Beach Strandings as an Indicator of At-Sea Mortality of Sea Turtles
Abstract:Estimates of the number of federally protected sea turtles drowned during the 1991–1992 winter trawl fishery for summer flounder off North Carolina were compared to the number of turtles stranded on beaches adjacent to the fishing grounds. The objective was to evaluate how well beach strandings functioned as an indicator of fishery-induced mortality. The number of dead turtles that washed up on the beaches represented a maximum of 7–13% of the estimated fishery-induced mortalities. We attribute this discrepancy to offshore bottom currents, which normally transport lifeless turtles away from the beach during the winter. We conclude that turtle strandings during the winter on the northern beaches of North Carolina are a poor indicator of at-sea mortalities, and that they may not be entirely related to the winter trawl fishery for summer flounder.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1996-09-01
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