Oceana Magazine: Fall 2011

Shrimp's Dirty Little Secret

By Emily Fisher

Imagine going for a swim in the ocean when an enormous net drags you under.

This is the reality for many sea turtles. The waters off the southeast U.S. and Gulf of Mexico are important habitat for loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtles, all of which are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. These waters are also important fishing grounds for the U.S. shrimp fishery.  

This summer, Oceana released a new report showing that fishing in the Gulf illegally kills thousands of threatened and endangered sea turtles, far more than had originally been estimated and allowed by the U.S. government under the Endangered Species Act.