Fishing methods to reduce sea turtle mortality associated with pelagic longlines

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Abstract:

Changes in hook design and bait type were investigated as measures to reduce the bycatch of sea turtles on pelagic longlines in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Specifically, the effectiveness of 18/0 circle hooks and mackerel (Scomber scombrus) bait was evaluated with respect to reducing sea turtle interactions and maintaining swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and tuna (Thunnus spp.) catch rates. Individually, circle hooks and mackerel bait significantly reduced both loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) sea turtle bycatch. Circle hooks also significantly reduced the rate of hook ingestion by the loggerheads, potentially reducing postrelease mortality. The combination of circle hooks and mackerel bait was even more effective for loggerhead turtles and had no negative effect on swordfish catch. These modifications in fishing methods, in conjunction with tools developed to remove hooks and line from the turtles, significantly reduced the capture rate of sea turtles and potentially the post-hooking mortality of those that were caught and did not negatively impact the primary target species catch rate. In addition, these mitigation measures have the potential to reduce mortality of sea turtles and other bycatch species worldwide.

Nous avons évalué les changements de forme des hameçons et de type d'appât sur les palangres pélagiques comme moyens de réduire les prises accessoires de tortues de mer dans la partie occidentale de l'Atlantique nord. Nous avons, en fait, évalué l'efficacité des hameçons autoferrants 18/0 et des appâts de maquereau (Scomber scombrus) pour restreindre les interactions avec les tortues de mer, tout en maintenant les taux de capture d'espadons (Xiphias gladius) et de thons (Thunnus spp.). Les hameçons autoferrants et les appâts de maquereau réduisent significativement, tous les deux, les prises accessoires des tortues de mer, tant des caouannes (Caretta caretta) que des tortues luth (Dermochelys coriacea). Les hameçons autoferrants réduisent aussi significativement le taux d'ingestion des hameçons chez les caouannes, ce qui diminue potentiellement la mortalité après la libération. L'utilisation combinée d'hameçons autoferrants et d'appâts de maquereau est encore plus efficace chez les caouannes, sans effet négatif sur la capture des espadons. Ces modifications des techniques de pêche et la mise au point d'outils pour retirer les hameçons et les lignes des tortues réduisent significativement le taux de capture des tortues de mer et diminuent potentiellement la mortalité d'après ferrage des tortues qui sont capturées, sans effet négatif sur le taux de capture des espèces principales ciblées. De plus, ces mesures de mitigation peuvent potentiellement réduire la mortalité des tortues de mer et des autres espèces dans les prises accessoires à l'échelle globale.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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