Environmental groups demand protection of sea turtles in Mexico

A dead loggerhead sea turtle on the beach of Baja California Sur, Mexico, photo: Center for Biological Diversity / Reuters
A dead loggerhead sea turtle on the beach of Baja California Sur, Mexico, photo: Center for Biological Diversity / Reuters

Two environmental organizations filed a petition under the new United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Agreement for the protection of endangered sea turtles in Mexico.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), the groups that filed the petition, blamed the Mexican government for the deaths of almost 900 loggerhead sea turtles.

Pacific loggerhead sea turtles migrate from Japan to the warm waters off the coast of Mexico and the United States, but often die after they become entangled in fishing nets, according to the groups. They say that at least 889 loggerhead turtles were found dead on the beaches of Baja California Sur between 2017 and 2019.

Under the USMCA agreement, member countries are obligated to enforce their environmental laws, including those protecting endangered species. “Mexican officials have a legal obligation to stop this carnage,” said scientist Alejandro Olivera of the Center for Biological Diversity.

A lack of government protection for loggerheads, the largest species of hard-shelled turtles, could risk their extinction and bring a tragic end to their millions of years of migration to Mexican waters, Olivera said in a news release.

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