Council OKs Sea Turtle Relief - Oceana USA
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January 30, 2009

Council OKs Sea Turtle Relief

Great news arrived yesterday for sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. As we were hoping it would, the gulf council voted to take immediate action to protect sea turtles (mostly loggerheads in this case) from the bottom longline sector of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. The emergency rule prohibits longline gear in waters shallower than 50 fathoms for a six month period, effective as soon as possible. The sea turtles will get a breather for six months while the National Marine Fisheries Service figures out a longer-term solution. Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Griffin was quoted in a story about the vote in the Beaumont Enterprise: “Ideally, we would like to find a solution that keeps these guys fishing but protects sea turtles,” she said. “Our goal is not to shut down fisheries.”