5 Tips for Effective Advocacy

Advocacy is a show of public support for a policy or cause. In our case, it’s actually a combination of many various displays of support for ocean-friendly policies. We never know what will tip the scales in favor or against our causes, which is why it’s important for everyone who’s invested to make their voices heard in every way they can.

Whale Rescue Mission

Around then was when the whale’s behavior started changing. Instead of diving regularly, it became very active at the surface: occasionally breaching, swishing its fluke around, rolling over, doing pectoral slaps, etc.

Lobbying for Oceans Everywhere

Last month, a team of Turtle Island Restoration Network staff made the trek to Sacramento, California to lobby on behalf of oceans everywhere.

Three West Marin Organizations Fight Offshore Drilling

Among the hundreds of people rallying at California’s capitol yesterday against President Trump’s offshore drilling plan were three West Marin environmental organizations: Turtle Island Restoration Network, West Marin Environmental Action Committee and Ocean Conservation Research.

Trump Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal Threatens Sea Turtles

Sea turtle conservationists are calling the Trump Administration’s recently announced proposal to open federal waters to oil and gas drilling a severe blow to decades-long efforts to protect populations of endangered and threatened sea turtles.

Shop Online. Save Sea Turtles.

The holiday’s are just around the corner and if you are like me you are starting to think about what gifts to give to loved ones during winter celebrations. This year, as you prepare your gift list consider making purchases online from

Boycott Swordfish to Save Ocean Wildlife

Turtle Island Restoration Network recently launched a swordfish boycott to protect ocean wildlife from deadly commercial fishing methods. Swordfish has become a popular food offered in restaurants and markets, and ocean wildlife is dying as a consequence.

Give thanks! What are you thankful for?

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

D.C. Report: Drift Gillnets

The fight to end the use of drift gillnets is going national. Turtle Island Restoration Network recently spoke in Washington D.C. at a congressional briefing,

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.

Ocean Acidification

Do you know what Ocean Acidification is? Scientists are raising concern for the future of our oceans. Oceans absorbing atmospheric carbon is causing ocean acidification, or the acidification of ocean water. How do you think this will impact all of our favorite ocean species?

Sign-On Letters

Turtle Island is a leading advocate for the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. Our work is based on science, fueled by people who care,

Whistleblowers Important to Protect Endangered Species

Turtle Island Restoration Network is working with the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program to encourage people across the world to report wildlife crimes and help protect species like the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Tuna Longline Fisheries

Turtle Island Restoration Network has submitted formal comments on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).

Effects of Trump Climate Denial Limited By Legal Realities

One of President Trump’s many recent actions to weaken environmental protections was his order to rescind Obama administration guidance on how to account for climate change when agencies are doing required reviews under the National Environmental Policy 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!

Huffman, Newsom Oppose Federalization of Drift Net Fishery

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have both written strongly worded letters to governing agencies voicing their opposition to turning over control of California’s Drift Net Fishery to the Federal Government.

Governors Group Works to Undermine Endangered Species Act

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA), which represents the Governors of 19 Western states, is advocating policy recommendations that would give the Republican Congress a perfect rationale to gut the Endangered Species Act. The WGA will ask the National Governors Association (NGA) to adopt its recommendations at the National Governors Association meeting at the end of February.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Californians Support a Driftnet Ban

A recently released poll commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts supports what Turtle Island has been saying for a while: a healthy majority of

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.

Trash Flows to the Ocean

Editor’s note: This is a follow up article to a previous blog, Kansas is a Coastal State. We know that the effluent from 31

Scientist Predict a Dead Zone the Size of Connecticut in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists are predicting the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will cover approximately 5,900 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut. Dead zones are found worldwide, but the human-caused dead zone located in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana and Texas coast is the second largest in the world.

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.

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.

Channel Islands: Enjoying CA’s Marine Wildlife & Fighting to Protect It

Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary is made up of five islands along the Santa Barbara Channel and their surrounding ocean environment. From north to south, the islands are San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 plant and animal species of which 150 are found nowhere else in the world, earning these islands their nickname as North America’s Galapagos.

