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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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Invasive rats on a coral atoll

Invasive rats on a coral atoll

Invasive rats are found on most island groups of the world, and usually more than one species has invaded. On tropical islands populations of different invasive rat species can co-exist on very small islands, but the population dynamics of such co-existing rat species, their impact on each other, and the mechanisms of coexistence are not well known. This lack of knowledge is a barrier to improving the success rate of tropical island rat eradications. Through an exhaustive trapping eradication campaign, the population structure of historically established Rattus exulans has been studied on a small tropical island, where R. rattus have colonised within the last fifty years and over-invaded. This R. exulans population has been contrasted with a nearby island population where R. exulans exist alone. Recently invaded R. rattus numerically and morphologically dominate R. exulans; however stable isotope analyses show that the trophic position of R. exulans remains consistent regardless of the presence of R. rattus, once differences in trophic foundations of islands are accounted for. Although the trophic position of both rat species is indistinguishable, R. rattus is able to dominate R. exulans through interference competition. This eradication attempt was interrupted by a tropical cyclone and ultimately unsuccessful, but there is some evidence that R. rattus reduced control device availability to R. exulans, which has important implications for multi-species control operations. informacion[at] Russell et al (2015) Invasive rat interactions and over-invasion on a coral atoll Biol Cons (185) 59–65 doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.10.001