Florida is considering new rules to help its imperiled diamondback terrapins. That’s good news — but state wildlife officials just committed to an unnecessary multi-year study that will significantly delay the rollout of protections for these turtles.
Diamondback terrapins need help now. Will you speak up for them?
Countless diamondback terrapins drown in crab traps, putting the entire species at risk. Following a Center petition and supporter comments urging protections, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission proposed a rule that would require "bycatch reduction devices" on recreational and commercial crab pots to curb terrapin drownings. They also proposed a rule to end possession of terrapins.
But then the commission decided not to implement the new rules, but instead do another study on the impact of commercial blue crab fishery on diamondbacks. It’s not a valid reason for delay, particularly because the study is irrelevant to the proposed rules that would protect terrapins from collection and drowning in recreational fisheries. This delay will likely cause the species further harm.
Urge the commissioners to quickly finalize rules protecting diamondback terrapins.