15 Apr 2010

Commercial fishing estimated to kill millions of Sea Turtles

By Nick Askew

It's not just seabirds which are accidently killed in commercial fisheries. The number of sea turtles accidently snared by commercial fishing gear over the past 20 years may reach into the millions, according to the first peer-reviewed study to compile sea turtle bycatch data from gillnet, trawl and longline fisheries worldwide. Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles are currently listed as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

“Direct onboard observations and interviews with fishermen indicate that about 85,000 turtles were caught between 1990 and 2008”, said Bryan Wallace, lead author of the new paper. “But because these reports cover less than one percent of all fleets, with little or no information from small-scale fisheries around the world, we conservatively estimate that the true total is at least two orders of magnitude higher”. To read more, please click here.