Are the warming waters of the San Diego Bay supersizing its turtles?
About C.J. Bahnsen
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In Baja alone, an estimated 35,000 turtles die in the hands of poachers annually, speared, harvested with long gillnets or caught by hand…
In El Portugues, a small fishing camp in Mexico’s Baja California Sur, moustachioed fishermen with tobacco-colored skin glide to shore in 21-foot panga boats and unload their modest catch of small sharks and devil rays. It seems innocuous enough, given that most of the sharks, skates and rays (a class known as elasmobranches) are being harvested via small-scale, non-industrialized methods. But according to a two-year survey led by Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research in Sarasota, Florida, there are 147 fishing camps along the Gulf of California supporting 4,000 to 5,500 active pangas targeting elasmobranches.