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Pemex Oil Spill in Oaxaca Threatens Sea Turtles and World-Class Surfing Beaches

WiLDCOAST asks Mexican government to start cleanup and establish restoration and compensation fund

| posted on August 24, 2012

A PEMEX oil spill in the port of Salina Cruz in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca went uncontained for 11 days along Pacific Coast beaches, impacting more than 12 miles of coastline.

The spill has so far resulted in the deaths of 13 sea turtles and tarred beaches with oil revered by surfers worldwide for their wave quality.

“The beaches of southern Oaxaca are Mexico’s most important for nesting Olive Ridley sea turtles and surfing tourism,” said Dr. Eduardo Najera, the Mexico Director for WiLDCOAST. “We are requesting that Mexican federal authorities investigate the cause of the spill and require PEMEX to quickly and thoroughly clean up its mess.”

Beaches impacted by the oil spill include Salinas del Marqués, Brasil, Brasilito, Azul, Punta Conejo, La Escondida-Guelaguichi, Playa Cangrejo, and Chipehua.

Conservationists are concerned that the petroleum could harm the 500,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles that lay their eggs on Morro Ayuta beach located north of the oil spill area.

Federal sea turtle monitors reported that clumps of oil have appeared along the more than 14-mile beach, considered among the world’s most important nesting beaches. More than 25,000 Olive Ridleys arrived on Morro Ayuta during the three days proceeding the oil spill.

During a recent tour of the region by WiLDCOAST, there was no evidence of any effort by PEMEX to clean up beaches and wildlife impacted by the spill.

“Pemex must be required to clean up and restore all of the ecosystems damaged by the oil spill to the fullest extent possible,” said Najera. “Indigenous communities, families and businesses that make their living from fishing, surfing and eco-tourism must be compensated for their losses as a result of damage from the spill.”

WiLDCOAST is an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. www.wildcoast.net