Gaps In Reporting Leave Turtles vulnerable

2016-03-10T16:37:54+00:00 March 10, 2016|
Turtle on the Great Barrier Reef. (Credit: Matt Curnock)

(Click to enlarge) Turtle on the Great Barrier Reef. (Credit: Matt Curnock)

A James Cook University study has called for a change in the way we manage bycatch — to better monitor the unintentional catching of sea turtles by commercial fishers.

(From ScienceDaily) — JCU’s Kimberly Riskas led a project that examined more than 10 years of records on turtle bycatch.

“Turtle habitat often spans multiple management jurisdictions. But most fisheries management agencies will monitor bycatch within a single fishery or a single year, without adding records together to determine how many turtles are being caught in total,” she said.

Ms Riskas said the findings show a need for bycatch records to be pooled across fisheries and states, as well as over time, to better measure the effect on turtles.

She said the number of turtles caught in a single fishery or year may not seem to be a cause for concern, but even low levels might place pressure on a species when considered across fisheries and over multiple years.

Ms Riskas said the existing approach to managing turtle bycatch does not go far enough to protect turtles.

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