News News

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
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News


Effects of climate change on sea turtles nesting

Effects of climate change on sea turtles nesting

Sea turtles are vertebrates with temperature-dependent sex determination. Rising temperatures due to climate change cause female-biased sex ratios. Here, the influence of nest depth and shading conditions on nest temperatures and hatchling fitness of the leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea have been assessed. Forty-eight leatherback clutches were relocated into a hatchery in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Of these, 24 clutches were placed under shade conditions and 24 were placed under unshaded (sun) conditions at three depths (50, 75, 90 cm). Fitness (as measured by greater carapace length, carapace width and hatchling weight) and locomotion performance (faster crawling and shorter righting responses) were better in leatherback hatchlings from the cooler, shaded nests than in those from the warmer, unshaded nests. In 2013, in clutches at a depth of 50 cm, hatching success was higher for the shaded clutches than for the unshaded clutches, while in clutches at deeper depths unshaded clutches had higher hatching success than shaded clutches. These results show that shaded conditions produced hatchlings with a higher fitness and a higher likelihood of being male. Therefore, results can be used to provide conservation policies with a tool to decrease the current female-skewed sex ratio production caused by rising temperatures at most nesting rookeries around the world. informacion[at] Rivas et al (2019) Potential male leatherback hatchlings exhibit higher fitness which might balance sea turtle sex ratios in the face of climate change. Clim Chang