Bait Balls!

Observing the abundance of wildlife, especially sharks and dolphins, at a baitball is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life!

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.

California’s Driftnet Fishery: A Costly Toll on the State Economy

Turtle Island’s new report ‘The Economic Argument Against the California Driftnet Fishery’ outlines how the California driftnet fishery costs more to operate than the wealth that is created by the fishery. The just-released-report examines new data that shows the cost of regulating this dirty fishery would substantially decrease if the California swordfish fishery used more sustainable gear instead of mile-long driftnets.

Slave Shrimp Reporters Win Pulitzer Prize

The Associated Press was just awarded a Pulitzer Prize, given for excellence in journalism, for their coverage of severe labor abuses tied to the supply of seafood to the U.S. Their series of stories revealed that U.S. supermarkets and restaurants are selling shrimp that is peeled by slaves. The series also described some of the conditions these shrimp peelers endure, including emotional and physical abuse, being locked into the sheds where they work, and working 16 hour shifts with their hands in ice water.

Ocean Hero: Ann Anderson (Gulf of Mexico)

The Gulf of Mexico is my history, my home and my future. She entertains me on her beaches and bays. She feeds me healthy and delicious food- Gulf fishes, crabs and oysters. She delights me with her beauty and challenges me with her winds and waves. She connects me with the world.

Ocean Heroes: Chris Winn

Turtle Island Restoration Network recognizes that we cannot protect the oceans and marine wildlife by ourselves. We count on numerous caring people to join

Ocean Heroes: Donna Romeyn

Growing up on the Texas gulf coast, I was introduced to the Gulf of Mexico at an early age. It started with my grandfather and parents owning homes along the gulf coast, so I was raised to enjoy and respect the ocean and all of its sea life.

Senate Bill 1114 to Phase out the California Driftnet Fishery and Protect Marine Wildlife Moves Through Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water

Today the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-0 to support Senate Bill (SB) 1114 to phase out the use of mile-long driftnets in California waters. The innovative bill sponsored by Turtle Island Restoration Network and authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) lays out a commonsense transition plan to phase out the use of these mile-long nets to a new, more environmentally responsible fishing method using deep-set buoy gear.

Ocean Heroes: Erin Politz

People make all the difference. In this post, we are highlighting one of our Ocean Heroes: Erin Politz.

The Fishery That Killed 16 Endangered Sperm Whales in One Year

Right off the coast of California, a deadly fishery is having profound impacts on the ocean. And some of the worst victims of the driftnet fishery are whales, dolphins, and sea lions. But you can help put an end to these “curtains of death” by taking one simple action.

Historic Petition Urges Obama to Halt All New Offshore Fossil Fuel Leases

More than 45 climate, conservation, indigenous and coastal organizations (including Turtle Island) representing the major coastal regions of the United States filed a legal petition today calling on President Obama to align U.S. energy policy with his climate goals by issuing an executive order to end new oil and gas lease auctions in federally controlled oceans — including the Arctic, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Turtle Island Restoration Network Sponsors Bill to Phase out California Driftnet Fishery to Protect Marine Wildlife

Turtle Island is the sponsor of a new bill authored by Senator Ben Allen designed to protect California’s marine wildlife by ending the use of deadly driftnets in California. The legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 1114, will end the most harmful fishing practice on the West Coast by transitioning California’s swordfish industry away from driftnets to more sustainable fishing technology.

Improving California Coastal Commission Transparency

Turtle Island Restoration Network recently signed onto a letter supporting AB 2002, which would dramatically improve transparency and accountability at the California Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission

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.

