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.

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.

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.

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,

Cassie Burdyshaw: Diving in Cocos

Diving in Cocos was a reminder of the awe-inspiring magnificence of the ocean… In August, I joined over a dozen volunteers who set off

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.

SCHOLARSHIP: Turtle Island Announces Cocos Island Conservation Scholarship

With support of our Volunteer Expedition divers, marine wildlife protection organization Turtle Island has created a space for a person beginning or early in his or her marine conservation career to participate from December 3 – 13, 2017 on a ten-day shark and turtle tagging expedition to Cocos Island National Park, Costa Rica.

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?

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.

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 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.

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!

Scuba Diving with a Tiger Shark at Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Watch an incredible video of a tiger shark at Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Join a research expedition to Cocos Island and work alongside scientists to research sea turtle and shark populations and migration at one of the world’s premiere scuba diving sites to see hammerhead sharks and a myriad of large marine species.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Better Times for Sharks Ahead

The ‘Shark Enemy Award’ brings international pressure and negative press on the recipient, and our petitions drive home the point that this issue will continue to be on the table until policies change to protect sharks. The hope is that this unwanted attention will force a reversal in anti-shark policies.

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.

Costa Rica Wins 2016 SHARK ENEMY AWARD

SHARKPROJECT introduced the winner of this year’s SHARK ENEMY award – Costa Rica. This dishonor is the only shark protection “award” of its kind in the world, and is decided on by a jury made up of 31 marine protection organizations. This year the jury unanimously agreed that Costa Rica was a hotspot for the shark fin trade.

Costa Rica Still Hasn’t Defined National Position with Respect to Shark Conservation

Confusion! That was the result of a meeting yesterday by the Costa Rican authorities to present the position the country will adopt during the upcoming 2nd Meeting of Signatories (MoSII) of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Migratory Sharks of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), to be held in Costa Rica next February 15th to 19th. Instead of presenting the official country position, the positions of the Vice Ministry of Oceans and of the Institute of Fisheries (INCOPESCA) were presented.

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.

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

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís Named No. 1 ‘Shark Enemy’ by International Conservation Organizations

Today Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solís was awarded the ‘Shark Enemy’ award by the conservation organization Sharkproject International. President Solís was nominated by the Sharkproject team and picked by a team of international jurors for this dishonor based on his anti-conservation policy record that seeks to roll back marine conservation efforts, most notably protection for endangered and threatened shark species. Earlier this year his administration stated it’s intent to ramp up efforts to export shark fins, even with the recent news that demand for fins abroad was plummeting.

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!!

How to Track a Shark

Turtle Island interviewed shark scientist Dr. Alex Hearn to learn more about the art of tagging and tracking sharks in order to learn more about their migrations, birthing habitats and behavior.

Sharktober Presents: Unusual Sharks

In honor of Sharktober, lets talk about some sharks you might not hear about that often! These five strange sharks may change what comes to mind

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.

Crowdsourcing to Spot Illegal Fishing Vessels at Cocos Island Marine Protected Area

DigitalGlobe’s crowdsourcing platform has formed a partnership with ocean and marine conservation non-profit Turtle Island Restoration Network,, to create the first crowdsourced digital patrol of the Cocos Island Marine Protected Area in order to defend one of the Pacific Ocean’s most vibrant marine life habitats. Located 340 miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Cocos Island is home to numerous rare and endangered marine species, and has been subject to illegal fishing practices in its difficult-to-monitor waters.

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.

Thoughts on J-Bay, Sharks & Surfing

Implying that our oceans somehow be ‘cleared’ of sharks is a dangerous notion. But it is not a novel one. It has been tried before and it is called culling. In Western Australia baited lines were attached to floating drums to catch sharks off popular beaches.

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.

Make Shark Week About Saving Sharks

The first time I saw an image of a finned shark I was appalled. The shark was sinking in clear beautiful blue water without it’s classic dorsal fin.

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.

Fate of Sea Turtles & Sharks Land on Gulf of Mexico Governors Desks

The governors of two important Gulf of Mexico states – Texas and Louisiana – face pivotal decisions surrounding marine wildlife. In both states legislators have voted in favor of protecting ocean wildlife, now all eyes are on Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

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.

Ecuador Seizes 200,000 Shark Fins

Yesterday, the Ministry of Interior of Ecuador released a video showing Vice Minister Diego Fuentes explaining that 200,000 shark fins (which corresponds to roughly 40,000 sharks) had been seized in a series of operations. The Ecuador government arrested three people and confiscated several fire arms.

Fracas over Costa Rican shark-fin exports leads American Airlines to stop shipping fins

On December 24, an American Airlines plane carried 411 kilos (904 pounds) of dried hammerhead shark fins from Alajuela, Costa Rica, to Hong Kong, touching down partway through the journey in Miami. The shipment, valued at nearly $53,000, contained fins from around 411 animals, more than seven times the number on its export permit from the Costa Rican government. The fins came from two species of shark: smooth hammerheads (Sphyrna zygaena), which are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, and scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini), which are classified as Endangered by the IUCN and under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Stranded Whale Shark

A large whale shark became stranded on a beach near Manta, on the coast of Ecuador yesterday. It was first reported by local fishers, swimming close to the shoreline, but eventually became stranded on the beach. Although a team of over 50 volunteers attempted to return it to sea, the whale shark eventually died.

Mark & the Shark (Day 9)

Today is our last day of diving and we got up a little early to be sure to squeeze in three full dives, and have time to take photos and enjoy each others company in this paradise. I had the good fortunate of having a curious Galapagos Shark check me out on the first dive, and on the second the chance to swim amidst a school of large benitos. Mark even tagged a Galapagos! Beautiful everywhere you look.

Follow Our Feb. Cocos Island Expedition – Day by Day Trip Reports

Follow our Feb. Cocos Island Expedition in this series of blog posts. The expedition set out to track sea turtles and sharks in order to create a protected science-based swimway that will safeguard endangered marine wildlife during their migrations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

En Route to Cocos Island (Day 1)

I’m en route to Cocos Island, Costa Rica with Turtle Island Restoration Network. Our goal is to try and figure out where endangered sea turtles and sharks that visit the Island swim, and then try and create the world’s first international swimway to protect these underwater superhighways used by these animals during their migrations.

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.

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.

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.


“It’s the most incredible underwater place I’ve ever been,” says Todd Steiner, executive director of the California-based Sea Turtle Restoration Project. “It’s a superhighway of giant animals — like the plains of Africa, only underwater.”

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.’

Banner Day for Shark Conservation!

This week, Turtle Island has been in Quito, Ecuador for the 11th meeting of the United Nation’s Conference of Parties of the Convention on

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.

Shark Scientists Focus on Finding Out Where Threatened Sharks Swim at International Bogotá Conference

Shark scientists gathered last week at a conference organized by the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation to learn how to effectively track the migration patterns and behavior of threatened sharks species with specialized underwater acoustic tags,* as well as strengthen the Latin-American Migramar network of scientists studying marine migratory patterns in the Eastern Pacific.

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.

Cocos Island Marine Protected Area Sky Patrol Project

Schools of hammerhead sharks, Silky, Galapagos and Tiger sharks, and gentle sea turtles abound in the waters surrounding Cocos Island National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cocos Island sits approximately 350 miles from the Costa Rican mainland and is surrounded by a 12-mile no-take Marine Protected Area.

Cocos Island Expedition Update from Graduate Student Elena Nalesso

Turtle Island Restoration Network is sponsoring graduate student Elena Nalesso in her efforts to better understand the sharks of the Cocos Islands. Elena is currently completing her thesis on the island’s sharks and recently returned from her first Cocos Island Expedition.

 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.

Saving Sharks Starts with Knowing Where they Swim

Where do sharks go? This basic question is one that is rarely considered when creating protected ocean or marine reserves, yet it is one of the most critical ones to conservationists working to protect sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

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.

California shark fin ban upheld by federal judge

A federal judge on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on possession or sale of shark fins, rejecting claims that the law discriminates against the Chinese community – where shark fin soup is a traditional delicacy – or interferes with federal management of ocean fishing.

San Francisco March for Sharks is On!

Support our Allies in Australia to stop the Western Australia shark “catch and kill” program and march from the Ferry Building to the Australian Embassy on 575 Market Street. Culling is an unscientific and indiscriminate method of managing sharks and protecting public safety. Other regions with high risk of human/white shark encounters- including Bay Area waters- have systems of information, alerts and temporary beach closures.


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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.

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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.

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

California White Sharks Receive Additional Protection

White sharks off California’s coast will receive additional protection beginning March 1, the date it becomes a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). In February 2013, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) determined that listing white shark as threatened or endangered may be warranted and designated the species as a candidate pursuant CESA.

Historic Illinois Legislation Protects Sharks

Governor Pat Quinn Signed House Bill 4119 into Law Today, Making Illinois the First Inland State to Ban Shark Fins. Illinois is now the fourth State in the continental U.S. and the second largest to ban the sale, trade, possession, and distribution of shark fins. Illinois provides one of the largest markets for shark fins in the United States, and this law represents a significant step towards reducing pressure on rapidly declining shark populations.

Illinois State Senator Champions Shark Fin Bill with Support from Shark Stewards

Illinois State Senator Champions Shark Fin Bill with Support from Shark Stewards. Situated on the largest body of fresh surface water on the planet, Chicago has no sharks swimming in its waters, but this has not deterred Illinois citizens from advocating on their behalf. House Bill 4119, sponsored by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), would ban the sale, trade, distribution or possession of shark fins. The bill, which recently passed in the Illinois House with an 81-33 vote, is moving through the legislative process with new leadership from the Illinois Senate Senator Antonio Muñoz. The proposed law just passed through the Illinois Senate Environment Committee, bringing it closer to the Governor’s signature.

Shark Stewards Launches Shark Protection Campaign in Chicago

Shark Stewards, a non-profit shark conservation organization based in California, announced the launch of its new Chicago-based chapter to support shark conservation in Illinois. Dedicated to conserving ocean health through the protection of sharks, Shark Stewards’ newest chapter will focus on engaging citizens and supporting legislation to ban the trade, sale, and consumption of shark fin in the state of Illinois.

Shark Stewards Launches Shark Protection Campaign in Texas

Shark Stewards, a non-profit shark conservation organization based in San Francisco, announced today that it is launching a new chapter to support ocean conservation efforts in Texas. Shark Stewards is dedicated to conserving ocean health through the protection of sharks. The local chapter of Shark Stewards will be leading the shark campaign to engage citizens by raising awareness and introducing legislation to ban the trade, sale, and consumption of shark fin in the state of Texas.

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.

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.

President of Costa Rica Urged to Save Sharks from Overfishing

An open letter to the President of Costa Rica, Dr. Abel Pacheco, urging the protection of sharks and other endangered marine species from overfishing by foreign fleets, was published in today’s edition of La Nación, Costa Rica’s largest newspaper.