Victory | October 14, 2021
California Enhances Protections for Endangered Pacific Leatherbacks
California designated the Western Pacific population of leatherback sea turtles as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Pacific leatherbacks are the most endangered sea turtle in the Pacific Ocean with their population having declined 95% over the last 30 years. The added California designation will enhance efforts by the state to study, protect, and recover these turtles and their habitat. The CESA listing follows campaigning by Oceana and allies and recent regulations in California to reduce the risk of entanglements to Pacific leatherbacks, blue whales, and humpback whales in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The regulations also allow for approved alternative fishing gear that lowers the risk of entanglement, such as “pop-up” gear, to be used in areas closed to conventional gear.