By Carl Lobue
Last December Wildlife Photographer Grace Scalzo, Dr. Russell Burke, Herpetologist from Hofstra University, and Carl LoBue, Marine Scientist from The Nature Conservancy published a call-to-action requesting that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) end the outdated and unsustainable practice of allowing directed commercial harvest of Diamond Back Terrapins. We now have some good news! On April 27th 2017 NYS DEC acknowledged this request by proposing to add the Diamond Back Terrapin to its list of native New York turtles, and ending the harvesting season.We applaud New York State for this action, but our work is not yet done. As required by law, NYS DEC has now opened up a 45 day public comment period on this proposed action which will end on June 6th 2017. It is very important that we once again write to DEC and support these proposed regulatory changes.
As DEC states in its press release, even “a single season of intensive harvesting has the potential to endanger this species in New York.” Thus, in addition to supporting this change, we are also asking that harvesting stop immediately upon passage of the regulation rather than waiting until May 2018 as proposed.
Letters and emails supporting DEC’s proposal to end the directed harvest of Diamond Back Terrapins should be sent to Kathy O’Brien, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Ms. O’Brien can also be emailed at WildlifeRegs@dec.ny.gov with the subject heading “Terrapin Regulation.”
More photos of the Diamandback Terrapin below by Grace Scalzo.