World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Tracking identifies risk zones for leatherback turtle

The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries, a new study shows.

Researchers used data from satellite transmitters attached to turtles to track their movement across the Atlantic Ocean. These movements were overlapped with information on high pressure fishing areas to identify where the turtles are most susceptible to entanglement and drowning.

The international study, jointly led by Dr Matthew Witt of the University of Exeter and Dr Sabrina Fossette of Swansea University, found that urgent international efforts are needed to protect the iconic species. Laurent Kelle, Aimée Leslie and Sebastian Verhage of WWF co-authored the report.

Between 1995 and 2010, a total of 106 leatherback turtles were tracked by satellite in the Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans. The information was interpreted along with knowledge of longline fishing efforts, resulting in the identification of nine areas with the highest risk of bycatch.

Maps of the daily locations of the turtles revealed that Atlantic leatherbacks use both deep sea international waters (more than 200 nautical miles from land) and coastal national waters, either seasonally or year-round, in a complex pattern of habitat use.

More than four billion hooks – equivalent to 730,000 hooks per day – were set throughout the entire Atlantic Ocean by industrial fisheries between 1995 and 2010, the study shows.

“This study demonstrates the need to take action at a regional policy level,” said Aimée Leslie, global cetacean and marine turtle programme manager of WWF International. “The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) has a unique opportunity to use this data to assess the impacts of fisheries under their watch.”

The study results from the collaborative efforts of ten data providers that have tracked leatherback turtles in the Atlantic Ocean since 1995 through the Trans-Atlantic Leatherback Conservation Initiative (TALCIN), a WWF led initiative.

“The TALCIN initiative will continue to build on this work by reaching out to collaborate with organisations such as ICCAT to help assess the level of damage on Atlantic leatherbacks and other marine turtles,” said Leslie. “We will also work with a collaborative fisheries research fellow from the Virginia Marine Institute to find solutions to the threats these species face. The time to act is now.”

The article, ‘Pan-Atlantic analysis of the overlap of a highly migratory species, the leatherback turtle, with pelagic longline fisheries,’ is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Le Pen Beaten: English Congratulates Macron On French Election Win

Prime Minister Bill English has this morning congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential election. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The French Election Result

Macron is shaping as the third major test case, after Bill Clinton, after Tony Blair – on whether the aim of ‘progressive social policy’ and realities of ‘neo-liberal economic settings’ can be made to credibly co-exist within the same sentence, let alone within the decrees from the Elysee Palace. More>>

Werewolf: The Maverick On Moloka’i

Monday, April 17 was Moloka’i’s turn for some face-to-face time with Tulsi Gabbard, who is part Samoan and part haole (pakeha), a practising Hindu, and a Middle East combat veteran. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Snap Election In Britain

The election call is entirely opportunistic and self-serving and will – regardless of the outcome – put Britain in a worse negotiating position for managing its Brexit. More>>

Turkey: Observers Say Erdogan’s Constitutional Referendum Flawed

Lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms created unlevel playing field in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, international observers say. More>>

ALSO:

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO: