Group gathers more than 7,000 petitions from residents, supporters

BATON ROUGE, La. —More than 7,000 Louisiana residents are calling on Gov. Bobby Jindal to increase protection for sea turtles along coastal waters.Members of the Turtle Island Restoration Network attempted to deliver the petitions to Jindal’s office Tuesday, but were only able to by mail and email. Supporters are calling on him to show a stronger environmental record, among other demands.

“Gov. Jindal can seize this opportunity to bring Louisiana into the 21st century and into compliance with federal law,” the TIRN said. “He can follow the advice of his constituents and do the right thing for or state’s endangered sea turtles.”

According to the information submitted by the TIRN, petitioners want Jindal to enforce a law that requires a sea turtle escape hatch on all shrimp vessel nets. The hatches are also known as Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs).

Members with the rescue organization said that Louisiana is the only state that prohibits enforcement of federal TED regulations in its shrimp trawl fishery, which is the largest in the U.S. Louisiana shrimp was “red-listed” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch as a result of this “oversight.”

“Four years ago, Gov. Jindal vetoed a bill that would have allowed Louisiana law enforcement to implement the federal regulations required under the Endangered Species Act despite the fact that the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force voted on April 3 in favor of TED enforcement,” TIRN said.

Supporters for stronger enforcement and protection of the sea turtles said that without the TED devices, the animals drown in the nets. They want Jindal to “step up and show clear” leadership if wants to continue his political aspirations.

“Voters will take notice, in fact they already have as demonstrated by the sheer number of petitions we are sending today,” TIRN said.

Anyone wanting more information about the petition or the sea turtles can head to the TIRN website.

Read more at WDSU News.