle Island Restoration Network, a Marin-based wildlife organization, is raising a red flag over Donald Trump’s proposed appointment of Scott Pruitt as the head of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt’s record has shown a favoritism towards the oil industry and actions against wildlife. Turtle Island is urging wildlife lovers to contact their Senators to urge them to oppose his Congressional confirmation.

What are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is a great time to think about what you are thankful for and reflect on the year.
At Turtle Island Restoration Network, we are thankful for you – our members and supporters!

Cows and Turtles Protest Paxton’s Bag Ban Lawsuit on Halloween

Advocates for local autonomy, wildlife, ranchers, and environmental protection used the Halloween holiday to protest Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recent assault on local bag ordinances by dressing as animals threatened by bag pollution—sea turtles and cows—and doing battle with “bag monsters” and an impersonator of Paxton himself.

Giving Tuesday is November 29th!

What is Giving Tuesday? #GivingTuesday™ (#GT) is a movement created to celebrate giving on the Tuesday  following Cyber Monday. The fifth annual GivingTuesday will

Texas & National Bag Law Advocates Blast Texas Attorney General’s Assault on Bag Law

State and national bag law advocates convened this week to defend bag ordinances in the wake of embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Texas’ first local law against bag pollution in Brownsville. A range of organizations plan to assist as this issue lands in the lap of the Texas Supreme Court with the City of Laredo appealing a recent decision striking down that city’s bag law.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection

In the face of staggering declines, Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for Pacific bluefin tuna, the National Marine Fisheries Service said today. The announcement, in response to a petition from conservation groups earlier this year, means the agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of the species. Under pressure from overfishing, bluefin tuna populations have reached dangerously low levels, declining more than 97 percent since fishing began.

Marin Academy Students Raise Funds to Grow Redwood Trees in Bay Area Classrooms

Marin Academy High School Students Alex Paff and Katie Joyce volunteered with the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN), and became passionate about the 10,000 Redwoods Project, which aims to plant 10,000 redwoods in the greater San Francisco Bay Area to help fight climate change. Together the two dedicated volunteers were able to raise a total of $1,600, as well as valuable supplies, like shade cloth, to help grow redwood trees.

Bay Area Biologist Fighting for Sharks in South Africa

A Bay Area resident is taking the fight to protect our oceans from Northern California to South Africa. This week, thirty-year veteran environmental activist and biologist, Todd Steiner, executive director the Marin-based Turtle Island Restoration Network and SPAWN, is in South Africa advocating on behalf of marine wildlife. Joined by several colleagues, he is attending a major international treaty conference to promote greater protections for endangered marine species, including two species of sharks and several species of rays.

What’s the harm in taking shark supplements?

Shark supplements are being sold under the premise that they treat cancer, arthritis, osteoarthritis, as well as other conditions, though the U.S. FDA has never confirmed the validity of these claims.

Lawsuit Launched to Protect West Coast Whales From Dying in Nets

Conservation groups today filed a notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect endangered whales from mile-long drift gillnets and strings of sablefish pots off the West Coast. After two years of record reports of whales entangled in fishing gear off the West Coast — more than 60 in 2015 alone — 40 whales were reportedly entangled as of June 30, putting 2016 on pace to break records again. New information indicates that one humpback whale population that migrates from Central America to feed off California consists of only about 400 individuals.

Conservationists Raise Alarm Over Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Nesting Numbers

In the heels of the expansion of Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, new information released by federal researchers reveals a dangerous drop in the number of nesting Hawaiian green sea turtles. According to the NOAA Marine Turtle Biology and Assessment Program, nesting green sea turtle numbers dropped 84 percent compared to last year.

Nuevo Estudio relaciona comer aletas y carne de tiburón a la enfermedad de Alzheimer.

