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Fisheries impact on breeding of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) along the Gahirmatha coast, Bay of Bengal, Odisha, India

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In India, the Gahirmatha coast is among the most important nesting grounds of olive ridley turtles, Lepidochelys olivacea. The coastal waters of Odisha are also subjected to heavy commercial fishing activities, leading to turtle-fisheries conflicts. This study was carried out to quantify the effects of fishing on breeding turtles. Data on stranded, dead turtles were collected during three breeding seasons (2007–08, 2008–09 and 2009–10) between November and April along a 35 km stretch. A total of 13,443 dead olive ridleys were counted (2008–09: n=9502, 2007–08: n=2754, 2009–10: n=1187). Maximum mortality occurred in February. Few strandings of dead male turtles were recorded. Stranded turtles had a curved carapace length between 51.3 and 77 cm. Mortality is largely attributed to drowning in trawl nets and caused by gill nets. A decrease in size of adults may be related to their high mortality.
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Keywords: BREEDING; FISHING; LEPIDOCHELYS OLIVACEA; MORTALITY; OLIVE RIDLEY; SIZE CLASS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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