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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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When conservation bias leads to restoration failure

When conservation bias leads to restoration failure

Conservation bias towards flagship species sometimes threatens other species of chief concern. Long-term studies of potential harm by favoured species on other sensitive species, though seldom adopted, are required to fairly evaluate the suitability of management and restoration efforts. The potential detrimental outcomes of conservation biased towards birds is illustrated by investigating the long-term (1963–2009) impact of a large waterbird colony on a remnant cork oak Quercus suber population at a World Biosphere Reserve in south-western Spain (the Doñana National Park). To this end, changes in performance (growth, crown vigour and survival) of oaks occupied and unoccupied by the waterbird colony were compared. After 46 years of occupation, the risk of death to centenarian oaks in the area occupied by the colony was over twofold higher than for trees outside the area. Non-centenarian planted and naturally regenerated oaks showed similar trends, leading to restoration failure. This long-term study reveals that waterbirds and centenarian oaks cannot coexist, at the most local scale, but they can at a regional scale including within the Doñana area. Immediate planting efforts in suitable colony-free areas are proposed, while managers evaluate the feasibility of relocating colonial waterbirds to an alternative location. To preserve the Doñana oak genetic pool, such reforestation should be accomplished using local seeds and seedlings. New trees should not be planted in close proximity of colony-occupied trees since it significantly reduces their survival. Doñana stakeholders should both overcome current conservation bias in favour of birds and enter into a process of settlement to best preserve the overall biodiversity of the system.  informacion[at] Fedriani et al (2016) Long-term impact of protected colonial birds on a jeopardized cork oak population: conservation bias leads to restoration failure. J Appl Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12672