Your monthly update from Turtle Island Restoration Network

February Newsletter

As we swim through Cupid’s month of love, we want to extend a little extra appreciation and gratitude to our devoted volunteers and members that help us protect our planet. Thanks to you, TIRN is thoughtfully and deliberately addressing some of the biggest challenges in the environmental crisis. From our ongoing litigation to halt unsustainable fisheries and challenge senseless policy to our upcoming program to protect nesting sea turtles, we promise to continue doing everything in our power to protect and heal the planet so that you and future generations can continue to love and enjoy nature for years to come.

Attempts to Establish Hard Caps on West Coast Drift Gillnet Fishery Questionable

 After almost a decade of back-and-forth rule makings and court decisions, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently released a rule that would establish hard caps on the West Coast drift gillnet fishery. While hard cap policies ensure that fishing activities halt before irreparable damage is done to a special status species, hard caps only work if they are strictly enforced (and that is not what this rule seems to do). “If NMFS is serious about reducing the amount of bycatch in West Coast drift gillnet fisheries, they would enforce such caps with 100% observer coverage and choose more stringent cap levels than those in the proposed rule,” said Policy & Advocacy Manager Annalisa Batanides Tuel. 

Volunteers Clean Ocean Beach for Valentine's Day

Volunteers with Turtle Island Restoration Network removed nearly 100 pounds of trash from San Francisco's Ocean Beach on Valentine's Day! Beach cleanups are a fun and easy way to show your support for Turtle Island Restoration Network and ocean conservation. We believe people have a responsibility to advocate on behalf of sea turtles and all marine species that are gravely threatened by commercial, cultural and individual human practices around the world—including the pollution that litters our beloved beaches and waterways.

Photos by Domenic Biagini

Update: Crews Monitoring Entangled Whale

On Feb. 14 a whale watching company spotted a humpback whale tangled in a net, struggling as it swam up the California coast from San Diego. The whale was severely entangled in drift gillnet: a barbaric method of commercial fishing that should not exist. Unfortunately, crews who initially spotted the whale were unable to help the whale which was active at a frantic pace—it was too dangerous to get close to the animal. Now, the Coast Guard and the West Coast Whale Entanglement Response Program are closely tracking the whale to attempt to safely remove the netting. It was last spotted outside of Dana Point. Although the netting still has the right fluke entangled, if appears that whale has been able to discard some of the net. Please email your members of Congress, asking them to support the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act.

Lawsuit Launched Over Trump’s Massive Rollback of Pollution Protections for Rivers, Wetlands

Turtle Island Restoration Network filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Trump administration on Feb. 18 for eliminating longstanding protections for the nation’s waters, including approximately half of all wetlands and potentially millions of miles of streams. The Trump rule allows polluters to pave over wetlands and dump pesticides, mining waste and other pollutants directly into these now-unprotected waterways. The impacts of this rollback were revealed by a leaked Environmental Protection Agency analysis that indicates arid states like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada could lose protections for the vast majority of their waters.

TIRN Rallies to Defend the Okinawa Dugong

TIRN was joined by more than 70 activists in San Francisco to stand for the Okinawa dugong, a critically endangered relative of the manatee that holds a central place in the culture of Okinawa, Japan. The last remaining population of these marine mammals are facing a grave threat from the U.S. Department of Defense, which is planning to construct and operate a Marine Corps base that will fill in and pave over hundreds of acres of rich coral and seagrass habitat critical to the survival of dugongs. Please add your name to our petition, asking the U.S. Department of Defense to halt this environmentally, politically, and socially disastrous project.

NMFS Considers Reintroducing Longlines in Gulf

Turtle Island Restoration Network recently submitted a comment letter on behalf of our more than 200,000 supporters to oppose a recent proposal by the National Marine Fisheries Service to reintroduce longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Restricted areas of the Gulf of Mexico have been incredibly successful thus far in reducing catch and discards of bluefin tuna with minimal impact on the fishing industry. The NMFS decision to reverse course on proven, effective management methods for bluefin tuna by reintroducing pelagic longline fishing gear into the Gulf of Mexico Restricted Areas is contrary to the best available science and defies common sense.

Now Available: Reusable Stainless Steel Straws!

Help prevent a source of single-use plastic waste from entering our oceans and waterways with our Reusable Stainless Steel Straw. Americans use over 390 million straws every day, and the average lifespan for using a straw is a mere 30 minutes. Straws take from 200-500 years to decompose and continue to be a threat to wildlife as they photo-degrade into microplastics. To prevent all marine life from falling victim to plastic, we must make personal lifestyle alterations and take responsible consumer action. Our reusable drinking straw is made with food safe 18/8 stainless steel with “” engraved on the side. It includes one straw and one cleaning brush that come in a canvas bag for just $5!

Petition to List Leatherbacks Under Review

The California Fish and Game Commission is currently reviewing a petition filed by Turtle Island Restoration Network to protect leatherback sea turtles under the California Endangered Species Act. The Pacific leatherback population has declined by 90 percent over the past 40 years, mostly because longline and gillnet fishing for tuna and swordfish entangles and drowns these large, ancient, soft-shelled turtles. Listing leatherbacks under the state’s Endangered Species Act would make them a state conservation priority. The state law would also provide an added layer of security to potentially weakened protections for leatherbacks under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Federal Bill Aims to ‘Break Free from Plastic’

Turtle Island Restoration Network joined 470 organizations in writing a letter of support for a comprehensive new bill to tackle the plastic-pollution crisis that has just been introduced in Congress. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act is as visionary as it is urgent: It would phase out throwaway plastics made from fossil fuels — things like single-use plastic bottles, bags and straws. And it would hold the plastic industry responsible for its waste and pause construction of all new plastic-making plants until the EPA can further review the facilities' huge impacts.

Last Chance to Scuba Dive at Cocos Island in 2020

Are visions of eagle rays, schools of hammerheads, and tiger sharks swimming through your mind? Then it might be time to join Turtle Island Restoration Network’s scuba research team on a Cocos Island Dive Expedition! We have only TWO trips scheduled for the rest of 2020 aboard the MV Argo planned. Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts - from our executive director to regional specialists - who will share their knowledge into one of the most pristine and biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world on an exclusive, 10-day liveaboard dive expedition. 

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Turtle Island Restoration Network
PO Box 370, Forest Knolls, CA 94933