Meet the Stars of Our Public Service Announcement

It all started as an idea – an idea to make a video to share the truth about the deadly driftnet fishery for swordfish operating off of California’s coast and harming marine wildlife like sea turtles and whales. But the idea only became a reality when actors Matthew King, Dana Padgett, and Christopher Shelton lent their time, expertise, and acting chops to make this project a reality, and help expose the dangers of eating driftnet caught swordfish. Take a moment to read about and get to know the stars of our PSA by reading their bios below.

California’s Driftnet Fishery One of Worst in the Nation for Marine Mammals

Turtle Island Restoration Network’s new report ‘Driftnet Overview’ outlines how the California driftnet fishery for swordfish is among the most wasteful fisheries in the world in terms of bycatch (unwanted animals caught and discarded). The just-released-report examines new data that shows the driftnet fishery is a threat to marine mammals, sea turtles and sharks; targets toxic high-in-mercury fish; is a drag on California’s economy; and hampers efforts to clean up international fishing practices.

State of Galveston Bay Symposium

This week the Galveston Bay Estuary Program hosted a State of the Bay Symposium, bringing together nonprofits, state and federal agencies and community stakeholders to hear presentations and panel discussions on challenges and successes regarding the health of Galveston Bay.

The Tuna Shell Game

Bigeye Tuna is in trouble. This highly valued sushi fish is being overfished in the Pacific and has sunk to its lowest historical levels. So why has the quota been increased for Hawaii’s longliners?

2015 Victories for Marine Wildlife

Our accomplishments are only possible with your support, and with the action of our more than 200,000 members and activists. You are a key component of our work to save sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, salmon, marine wildlife and our oceans! Learn about our accomplishments and see photos of the marine wildlife we’ve protected in 2015.

TPP Agreement: Friend or Foe?

The Obama administration is championing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a trade agreement between the USA and 11 other nations broadly connected by the

California Drift Gillnet Fishery Fact Sheet

The California driftnet fishery for swordfish captures, harms and kills sperm whales, sea turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins and sea lions as bycatch. Only one in six animals caught by the fishery are swordfish. The fishery consists of just 20 boats, and is among the worst 20 percent of all fisheries globally.

GivingTuesday is Tuesday, December 1st

#GivingTuesday™ is a movement created to celebrate giving on the Tuesday following Cyber Monday. Join in by making a donation to Turtle Island on Dec. 1st!!

One Step Closer to Ending Use of Drift Gillnets in California

This September, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) issued a landmark ruling that will put in place stronger regulations for the California drift gillnet fishery for swordfish. These new policies come after years of advocacy by Turtle Island Restoration Network and our partners, and may finally set the course to phase out the use of mile-long drift gillnets in California for good.

Landmark New Rules to Protect California’s Whales, Dolphins and Sea turtles from the Drift Gillnet Fishery

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) adopted a strict new rule for California’s drift gillnet fishery to protect nine vulnerable marine species. The rule will institute new “hard caps” that can automatically shut the fishery down if hard limits are reached in any two-year period, reflecting a new no-nonsense approach to dealing with ongoing damage to rare and threatened species, including sperm whales, humpback whales, fin whales, green sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles, pilot whales and bottle nosed dolphins. In addition, the PFMC also instituted new performance standards for discards.

Photography for a Change Transformation

After much consideration I ended up picking ‘Celeste Wave Break’ by Dana Bove, the show’s founder. I love how he captured this moment when the wave is about to crash down. It’s such a unique perspective that makes the ocean almost morph into a mountain for a split second.

Photography for a Change’s Roy Kimhi

Roy is one of the featured photographer’s in Photography for a Change’s incredible online show. As a quick recap for those of you who haven’t already heard, Photography for a Change, provides exquisite photographs of our natural environs.

Help Track Down Illegal Fishing Boats Online

Turtle Island Restoration Network is proud to announce a new pilot program to find illegal fishing vessels within the Marine Protected Area surrounding Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Turtle Island teamed up with DigitalGlobe’s crowdsourcing platform,, to create one of the first crowd sourced, digital patrols of the marine hot-spot.

