Navigation Links
Accidental sea turtle deaths drop 90 percent in US fisheries
Date:9/14/2011

DURHAM, N.C. -- The number of sea turtles accidentally caught and killed in fishing gear in United States coastal waters has declined by an estimated 90 percent since 1990, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University Project GloBAL and Conservation International.

The report, published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation, credits the dramatic drop to measures that have been put into place over the last 20 years to reduce bycatch in many fisheries, as well as to overall declines in U.S. fishing activity.

The study's authors estimate that 4,600 sea turtles die each year in U.S. coastal waters.

Before measures to reduce bycatch were put in place, total sea turtle takes surpassed 300,000 annually. Of these, 70,000 turtles were killed.

The study used data collected from 1990 to 2007 by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to determine bycatch rates across more than 20 fisheries operating in Atlantic waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border, and in the Pacific Ocean, along the West coast and around Hawaii.

It found that overall turtle bycatch rates, including both fatal and nonfatal run-ins, have fallen about 60 percent since 1990.

Shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. accounted for up to 98 percent of all by-catch takes and deaths during the study period.

All six marine turtle species that occur in U.S. waters are categorized as threatened or endangered on the U.S. Endangered Species List. They are loggerheads, leatherbacks, hawksbills, olive ridleys, Kemp's ridleys and green sea turtles.

Bycatch is an acute threat to sea turtle populations worldwide. High bycatch rates can be indicative of unsustainable fishing practices that negatively impact the health of marine ecosystems.

"The reduction of bycatch and mortality shows important progress by NMFS, which serves as a model for reducing sea turtle bycatch in other parts of the world," says Elena Finkbeiner, a PhD student at Duke and lead author of the paper. "Our findings show that there are effective tools available for policymakers and fishing industries to reduce sea turtle bycatch, as long as they are implemented properly and consistently."

Among the mitigation strategies that have helped reduce bycatch are: the use of circle hooks and dehooking equipment in longline fisheries, to reduce the severity of turtle injuries; the use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp trawl nets to allow captured sea turtles to escape; and the implementation of time-area closures to restrict fishing activities at times and places turtles are most likely to be present in the highest numbers.

Piecemeal regulation remains a problem, the study notes. Sea turtles are currently managed on a fishery-by-fishery basis, which means that bycatch limits are set for each fishery without accounting for the overall population impacts of all the takes added together. This fragmented approach leads to total allowed takes that exceed what sea turtle populations can sustain.

"Bycatch limits must be set unilaterally across all U.S. fisheries with overall impacts to populations in mind, much as it's done for marine mammals," says co-author Bryan Wallace, director of science for Conservation International's Marine Flagship Species Program and adjunct faculty member at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

The researchers note that actual bycatch rates are likely higher than what the study reports because in many fisheries, particularly the shrimp trawl fishery, the number of on-board observers who document bycatch on fishing vessels is low relative to the sheer volume of fishing that is occurring.

"This paper provides a baseline to examine what is working and what can be improved in preventing sea turtle bycatch," Finkbeiner says. "It (makes) a strong case for the need for increased observer coverage and bycatch reporting."


'/>"/>
Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Accidental discovery produces durable new blue pigment for multiple applications
2. How can accidental captures of loggerhead turtles be reduced?
3. Tobacco companys new, dissolvable nicotine products could lead to accidental poisoning
4. Evidence that nanoparticles in sunscreens could be toxic if accidentally eaten
5. Study finds high mortality of endangered loggerhead sea turtles in Baja California
6. Turtle doves commit adultery
7. Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
8. Scientists call for protected swimways for the endangered leatherback sea turtle
9. Turtles alter nesting dates due to temperature change says ISU researcher
10. No place like home: New theory for how salmon, sea turtles find their birthplace
11. Cost of hatchling turtles dash for freedom
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... addition of the "Global Biometrics Market ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/p74whf/global_biometrics ... "Global Biometrics Market in Retail Sector ... --> Research and Markets ( ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 2016 A market that just keeps on ... the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about it ... range of dynamic trends are pushing market growth and ... - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation sequencing ... greater understanding of the role of genetic material in ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: ... interface solutions, today announced sampling of S1423, its ... wearables and small screen applications including smartwatches, fitness ... Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as well as ... performance with moisture on screen, while wearing gloves, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... ATCC, the premier global biological materials resource ... and life science researchers that are working to address ... CDC website . --> CDC ... a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus ... Chikungunya Viruses. Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , February 5, 2016 Amarantus ... biotechnology company focused on developing products for Regenerative Medicine, ... Rare Pediatric Disease Designation (RPDD) from the US Food ... with MANF. MANF was previously granted orphan drug designation ... --> Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , February 4, 2016 - New FDA action date ... New FDA action date of July 22, ... July 22, 2016   - Lifitegrast ... the past decade indicated for the treatment of signs and symptoms of ... has the potential to be the only product approved in the U.S. in the ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... VA (PRWEB) , ... February ... ... cybersecurity conference presented by Bloomsburg University’s Digital Forensics Club, takes place February ... The two-day event features 20+ speakers and activities such as workshops and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: