Research shows that fisheries interactions are only one piece of the puzzle. Nest destruction represents an additional mortality threat to sea turtles and has many causes, including the over-harvest of eggs for human consumption; predation by feral pigs and dogs; habitat degradation due to development, deforestation, pollution and other human activities.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Sea turtles have life histories that make them vulnerable to fishing. They are also protected by many national and international treaties and regulations. Several turtle species can be found around floating objects depending on area, from a few tens up to a couple of hundreds of individuals per year in every ocean, by purse seiners and most of them, greater than 90%, are released alive relatively easily. The mortality of turtles due to being captured by a seine can be considered negligible. While their catches in purse seine fisheries are relatively insignificant, sea turtle bycatch is more frequent in longline fisheries – any efforts to avoid fishing mortality will aid in sea turtle conservation.
WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT
ISSF supports multiple initiatives to track, report on and minimize unwanted bycatch like turtles among purse-seine fishing vessels, as well as conduct research across all fishing methods to define and promote best practices that positively impact this important issue.
To avoid the entanglement of turtles in FAD netting, the solution is quite simple. Fishers should use non-entangling FADs. Information on non-entangling FADS is included in the ISSF Skippers Guidebook. While modification of gear and fishing practices to lessen the occurrence of sea turtles as bycatch is a critical step that needs to continue and expand, we must not overlook the need for sustained actions on nesting beaches. ISSF recognizes this need. That’s why the Foundation continues to devote substantial support toward sea turtle research and educational projects worldwide, with the cooperation of on-the-ground experts for maximum impact. By establishing a $100,000 annual fund created by a number of its participating companies, ISSF can support more than ten high-priority sea turtle conservation projects – from Brazil to Tanzania, and Peru to Oman – on an ongoing basis.
WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN
- Leatherback Conservation in Bird’s Head Region, Papua Barat, Indonesia
- Community-Based Leatherback Conservation in Solomon Islands
EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN
- Prevention and Reduction of Marine Turtle Fishery Bycatch in Peru
- Hawksbill Conservation in Nicaragua and El Salvador
- Monitoring and conservation of sea turtles in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Community based sea turtle conservation in Tanzania
- Seychelles Islands Sea Turtle Conservation
- Working with Local Fishermen to Mitigate Loggerhead Bycatch on Masirah Island, Oman
- Sea Turtle Conservation in Brazil
- Mitigation of Turtle Meat Consumption on Santiago Island, Cape Verde