EVENT: Blue Mind Meet the Authors Reception & Book Talk on August 22nd, 2015

Join Turtle Island’s board and staff to meet the authors at an exclusive pre-event benefit reception and a reserved seat for the Book Talk will be included in your ticket price. Enjoy wine, beer and hearty hors d’oeuvres at the beautiful Dance Palace in West Marin. Learn more about our work and enjoy a silent auction. Your ticket purchase will support our work to protect sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, salmon and our world’s oceans.

Turtle Island in D.C.

ast week I had the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and speak about the importance of ocean and marine conservation with our legislators.

Feds Propose New Rules to Protect Whales, Dolphins in Other Countries

The National Marine Fisheries Service today proposed major regulations prohibiting the import of seafood into the United States from fisheries that kill whales and dolphins in excess of U.S. standards. Under the new rules, all fisheries worldwide will have to comply with essentially the same marine mammal protection requirements as U.S. fishermen or face an embargo from the lucrative U.S. seafood market.

Whale Shark Research Expediton to the Galapagaos Islands

Despite incredibly warm waters, part of the building El Niño conditions, our whale shark team, led by Turtle Island’s Science Director Alex Hearn and Jonathan Green, have finally encountered whale sharks at Darwin Arch in the Galapagos Islands.

Meet Photography for a Change’s Ron Wooten

Ron is one of the featured photographer’s in Photography for a Change’s incredible online show. As a quick recap for those of you who haven’t already heard, Photography for a Change, provides exquisite photographs of our natural environs. This show features four photographers who have generously donated their images and prints to support Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Drones & Submarines Assist Scientists At Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica

During a recent scientific expedition to Cocos Island National Park (May 4-15, 2015), small two and three passenger submarines known as submersibles were used to deploy acoustic listening stations at 180 m (590 ft) depth, an inflatable boat was used to catch sharks and implant acoustic tracking tags, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones) were used to patrol from above in search of marine wildlife below. The expedition was directed by Randall Arauz, Central American Director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network (Turtle Island), in collaboration with Costa Rica’s National System of Protected Areas (SINAC) and the Cocos Island Marine Conservation Area (ACMIC), and with the companies Alucia Productions II, Precision Integrated and Aeroval.

Photography for a Change Show to Benefit Turtle Island Restoration Network

Turtle Island Restoration Network is proud to announce that we are teaming up with Photography for a Change to offer you high quality, fine art prints from top, emerging photographers. For a limited time you can purchase these stunning prints that put you in an ocean state of mind, liven up your walls and help protect our world’s oceans and marine wildlife!

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.

Turtle Island Joins Sea Party Coalition!

The Sea Party Coalition represents coastal and inland cities and towns, businesses, fishermen, surfers, divers, boaters and other concerned citizens regardless of political affiliation who support a healthy and vibrant coastal economy and oppose proposed new oil surveying and drilling along the Atlantic Coast and in the U.S. Arctic Ocean.

El Niño Triggers Temporary Drift Gillnet Fishery Closure off Southern California

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced it will close southern California ocean waters to drift gillnets in order to protect endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This legally mandated closure went into effect June 1 according to regulation and is prompted by current El Niño conditions–warmer than normal ocean waters. The closure will stay in effect until August 31, 2015.

Endangered Sperm Whale Washes Ashore at Pacifica Beach

A 50-foot endangered sperm whale washed ashore this morning at Pacifica Beach located near the town of Pacifica, Calif. Scientists from the Marine Mammal Center and the Academy of Sciences will perform a necropsy on the whale to discover the cause of death, which is currently unknown.

Make Way for Dolphins (Day 8)

Everything was moving, the water was a bit colder, there were strong currents, and giant schools of black tuna swimming in slow circles by us. We were surrounded by life.

