The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have been scratching their noggins as to how and why sea turtles have been washing-up ashore the Gulf.
Last Friday, the NMFS released a statement with some details about its investigation:
“In the past few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in turtle strandings in the northern Gulf, primarily in Mississippi. The spring time is the typical time when turtle strandings in this region begin to increase, but the sharp increases in recent days are of concern to us….NOAA Fisheries is in contact with the states of MS and LA regarding current trawl and other fishery activity that can result in turtle by catch and mortality. In addition, tests will be done for biotoxins, such as those from harmful algae blooms, which are common in the Gulf. …All causes of death, including petroleum, will be investigated when possible based on decomposition. During a necropsy, the full GI tract is examined for product or evidence of oil ingestion. Additionally, samples are taken for PAH analysis. In addition, all turtles are being carefully examined for signs of external oiling.”
A recent academic probe into dolphin deaths showed that the actual number of mortalities is most-likely 50 times that what is recovered. NOAA says recent deaths of sea turtles, (all included on the Endangered Species list) include 6 in Alabama, 10 in Louisiana, and at least 50 in Mississippi.