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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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Genetic evaluation of the Iberian lynx ex situ conservation programme

Genetic evaluation of the Iberian lynx ex situ conservation programme

Ex situ programmes have become critical for improving the conservation of many threatened species, as they establish backup populations and provide individuals for reintroduction and reinforcement of wild populations. The Iberian lynx was considered the most threatened felid species in the world in the wake of a dramatic decline during the second half of the 20th century that reduced its numbers to around only 100 individuals. An ex situ conservation programme was established in 2003 with individuals from the two well-differentiated, remnant populations, with great success from a demographic point of view. This study evaluates the genetic status of the Iberian lynx captive population based on molecular data from 36 microsatellites, including patterns of relatedness and representativeness of the two remnant genetic backgrounds among founders, the evolution of diversity and inbreeding over the years, and genetic differentiation among breeding facilities. In general terms, the ex situ population harbours most of the genetic variability found in the two wild populations and has been able to maintain reasonably low levels of inbreeding and high diversity, thus validating the applied management measures and potentially representing a model for other species in need of conservation. The Iberian lynx ex situ breeding programme has been a key piece in the multifaceted conservation of the Iberian lynx. After 12 years, it has accomplished the two main goals that were set at the start. Firstly, it has succeeded in establishing a demographically and genetically healthy ex situ population that may act as a safeguard for the species in case of extinction in the wild. Secondly, after a few years of internal growth, the population has been serving as the almost exclusive source of individuals for reintroduction in the wild. Besides, the programme has assembled a set of experts in many different fields as well as fostered and coordinated research on issues of high relevance for the conservation of the species, while becoming a major driver of awareness and dissemination. The Iberian lynx ex situ programme has been quite effective in representing, boosting and maintaining the low genetic diversity that survived the latest severe bottleneck of the species while minimising the accumulation of inbreeding, which should ultimately result in increased adaptive potential and average fitness. In this regard, the Iberian lynx ex situ programme could serve as an example of marker-assisted pedigree-based management for other species at similar conservation stages. informacion[at] Kleinman-Ruiz et al (2019) Genetic evaluation of the Iberian lynx ex situ conservation programme. Heredity Doi 10.1038/s41437-019-0217-z