4,600 Sea Turtles Killed Yearly by Fishing, Study Suggests

A loggerhead turtle escaping from a fishing net equipped with a so-called turtle excluder device.

This article states how some 4,600 sea turtles are killed each year by American fisheries, according to a new report published in the journal Biological Conservation. This number was based on data from 2007 which reflects a 90% reduction in death rates since 1990. But is also suggests how that if regulations on covering bycatch were applied more consistently than more turtles would be saved. Specific regulations to reduce turtle deaths such as catching sea turtles in shrimp trawler nets have taken full effect. But before these regulations took place, some 70,000 of the sea animals died each year because of these fish nets. The scientists said that another danger to turtles is that they are 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 leads to overall takes that exceed what sea turtle populations can sustain, so it is still unclear whether bycatch has been reduced enough to help sea turtles recover.All six marine turtle species that dwell in American waters are categorized as threatened or endangered on the federal Endangered Species List: loggerheads, leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridleys, Kemp’s ridleys and green sea turtles. Even though there are regulations to help the sea turtles, they will always be endangered due to improper fishing and lack of awareness by fishers.


Marina Bryant



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