TIRN_logo_TIRN_1_masterLMC Logo 2014Contact: Joanna Nasar, Director of Communications
Phone: 415-488-7711 Email: Joanna@seaturtles.org
Contact: Kathryn Rumbley, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Phone:   561-627-8280 x 115 Cell: 321-506-9649

Texas Piers are Helping to Protect Endangered Sea Turtles

Galveston Piers Have Adopted Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Responsible Pier Initiative Program

June 2, 2015 – Galveston, TX – Turtle Island Restoration Network (Turtle Island) has partnered with Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) to adopt the Center’s “Responsible Pier Initiative,” to promote a healthy pier environment for sea turtles and other marine life.

The Responsible Pier Initiative is designed as a collaborative tool to work directly with fishermen and fishing piers. The purpose of these efforts is to provide first-responders on fishing piers with the necessary resources to respond effectively to sea turtle injuries and strandings on or around fishing piers.

The Responsible Pier Initiative consists of four core components:

  • Educational workshops conducted for fishing pier first responders
  • Educational signage and rescue nets provided to participating fishing piers
  • Underwater cleaning beneath participating fishing piers and surrounding areas on a regular basis.

Turtle Island staff will be working to coordinate underwater cleanups in the future and will begin by organizing clean ups on the beaches surrounding the piers.

  • Pollution prevention measures on participating fishing piers

Each year, more than 250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured or killed by U.S. fishermen. Many of these injuries and deaths take place while turtles are migrating through highly fished areas. These occurrences prompted Loggerhead Marinelife Center and Turtle Island to take action. 61st Street Pier, Galveston Fishing Pier, and Seawolf Park will implement the Responsible Pier Initiative beginning on June 3, 2015 to join LMC and Turtle Island in the fight to protect these endangered animals.

The program was launched as a pilot program at the Juno Beach Pier in 2012 and positive results have already been seen. Since the program’s inception, nearly 2,900pounds of debris have been removed from beneath participating piers and sea turtles are being rescued due to the established protocol.

“We identified local fishing piers as an area in dire need of ocean conservation and sea turtle awareness education,” said Tommy Cutt, LMC Chief Conservation Officer. Cutt explained that many times fishermen will accidentally hook a sea turtle and cut off the fishing line. “Although there are no legal consequences for hooking a sea turtle, we want to educate the fishing community and public about the importance of contacting the proper authorities,” he added.

“Turtle Island is excited to bring Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s ‘Responsible Pier Initiative’ from Florida into Texas,” said Joanie Steinhaus, the associate director of the Gulf of Mexico office of Turtle Island. “This initiative is needed and is going to help ensure fishermen and woman all along the Gulf of Mexico are prepared and able to easily do their part to save sea turtles.”

If you’re in Florida and interested in bringing the Responsible Pier Initiative to your local pier or area, please contact Tommy Cutt, LMC Chief Conservation Officer, at tcutt@marinelife.org. If you are located in Texas and are interested in helping roll out the initiative please contact Joanie Steinhaus at joanie@seaturtles.org.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network:
Turtle Island Restoration Network works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For more information, visit SeaTurtles.Org or call our newly opened Sea Turtle Action Center in Galveston, Texas at (409) 795-8426.

About Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a non-profit organization, is committed to the conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through public education, research and rehabilitation with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site campus hospital, learning exhibits and aquariums. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 225,000 visitors each year. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call 561-627-8280.