Turtle Center Wants Gill Net Rules Enforced

A sea turtle rescue center wants North Carolina to stop authorizing gill net fishing that it says is in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center on Topsail Island filed suit in federal court against the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries, claiming the agency has issued permits that "have resulted in the illegal take of estimated thousands of protected sea turtles".

Michelle Nowlin, supervising attorney for the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, which represents the Beasley Center, said they're asking the state to enforce existing laws. "Our client is asking North Carolina to enforce the law to aid the recovery of these threatened species," Nowlin said. "We value the rich history of commercial fishermen and fishing communities in our state. However, gill nets are a destructive gear and the prevailing method of use injures and kills sea turtles and threatens their existence."

Nowlin says almost every state along the Atlantic that has significant sea turtle populations has banned or severely restricted gill nets. She says despite all efforts, sea turtle populations continue to decline.

Marine Fisheries says the agency is preparing a legal response to the federal lawsuit, but has no comment on it being filed.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Crystal Location: Sneads Ferry on Feb 27, 2010 at 09:29 AM
    “She [Nowlin] says despite all efforts, sea turtle populations continue to decline.” That’s because they are not the biggest threat to sea turtles. Climate change influencing migrant patterns and sex of turtles, beachfront development taking nesting grounds, natural selection, pollution… those are the big threats. Why not take on those influences? Because commercial fishermen are easy targets. It’s easier to directly identify a group of people to place the blame and easier still because they work directly with the environment. Audra- commercial fishermen also understand about the balance that you talk about. A healthy environment is extremely important to their livelihood. They are NOT out to rape the environment because they rely on a plentiful harvest now and for future generations. They understand more than most people the ramifications of overfishing, extinction, and overpopulation because of the changes it will bring to their livelihood, and by association, their quality of life.
  • by Audra Location: SoCal on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:12 PM
    TY Barb, & Cactus - The Pacific vortex is a horror.. & I doubt they know. Marshall, want me to tie your feet together & hold you underwater so you can understand how? Do you breathe air? How about a few nasty flesh slices while you try to escape too? Sound like fun? Anon 5:43pm: No, but it was an offering to those of you crying about what causes turtle death. Forgive me for not placing ALL of the blame on fisheries. Maybe that would make you happy. Kay: your words tell me what cultural beliefs you have been raised with. The dominant society unfortunately has never pulled it's head out & learned that these things are indicators of the health of ALL - the ecology is what we live in, and when it is sick, we are sick. My ancestors worked at balance & conservation w/ a grateful heart, because they knew it meant future survival. Joseph et al: Stop w/ the "you can't relate" drivel. My household is blue-collar too. When something is being done wrong, you change it, adapt, grow, & go on.
  • by tug Location: New Bern on Feb 24, 2010 at 08:41 PM
    just another attempt of outsiders to change our way of life. More turtles are being caught and released because there are more of them. The way they know how many are being caught is the fishermen report them. Now by following the rules, their good law abiding deeds are being used against them. personally I say eat them all and remove the debate. They are good in taters and onions.
  • by Jim Location: NC on Feb 24, 2010 at 07:18 PM
    Very interesting pic there! I have always heard that bright lights on the beach was bad for turtles! I say let them file their lawsuit! Then prove that numbers are low! Has not been a comprehensive study since the 70's. Needs to be one then there would be a few less species on the endangered list! I do not believe a 1970's study would hold up in court! I bet this rescue center has asked for more funding in the last few years stating that the number of turtle rescues are increasing! How could the rescue numbers increase on a decreasing population?
  • by James Location: Manteo on Feb 24, 2010 at 06:43 PM
    Turtle nest numbers vary from year to year since turtles only lay eggs like every 3 years. The survival rate is much greater since most nest are dug up and incubated. The the turtles are released into the water and do not have to worry about birds or crabs eating them while crawling across the sand to get to the water. These extremist environmentalist will only be happy if the entire human population is wiped off this planet. There is no compromising with them it is all or nothing. Where will the stop? At all hunting, fishing, farming being banned. Look at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area! They have closed most beach access. That means you the tax payer can not step foot on this Recreational Area that was designated as such by Congress! They will stop at nothing to take lively hoods away from everyone. Act now to save recreational and commercial fishing by contacting you state and federal representatives before we all loose our heritage and freedom.
  • by Ken Manning on Feb 24, 2010 at 06:35 PM
    Another attemt to destroy a way of Life in NC Fishing first and hunting next. This animal rights people are out to change the way we live.They should go back up north.
  • by Barb Location: tenn on Feb 24, 2010 at 06:19 PM
    Way to go Audra you seem to be one of the few that has a heart here.I have a uncle thats a fisherman and he is all for saving the turtles!!! So way to go Jerry!!!
  • by Joseph on Feb 24, 2010 at 03:34 PM
    You people seem to think that the gill net fisheries are completely un-restricted. The problem with most of you people is that you don't have the ability to relate to or understand commercial fishing in general much less gill net fishing specifics. This ban is for many waters...including those that don't have high turtle populations. The main problem for turtles on our shores is housing. The lights from all the condos, homes, and businesses on the beach front confuse the turtles that use the moon and such to navigate. Yet, there is no ban on housing development or construction. Anyone calling for the BAN of an entire means of living and income are completely foolish. You are affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people from the fishers, to the retailers, to the ones that make the gear, the ones that sell the gear, etc etc. This isn't limited to a few dozen fisherman but thousands of people either directly or indirectly.
  • by marshall daniels Location: windsor,NC on Feb 24, 2010 at 03:12 PM
    thats crazy i dont see how a turtle could get hurt in a net
  • by Laura Location: Belhaven, NC on Feb 24, 2010 at 03:09 PM
    This is sooooo stupid! No one except commercial fisherman and their families know how hard commercial have it these days. We already have so many restrictions that make it hard enough to make a living, not counting the harsh weather conditions we endure. Every one wants fresh seafood when they go to a restuarant, where do you think that seafood is going to come from?
  • Page:

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 85202202 - witn.com/a?a=85202202
Gray Television, Inc.