Lilimar, Oceana & One More Generation to Deliver Over 12,000 Letters from Kids Urging President Obama to Save Endangered Sea Turtles in US Waters - Oceana USA

Lilimar, Oceana & One More Generation to Deliver Over 12,000 Letters from Kids Urging President Obama to Save Endangered Sea Turtles in US Waters

Photo Opp June 16: 12:45 p.m. in Front of White House on Pennsylvania Avenue

Press Release Date: June 13, 2016

Location: Washington, D.C.


Dustin Cranor, APR | email: | tel: 954.348.1314


Lilimar, best known for her role in the hit Nickelodeon series “Bella and the Bulldogs,” will join Oceana, One More Generation and regional children to deliver more than 12,000 letters and drawings from kids across the country urging President Obama and Secretary Penny  Pritzker to save threatened and endangered sea turtles in U.S. waters. The letters, which represent children from nearly all 50 states, call on President Obama to require a “simple solution” to protect sea turtles from shrimp trawls in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. By requiring the use of improved Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) – metal gates inserted into shrimp nets that allow sea turtles and other ocean wildlife to escape – the Obama administration has an opportunity to save thousands of sea turtles, reduce millions of pounds of wasted seafood and open new markets to U.S. shrimpers.


  • Lilimar Hernandez Ruiz (age 16), Actress and Ocean Advocate
  • Oceana(ages 15 and 13), Founders, One More Generation
  • Regional Children (ages ranging from 7 to 16)
  • Carter and Olivia Ries

WHEN:          Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 12:45 p.m.

WHERE:       White House (Pennsylvania Avenue)                            

NOTE:           Please contact Dustin Cranor to RSVP and schedule one-on-one interviews.

While many shrimp boats in the Southeast have been required to use TEDs since the 1980s, about 2,400 skimmer trawls in the region are currently exempt. Altogether, Southeast shrimp trawls could be killing 50,000 endangered and threatened sea turtles annually. In 2013 alone, the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery discarded an estimated 242 million pounds of seafood and ocean wildlife – about 62 percent of its total catch. This wasted catch could equate to more than $350 million in value, if the fish were of marketable size. 

Over the last two years, the federal government has developed and tested a new, improved TED with smaller bar spacing (reduced from 4 to 3 inches) that could help save smaller sea turtles and reduce unwanted fish bycatch by an additional 25 percent.

Requiring the entire Southeast shrimp trawl fishery to use this new TED would:

  • Allow 2,400 U.S. shrimp vessels to be removed from “red-lists” on seafood buying guides, potentially opening over 13,000 new retail markets to their products, such as Whole Foods.
  • Reduce pressure on struggling commercial and recreational fisheries. Of the 242 million pounds of fish discarded by Gulf shrimp trawls in 2013, almost 90 million pounds were species valuable to other fishermen. This includes over 1.4 million pounds of red snapper ($5.7 million if of marketable size) and over 52 million pounds of Atlantic croaker ($311 million if of marketable size).
  • Help ensure healthy sea turtle populations, improving the value of nature-based tourism. Sea turtle tourism attracts over 500,000 visitors to the coastal Southeast annually. In a two-month time period, turtle walks contributed about $250,000 to the local economy in just two counties in Florida.

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