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February 11, 2011

A New Friday Tradition: Meet Turtle


Caretta carettaWe’ve decided to start a new tradition on this blog: every Friday, we’ll share with you a picture of some of the amazing flora and fauna we are fighting so hard to protect and give you a little background on the threats it is facing. We have the advantage of having a terrific team of photographers who participate in our at-sea expeditions, so we might as well use it to help our supporters better understand what we’re doing.

Meet “turtle” – we found him swimming near the surface of the water off the coast of Sardinia, Italy.

Endangered turtles are often caught unintentionally, as bycatch by fishing vessels using nets, including driftnets, that don’t discriminate. Driftnets were banned by the EU in 2002, but unfortunately not all fleets are abiding by the rule. As recently as last year, Oceana’s team of observers found vessels in the port of Bagnara Calabra (in Italy) that were still using the gear.

We’re on a mission to clear the Mediterranean of driftnets – and we’ve seen some positive movement. In fact, both Morocco and Turkey last year announced a ban on driftnets to take effect in 2011 – but our work won’t be over until we are 100% sure that driftnets are no longer a danger to marine ecosystems.

What do you think? It’s a pretty incredible picture isn’t it? That’s the turtle’s own reflection!