Un nuevo estudio realizado por científicos de la Universidad de Miami ha encontrado altas concentraciones de toxinas relacionadas con el desarrollo de la enfermedad de Alzheimer en aletas y los músculos de 10 especies de tiburones. Esta última investigación se combina con los datos sobre los altos niveles de mercurio en la carne de tiburón y sus aletas produciendo la evidencia de que comer tiburón plantea serios riesgos para la salud humana.

Senator Ben Allen Nominated for Presidential Champions of Change Award

This week Turtle Island nominated Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) for the prestigious White House Champions of Change Award. The effective local ocean and marine conservation organization nominated Sen. Allen for his leadership introducing a bill to protect California’s marine wildlife by ending the use of deadly drift gillnets off our coast.

New Study Links Eating Shark Fins & Meat to Alzheimer’s Disease

new study by scientists from the University of Miami has found high concentrations of toxins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease in the fins and muscles of 10 species of sharks. This latest research combined with data on high levels of mercury in shark meat and fins is adding to a growing body of evidence that eating shark poses serious human health risks. Turtle Island Restoration Network ( and leading shark conservationists are calling on consumers to not eat shark for their health and for ecological reasons.

Statement on Creation of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

“Thousands of Turtle Island Restoration Network members wrote personal letters to President Obama calling on him to use his executive powers to protect both Hawaii’s cultural historical and ecological heritage. We are thrilled that the world’s largest protected area is in the United States and that it will better protect all of the endangered and threatened sea turtles that use these waters.”

Largest Protected Area on Earth Created Today

Thousands of Turtle Island members took time to write personal letters to President Obama urging him to further protect one of crown Jewell of Hawaii -Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Today President Barack Obama expanded Hawaii’s Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, making it the largest protected area on Earth!

Make Way for Salmon!

SPAWN’s native plant nursery is undergoing changes this month to prepare for the demolition of abandoned buildings on the National Park Service property. The abandoned buildings are being torn down next week as part of a joint plan with the Point Reyes National Seashore to restore the floodplain and habitat back to its natural state.

Protecting Our California Coast

Turtle Island asked you to take action and tell the California Coastal Commission that the public needs more time to consider the proposed amendment to Marin’s Local Coastal Plan. The response was overwhelming, and heard by commissioners who on August 11th decided to extend the deadline for action on Marin County’s proposed Local Coastal Program!

WATCH Our Series of Public Service Announcements on Driftnet Caught Swordfish

Watch & share our new series of public service announcements on California driftnet caught-swordfish. Don’t let marine wildlife get caught up in driftnets! Make smart seafood choices. Say ‘no’ to California driftnet caught high-in-mercury swordfish that comes with unwanted sides of sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales and other marine wildlife.

Speak Up for Silky Sharks

Turtle Island is ramping up efforts to advocate for silky sharks on the international stage. In some cases, our presence pushes a conservation agenda forward in a room otherwise filled with fisheries managers.

Victory for Gulf of Mexico Sea Turtles!

Shrimp trawling is one of the primary threats to sea turtle survival in the United States. Thanks to your actions the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council decided to keep in place an existing shrimp fishing permit moratorium to protect sea turtles.

Meet SPAWN’s Native Plant Nursery Manager Audrey Fusco

Audrey Fusco has followed her passion for land stewardship and gardening around the globe. Whether researching urban gardens used to grow food, called organiponicos, in Cuba, helping to restore beaches in Florida, or restoring Redwood Creek watershed to protect coho salmon habitat at at Green Gulch Farms, Audrey stays true to her core belief to live a simple life in alignment with nature. Now, SPAWN is excited to welcome Audrey to our team as our Native Plant Nursery Manager.

California’s Driftnet Fishery Puts Sharks in Crosshairs

For shark week, Turtle Island is releasing a new report titled, ‘The Deadly Impact of the California Driftnet Fishery on Sharks’. This report outlines how the California driftnet fishery is taking a deadly toll on shark populations and finds that fully 15 percent of the catch in the California driftnet fishery are sharks, many of them listed and protected under international treaties and agreements.

