Thousands of turtles netted off South America

phys.org | 6/5/2018 | Staff
camkizzle (Posted by) Level 3
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Tens of thousands of sea turtles are caught each year by small-scale fishers off South America's Pacific coast, new research shows.

Surveys at 43 harbours in Ecuador, Peru and Chile reveal that gillnet fisheries catch more than 46,000 sea turtles per year, with more than 16,000 killed in the process.

Numbers - Ports - Country

And the true numbers are likely to be higher, as not all ports in each country were surveyed.

Such accidental catching—known as bycatch—is a major threat to species including sea turtles, and the researchers say their findings highlight Ecuador and Peru as key places to tackle this.

People - Fisheries - Concern - People - Fisheries

"People worry about industrial fisheries but a real concern that people are waking up to is small-scale fisheries," said Professor Brendan Godley, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

"These are small vessels but they exist in such huge numbers that they can have a massive impact on ecosystems."

Turtles - Study - Area - Leatherbacks - East

Turtles living in the study area include leatherbacks (critically endangered in the east Pacific) and hawksbills (critically endangered worldwide).

Dr. Joanna Alfaro, who obtained her Ph.D. at Exeter and is now director of ProDelphinus, a conservation organisation in Peru, said: "This work highlights the importance and the benefits...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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