Hunting News

Monday, June 22, 2015

DoD and DHS Co-Host Workshop on Illegal Fishing

By Catherine Simons, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Officials from the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Homeland Security (DHS) co-hosted a workshop, June 11, to examine opportunities and challenges across federal agencies for application to the combating of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

As the Director of the Office of the DoD Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Oceanographer/Navigator of the Navy, Rear Adm. Jonathan W. White, along with DHS counterparts hosted the all-day workshop at the historic U.S. Naval Observatory.

Key stakeholders from across the federal family gathered to discuss enterprise tools relevant to the combating of IUU fishing & seafood fraud.

Subject-matter experts, technical analysts, and policy advisers were among those in attendance, each carefully selected for their unique perspectives and contributions to the identification and examination of enterprise tools used by the interagency MDA and fisheries communities in combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

IUU fishing and seafood fraud represents significant losses to both domestic and international economies to the order of $10 to $25 billion annually. In addition, IUU fishing fuels trafficking operations and undermines the legal fishing industry.

To address this pressing issue, the Obama Administration released a presidential memorandum entitled, "Establishing a Comprehensive Framework to Combat IUU Fishing & Seafood Fraud," in June 2014.

As a result, the Presidential Task Force was stood up and directed to provide the president with implementation recommendations. Following a public engagement process, the IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud Task Force released its recommendations and later an implementation action plan outlining 15 recommendations to achieve the comprehensive framework.

This MDA workshop was one of several implementation steps outlined in the action plan's recommendation #3: Maritime Domain Awareness.

Working group members included representatives from DoD, DHS, Department of State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Participants in the workshop included representatives from the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence, Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Coast Guard, National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office, Information Sharing Environment, U.S. Agency for International Development, National Security Agency and the Department of Transportation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rarest sea turtle nests found at CCAFS

by 1st Lt. Alicia Wallace
45th Space Wing Public Affairs

6/2/2015 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The rarest and most endangered sea turtle in the world, the Kemp's ridley was discovered nesting on the beach of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., May 14 and again on May 28.

Angy Chambers, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron biological scientist, found the first nest on the beach during the morning sea turtle survey. Chambers and Martha Carroll, another biological scientist from the 45 CES, were the first ever to document a Kemp's ridley nest found at CCAFS. They marked and screened the nest and took photos and videos of the female sea turtle crawling up the beach, depositing her eggs and returning to the ocean.

"This is an amazing discovery, and we feel so privileged to be a part of it. We are making history here because there has never been a documented Kemp's ridley nest at CCAFS until now; and we were present to witness the entire nesting process. This species is critically endangered, and we could not think of a better place than CCAFS to help preserve it with our commitment to protecting endangered wildlife," said Chambers.

The Kemp's ridley, scientific name Lepidochelys kempii, nest in Florida in very small numbers; only seven Kemp's ridley nests were documented in Florida in 2014, according to Carroll. Their primary nesting habitat is on the Gulf coast of Mexico. Young Kemp's ridley sea turtles are found in tropical and temperate coastal areas of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and can be found up and down the east coast of the United States, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are smaller than the Cape's typical nesting sea turtles, weighing 85 to 100 pounds and measuring 2 to 2.5 feet in carapace (upper shell) length, but they are tough and tenacious, according to Carroll. Their principal diet consists of crabs and other crustaceans.

The greatest threat to the Kemp's ridley, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, is from human activities, which includes the collection of eggs and hunting for meat and other products. The significant decline in the number of Kemp's ridley's can be attributed to high levels of incidental take by shrimp trawlers in the past.

During a subsequent sea turtle survey May 28, Chambers and Carroll witnessed the same sea turtle nesting again on the beach of CCAFS.

"I couldn't believe the first time we saw the Kemp's ridley nesting here at the Cape. And then when we witnessed her nesting on the beach again, I was absolutely astounded!" said Carroll. "The timing was unbelievable! I feel so privileged to be one of the only ones to witness this beautiful and endangered creature returning to her natal beach and nesting."

Following the 50-60 day incubation period, the 45 CES biological scientists will report on the success of the Kemp's ridley hatchlings.

In addition to the two Kemp's ridley nests, this sea turtle nesting season as of May 28, CCAFS has a total of 572 loggerhead sea turtle nests, one green nest and three leatherback nests; Patrick Air Force Base has a total of 152 loggerhead nests.

The loggerhead sea turtle is the most common nester at CCAFS and PAFB with an average total of more than 3000 nests per year combined for both bases.