Angela loves sea turtles as well as cats!

Angela Martin

Image via Wikipedia

Anglea Kinsey does a wonderful job of being compassionate to the feline population as she plays the role of Angela Martin on the show ‘The Office’. But did you know she also demonstrates equal sympathy for the plight of sea turtles as a spokesperson for Oceana?

Back in December, Angela Kinsey and Racheal Harris (The Hangover) joined up with Oceana for a campaign to get “Sea Turtles Off the Hook!” It is a focused on asking folks to reassess commonly used fishing gear because they may be harmful to sea turtles. She gently reminds us all to “Cut down on your use of plastic shopping bags because many end up in the ocean. If you’re at a beach where there are sea turtles, just let them be. And don’t throw trash out on the street near coastlines. Pick it up!”

How did the loggerhead sea turtle get its name?

The loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, was given the common name because it has such a massive head.  On this massive head is an incredibly powerful jaw that aids the turtle in consuming any type of food it can get its mouth on. This can include corals, sponges, crabs, jellies, fish, other sea turtles,  sea urchins, and even octopi. They are true omnivores. This jaw is the most powerful jaw of all the sea turtles. Out of all the turtles in the world it has the second most powerful jaw coming in behind the Alligator snapping turtle.

Image (c) treehugger.com

Understand marine debris ASAP

Oh no! It is that moment when I am finally relaxed and settled into my chair at the edge of the water and I look up from my book to see a plastic wrapper whizzing into the sea. I take a look around and do not see anyone running to grab it so I get up and run for the trash. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that trash falls out of our hands from time to time. That is why I am one of those people that tend to make the extra effort to do the right thing and pick up after someone else, I hope someone would do the same for me. Basically, I have an active imagination. I see the future of this plastic bag as having a relaxing trip to the open sea where it floats on the bright and sunny surface only to be mistaken for a nutritious and delicious jelly by a leatherback sea turtle. Only it gets lodged in the turtle’s throat. It turns out to potentially suffocate the animal and may lead to his eventual death. Yes, that is where my imagination takes me … Unfortunately it is all too much a reality. Watch this clip of an Ecuadorean team of scientists trying to save this green sea turtle who was too weak to survive since his gut was full of plastic.

This plastic bag and other man made trash items that sea creatures commonly mistake for food are collectively known as marine debris. Items may include plastic bags, cigarette butts, fishing gear, bottles, cans, caps, lids, you name it … it is marine debris. The marine debris doesn’t just come from pieces that fly out of our hands while at the beach. The trash that ends up in our ocean can come from drains and sewers on our street. The ocean is the largest body of water and a part of the world wide watershed.

One of the most alarming illustrations of how much marine debris has ended up in our ocean ecosystem is the presence of the Pacific Garbage Patch. In the northern Pacific Ocean (in between Hawaii and San Francisco) there is an island of marine debris larger than the size of Texas that is held together by a centrifugal force of the ocean current known as the North Pacific Gyre. You cannot see this patch from a satellite image because it is simply suspended particles of shoes, toys, plastics bags, wrappers, tooth brushes and many bottles.

Marine debris is everywhere and is quite a nuisance for life in the oceans. In the summer when we are all enjoying a few relaxing days on the beach or on the boat let’s do our part and “leave only footprints and take only pictures”, ok?

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Learn more about marine debris from the short video by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Also, here is an excellent example of what is being done to acknowledge the issue of marine debris and taking the effort to help eliminate it. Thanks, New Hampshire!

Here is a nice site that outlines what you can do to reduce your plastic footprint.

Image (c) wildeducation.org (leatherback sea turtle) and coffeencrafts.blogspot.com (trash)