The Beacon

Blog Tags: Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Ocean News: Loggerhead Sea Turtles Can Get the Bends, Global Sea Surface Temperatures at Highest Point, and More

Loggerhead sea turtles can get the bends after interaction with fisheries

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Mediterranean. New research shows loggerheads can get the bends after commercial fishing capture. (Photo:  Oceana / Juan Cuetos)

- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that it was adding Pacific bluefin tuna to their "red list" of threatened species during the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney. The group cited its massive demand in Asian sushi and sashimi markets as reasons for population declines over the past 22 years. Business Insider


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Meet a Tiny Crab Species That’s Not into Long-Term Relationships

Tiny crabs found to not be faithful to their mates

Planes minutus crab living on a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). New research shows that another small crab species (Planes major) that also hitches rides on loggerheads may engage in “risky behavior.” (Photo: BMC Ecology / Flickr Creative Commons)

A tiny crab species, commonly known as flotsam crabs, have quite the luxurious lifestyle. They spend most of their lives hitching free rides on loggerhead sea turtles, catching views of the open ocean as they travel safely nestled between their carapaces and tails. Here, they’re offered safety from predators, and typically ride along with a mate to reproduce and have a friend.


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Loggerhead Sea Turtles Gain Protection with Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restriction

loggerhead sea turtles are protected by the swordfish drift gillnet closure

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez) 

Yesterday, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the California swordfish drift gillnet fishery after facing mounting pressure from Oceana and our partner conservation groups. This closure, known as the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, will occur from July 25 to August 31, 2014 in an area that stretches just north of Santa Barbara and runs south of San Diego, and will prevent endangered loggerhead sea turtles from entangling and drowning in these indiscriminant nets.


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Ocean News: Great Barrier Reef Will be “Pretty Ugly” by 2050, Sea Turtle Nests Down in South Carolina, and More

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Photo: Michael Sheil / Flickr Creative Commons)

- In an appearance before an Australian Senate this week, researchers said the Great Barrier Reef will be “pretty ugly” by 2050 and that "the reef is in the worse [sic] state it's ever been in since records began." The researchers linked the decline to coastal development and government action, specifically nothing their approval of a dredging and dumping project around the Reef. The Huffington Post   


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Victory for Loggerhead Sea Turtles: Vast Area of Habitat Gains Protection

A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling (Caretta caretta)

A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Cory Wilson)

Today, the federal government designated thousands of miles of beaches and open ocean around the southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles. The area, which covers 685 miles of nesting beach from North Carolina to Mississippi and more than 300,000 square miles of ocean habitat from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, is the largest designation to-date of critical habitat—making this ruling a victory and a historic step for loggerhead sea turtle recovery.


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Ocean News: Loggerheads Receive Miles of Protected Shoreline, Philippine Airline Bans Shark Fin Shipments, and More

A Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

A Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

- This week, scientists officially named the largest flying creature ever discovered. Pelagornis sandersi, a type of early bird, relied on the oceans to keep it airborne when it lived 25 million years ago. To be able to fly with its massive 20- to 24-foot wingspan, scientists say this bird relied on air currents from the oceans to boost it into the area, where it scooped up prey from waves with a toothed beak.


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Are We Giving Loggerhead Sea Turtles Enough Protections to Survive?

Loggerhead sea turtles face myriad threats and risks. Are they getting adequate protections?

A recent lawsuit prompted the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on July 17 to propose 36 ocean areas as critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The lawsuit, jointly filed by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, came five years after environmental groups petitioned the government to strengthen protections for loggerhead populations, and 35 years after loggerheads were first listed under the Endangered Species Act, at which time the government was required to designate critical habitat by law. This prolonged delay impelled environmental organizations to take legal action to ensure that the threats these sea turtles face are minimized.


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Government Officials, and Sea Turtles

© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

This post comes to us from our Oceana offices in Europe. Click here to read the post in the original Spanish version. 

August 7, 2013

In an event attended by José Ramón Bauzá, the President of the government of the Balearic Islands, and Gabriel Company, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Territory, the Cabrera National Park hosted the yearly tradition of returning rescued sea turtles to the sea. This event inspires us to take a moment to recognize the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) like the Cabrera National Park -- safe havens that are essential to the conservation of loggerhead sea turtles and many other species.


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Victory! 739 Miles of U.S. Coastline Protected for Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Wikimedia Commons

This morning the government announced a decision, long in the making, to designate 739 miles of Atlantic and Gulf coastline as critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.

Loggerheads face threats from all sides, including from pollution, degradation of foraging areas, and serious injury and death from entanglement in fishing gear. They’re also faced with the loss of their nesting habitat due to coastal development as well as sea level rise.

Loggerheads, which make some of the longest journeys of any sea turtle—across entire ocean basins—nest on beaches from Texas to Virginia, but 90 percent of U.S. loggerhead nesting occurs in Florida. This new protection means that any new beachside hotels, homes or commercial construction built on protected beaches that require federal permits would need to be reviewed to prevent harm to nesting areas.

Oceana marine scientist Amanda Keledjian explained why the protections are crucial:

 “Turtles are often caught in fishing gear, struck by moving vessels, or risk ingesting debris such as plastic bags. The National Marine Fisheries Service must follow up on this action and designate off-shore areas as well as waters directly adjacent to nesting beaches if they want these vulnerable populations to recover.”

The new protections came about as a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, and Turtle Island Restoration Network, after the government failed to respond to previous petitions filed by the groups dating back to 2007. In 2011, loggerhead sea turtles worldwide were protected as nine separate populations under the Endangered Species Act, triggering the requirement to designate critical habitat.

The government will now accept public comments about the proposal and the protections are expected to take effect in 2014.  Stay tuned to hear about ways that you can help ensure that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not withdraw many of these proposed beaches when these protections are finalized.

Learn more about the loggerhead sea turtles that visit our coasts and the dangers they face.


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Oceana Holds Seismic Airgun Protest

Protesters brave the rain ©OCEANA

Yesterday Oceana and its supporters braved foul weather to protest a truly foul idea. Armed with airhorns and megaphones they gave the Department of the Interior (DOI) a tiny preview of what is in store for the ocean’s inhabitants should the Department allow seismic airgun testing to go forward in the Atlantic Ocean.

The DOI is currently reviewing a proposal to use seismic airguns to search for pockets of oil and gas in a huge expanse of ocean from Delaware to Florida. The effects of these round-the-clock tests, which will run for days on end with dynamite-like blasts firing at 10 second intervals, will be devastating to marine mammals and fish alike.

As Oceana marine scientist Matthew Huelsenbeck said at the event:

“There is only one word that I can use that sums up this proposal: unacceptable. The levels of impacts to protected dolphins and whales, including critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale are simply unacceptable.”


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