Selected tag(s): kemp's ridley

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Nesting Season is Here Again

Kemp's Ridley Hatchling

Kemp's Ridley Hatchling

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting season is here again, and I’m happy to report that nest numbers are well on their way to beating last year’s number!  While the Kemp’s ridleys have the lowest population of all sea turtles, they have begun a huge come back in recent years.

Until half a century ago, tens of thousands of Kemp’s ridleys would surge onto Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico beaches in a few large nesting events each year to lay their eggs. At the turn of the 20th century, turtle meat and eggs became popular delicacies, causing the turtle’s population to crash.  Later, accidental catches in fishing gears kept their population down.   Read more about the turtle’s history and steps taken in recent years to help the Kemps ridleys population recover.

Today, Kemp’s ridleys are rebounding due in part to protections that government, fishing industry and EDF and other conservation groups helped win.  In Mexico, the numbers are up from 700 in 1985 to more than 12,000 nests in 2010.  In Texas, the nests have climbed from 1 in 1978 to a high of 197 in 2009 due to extraordinary steps taken to establish a secondary nesting site at Padre Island National Seashore.

This year’s total already stands at 85 nests (in just eighteen days of recording findings) and is on track to surpass last year’s number.  Check back at the end of the summer for an update!  At this time, it is hard to know what impacts the BP oil disaster may have had on the population.  Kemp’s ridleys don’t return to nest until after the age of seven years old, so the fate of last year’s hatchlings will remain unknown for several years.

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Kemp’s Ridley Comeback (Part II)

Kemps ridley sea turtleEarlier this summer I reported on the revival of the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the smallest of all the sea turtles, which I’m happy to report has now had another record breaking nesting year! 197 nests have been spotted along the Texas coast and more could still be discovered, though August typically marks the end of the turtles’ nesting season. In 2001 fewer than ten turtles were found on the Texas Coast, but in part due to protections that government, industry and EDF and other conservation groups helped win for the turtles, this year marks the sixth year in a row of increased nestings.

A similar trend for this turtle has also been reported south of the border.  In the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, nestings back in 1985 numbered as few as 700 (down from 40,000).  Through Mexican efforts to protect the nesting sites, there are now upwards of 20,000 annually.

Check out a recent news story on how many interests came together to make this recovery a reality and stay tuned for next season!

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Recovering from Hurricane Ike in the Gulf of Mexico

Fishermen under IFQs were able to keep their businesses going after Hurricane Ike.Eight months after Hurricane Ike slammed Texas’ largest fishing community, Galveston is steadily recovering from the storm. Red snapper fishermen under IFQ management kept their businesses going because they could fish later in the year and lease quota to others when they couldn’t fish themselves. Read more.

Destroyed Kemp’s ridley turtle habitat
Endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles have shown a strong come-back in recent years.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Ike damaged and piled debris on their South Padre Island nesting beaches. Volunteers worked to restore and clean up the sites before the turtles’ nesting season, which began last month. Experts are hopeful that these efforts will help Kemp’s ridleys keep recovering. Read more.

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