Shark Fin Rock, Marvelous Manta Rays & Pirate Lore (Day 7)

And that’s when we met an endangered Giant Manta Ray. Giant Manta Rays are the largest of all species of Rays and are instantly recognizable underwater by their size and horn-like features (which is why they are also known raya diablo). The Ray came from the blue and gave us a show – flapping its wings and gliding with such power and grace that we had no

Q&A on Driftnets with Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)

I have always believed we need to be good stewards of our environment for future generations. Our ocean and its marine wildlife is an integral component of that. The health of our ocean affects our air, food, and coastal communities. California’s health is directly tied to the health of the ocean.

Pregnant Whale Sharks Use Galapagos as Pit Stop

A new study in the Journals of PLOS aims to unravel some of the mystery surrounding the largest fish in the sea – the whale shark. The study, led by collaborating scientist David Acuña of the Charles Darwin Foundation and co-authored by Alex Hearn of Turtle Island Restoration Network, discovered that more whale sharks than previously suspected use Darwin Island (one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos Archipelago) as a rest stop in their migration route.

Whale Sharks to be Tagged to Save Species

It is the largest fish in the ocean with some individuals reaching sizes of up to 65ft (18m) long and weighing more than 30 tonnes, but whale sharks remain one of the enigmas of the deep.

Feds agree to seafood import rules aimed at protecting whales, dolphins

“The public demands and the U.S. can — and by law, must — wield its tremendous purchasing power to save dolphins and whales from foreign fishing nets,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “We have the right to ensure that the seafood sold in the U.S. is caught in ways that minimize the death and injury of marine mammals.”

US To Implement Dolphin-Safe Rules For Seafood Imports

The U.S. government settled with environmental groups on Monday in the U.S. Court of International Trade, agreeing to implement legislation that ensures seafood imported into the United States meets the country’s standards for protecting whales and dolphins.

Bigeye Tuna Remains on Hawaii’s Menu — But for How Long?

We should be leaders in fisheries management, not cheaters,” said Doug Karpa, of the California-based Turtle Island Restoration Network, noting that the U.S. is one of the few nations that ban the fishing in its own waters of overexploited stocks unless they are recovering.

Whale Sharks to be Tagged to Save Species

There are fears that the gentle giant, whose flesh is prized in countries such as China, India and the Philippines, is being slowly driven towards extinction. And so little is known about them that there is huge uncertainty about how their decline can be arrested.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom Joins Lawmakers To Phase Out California Drift Gillnets

With the full support of Turtle Island Restoration Network, OCEANA, and other marine conservations organizations, California Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) this week called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets.

Whale Sharks Back on the Map

Two of our whale sharks tagged in August on a joint expedition with our collaborators Jonathan R Green, the Charles Darwin Foundation and the

Technology and more than 32,000 Square Miles of Area Closures Will Safeguard Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the New Year

Turtle Island Restoration Network delivered more than 3,800 petitions to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) supporting greater protections for Atlantic bluefin tuna populations. After five years of work by Turtle Island, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and our partners, on Dec. 2, 2014, NOAA Fisheries officially announced new, stricter regulations for the U.S. Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery.

Turtle Island Call for Action on Ocean Acidification.

Turtle Island signed on to an open letter addressed to Washington Governor Inslee’s commending him for his leadership on ocean acidification, and also addressed to the Department of Ecology asking that they follow suit and also take action on ocean acidification.

Nominate Turtle Island for Heart of Marin Awards

Have you sent in your nomination for the 22nd Annual CVNL Heart of Marin Awards? Please nominate Turtle Island Restoration Network for the ‘Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence’ award; And please nominate a dedicated SPAWN volunteer for ‘Volunteer of the Year.’

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.

Intern Spotlight: Meet Sara Gendel

Sara Gendel, a graduate student at Bard College in New York, joined the Turtle Island Restoration Network team this July as our newest conservation intern.

Protecting Western Australia’s Seas from Natural Gas Development

Turtle Island Restoration Network strongly opposes the siting of any Liquefied Natural Gas processing hub or any other industrial development at James Price Point/Walmadany as such a development would permanently destroy wild and sacred lands along the pristine Kimberley coast and open the door to wide scale industrialization of the coastline.

