Tugboat Crew Charged With Hundreds Of Bird Deaths

<table class=“contentpaneopen”><tbody><tr><td class=“contentheading” width=“100%”>Tugboat Crew Charged With Hundreds Of Bird Deaths… </td><td class=“buttonheading” align=“right” width=“100%”> </td><td class=“buttonheading” align=“right” width=“100%”> </td><td class=“buttonheading” align=“right” width=“100%”> </td></tr> </tbody></table> <table class=“contentpaneopen”><tbody><tr><td class=“createdate” valign=“top”> Monday, 23 April 2007 07:03 </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=“top”> The defendants were employees of Point Loma Maritime Services Inc. of San Diego in June 2006. At that time, they allegedly went aboard and moved two barges where dozens of elegant and Caspian terns were nesting. Investigators said the men were preparing one or both of the barges to be towed to Santa Barbara to serve as a platform for a Fourth of July fireworks display, the newspaper reported. By repeatedly boarding the barges and moving the vessels around the harbor, the men frightened dozens of immature tern chicks, causing them to flee overboard and drown, the Union-Tribune reported.

About 400 to 500 tern chicks died over a three-day period. Wildlife workers were able to save about two dozen of the terns, which were raised to maturity and released into the wild last year, according to the newspaper. Officials for the state Department of Fish and Game said the deaths of the elegant terns were particularly significant because the imperiled species nests in only five locations worldwide, the Union-Tribune reported.

Long Beach City Prosecutor Tom Reeves likened the defendants’ actions to 'scaring a bunch of kittens into the water and watching them drown. … We lost an entire generation of elegant terns from this nesting site,'the Union-Tribune reported. As copied, without permission from http://www.10news.com/news/12617542/detail.html</td></tr></tbody></table>

Another black eye for Mariners.

Aren’t the real criminals the California Department of Fish and Game officials who were responsible for protecting the birds?
Maybe a sign saying “KEEP OFF” should have been posted.

Geez, you gotta wonder. They are the most widespread species of terns in the world, their population in the Pacific Northwest is expanding to the point the Corps of Engineers in Oregon had to harass them off one location until the Audabon folks got upset.

Maybe if the fish and game jackboots in California were that worried about the things they should have rented the barges until the chicks left rather than blame the owners for using their property.