June 22, 2011

Hatch Season Begins on the Islands!

Hatchling entering the Gulf of Mexico early in the morning in 2010 (Photo by: A. Bryant).
Last night the first loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) nests laid on Sanibel & Captiva hatched and the hatchlings made their way to the Gulf of Mexico!

June 16, 2011

Happy World Sea Turtle Day!

In honor of World Sea Turtle Day, please consider doing something nice for the planet's sea turtles. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
  • Reduce your plastic use
  • Switch to reusable bags instead of plastic bags
  • Pick up garbage on the beach
  • Dispose of fishing line & hooks properly
  • Turn out or shield lights near the beach
  • Avoid using a flashlight on the beach at night
  • Fill in holes on the beach
  • Support sea turtle conservation organizations
  • Educate others about sea turtles

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) crawl on Sanibel Island (Photo by: A. Bryant)

June 6, 2011

The Greens are Nesting!

Well, one green at least.  Over the weekend we had a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest on Sanibel!  This was somewhat unexpected because usually green turtle nests are laid in even years on Sanibel.  This is probably because there are one or two green turtles that return every other year to nest.  This just happens to occur on even years typically.  Now, things will be a little less predictable, but no less exciting!

June 1, 2011

Shrimping to Blame Not the Oil Spill

An article in the Washington Post highlights a problem many initially attributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill-- hundreds of sea turtles, mainly Kemp's Ridleys (Lepidochelys kempii), are washing ashore dead along the Gulf coast.  In 2010, 600 sea turtles washed ashore, this year 563 have been found.  After completing necropsies on almost all of the 2010 turtles and some of this year's turtles, there is evidence that they were caught in shrimp nests, where they drowned. 

The shrimp fishery is required to use turtle excluder devices, also known as TEDs, in their nets.  Use of TEDs became mandatory in the 1990s. Emails obtained by Oceana from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that in many cases TEDs were not used, and if they were, they were not installed correctly. When installed correctly, they are 97% effective.