Saving Humpback Whales

Turtle Island and conservation groups submitted comments on the petition by the state of Alaska to de-list Central North Pacific Humpbacks from the Endangered Species Act, and is working to protect Humpback whales.

Turtle Island Calls for Protections for the Vaquita

Turtle Island Restoration Network signed onto a letter with other conservation groups to protect the world’s most endangered marine mammal – the vaquita. The vaquita is a critically endangered porpoise.

The Summer Salmon Institute Goes Swimmingly

Thanks to Turtle Island Restoration Network’s hard work, and funding provided by the NOAA BWET grant, this years Summer Salmon Institute was a huge success. Teachers spent the week learning about hands on watershed education and it’s links to the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards.

Marin Group Plans Suit to Help Protect Sperm Whales

The Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network hopes to reinstate a National Marine Fisheries Service rule designed to protect endangered sperm whales from mile-long drift gillnets in ocean waters off California, which are intended to catch swordfish.

Suit Filed to Ensure Foreign Fisheries Meet American Standards for Dolphin and Whale Safety

Each year, nearly half of the more than 5 billion pounds of seafood consumed by Americans — including tuna, swordfish, shrimp, cod and other fish — comes from foreign fisheries that have not been shown as meeting U.S. whale and dolphin protection standards. The United States is required to insist on such proof before foreign seafood may lawfully be imported into the United States. A lawsuit filed today by Turtle Island Restoration Network and conservation groups seeks to protect marine mammals by requiring the government to ensure that all imported, wild-caught fish meet U.S. standards.

Feds Move to Protect Sperm Whales From Fishing Nets

“This wasteful driftnet fishery is always in crisis and the emergency never stops for whales, dolphins, and fish that get caught and die by the hundreds,” said Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Teri Shore. “It’s time to ban driftnets instead of constant regulatory triage.”

 Emergency Regulations Imposed to Protect Sperm Whales from California Fishery

Today the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced emergency actions designed to protect endangered sperm whales from being caught in the California swordfish/thresher shark drift gillnet fishery. The emergency rule, prompted by advocacy by conservation groups, goes into effect tomorrow. The overdue regulations came 20 days after the drift gillnet fishing season opened in offshore waters beyond 75 nautical miles.

Facts on Assembly Bill 2019

Replacing wasteful driftnets with cleaner gears will create a sustainable fishery by minimizing bycatch and ensuring long-term fishing opportunity.

A Whale of a Time: Interns at Sea

During my time working with Turtle Island Restoration Network  as a sea turtle conservation intern, California has shown me some incredible things that I


View a gallery that showcases images of whales, sea lions, seals and seabirds.

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.

Feds Clamp Down on Whale Kills in California’s Drift Gillnet Fishery

New Report Details Top 10 Reasons to End California’s Deadliest Catch – Swordfish

New federal emergency fishing regulations are forcing California’s drift gillnet fleet for swordfish and shark to stop fishing for the season if a single endangered sperm whale gets entangled in a net. All vessels that fish offshore will now be required to carry on-board observers at all times.

California’s Drift Gillnet Fishery Too Deadly for Endangered Sperm Whales

SAN FRANCISCO— The National Marine Fisheries Service this week declined to issue a required marine mammal take permit for California’s swordfish drift gillnet fishery in light of the recent entanglement of two sperm whales, but agreed to call a special meeting next week to discuss possible emergency measures to allow the fishery to continue operating legally while reducing interactions with these endangered whales.

