NOAA’s Fisheries Service, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mexican environmental officials have released a new plan to protect the endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. The updated Bi-National Recovery Plan was signed on September 22.
“We are working together with other U.S. and Mexican agencies on the recovery of the Kemp’s ridley, and we are seeing results,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Cooperation among government agencies, fishermen, local communities and ocean users is the key to continuing our success, and this new updated plan will help us to continue in our efforts to save this species. We are well on our way, but we still have a long way to go.”
The recovery plan is a revision of the original plan that was created in 1992. It updates the conservation efforts that have been successful in the recovery of Kemp’s ridley. In addition, it contains guidelines for research programs designed to improve understanding of the effects of anthropogenic and natural process on the recovery and it provides the necessary criteria for delisting the species. Problems caused by humans are one of the number one reasons for needing a recovery plan; the biggest factor in the decline of Kemp’s ridleys is bycatch, or accidental capture by commercial fishing gear. In order to be delisted, there must be 40,000 nesting females per season throughout a six year period by 2024.
“The results of our partnership, and how effectively we are able to work together, were demonstrated this year when a record number of nests were identified along the Texas coast,” said Benjamin Tuggle, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service southwest regional director. “In addition to that achievement, on a single day this June, a massive arribada – a group nesting event – of about 9,000 Kemp’s ridleys was seen on the main nesting beach in Mexico.”
“Mexico recognized early on the importance of protecting the main Kemp’s ridley nesting beaches on their coast,” said Jim Lecky, Director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. “All of our agencies working together, with concerned citizens and groups in both our countries, have helped set the Kemp’s ridley on the path to recovery. This Bi-National Recovery Plan keeps us all heading in the right direction.”
Copyright © 2011 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC.