**Note: High resolution images/b-roll footage available upon request**
Oceana announced today that the actress Kate Walsh, a long time Oceana supporter and star of ABC’s “Private Practice,” will be featured in a PSA campaign that encourages people in the US to get involved and to help save sea turtles. The campaign entitled “Getting Sea Turtles Off the Hook” includes print, online and TV, Web and radio spots.
“We need to raise awareness about sea turtles because most people don’t even know that they’re in trouble,” said Walsh. “If people know about what’s actually happening in the water, it will encourage them to take action to help save sea turtles.”
Oceana and Walsh travelled to Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands over the summer of 2009. This was an ideal location for filming the actress with sea turtles for the PSA campaign because it is an important nesting area for leatherbacks and was at a time when baby sea turtles were hatching from nests and making their journey out to sea. Her trip to the Virgin Islands also included a visit to Buck Island and Coral World, where she swam with green sea turtles.
“It was such an amazing experience to see green sea turtles gliding through the water,” said Walsh. “Watching little leatherback hatchlings venture out to the open ocean showed just how fragile these species really are.”
Out of the seven sea turtle species worldwide, six swim in U.S. waters and all of them are either listed as “threatened” or “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Though they have been swimming the world’s oceans for over 100 million years, they are now at risk of extinction due to human actions. The main message of Walsh’s PSA campaign is ”Getting Sea Turtles Off the Hook,” a slogan that she hopes will spread awareness about the threats sea turtles face from destructive fishing gear. Every year, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are caught unintentionally by longlines, trawls and gillnets. If captured sea turtles do survive, they are often seriously injured. Other threats to sea turtles include coastal development along nesting beaches, pollution and climate change. Oceana’s campaign to save sea turtles is focused on gaining stronger protections from fishing gear as well as protections for key habitat areas. Oceana is also working to persuade Congress to pass comprehensive sea turtle protection legislation.
Oceana’s “Getting Sea Turtles off the Hook” print and online ads along with 30-second TV, Web and radio spots can be found on Oceana’s new webpage devoted to its partnership with Walsh at www.Oceana.org/turtlesoffthehook. In addition to allowing media to easily access the PSAs, the site gives visitors the opportunity to: