Television star, author, and fashion designer Lauren Conrad stars alongside newly-hatched sea turtles in a PSA campaign released last week by ocean conservation non-profit Oceana.
Conrad is joining Oceana’s campaign, launched last week, which urges the U.S. government to take action to protect endangered sea turtles in its southeast shrimp trawl fishery.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, featured in the PSAs, are the smallest and most endangered species of sea turtle. Oceana and Lauren Conrad are working to address the biggest threat to their survival at sea – incidental capture in fishing gear. This unintended capture, known as bycatch, could kill an estimated 50,000 endangered and threatened sea turtles every year in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with Kemp’s constituting 82 percent of those killed.
Oceana is seeking a requirement for all shrimp trawlers in the southeast shrimp trawl fishery to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), specialized metal grates inserted in trawl nets that allow captured sea turtles to escape.
“I feel so lucky that I had a chance to witness the hatching of these sea turtles,” Lauren Conrad said. “These incredible animals deserve our protection and respect, and it’s encouraging to know that a simple policy change could save thousands of them every year. I encourage everyone to visit Oceana.org/SaveSeaTurtles and take action today.”
Oceana is encouraging the next generation of sea turtle lovers to write to President Obama and Secretary Penny Pritzker, telling them why they love sea turtles and why they should be protected. Oceana and One More Generation will collect the letters and present them to the U.S. government on World Sea Turtle Day, June 16, 2016.
The PSAs were shot at the Rancho Nuevo Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Tamaulipas, Mexico, during a mass hatching in June 2015. There, Oceana worked with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) to patrol beaches for nesting turtles and release hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico. Rancho Nuevo is the nesting site for 95 percent of the world’s Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, which arrive in great numbers in the spring and early summer.
According to CONANP, approximately 97,000 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles emerged from more than 2,000 nests, which were monitored by CONANP during their incubation. CONANP’s work to protect this important Kemp’s Ridley nesting site is part of a collaborative bi-national program between Mexico and the U.S., with the Gladys Porter Zoo administering the U.S. field portion.
The PSAs and online resources are available at www.Oceana.org/SaveSeaTurtles. The PSAs will air in print and on national television beginning today.