Swordfish Caught in Driftnets is California’s Deadliest Catch

The California drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and shark is the most dangerous fishery for whales and other marine mammals along the U.S. West Coast from California to Alaska. A new federal review of marine mammal bycatch in commercial fisheries found that the drift gillnet fleet is causing more harm to whales than ever

Conservation Groups Sue to Protect False Killer Whales in Hawaii

Conservation Groups Sue to Protect False Killer Whales in Hawai‘i Longline Fishery Killing Whales at Twice Sustainable Honolulu, Hawai‘i – Seeking an end to the continuing slaughter of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in the waters of Hawai‘i, Earthjustice, representing a coalition of conservation groups, filed suit in federal court in Honolulu today against the National Marine Fisheries Service, challenging the agency’s failure to devise a plan to protect the whales from the Hawai‘i-based longline fishery. The coalition includes Hui Mälama i Koholä, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Turtle Island Restoration Network.


Recently released data from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) indicates Hawaii’s tuna longliners’ bycatch rose dramatically in 2008. It is estimated more than 60 dolphins and whales were caught in 2008, a 50% increase from the 40 caught the year before, including such species as Risso’s and spotted dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, and false killer whales.

Indigenous People in Papua New Guinea Petition Government to Suspend Seabed Mining in Territorial Seas

More than 80 participants attended the meeting organised by the Madang People’s Forum and attended by community representatives from Manus, Kairiru island, New Ireland, Bagabag Island, Karkar Island, Riwo, Gildiasi, Rai Coast, and the statement was also endorsed by representatives of the Ramu River Authority, Simil Hondulwa Evangelical Alliance of PNG, New Ireland Students Association of University of Technology, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Alemewo Foundation, the Catholic Church, Madang Rehabilitation and presented from Vanuatu, Porgera, plus observers from surrounding community based organisations, school teachers and students.

West Coast Fishery Managers Vote To Open Sea Turtle Protection Zone To Harmful Longline Fishing

Seattle –Following close on the heels of a decision to close the California and Oregon salmon fishery, last week west coast fishery managers approved opening a new longline fishery for swordfish in vital sea turtle habitat off the California and Oregon coasts. The same proposal, which faced widespread opposition, was defeated last year by the California Coastal Commission.

Imperiled Bird Advances Toward Endangered Species Act Protection

HONOLULU, Hawaii- Today the federal government announced the initiation of a formal review to determine if the black-footed albatross should receive the protections of the Endangered Species Act. The announcement, published in the Federal Register, comes in response to a petition filed in 2004 by the environmental law firm Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Lawsuit Seeks Better Management of Marine Mammals Threatened By Global Warming

SAN FRANCISCO- Two conservation organizations, the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network, filed a lawsuit today against Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne for failing to take into account the latest information on global warming in management decisions affecting polar bears, walrus, sea otters, and manatees. The suit, brought under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, seeks to force the federal government to issue updated stock assessment reports for protected marine mammals ranging from Florida to Alaska. Stock assessments are population estimates that include information on the range of the species and threats to its survival.

Tribal Villagers Demand Stop to Deep Sea Mining in Pacific

Bababag Island, Papua New Guinea – This week tribal villagers from Bagabag Island in Madang Province called on the government and all exploration and mining companies doing business in Papua New Guinea to stop pushing for the sea bed mining, a controversial new mining method. The villagers formally lodged their concerns and protests by running an advertisement in the national paper.

1,007 Scientists Call For UN Moratorium on Longline Fishing

New York – May 31, 2005 – On the eve of a critical United Nations meeting to discuss actions to protect the world’s oceans from overfishing, a letter signed by more than 1,000 international scientists calling for decisive action has been delivered to the international body. Recent scientific reports have linked industrial fishing, such as longlining, to the decline of sea turtles and other marine species, and have offered marine protected areas as a potential solution. During the UN meeting which begins June 10, Costa Rica will be proposing a plan of action that offers sustainable use marine protected areas as a part of a comprehensive solution for the world’s oceans.

Longline Fishing Pillaging the Pacific Says New Report

On Monday, June 6th, the new report Striplining the Pacific: The Case for A United Nations Moratorium on High Seas Industrial Longline Fishing will be released at the United Nations Law of the Sea meeting June 6-10th. The new book length report echoes the sentiment of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin’s call on May 1st to end the “pillage” and “rape” of the ocean at an international fisheries conference this week.

