*Sea turtles have swum the seas for a couple hundred million years. Today all seven species are in dire shape, especially in Mexico and Australia.
According to University of British Columbia’s renowned fisheries biologist, Professor Daniel Pauley, “between 10 and 100 trillion oceanic creatures a year are being destroyed by man.” Incomprehensible.
Fisheries are annihilating everything in the seas. There are 13 million miles of longlines, or, enough line for 27 return trips to the moon, with almost 2 billion legal and illegal hooks. In 2000 alone, University of Duke scientists reported that longlines mutilated 200,000 loggerhead and 50,000 leatherback sea turtles. Horrendous.
It’s not just these deadly hooked lines that are the culprits. The conservation group World Animal Protection estimates that each year fisheries disdainfully discard and/or abandon 640,000 metric tons of nets, which become ghost nets. Not only do these ghastly entanglements suffocate 308,000 cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), but also many thousands of sea turtles.
Over the past month, more than 400 sea turtles have turned up in two deadly waves along the southwest shores of Mexico.
Hundreds of endangered sea turtles found dead near southern Mexico.”
Earlier this week, more than 300 endangered olive ridley sea turtles were discovered trapped and decomposed in a massive illegal 393-foot long net off the shores of the state of Oaxaca, southern Mexico. It’s heartbreaking to see these masterpieces floating lifelessly because rapacious entitled humans are destroying everything in the sea with impunity.
In late July (2018), 113 masterpieces (102 olive ridley, 6 hawksbill, 5 greens) washed ashore at Puerto Arista, Chiapas, neighbouring southerly state of Oaxaca. Asphyxiation, fishing hooks and harmful algal blooms laced with deadly saxitoxin and domoic acid from above normal sea surface temperatures, all appear to have collided. My colleagues are currently undertaking the necropsies.
Meanwhile across the Pacific in the southern hemisphere, far north Queensland, Cape York region, Australia, thousands of drowned sea turtles continue to pile up in discarded subsidized petroleum-based fisheries’ nets.
Over the previous 10 years at least 10,000 paddling masterpieces have been demolished by ghost nets.
We are in the midst of the accelerating Sixth Mass Extinction. It’s occurring by as much as 10,000 times faster than the previous five others.
On top of all the fisheries mayhem, petroleum-based plastics are killing a million marine creatures annually.
Already, 70 percent of sea birds have vanished. More than 60 percent of the remaining feathered beauties are full of plastics. “Often a bird will be killed by its parents, which has accidentally brought plastic items to their chicks, mistaking them for food,” said Dr Jennifer Lavers, University of Tasmania.
What we do to the oceans and all sea life, we do to ourselves. An immediate global campaign to remove ghost nets is obligatory.
In order for marine life to heal, it’s time to end fisheries for 50 years.
All life is now facing near-term extinction. Ladies and gentlemen, we must not go quietly into this hideous impoverished future!
Please support the excellent work of the direct-action conservation movement Sea Shepherd because they are removing ghost nets and protecting the sea turtles, the sharks and the cetaceans.
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.
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