Last year alone, more than 41 million hatchlings scurried down beaches along the Gulf, Caribbean and Pacific beaches to try their luck at avoiding ocean predators.
I did a double take when I read the figure at first _ and don’t claim to vouch for it. I do know that marine biologists have told me the survival rate for turtle hatchlings is quite low. All the hatchlings released last year were either olive ridley or kemp’s ridley tortoises, two of the six species that nest on Mexican beaches.
Mexican conservation workers staff 28 turtle camps and a National Turtle Center in Mazunte, Oaxaca. Here’s the link in Spanish.
Mexico used to be considered a major culprit in culls of sea turtles. In the late 1970s, all turtles in the north of the Gulf of Mexico were on endangered lists, and by 1987 U.S. officials mandated the use of “turtle exclusion devices,” or TEDs, that kept turtles from being snared in shrimp nets.
By 1989, all foreign shrimpers planning to sell shrimp in U.S. markets were also mandated to use the TEDs. Mexican shrimpers were slow to adopt the devices, and as recently as 2010 U.S. inspectors found some shrimpers still were sidestepping their use, leading to a new ban on U.S. imports of wild shrimp from Mexico.