Turtle troubles

Researchers worry about record numbers of dead endangered sea turtles

Courtesy Of UC Santa cruz

Marine researchers are extremely concerned by the staggering number of endangered sea turtles whose carcasses have washed up on the southern shores of Baja California, in Mexico.

Scientists have counted nearly 3,000 dead turtles along 27 miles of coastline between 2003 and 2007. Hoyt Peckham (pictured), a UC Santa Cruz graduate student leading the study, attributed much of the carnage to fishing operations that accidentally kill the turtles. Scientists have also found evidence of poaching.

Published recently in an issue of Endangered Species Research, the findings underscore the importance of sustainable fishing.

The animal under assault is the North Pacific loggerhead sea turtle, which swims 7,000 miles to Mexico from its homeland of Japan. After living in Baja for decades the species returns to the East to breed, but Japan’s female population has plummeted more than 50 percent during the past decade.