Our lovely Pass Christian is providing a safe environment for developing sea turtle eggs – Yes, you read that right, we are growing ENDANGERED BABY SEA TURTLES!
– By Susan Putnam
The Harrison County Beach Sand Patrol is trained to look for sand tracks made by sea turtles after they lay their eggs. Approximately two weeks ago, The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) received a call that the Sand Beach Patrol found telltale signs of a new sea turtle nest on Pass Christian’s beach.
The IMMS scientists immediately leaped to action by confirming the location of the nest, then placing protective ropes around the area to keep people away. They will continue to monitor the eggs, which usually take between 50 to 60 days to hatch.
Sea turtles have been slowly making a comeback throughout the United States due to efforts to modify the way fishing nets are designed. Commercial fishermen are required to use Turtle Excluder Devices, commonly called TEDs. They promote sea turtle conservation by addressing problems associated with sea turtles getting caught in trawl fishing gear.
These new devices contain metal bars and mesh that go inside the neck of the trawl net. This allows shrimp to pass through the bars and into the net while turtles and other large animals can find freedom through a flap in the mesh. NOAA Fisheries design experts are continuing to improve effective ways to reduce harm to our endangered sea turtles.
IMMS would like to remind everyone that sea turtle nests are Federally protected by the Endangered Species Act. Please do not walk beyond the marked area and keep all pets away.
For updates on the turtle nest, follow the “City of Pass Christian” Facebook page. The nest was identified in mid-July, so we should have baby sea turtles in early September!
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