Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5 of The World's 7 Sea Turtles are Threatened by the BP Gulf Oil Spill

5 of The World's 7 Sea Turtles are Threatened by the BP Gulf Oil Spill
Some migrate more than 1,000 miles. Some wait 50 years to mate for the first time. Some grow to the size of a small car. From the most abundant sea turtle in the world, to the world's only vegetarian sea turtle, five threatened and endangered turtles are in peril, thanks to the BP Gulf oil spill.
By Dan Shapley

The BP Gulf oil spill is threatening not only fish (and fishermen), birds and marine mammals, but sea turtles. As both the slick on the surface and the plumes deep underwater spread across the Gulf of Mexico, and the duration of the spill extends from days into weeks into months, more and more turtles are put at risk. For sea turtles in the Gulf, it's a threat they can't necessarily survive. All of the five species that live out some portion of their lives in the Gulf are endangered or threatened species. There are only seven species of sea turtle worldwide, making the Gulf's habitat critically important for the conservation of the world's turtles.

"Sea turtles can suffer both internal and external injuries from contact with oil or chemical dispersants," said Elizabeth Wilson, a marine scientist who is the fisheries campaign manager at Oceana, the world's largest ocean conservation organization. "In addition to regulating bycatch in commercial fisheries and protecting critical habitat areas, the U.S. government can now add 'preventing future oil spills' to its list of essential sea turtle protections."

Oceana is urging President Obama and Congress to permanently ban further offshore oil drilling, not only in the Gulf of Mexico, but along the Atlantic Coast and in the Arctic off Alaska as well.


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