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Gulf oil spill: Many sea turtles drowned since gusher began


It has been an exhausting and depressing detective enterprise, trying to establish how hundreds of sea turtles died before washing up on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Now it appears that oil was not the direct cause for many of the turtles that died in the first days after the spill began. Rather, early necropsy findings show that 21 of 40 intact turtle carcasses examined showed signs of drowning, or aspiration of sediment from the seafloor, according to Barbara Schroeder, national sea turtle coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

That suggests the turtles could have become caught in shrimp nets during the special fishing season, which opened in the immediate aftermath of the spill. But investigators also will try to determine whether a toxic algae bloom could have paralyzed the turtles and caused them to drown -- a somewhat less likely prospect, since no toxic blooms known to be dangerous to turtles have been found in the area.

After the death of large numbers of sea turtles in shrimp nets in recent years, shrimpers have been required to open an escapement device in their nets to allow turtles to swim out safely. But turtle researchers fear that some fishermen may have closed their nets in the rush to catch as many shrimp as they could before fishing grounds were closed off with the rapidly spreading oil spill.

More will be known when researchers complete their toxicology tests. Necropsies are yet to be conducted on turtles that washed up more recently. Oil may have been a bigger factor there, researchers say. And the impact of oil in the water and in turtles' food sources also is yet to be determined.

Full story: Gulf fishing nets, not oil, may be culprit in initial sea turtle deaths

--Kim Murphy

Photo: A dead sea turtle lies in the sand in Grand Isle, La., where beaches have been pockmarked with oil. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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It is incomprehensible to think that we (humans) are so ignorant as to what needs to be done in an emergency where wildlife is put in danger. Shrimpers should not have been allowed to take their boats out without making sure that they complied with the regulation to have nets that will not catch any turtles. We are so concerned about oil that the 'real' important aspect of taking care of all living beings is forgotten.

Hope this catastrophe will teach us to have more compassion and presence of mind that we are not alone. The earth belongs to all who inhabit it.

Haha! This is an awesome way to get back at BP!

They may also have drowned because they couldn't come up to the surface as it was tainted with oil.
This is called "forced submerged".
The same problem is true with dolphins.

San Francisco saw Prolific Playwright Larry Myers play like
15 different charcters in his dramatic response to the Gulf Tragedy
He was guys gals old young Black & white & was staggering
as if poseessed by voices in that vortex of horror!
Play called
"Edgar Cayce's Autograph"
being doen in Manhattan with actors
too bad Myers is something to behold!

I watch the news everyday in disbelief. They have 2 platforms drilling relief wells in hopes of relieving the pressure that is forcing millions of gallons of oil into the ocean every day. Two? What can that possibly do? Maybe if we had 100 platforms out there drilling relief wells but two?


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