There has been a battle over the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle in the Gulf of Mexico for as long as Miss G can remember. Years ago, the shrimping industry grew exponentially off the coast of Texas as literally hundreds of Asian and Indo-pacific folks immigrated Texas and did what they knew how to do: live off the ocean. The shrimping industry proved lucrative for them, and these hard-working people developed small fleets of shrimping boats to support their families and communities. People taking care of their own: it's the American way, and it's what they can here to do.
About that time, wildlife protection groups noticed an increase in Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles washing up on to coastal beaches, dead or dying. After much consternation and research, it was determined that many of the turtles were being drowned in shrimping trawls, trapped by the nets and held underwater. Initially there was some denial by the shrimping industry, but ultimately, the Turtle Excluder Device, or TED, was developed. TED's allow the trawl to catch shrimp as normal, but provides an automatic release for anything as large as a sea turtle. They are now required by law for anyone operating a commercial shrimp trawl, and in Miss Ginger's mind, this is the great American success of industry, activism, and government coming together to solve a problem. Case closed.
But no! Chicken Little from the Sea Turtle Restoration Project ,based in CALIFORNIA, says that 20 turtles were found dead on the upper Texas coast over the last 11 days. But, the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network, with a laboratory based in Galveston, TEXAS, is responsible for logging such deaths, and said none have been reported. Hmmmmm.
Okay, let's think this through a bit. The turtle population has increased exponentially over the last few years, thanks to the remarkable coordination of industry and government. Over the past few years, we have had numerous extraordinarily strong hurricanes, and have just come off of the coldest winter Miss G has seen in a long time. And it's mating season, a time when there naturally will be a few occurences of turtle deaths from natural causes. So perhaps a rise in turtle deaths, could be attributed to something other than fishing?
Yet, Chicken Little wants to shut down the shrimping industry. Really?! Just shut it down. Hmm... good thing she didn't have a wreck on the way to work this morning... she'd be wanting to shut down the freeways!
Miss G hopes the sky falls on her head!