Longline Moratorium Campaign Gaining Momentum

Forest Knolls, CA – On the eve of a key United Nations meeting relating to the oceans, a growing number of international scientists and non-governmental organizations are actively lobbying their country delegates to address the problem of industrial longline fishing in the Pacific. The scientists and NGOs are also joined in their efforts by members of the New Zealand, Irish and EU parliaments. The lobbying effort echoes the call of more than 800 international scientists and 230 NGOs who are also asking for a moratorium on industrial longline fishing in order to protect endangered leatherback sea turtles, albatross, sharks and other species caught and killed as bycatch by industrial longliners.

Prominent Scientists Join Call For UN Moratorium on Longline Fishing

World renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, has added her voice to 1007 international scientists from 93 countries who are urging the UN to implement a moratorium on longline fishing in the Pacific Ocean to prevent the extinction of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle. The scientists are joined by 282 non-governmental organizations from 60 countries. The list of signers includes biologist E.O. Wilson, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and former U.S. astronaut Bernard Harris, Jr. M.D.

New Report: Longlines Annually Capture and Kill 4.4 Million Sharks, Billfish, Seabirds, Sea Turtles and Mammals in the Pacific

Although there have been recent efforts to “mitigate” the devastating impact of industrial pelagic longlines on sea turtles, the problem is not limited to these species. Pelagic longlines are literally wiping out the lions and tigers of the ocean—sharks, billfish and tunas. Industrial longline fishing results in an extensive catch of non-targeted species as “bycatch” creating a global marine biodiversity crisis.

Lawsuit Filed To Stop Illegal Killing of Albatross And Sea Turtles

Honolulu, HI–Today, Turtle Island Restoration Network , the Center for Biological Diversity, an d Ka `Iwa Kua Lele, represented by Earthjustice, filed suit in federal district court in Hawai`i against the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) for reopening the Hawai`i-based longline swordfish fishery in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”), Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), and National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The fishery will cause the deaths of black-footed albatross and Laysan albatross, both protected by the MBTA, and endangered sea turtles protected by the ESA, and was reopened without a proper Environmental Impact Statement, in violation of NEPA.

Federal Fisheries Service Acknowledges Hawai‘i Longline Fleet’s Toll on False Killer Whales

Honolulu, HI – Today, the National Marines Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) finally acknowledged the devastating toll that the Hawai‘i-based longline fishing fleet inflicts on the Hawai‘i population of false killer whales, formally classifying the longline fleet as “Category I” in the List of Fisheries for 2004, a designation reserved for fisheries that annually kill and seriously injure marine mammals at unsustainable rates. In November 2003, Turtle Island Restoration Network, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Hawai‘i community group Hui Mälama i Koholäand, represented by the Earthjustice law firm filed suit on behalf to force NMFS to increase protection for the whale by making such a reclassification, as mandated by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (“MMPA”).

California Longline Fishing is Banned

March 11, 2004—Today, the US Fisheries Service issued new rules banning California longline fishing from targeting swordfish from a huge swath of the Pacific Ocean. The final rule comes on the heels of an August 2003 decision by the federal Ninth Circuit Court concurring with environmentalists that the Fisheries Service had failed to conduct the proper environmental review before issuing permits to the fishery.

US Fish & Wildlife Sued to Save Aleutian Sea Otter

San Francisco- The Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, andParks will be served with a lawsuit filed today for failing to take actions to protect an endangered population of Alaskan sea otters.

Lawsuit filed to Save Okinawan Dugong from Extinction

A coalition of conservation groups from both sides of the Pacific Rim filed a lawsuit in US District Court against the US Department of Defense over plans to construct a new heliport facility on a coral reef on the east coast of Okinawa, Japan. Conservationists are concerned that the proposed 1.5 mile long airbase to be built on reclaimed land over a coral reef will destroy the remaining habitat of the endangered Okinawa dugong, a relative of the manatee, and a cultural icon of the Okinawan people.