La propuesta Costarricense para Conservar el Tiburón Sedoso Menoscaba Esfuerzos Globales Para Conservar Tiburones

Conservacionistas están pidiendo a la comunidad internacional incrementar la protección de tiburones bajo la Comisión Inter Americana de Atún Tropical (CIAT)*, que celebrará su reunión anual la próxima semana en el Sur de California. En particular, los conservacionistas están apoyando una propuesta por parte de la Unión Europea (U.E.) que llama a cerrar las pesquerías dirigidas hacia el tiburón sedoso (Carcharhinus falciformis) por un periodo de tres meses, y a prohibir

Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna have reached dangerously low population levels, so a coalition of individuals and groups today petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act. The Pacific bluefin tuna population has declined more than 97 percent since fishing began, largely because countries have failed to reduce fishing enough to protect the iconic species, a luxury item on sushi menus.

Conservationists Appeal for Protection of Silky Sharks

Conservationists are calling on the global community to increase protections for silky sharks under the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC),* which is holding its annual meeting next week in Southern California. In particular, conservationists are supporting a proposal from the European Union (E.U.) that calls for 3-month closures on targeted silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) fisheries, and for banning the use of wire leaders (a type of gear that catches more sharks).

Conservacionistas Piden Protección del Tiburón Sedoso

onservacionistas están pidiendo a la comunidad internacional incrementar la protección de tiburones bajo la Comisión Inter Americana de Atún Tropical (CIAT)*, que celebrará su reunión anual la próxima semana en el Sur de California.

Turtle Island & Kurmalliance Featured in Mantra Magazine

Turtle Island Restoration Network and Kurmalliance, our partners in Southern California, were honored to be featured in Mantra Magazine for our work to phase our deadly California driftnets. Pick up the magazine at Whole Foods and health stores nationwide.

Watch a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Nest in Texas

Watch a video of a sea turtle nesting! The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting range is from Tamaulipas, Mexico to Bolivar, Texas. Females will nest one to three times during the nesting season from April to July with an average clutch size of 100 eggs.

Study Shows Shark Meat in Costa Rican Markets Has High Levels of Toxic Mercury

New data from George Mason University has revealed that shark meat sold in San Jose and Heredia food markets contain high levels of toxic mercury. The levels are so high that three shark species tested exceed U.S. federal health guidelines. Advocates are advising consumers, and especially women and children, to not buy shark due to risks to human health.

Protesters Descend on Sen. Lara’s Headquarters in Support of Bill to Protect Dolphins & Whales from Driftnets

Today, Turtle Island Restoration Network, a leading marine conservation organization, and Kurmalliance, a Southern California-based ocean activist organization, and Ocean Defenders Alliance, an Orange County based marine conservation organization, marched in front of Senator Ricardo Lara’s office in Long Beach, Calif. The purpose of the peaceful protest was to direct Sen. Lara’s attention to Senate Bill 1114, which would phase out the use of deadly driftnets and better protect marine wildlife. Sen. Lara chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is expected to vote on the bill this week, and is in an influential position to protect California’s precious marine wildlife.

Supporting the Expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

I am writing on behalf of Turtle Island Restoration Network to support the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). Please approve the Native Hawaiian proposal to expand the boundaries to the full 200 nautical mile limit of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – excluding the waters around of Ni‘ihau and Kaua‘i. This action would protect one of the most unique ocean ecosystems on the planet.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Last Thursday a leak from an undersea pipeline spilled just over 88,000 gallons on oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline located about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast is operated by Shell oil.

Remembering Jack Woody

It is with a heavy heart that I report that Jack Woody, one of the original Board members of Turtle Island passed April 28, 2016. He was 83.

More than 250 Scientists Call on Legislators & Fisheries Managers to Protect California’s Marine Wildlife from Driftnets

Over 250 scientists released a joint scientific letter opposing the deadly California driftnet fishery for swordfish, which has some of the highest bycatch rates in the world. The letter, coordinated by Turtle Island Restoration Network, specifically requests that immediate action be taken to phase out the fishery and protect the ecological integrity of California’s coastal waters.

