Help Greenpeace save endangered leatherback turtles

by John Hocevar

March 14, 2013

French Guiana. Leatherback turtle enters the sea after nesting.

© Greenpeace / Pierre Gleizes

Endangered leatherback turtles migrate 6,000 miles across the Pacific each year, and at the end of their journey looms a deadly threat. Drifting gillnets, known as walls of death, float just off the California coast. While their purpose is to catch swordfish, these nets have ensnared and drowned more than a hundred turtles. Leatherbacks can currently take refuge in a small conservation area, but not for much longer. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is working to shrink this safe space--a move that threatens the survival of their species. NMFS has tried to rollback conservation areas before, and has only backed down when facing fierce public opposition. We can stop NMFS again, but we must loudly condemn its course of action. Send a message to NMFS to tell it that conservation areas for endangered leatherback turtles should be expanded, not put in jeopardy. Around the world, the leatherback population is plummeting due to careless fishing practices. Even though the leatherback family has thrived for millions of years, scientists predict it wont last another 20 years if we dont act. At this point, even one leatherback killed is too many. And these nets are not just killers for leatherbacks. Whales, sea lions, dolphins, and other endangered species become entangled and die every year. For every one pound of swordfish caught by these gillnets, 27 pounds of other marine species die pointlessly. We must keep waging battles with those who plunder our fisheries rather than manage them-- whether it is off the California coast, in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea or in the fisheries of the Atlantic--to secure our oceans future. Act now and tell NMFS that you reject its abuse of the oceans, and want stronger protections for the leatherback turtle and other species near these dangerous fisheries. Overfishing, climate change, and ocean acidification threaten to turn our oceans into deserts. Greenpeace is working for a future where overfishing has ceased, while endangered species like the leatherback turtle can flourish in protected marine reserves. Every short-sighted and profit-driven decision we stop is another step towards true protection of the ocean ecosystems that nourish us. Lets bring down these walls of death.
John Hocevar

By John Hocevar

A trained marine biologist and an accomplished campaigner, explorer, and marine scientist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.

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