End the Killing of Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Baja Gillnets
Endangered loggerhead sea turtles migrate thousands of miles across the entire Pacific Ocean through deadly longlines and plastic pollution from their nesting grounds in Japan. They arrive along the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico to feed on the abundance of red crabs and can stay here for decades as they grow and mature. The red crabs also attract intense fishing and these loggerheads are confronted with invisible walls of death - thousands of gillnets stretched across Baja's coast.
Last summer a horrific 600% increase in dead sea turtles was observed in Gulf of Ulloa along Baja's Pacific coast, an area famous for its friendly gray whales and an important eco-tourism destination. A stunning 483 loggerheads washed up dead on 40 km of shoreline in just the month of July, and scientists estimate over 2,000 loggerheads were killed last year in gillnets alone off of Baja's coast.
The bycatch rate of loggerheads in Mexican gillnets is among the highest in the world — and it is jeopardizing their continued survival. This photo to the right of dead sea turtles was captured on-board a Baja gillnet vessel.
The President of Mexico must respond immediately to protect these sea turtles. Despite decades of cooperative conservation efforts by sea turtle and fisheries teams, the gillnet fleets continue unchecked. No fishery should be allowed to continue when it is killing this many endangered loggerhead sea turtles!