Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Florida Protects Freshwater Turtles

Kudos to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for voting today to enact the strictest ban in the country on freshwater turtle harvesting. As Asian demand for turtle meat has skyrocketed (and Asian turtle populations have crashed as a result), the industry has turned to the Southeastern US. With the market shut down in Florida, other southeastern states can expect increased pressure. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee continue to allow unlimited commercial take of all sizes and ages of most species of native turtles, using unlimited quantities of lethal hoopnets and box traps in public and private waters. In the Southeast, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and now Florida have prohibited commercial take of wild freshwater turtles.

In a follow-up to yesterday's Florida turtle news item, here's a screen shot from the website of Fox News' Hannity's America:

Sean says,

"But our personal favorite is the "eco-passage" being created in Florida that will allow turtles to pass under the highway safely. It will only cost you $3.4 million.

The Florida Department of Transportation defend this project on the grounds that, "A lot of turtles are quite large. They get hit by a car and they turn into flying objects."

I'm not so sure. If you live in the world of Mario Kart, maybe that's a scenario worth planning for. But I think those of us in the real world can save our money for more realistic dangers."

This is quote mining, and it's as far as you can get from fair and balanced. There is a wealth of information out there on the ecopassage, as well as documentation of accidents related to turtles (including one that flipped through a windshield), but Hannity seizes on the "flying turtle" thing and milks it for all he can.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I wish we could make safe passages for all animals that need to migrate....