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Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

The bycatch of sea turtles by industrial fisheries is receiving an increasing attention in recent years due to the high impact it causes on these endangered species. This issue was evaluated in southern Spain waters that harbors an important feeding ground of loggerhead and leatherback turtles, including the endangered Eastern Atlantic loggerhead population. To quantify the impact that different fisheries represents to sea turtles, 272 fishermen answered to detailed illustrated questionnaires in all the main ports of Andalusia and Murcia (Spain) during 2014. This study has updated the knowledge of turtle bycatch in the southwestern Mediterranean revealing a widespread impact of fisheries on sea turtles. Fishermen recognized an annual catch of 2.3 turtles per boat. Considering the census of industrial fishing boats in the study area (1182), more than 2840 sea turtles could be bycaught per year in the study area. Most of captures (96.2%) were produced during the summer. These results suggest a severe impact of most of legal fisheries (surface longline, pursue seine, trawling and small scale fisheries) on loggerhead feeding grounds in the southwestern Mediterranean. Fishermen suggests that drift fishing conducted by foreign or illegal fishermen and almadrabas are also causing a significant bycatch of turtles. Several measures such as reviewing compliance of current fishing and environmental regulations, modifying turtle technics to reduce turtle bycatch (e.g. reduction of the use of squid as bait and disposal of hooks deeper in the water column), facilitating the rescue and handle of wound turtles and their transport to the port for recovery, and recognizing the efforts of anglers to perform a more sustainable fishing, are recommended to mitigate this impact. informacion[at] Marco et al (2020) Sea turtle bycatch by different types of fisheries in southern Spain. Basic and Applied Herpetology
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Accumulation of pollutants in the brains of dolphins

Accumulation of pollutants in the brains of dolphins

This study shows that halogenated flame retardants, both banned PBDEs and their substitutes, are able to cross the blood–brain barrier of cetaceans and penetrating the brain. The study also examined the presence of halogenated natural products produced by algae and sponges. All of these compounds have been found in the brains of analyzed dolphins, confirming that they are able to cross the brain-blood barrier. How these compounds cross the blood-brain barrier? Do they have neurological effects? Can the same be happening to humans? According to the results of the work, concentrations are different for each of the compounds studied, depending on facility to penetrate the brain. The higher levels found are of new flame retardants, which would demonstrate that they have greater ability to cross the blood-brain membrane, followed by PBDEs and finally halogenated natural products produced by seaweeds and sponges. This implies the need for further studies to evaluate the possible neurological effects of these new flame retardants. It could be that the new retardants are even more harmful than banned PBDEs. informacion[at] Baron et al (2015) Halogenated Natural Products in Dolphins: Brain–Blubber Distribution and Comparison with Halogenated Flame Retardants. Environ Sci Technol DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b02736