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SunHerald Article - May 22, 2011
A Sad Sight is Coming to the Mississippi Sound

WLOX

 

Sitting around waiting on the freshwater intrusion from Lake Pontchartrain is like a slow oncoming toothache.

The pain is coming, but you have no idea how bad it will be in the early going.

The same thing holds true with the flood waters, which will eventually have a direct impact on the western portion of the Mississippi Sound.

If you are counting, this will be the third obstacle the Gulf of Mexico has faced in six years with Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill last year.

It’s sad and there’s little we can do at this point because the best case scenario would have the intrusion end near the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor.

The best would be no intrusion, but that’s not going to happen.

With that in mind, making a trip into the Mississippi Sound before the freshwater arrives was tops on my list.

That opportunity unfolded this past week with a trip to Horn Island alongside my longtime friend, Doug Borries and host of Dynamic Outdoors television show.

Like other trips, it started out picture perfect as we left the Ocean Springs Harbor with the island on the horizon.

Even though we would experience light winds and no tide movement, the beauty of Horn Island was going to make the trip worthwhile.

That feeling quickly turned sour because a dead sea turtle was floating on the surface near the east end of Horn Island. Truly a sad sight to say the least.

Knowing little about the animal, I called Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

After explaining where the fish was and what time of the day, my heart sank with Dr. Solangi’s next comments.

Did you know the Gulf of Mexico has experienced a rash of recent deaths among the free swimming sea turtle?

“We have found a lot of dead ones (turtle) lately and that is sad,’’ Solangi said.

My first thoughts centered around the graceful animal getting caught up in shrimp trawls working federal waters or other forms of commercial fishing.

Considering the turtle was floating near an area that a dredging company is working, that could have been a factor.

“It could be for many reasons and fishermen are probably not the only one (reason).’’ Solangi said.

This could be an effect of last year’s BP oil spill, but we must do our part to fix the problem of dying seas turtles.

If you have run across a dead sea turtle in the water or on the beach, call 888-757-3657 or go to imms.org.

Simply take a picture and write down a GPS coordinate if possible and report the info.

As far as this particular turtle, which was a foot and a half wide and nearly two feet long, Dr. Solangi felt it was a 3-4 year old juvenile.

That’s a tough pill to swallow.

By: Al Jones
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