There is a mystery happening off the coast of Baja, California, that has environmentalist groups scratching their heads. So far this year, 351 loggerhead sea turtles have been found dead. Just last week, authorities found 137 sea lions who had washed up on the beach dead in the same area.
A record of the sea lions and turtles that died were recorded by The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) after they were found on San Lázaro Beach in Baja California Sur.
There are fishing regulations in place to help protect loggerhead turtles. If 90 turtles are found dead within a year, it is considered the mortality limit. At that point, any commercial fishing with gillnets, falsework, or long lines has to be suspended for the rest of the year.
Since this situation occurred, the Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental along with the Center for Biological Diversity would like compliance from Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (Conapesca). They are also asking for transparency from PROFEPA as the investigation takes place.
It is not out of the ordinary for Marine wildlife to die in the area. WorldAnimalNews shows that, since last year, the numbers include 331 loggerhead turtles, 10 dolphins, 15 sea lions, 131 black sea turtles, 18 olive ridley turtles, and 6 whales. An additional 459 loggerhead turtles and 97 black turtles also have been found dead in 2018, according to La Plataforma Nacional de Transparencia (the National Transparency Platform).
“We are concerned that the loggerhead turtle mortality in the Gulf of Ulloa is worsening and that the environmental authorities continue to fail to enforce the applicable regulation,” said Mario Sánchez, Director of CEMDA’s Northwest regional office, in a statement. “The finding of the 137 sea lions killed last week is evidence of the serious situation facing marine species in this area. It is urgent that the Federal Government address this problem, strengthening the capacity of environmental and fisheries institutions, allocating an adequate budget.”
According to the statement, a representative from the Center for Biological Diversity, Alejandro Olivera, said “In the case of loggerhead turtles, they have been victims of fishing nets.”
Let’s hope that they are able to find the issue and correct anything that needs to be corrected.
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