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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Drift Gillnets Capture More Than Fish

Courtesy of Alex Gray, Oceana, California.

Imagine swimming comfortably in the ocean and then getting unexpectedly trapped in an unseen fishing net.

That is happening with marine mammals along the California coast, from dolphins to sea turtles.

Alex Gray and his colleagues at Oceana explained, "Mile-long walls of death are killing sea turtles. Right after hatching, baby sea turtles must survive a harrowing dash from nest to ocean, dodging hungry sea birds and other predators looking for their next meal.

But right now, even after all that, it’s humans who pose the biggest threat of all.

Drift gillnets used to catch swordfish off California threaten the very survival of Pacific leatherback sea turtles. Drift gillnets are nearly invisible underwater, creating walls of death that can trap and drown sea turtles, whales and dolphins.

Oceana runs proven campaigns to get drift gillnets out of the water – and we need to enter 2017 as strong as possible if we have any chance of winning. That’s where you can make a difference in a huge way: We’re matching your donation until the end of the year so we have enough resources on hand to protect sea turtles from deadly gillnets.

For over 100 million years – yes, really! – sea turtles have helped maintain the health of the world’s oceans. From maintaining productive coral reef ecosystems to transporting essential nutrients to beaches and coastal dunes, sea turtles are critical to healthy, vibrant oceans.

But these ocean champions are in trouble: Indiscriminate fishing gear, loss of nesting habitat, and climate change are pushing sea turtles toward extinction. Already, we’re seeing major changes in our ocean ecosystems because sea turtles have been virtually eliminated from many areas of the world’s oceans. The U.S. government has declared the Pacific leatherback sea turtle among the eight ocean species most threatened with extinction.

For 15 years, we’ve been perfecting our formula to save species on the brink. Replacing drift gillnets with cleaner fishing methods like deep-set buoy gear offers a profitable, common-sense solution that’s safe for sea turtles.

We know to save sea turtles, we must protect them at every turn: Safeguarding sea turtle nests on local beaches, protecting key ocean habitats, and removing threats like drift gillnets. With your help, Steven, we can save these ocean champions from drift gillnets and other deadly threats.

Donations can be given here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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