GULF OF MEXICO — The Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources (CMR) unanimously approved a Sea Turtle Study Resolution, which was presented to them for approval at the June 19 CMR meeting.
The approved resolution was submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and requested a comprehensive Gulf of Mexico sea turtle population and distribution study to provide vital baseline data on the status of current sea turtle populations and furthermore, to more fully investigate all possible causes of sea turtle mortality.
The Sea Turtle Study Resolution acknowledges that increased turtle strandings are occurring in the northern Gulf of Mexico states, and there is a need to explore all options because timing of increased strandings does not correlate with spatial distribution of shrimping effort. The resolution also acknowledges the numerous proactive precautionary measures that have been taken by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) to address fisheries interactions, which may affect sea turtles in state waters.
Additionally, the Sea Turtle Study Resolution states that the CMR’s management of marine sea turtles is essential, and recognizes the need to know the status and distribution of the listed sea turtle species in the state and all Gulf of Mexico waters before enacting regulations, which may severely impact shrimp fisheries and dependent communities within the Mississippi Coast region.