Showing posts tagged as "steve vogel"

How do you get an endangered sea turtle from North Carolina to the Aquarium? Find out in our latest podcast!

Turtle En-route for the Holidays!

Our hatchling loggerhead sea turtle is getting the red-carpet treatment from the folks at US Airways.

A day after the turtle was bumped from his flight to Monterey from North Carolina, both turtle and Husbandry Curator Steve Vogel are scheduled for VIP treatment to get them home for the holidays – at 600 miles per hour, in a three-leg flight that will take most of Thursday to complete.

Andrew Christie with the communications staff at US Airways headquarters in Phoenix has arranged all the details, short of guaranteeing a favorable weather forecast. He’s made sure that everyone at US Airways – from staff at ticket counters and gates, to flight attendants and pilots – is aware that a Very Special Sea Turtle has the green light to travel with them today.

“Our reservations folks were kind enough to book [Steve] on all aisle seats to accommodate any need to…check and/or change the hot water bottle for the baby turtle,” Andrew added.

It’s service that’s can make a life-or-death difference, as our veterinarian, Dr. Mike Murray, notes.

“Thank you so very much for accommodating this little guy, the smallest passenger of the season,” he wrote. “I know it is a bit out of the ordinary, but your kindness and understanding are so very much appreciated.  Being so small (only about 4 inches in length) the little turtle has a huge thermal disadvantage.  He is not only cold blooded and can’t generate body heat, but the heat that we provide is lost quickly because of his high surface-area-to-body-weight ratio.  Having Steve right there with him to monitor the temperature is so critical to the little turtle’s well being.”

You can follow their progress from New Bern, N.C. to Monterey on Twitter at #TravelingTurtle. We’ll post updates throughout the day.

Read more about our hatchling loggerhead sea turtle.

These Species are No Accident

Our exhibit in the Open Sea wing called “An Accidental Catch”  includes some very striking fishes that also happen to get snared as bycatch in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.

“What we’re showing are species that get caught in nets with the shrimp ,” says Curator of Husbandry Operations Steve Vogel. “They’re also really cool animals, like the striped burrfish, which looks like a golf ball with spines; and the bighead sea robin, which looks like a giant mouth with wings.

“Some are really personable, and some are just plain funky. But what they have in common is that they’re useless to commercial fishermen.”

All about Bycatch

Fishing nets and longline hooks set to catch our favorite seafood—like shrimp and swordfish—often snare open-sea fishes, sharks, seabirds, turtles and marine mammals. Shrimp operations worldwide have one of the highest bycatch rates of all fisheries.

“When you buy wild-caught shrimp, these fish and other small animals are what’s caught along with the shrimp,” says Steve. “Everything in the net but the shrimp is swept overboard to die, or cut up for bait.”

So why does it matter if such fish are removed in large numbers, anyway?

“You’re taking out mid-level predators,” says Steve. “Those are the species that larger animals—like sharks—feed on. And species lower in the food web no longer have natural predators.  Removing these bycatch species throws the whole ecosystem out of balance.”

Fortunately, U.S. fishermen are required to use measures like the Turtle Excluder Device (TED), which lets sea turtles escape from the net while still allowing the fishery to retain target species, like shrimp. (Watch a TED in action.)

Consumers can help by choosing only sustainably caught shrimp from the U.S, by using our Seafood Watch recommendations.

Species shown in photographs include the Spotfin mojarra (Eucinostomus argenteus), bighead sea robin (Prionotus tribulus), striped burrfish (Chilomycterus schoepfii ), and the commercially targeted species, southern pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus notialis).

Other species on exhibit include scrawled cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis) and French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum).

(Striped burrfish photo courtesy Liz Marchiondo; all others Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder.)

About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.