6 Apr 2010

Millions of Sea Turtles Captured, Killed by Fisheries

Millions of endangered sea turtles have been accidentally captured or killed over the past two decades by longline, gillnet and trawl fisheries worldwide, according to a new report.


The report, published in the journal Conservation Letters, is the first global assessment of sea turtle bycatch for these three major types of fishing. Bycatch occurs when fishing equipment, such as giant nets or longlines with thousands of baited hooks, snag animals other than what they are intended to catch.

Turtles, which are air-breathing reptiles, often perish by drowning or by swallowing sharp hooks that can become lodged in the soft tissue of the turtles' throats and stomachs. "For sea turtles, fisheries bycatch is the most serious, acute threat to the persistence of their populations," lead author Bryan Wallace told Discovery News, adding that shrimp trawling is one of the most damaging practices.

Discovery News