Coalition Urges Leaders to Support Senate Bill 1114 to Phase Out Driftnets

More than 30 environmental, ocean, conservation, and activist organizations representing over 1 million members signed on to a joint letter today led by Turtle Island Restoration Network calling on California Senators and Assemblymembers to support Senate Bill 1114. This bill would end the most harmful fishing practice on the West Coast by reducing the number of damaging driftnets off the California coast by phasing out remaining driftnet fishing permits and transitioning to more sustainable deep-set buoy gear.

Dead Kemp’s Ridleys Washing Up on Texas Beaches

Volunteers with Turtle Island patrolling the Upper Texas Coast for nesting sea turtles have been shocked to find dead sea turtles on the beach. The volunteers have found five dead endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on their routes in Galveston and Surfside. The dead sea turtles bolster ongoing calls for increased actions to limit shrimp trawling and for the building of a sea turtle rehab hospital on the Upper Texas coast.

An Update on the California Coastal Commission

On February 10th, the California Coastal Commission for the first time in its 43 year history fired its executive director, Dr. Charles Lester, throwing one of the most powerful governmental agencies in the nation into turmoil by undermining the authority of its independent staff that evaluates coastal development proposals.

Report: Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches at Risk due to Climate Change

Turtle Island’s new report, ‘Deadly Water: The Threat of Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels to Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches’ examines the impacts of sea level rise on major sea turtle nesting beaches for the seven species of sea turtles. The report identifies major nesting beaches that are at risk from climate change such as French Frigate Shoals in Hawaii where green sea turtles nest, and Padre Island National Seashore in Texas where Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest.

Lawsuit Challenges Loopholes in New EPA Rule Exempting Wetlands and Streams From Clean Water Act Protections

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging last-minute exemptions for industries in the new “waters of the United States” rule that could open the door to more pollution of wetlands, streams and other waterways. The rule, finalized in May by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, defines which waterways can be protected against being destroyed, degraded, or polluted without a permit under the Clean Water Act.

UN General Assembly Will Negotiate Treaty to Protect the High Seas

fter years of working through United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process, the 27 non-profits that make up the High Seas Alliance finally convinced the United Nations General Assembly to begin work on a treat to better protect the High Seas and its marine biodiversity through a legally-binding treaty. The U.N. member states adopted the historic resolution on Friday, June 19, marking the shift to a new era of increased ocean governance of the High Seas.

Marin County Releases Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

On May 1, Marin County released the long-delayed draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) for the 2007 Countywide Plan Update. The preparation of this new study on the effects of new development on endangered salmon and their habitat was ordered by the Marin Superior Court over two years ago as necessary to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

BP Funding Designated to Save Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

Five years after the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees have announced another milestone in Gulf of Mexico early restoration. The Trustees and BP have identified approximately $134 million in proposed early restoration projects for inclusion in a draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan.

Turtle Island Attends Historic Convention on Migratory Species to Promote the Record Number of Protections Proposed for Sharks, Rays & Marine Mammals

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Executive Director Todd Steiner and Conservation Science Director Alex Hearn are in Quito, Ecuador attending the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to lobby for the inclusion of several species needing greater protection including silky sharks, hammerhead shark, mobula ray’s and other marine species such as the polar bear.

Movers & Shakers: Doug Karpa

Turtle Island Restoration Network, an international ocean and marine conservation organization headquartered in Marin, has hired Kentfield native Doug Karpa as a staff attorney.

Smolt Traps

See our team of scientists setting up smolt traps to monitor the health of our native endangered coho salmon.

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California Drift Gillnet Bycatch

These photos depict only a fraction of the horrible scenes that play out every day as marine wildlife is caught and killed as bycatch in the California Drift Gillnet fishery. These images were obtained by the Sea Turtle Restoration Project through the Freedom of Information Act from NOAA.