2nd International Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Symposium
On November 18 and 19, the center’s Outreach Coordinator, Demi Fox, attended the Second International Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Symposium in Brownsville, Texas. The symposium, convened for the first time since 1985, was scheduled one year earlier than planned due to growing concern for the species. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were saved from near extinction largely due to a bi-national agreement between Mexico and the United States made in 1984. Their population numbers had been steadily increasing until recent years. Presentations at the symposium focused on tracking juvenile turtles, rehabilitation practices, stranding records, the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and various other aspects of Kemp’s ridley ecology.
Demi presented Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Responsible Pier Initiative as a viable solution for sea turtles accidentally hooked or entangled around fishing piers. As part of the Initiative, Loggerhead Marinelife Center provides the training and tools necessary to properly rescue turtles and transport them to nearby rehabilitation facilities. The Responsible Pier Initiative has shown great success in rescuing and releasing many species of sea turtles, including Kemp’s ridleys, on the 29 piers currently participating. Several Texas-based organizations expressed interest in learning more about the initiative and possibly bringing the Responsible Pier Initiative to fishing piers in their area. Two nations have joined forces once before to come to the aid of this critically endangered species and with the proceedings from the symposium in mind, hopes are high that they can do it again.